Gulf War

Post-Cold War Europe

Europe 1991.0228

Gulf War

Europe after the Cold War (28 February 1991)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

The first challenge to the post-Cold War order came in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. In response, the United Nations authorized a US-led coalition - which included members of the fading Warsaw Pact - to travel to the Persian Gulf and expel the Iraqis. The campaign was a resounding success, but left a hostile Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq.

Main Events

UN Security Council Resolution 678

The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 678, demanding Iraq withdraw its forces unconditionally from Kuwait. This is the Council's final offer to Iraq - which has already rejected 11 previous resolutions on its occupation of Kuwait - and authorizes UN members to use force against Iraq if it has not complied by 15 January 1991.

January Events

In response to Lithuania's bid for independence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics begins military actions in Lithuania. Soviet troops seize buildings in the capital, Vilnius, and other cities and fire on protesters. After two days and international condemnation, Soviet forces withdraw.

Operation Desert Storm

Coalition forces led by the United States of America conduct a five-week aerial and naval bombardment of both Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. On 24 February, a ground assault is launched from Saudi Arabia. In a one hundred-hour land campaign, the coalition defeats the Iraqi military, liberates Kuwait, and occupies much of southern Iraq.

End of Warsaw Pact

Defense and foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics meeting in Hungary declare the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) dissolved. The Warsaw Pact is formally disestablished in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on July 1.

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