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 adopted Resolution 678, demanding Iraq withdraw its forces unconditionally from Kuwait. This was the Council's final offer to Iraq - which had already rejected 11 previous resolutions on its occupation of Kuwait - and authorized UN members to use force against Iraq if it did not comply by 15 January 1991.

January Events

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

Operation Desert Storm

Coalition forces led by the United States of America conducted a five-week aerial and naval bombardment of both Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. On 24 February, a ground assault was launched from Saudi Arabia. In a one hundred-hour land campaign, the coalition defeated the Iraqi military, liberated Kuwait, and occupied 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 met in Hungary declare the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) dissolved. The Warsaw Pact was formally disestablished in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on July 1.

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