The Gulf War began on August 2, 1990, codenamed Operation Desert Shield for the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia. It was the day that Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait. Saddam would defend his actions by claiming that Kuwait was rightfully Iraqi territory, a long dispute that was based on the fact that Kuwait had been a part of the Ottoman Empire’s province of Basra. He would also claim that Kuwait was overproducing oil and driving its price down. In my opinion, Saddam was planning on taking over Kuwait, as well as Saudi Arabia, because he owed them a debt for their support in the Iraq-Iran war that he could not pay back. He tried to get them to forgive the debt, but they would not. His response lead to the invasion of Kuwait; an act that would absolve his debt as well as lead to control of oil rich countries. President Bush, at the request of Saudi Arabia, ordered troops to be deployed to defend against Iraqi troops that were building up along the border of Saudi Arabia.
Operation Desert Storm was the combat phase of the war. The Gulf War consisted of a coalition of forces from 34 nations led by the United States. The war is also known under other names, such as the Persian Gulf War, First Gulf War, Gulf War I, Kuwait War, First Iraq War, or Iraq War (before the term “Iraq War” became identified with the 2003 Iraq War also referred to as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”).
The following stories will come from my personal archive of letters I wrote home, as well as verifiable facts about the Gulf War. I will also be including journal entries from an Iraqi soldier's diary as the war begins in mid January. I'm including it to show the contrast between his morale and mine and what I believe is what made the difference. Again, as you near the end of my story, you'll see why everything fits together under one theme.
"Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.'"