Prelude to War: Aug. 2 to Nov. 29, 1990
BATTLE FRONT Aug. 2: Iraq invades and occupies Kuwait. Aug. 8: President Bush tells nation that "a line has been drawn in the sand" and 50,000 U.S. troops may be sent to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force. Aug. 13: U.S., Britain implement naval blockade of Iraq. Aug. 16: U.S., British citizens in Kuwait ordered to surrender themselves to Iraqi authorities. Aug. 17: Iraq says it will detain Westerners from Kuwait at military installations, using them as a "human shield" against attack. Sept. 21: Iraq vows the "mother of all battles" if the coalition tries to free Kuwait by force. Sept. 23: Saddam Hussein vows to retaliate against Saudi, Kuwaiti oil fields and Israel if attacked. Oct. 23: U.S. troops deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield reach 210,000. Nov. 8: Bush announces an increase in U.S. force levels in the Middle East to provide an offensive option. Nov. 19: Iraq calls up 60,000 reservists and 100,000 new conscripts, moves six divisions to southern Iraq. Nov. 22: Bush visits forces in Saudi Arabia for Thanksgiving. Nov. 29: Pentagon says it will send an additional 300 warplanes to beef up its air power in the Gulf.
DIPLOMATIC FRONT Aug. 2: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 660 condemning invasion of Kuwait and demanding Iraq's withdrawal. Aug. 3: U.S., Soviet Union issue joint statement condemning invasion, calling for ban on arms sales to Iraq. Aug. 6: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 661 imposing economic sanctions and a trade embargo on Iraq. Aug. 8: Iraq annexes Kuwait. Aug. 9: U.N. Security Council passes unanimous resolution 662 voiding Iraqi annexation of Kuwait. Aug. 10: Iraq orders foreign embassies in Kuwait closed. Aug. 30: Bush unveils "action plan" under which affluent European, Asian and Gulf countries would share costs of allied military intervention, blockade of Iraq; Japan pledges $1 billion to assist multinational force. Oct. 29: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 674 calling for release of hostages, holding Iraq responsible for financial losses caused by the invasion. Nov. 29: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 678 on a 12-2 vote, setting Jan. 15, 1991, deadline for Iraq to abide by previous resolutions or face military force.
HOME FRONT Aug. 22: President Bush calls up U.S. reservists by executive order for the first time since 1968. Oct. 2: Joint congressional resolution backs Bush. Oct. 17: Secretary of State James A. Baker III tells a Senate committee that the Administration would consult with Congress, but not seek its prior approval for any attack against Iraqi forces. Oct. 20: U.S. anti-war marches staged. Oct. 29: Baker says U.S. will "not rule out a possible use of force if Iraq continues to occupy Kuwait." Nov. 14: Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney authorizes activation of 72,500 reservists who may be needed in Saudi Arabia. Nov. 20: 45 members of House of Representatives file suit to force Bush to seek congressional approval before attacking Iraq.
Buildup of Forces: Nov. 30, 1990 to Jan. 15, 1991
BATTLE FRONT Dec. 6: Saddam announces that he will release all foreign hostages, citing "positive changes" in the U.S. position; U.S. proposes U.N. Middle East conference; U.S. reinforcements arrive in Saudi Arabia from Europe. Dec. 14: Last group of American hostages evacuated from Iraq. Dec. 19: U.S. Lt. Gen. Calvin Waller tells reporters that he urged Bush to delay Gulf strike until February, when allied forces will be ready. Dec. 25: Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tell Bush that U.S. will not be ready to attack Iraq until several weeks after Jan. 15 U.N. deadline.
Jan. 3: U.S. troops deployed in Operation Desert Shield reach 325,000.
DIPLOMATIC FRONT Nov. 30: Bush, saying he is willing "to go the extra mile for peace," offers to send Baker to Baghdad and invites Iraqi Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz to Washington for talks. Dec. 1: Iraq accepts Bush proposal for talks but with wider agenda, including the Palestinian question. Dec. 2: Baker says sanctions against Iraq may never work. Dec. 7: State Department announces that embassy staff in Kuwait will return to U.S. Dec. 8: Responding to Bush offer, Iraq says Aziz will travel to Washington on Dec. 17, but that Saddam would not be able to see Baker in Baghdad until Jan. 12--three days before the U.N. deadline; U.S. accuses Iraq of stalling. Dec. 13: U.S. Ambassador W. Nathaniel Howell III leaves Kuwait. Dec. 14: Iraq says Aziz will postpone visit to U.S. until controversy about timing of Baker meeting is resolved. Jan. 9: Baker-Aziz talks in Geneva fail to resolve crisis; Aziz says Iraq "absolutely" will attack Israel if war breaks out; Israel vows to respond. Jan. 13: U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar meets with Saddam in Baghdad, but without making any progress toward resolving crisis. Jan. 15: U.N. withdrawal deadline passes; White House official says "it's no longer a question of whether, but when" coalition forces will attack.
HOME FRONT Nov. 30: Oil prices fall in second largest one-day drop on record after Bush offers to hold talks with Iraq.
Dec. 3: Gen. Powell lashes out at critics of Gulf policy in statement to Senate committee.
Dec. 29: Congressional Democrats threaten to cut off funds for Desert Shield if Bush does not seek congressional approval. Jan. 10: Congress opens debate on resolutions dealing with the Persian Gulf. Jan. 11: The State Department warns that terrorists supported by Iraq are planning attacks around the world if war breaks out over Kuwait; the Federal Aviation Administration moves to increase security for air travelers. Jan. 12: Congress authorizes war. Jan. 14: Bush tells congressional leaders that there has been "no ray of hope" from Iraq for a diplomatic solution; anti-war demonstrations held in many U.S., European cities.
War and Aftermath: Jan. 16 to Feb. 12, 1991
BATTLE FRONT Jan. 16: U.S.-led coalition forces launch massive air attack on Iraq at 3:30 p.m. EST (4:30 a.m. Jan. 17, Gulf time); Saddam vows to crush "the satanic intentions of the White House" and says "Iraq will never surrender." Jan. 18: Iraq retaliates by hitting Israel with at least eight Scud missiles, but they have conventional, not chemical warheads, and casualties are light; first 12 Iraqi prisoners taken from nine oil platforms off Kuwait; incoming Iraqi missile destroyed over Saudi base; U.S. says four American planes, seven crewmen lost in first 48 hours of the air war. Jan. 19: Three more Scud missiles hit Tel Aviv; U.S. rushes troops to operate Patriot batteries in Israel against Iraqi missiles; Iraq displays captured American and allied pilots on television. Jan. 20: U.S. Patriot missiles intercept at least nine Scuds--five aimed at Saudi Arabia.
Jan. 21: Iraq says it will place prisoners of war at strategic sites as "human shields." Jan. 23: Chief of Staff Powell says U.S. strategy against Iraqi forces is simple: "First we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it." Jan. 24: Number of allied air sorties against Iraq and occupied Kuwait passes 15,000. Jan. 25: Massive oil spill in Gulf said to be from Kuwaiti supertanker loading pier sabotaged by Iraqi forces. Jan. 28: U.S. says more than 80 Iraqi aircraft have landed at various Iranian airfields; Iran vows to impound them for duration of war; flow of crude from Kuwaiti spill said virtually halted by allied bombing. Jan. 30: In first large battle of the war, 11 Marines killed as Saudi and U.S. forces drive probing Iraqi forces out of Khafji, Saudi Arabia, near Kuwaiti border; it is revealed later that seven were victims of "friendly fire." Feb. 3: Air war passes 40,000 allied sortie mark. Feb. 7: American employed at Turkish air base slain in terrorist attack tied to Gulf War. Feb. 8: Cheney, Powell arrive in Saudi Arabia to assess progress of air war, determine readiness for ground attack. Feb. 12: U.S. reports as many as 50 fires burning at facilities in Kuwait, possibly caused by Iraqi sabotage.
DIPLOMATIC FRONT Jan. 19: Soviets said trying to persuade Saddam to end fighting. Jan. 23: Japan pledges an additional $9 billion to help pay the costs of the war. Jan. 29: Germany pledges $5.5 billion more to war effort, orders antiaircraft missiles to Turkey. Feb. 1: The State Department accuses Iraq of systematically repressing its own people. But it also cites rights abuses by coalition members Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Feb. 4: Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani offers to meet Saddam for talks on ending the war, and is also ready to resume official contacts with the U.S. toward thatend; Washington cool to the proposal. Feb. 6: Baghdad cuts diplomatic ties with U.S., five other coalition members. Feb. 12: Soviet envoy Yevgeny Primakov meets Saddam in Baghdad; Saddam reportedly says he's ready to cooperate in finding a peaceful way out of war.
HOME FRONT Jan. 17: Crude oil prices have biggest one-day fall in history; widely watched Dow Jones industrial average of New York Stock Exchange prices has its second largest point gain ever. Jan. 18: Bush signs order extending length of reserve call-up from 180 days to two years, and allows more call-ups of up to 1 million troops. Jan. 19: Anti-war protesters march in Washington and Los Angeles. Jan. 26: Tens of thousands protest war in Washington, drawing counterdemonstrators; other rallies in Los Angeles, San Francisco. Feb. 3: Budget Director Richard G. Darman says war will add $15 billion to 1992 federal budget deficit, despite allied pledges to pay $51 billion of the cost. Feb. 5: Bush pledges he will not reinstate the draft, which was suspended in 1973.
War and Aftermath: Jan. 16 to Feb. 12, 1991
BATTLE FRONT Feb. 13: Iraqi officials say 500 civilians killed in bombing attack on what U.S. says was command-and-control bunker in Baghdad; U.S. troops deployed in Operation Desert Storm reach 514,000. Feb. 14: Kuwaiti official says at least 200 Kuwaitis have been executed in their occupied country since air war began. Feb. 16: Pentagon officials say American forces poised to launch a coordinated ground, air, and sea assault as soon as Bush gives the word. Feb. 20: Senior Arab official says allied air raids may have killed or wounded more than 75,000 Iraqi soldiers. Feb. 23: Allied forces launch massive ground operation against Iraqi troops at 5 p.m. (4 a.m. Feb. 24, Gulf time); U.S. command says allied forces had already destroyed 39% of Iraqi tanks in region, 32% of its armored vehicles and 48% of its artillery. Feb. 24: Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf says allied casualties on first day of ground campaign were "remarkably light"; Iraq says offensive "so far has totally failed." Feb. 25: Baghdad Radio says Saddam has ordered his forces to withdraw from Kuwait in accordance with Soviet peace proposal; U.S. says it awaits official confirmation; warhead from a Scud falls on U.S. barracks near Dhahran, killing 28 Americans; allied officials say more than 600 fires are burning in Kuwait, including more than half the country's 1,000 oil wells Feb. 26: Iraqi forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq virtually surrounded; Marines enter Kuwait city. Feb. 27: Bush declares victory over Iraq, says Kuwait liberated and orders allied combat suspended at midnight (8 a.m. Feb. 28, Gulf time); permanent cease-fire said to depend on Iraq's release of POWs, compliance with all U.N. resolutions. Feb. 28: Iraq accepts Bush's terms. March 3: Allied, Iraqi commanders lay groundwork for official cease-fire.
March 4: Iraq frees first 10 POWs, including six Americans. Refugees report rebellion against Hussein in several southern Iraqi cities. March 5: Iraq frees 35 more POWs, including 15 Americans. Thousands of Iraqis flee unrest. March 8: Iraq frees 1,181 Kuwaitis abducted as hostages, 40 foreign journalits and two more U.S. prisoners of war.
DIPLOMATIC FRONT Feb. 14: U.N. Security Council opens private debate on Gulf War. Feb. 15: Iraq offers a strings-attached plan to withdraw troops from Kuwait, but Bush dismisses it as a "cruel hoax." Feb. 18: Aziz visits Moscow, where President Mikhail S. Gorbachev offers plan for ending war. Feb. 19: Bush rejects Soviet proposal as "inadequate." Feb. 22: Bush gives Saddam ultimatum: Withdraw by noon EST Feb. 23, or face a ground war. Bush charges Iraqi leader with launching a "scorched-earth" policy against Kuwait; Baghdad calls U.S. demand "shameful"; Soviet Iraqi talks continue. March 4: Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheik Saad al Abdullah al Sabah returns to Kuwait city for first time since invasion. March 5: Iraq voids annexation of Kuwait and promises to return looted propety. March 6: Foreign ministers from eight Arab nations in allied coalition meet in Damascus, Syria, agree to form Gulf peacekeeping force. March 8: Secretary of State James A. Baker III confers with Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Saudi Arabian leaders in Riyadh at start of Gulf tour.
HOME FRONT Feb. 14: Anti-war demonstrators splash Pentagon doorway with blood and oil to dramatize opposition to the conflict. Feb. 18: Gregory D. Levey, 30, carrying sign calling for "peace," burns himself to death before horrified bystanders in Amherst, Mass. Feb. 22: Bush Administration sends Congress its first official bill for Gulf War--$15 billion--but says full amount may not be needed. Feb. 25: Archbishop John Roach of Minneapolis says Roman Catholic bishops in America lack "a sufficiently clear consensus" to declare the war morally unjustified. March 6: Bush addresses joint session of House and Senate, salutes U.S. forces and calls for end to Arab-Israeli conflict. March 8: First U.S. troops return home when 104 24th Mechanized Infantry Division soldiers land at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.