Military Missions After the Gulf War
It’s safe to say that where there is conflict or trife, you can usually count on the US military to be involved. Over the past 20 years the US Military has taken part in various missions; both of large and small scale, though both not to be forgotten.
In fact, over the past few decades the US military has formally declared war against various nations at least five separate times, as well as been a part of different engagements authorized by the US Government: both by Congress and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Throughout this post we will be covering and reviewing the last few military missions that the USA has had a strong force in, that occurred after the Gulf War which ended back in 2001.
The Persian Gulf War
To create a timeline, it’s important to first understand more information about the Persian Gulf War. Back in August of 1990, Saddam Hussein had Iraqi soldiers line the border of Kuwait, preparing to invade the country.
This not only upset and caused distress within the US, but it also caused an upset to the British and Soviet Union governments. And so, on November 29th, 1990, the UN Security Council declared that if the Iraqi troops did not leave Kuwait by January 15th, they would conduct all necessary measures to force them to do so.
January 15th came and went, and the soldiers remained in Kuwait with no sign of them withdrawing. So, on January 17th, 1991, the US led a hit on Iraq’s air defense, moving to take over their weapons, oil, communications network, and everything else in which the troops were able to grab.
The war remained in the air for just over a month until mid-February, when forces shifted their attention from the air units towards the ground forces which had invaded Kuwait, as well as those who were stationed in southern Iraq.
On February 28th, George Bush declared a ceasefire which ultimately led to the end of the Gulf War. The result of this led to Iraq leaving Kuwait and getting rid of all of their weapons. While this may have looked like the end of the war, British and US aircrafts continued to patrol and watch over the countries.
Of course, while the move was done subtly and in peaceful terms, it did frustrate the Iraqi authorities which lead to a resumption of the war in 1998. Finally, in 2002, George W Bush, the new president, and the son of the previous George Bush, sponsored a U.N. resolution to put an end to the mission. This resulted in the return of all weaponry to Iraq.
Sadly, this still was not the end of the war as the United States and Britain demanded that Saddam Hussein step down from power. Of course, Hussein refused and so, three days later on March 20th, 2003, the war resumed, this time under the name of the Iraq War.
2003; the Start of the Iraq War
The USA, joined by Australia, Poland, and the UK, launched what is now referred to as a “shock and awe” bombing in Iraq in March of 2003.This allowed the troops to surprise and throw off the Iraqi soldiers, allowing them to sweep through the country with some ease.
The strong invasion led to a quick overthrow of the Ba’athist government, in which finally, Saddam Hussein was captured. This was during Operation Red Dawn which occurred in December 2003. Hussein was left in captivity and executed three years later.
Though a victory for many, this overthrow of the government and the capture of Hussein lead to a civil war between the Shias and Sunnis. In order to support and help minimize the casualties, the US provided 170,000 troops to roam the country in 2007. This mission was judged as a success by many, and so, in 2008, President Bush decided it was time to pull the soldiers out of Iraq.
This however was not completed until 2011, when President Obama was in power.
War on Terror – The Response to 9/11 Attacks
Tuesday September 11th, 2001, also now most popularly known as 9/11 or the 9/11 attacks. For those of you who don’t know, it was on this day that a series of 4 pre-organized attacks against the United States occurred. Led by the Islamist terrorist group; al-Qaeda, multiple hijackers boarded various planes in which the goal and intent was to take control of various aircrafts and crash them into various buildings. Two of which were the Twin Towers in New York City.
In response to this attack comes the War on Terror, also known as the Global War on Terrorism and also as the U.S. War on Terror. George W Bush announced this mission and the attack on September 16th, 2001.
The main goal of this mission was to locate and eradicate the extremists within the Muslim world, predominately the Al-Qaeda terrorist group and the Islamic state. US Military troops were deployed to Afghanistan in order to find, fight, and protect the US from being attacked once again.
The war went on for many years until May of 2013, when President Obama, the current president at the time, declared that the Global War on Terror was over. The reasoning behind this was that it was determined that “the military intelligence agencies would no longer wage a war against a tactic, but rather on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the US.”
Though the war was officially set to be over in Afghanistan, the US continued to play a huge role in monitoring and keeping the peace in the country. With tension rising and missions still at play in Afghanistan in 2017, the new president; Donald Trump, decided to expand the military presence once again.
This mission received a great deal of criticism and complaints, as many found that the war cost a great deal of money and was immoral and inefficient. Though, it was until 2021 with President Biden in power, that the military troops remained patrolling in the country.
2014: Intervention in the Syrian Civil War
The USA, in conjunction with the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Turkey, Canada and Australia, contributed their support to the Syrian rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces during the course of the Syrian civil war. The troop’s main target was to help the Syrian rebels and others against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and the al-Nusra Front.
The civil war initially started back in 2011, in which the US military decided to supply the rebels with trucks and food. However, as the war progressed this quickly turned into the US supporting through training, money, and intelligence, all of which went to the Syrian rebel commanders.
Initially, the US’s support in this war was quite minimal and was left to helping assist the rebels. However, this all changed in 2014, when the strategy at play was amplified. On September 22nd, 2014, the US, along with Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates attacked the ISIL forces inside Syria. Along with this attack, they targeted the Khorasan group and the al-Nusra Front. The attack was long and rough, as by the Fall of 2015 planes from the US were dropping an average of 67 bombs and missiles per day.
On April 7th, 2017, the US launched their first initial attack on the Syrian government, through a missile strike on Shayrat Airbase. This marked a series of many attacks from the US directly to the Syrian government and all of their allies that lasted until February of 2018.
In 2018, the Trump administration decided to change strategies again, in which the military would maintain an open-ended presence in the country, to counteract the Iran influence. This lasted until December 19th, 2018, in which Trump then decided to slowly withdraw 2,500 American soldiers over a 90-day period.
Finally, on February 22, 2019, the US announced that instead of completely withdrawing from the country, that 400 American troops would remain in Syria indefinitely.
2021; Where Are American Troops Currently?
Many other missions occurred throughout the past 20 years that led the American troops to various countries. Most of these missions have come and gone, resulting in the US’s troops being placed elsewhere.
Today, you can find the troops focusing on the current 2021 missions:
- Iraq and Syria border: this is due to the drone attacks on the US forces
- Somalia: This mission started in 2007 and is currently ongoing. It is a result of the attacks towards the al-Shabab militants.
As mentioned earlier, due to the Biden administration, the troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2021. Though some wars have come and gone, one thing is clear, the US’s military troops will always be there to protect and support their country, as well as assist and support those who need money, intelligence, or weaponry to overcome conflict from extremists.