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Saddam's Iraq: Key events
Gulf War 1990 -1991

Desert Storm Jan - Feb 1991 Tracer fire lights up the Baghdad skyline during Operation Desert Storm
Tracer fire lights up the Baghdad skyline
On 17 January 1991, US, British and allied planes launched a massive campaign of missile strikes and aerial bombing.

President Bush Snr declared: "We will not fail."

Saddam Hussein announced: "The mother of all battles is under way.''

Cruise missiles were used for the first time in warfare, fired from US warships in the Gulf.

Footage filmed from the missiles' noses as they homed in on their targets was transmitted across the world.

A cruise missile is fired from an aircraft carrier during Operation Desert Storm
Cruise missiles were used for the first time in war
"The missiles made surprisingly little noise"
The BBC's John Simpson reports from Baghdad
US, British and Saudi Arabian fighter planes, bombers and helicopters set out to destroy hundreds of targets.

These ranged from military headquarters and airfields, to bridges, government buildings, media outlets, communications centres and power plants.

Allied planes flew more than 116,000 sorties over the following six weeks, dropping an estimated total of 85,000 tons of bombs.

About 10% of these were so-called smart bombs, which are guided to their targets by a laser beam pointed from a second aircraft.

Saddam's rise: 1957-79
Iran-Iraq war: 1980-88
Gulf War: 1991
Aftermath: From 1991
Sanctions: 1991-2002
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