This film begins on August 2nd, 1990 – the day Iraq invaded Kuwait. Republican Guard tanks sealed off the city while Iraqi special-forces seized government buildings. The advancing Iraqis met little resistance.
The Emir had stood down his army to avoid provoking Saddam. Many of his soldiers were taking their summer vacations. By noon, Saddam Hussein controlled one fifth of the world’s oil.
The biggest question for the US was whether Saddam would stop at the borders of Kuwait or go into Saudi Arabia and move down to the oil fields?
For Arab leaders, the biggest question was whether they could resolve the situation without involving outside forces.
Satellite images showed two Iraqi divisions near the Saudi border. The US President, George Bush, dispatched his Defence Secretary Dick Cheney to Saudi Arabia. Cheney and his high-level delegation had to convince the Saudi rulers, who had never allowed U.S. troops on their soil, that they could soon become another Kuwait if they didn’t allow US forces to come to their aid.
Cheney told King Fahd that he did not have the luxury of waiting until Saddam began an invasion of Saudi Arabia and then ask for US help, because then it would be too late. King Fahd agreed & soon more than 250,000 troops arrived in Saudi Arabia from the USA, Britain, France and Egypt – the beginnings of a coalition of 30 countries.
Saddam Hussein had never expected to see forces from America, the great ally of Israel, operating from Arab soil. But the invasion had turned both western and Arab governments against Iraq.
The US Secretary of State, James Baker and Bush had methodically built a broad international coalition to oppose Saddam. Ultimately, Bush would convince over 30 nations to contribute financial or military support to the effort.
Part two of a 6 x 50-minute documentary series on the first Gulf War. These films can be bought individually or as a series.