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First Iraq War

Klaus Dahmann / bkApril 22, 2013

Dictator Saddam Hussein orders his troops to march into Kuwait. After the invasion is condemned by the UN Security Council, the US forges a coalition with allies and frees Kuwait.

Burning oil fields in KuwaitImage: Nicolas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein uses border disputes and rows over oil production rates as an excuse to send troops across the border of neighboring Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council condemns the invasion of the sovereign country, but Hussein refuses to back down. The US establishes a coalition of 34 countries to force the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

After Hussein fails to respond to an ultimatum at the start of 1991, the US led troops begin an aerial raid and then later send in ground troops to drive back the Iraqis. The Iraqi army retreats. But uprisings from the Kurds and the Shiites in Iraq, who hope for an end the regime, are brutally squashed by Saddam Hussein. The US-led troops fail to topple the dictator.