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Struggle for Iraq
Click on the events below to read about Iraq's history
Saddam's rise:
Iran-Iraq war:
Gulf War:
1990 - 1991
Second war:
Young activist
Hardline deputy
War breaks out
Israeli bombing
Chemical warfare
Western support
Truce and debt
Kuwait invasion
Desert Storm
Scud missiles
Civilian casualties
Ground war
Iraqi ceasefire
After the war
No-fly zones
Desert Fox
Inspectors barred
US-led invasion
Saddam captured
Iraq in turmoil
Trial of Saddam

On Sunday 24 February 1991, allied forces launched a combined ground, air and sea assault which overwhelmed the Iraqi army within 100 hours.

The previous day Iraq had failed to meet a deadline for withdrawal and had set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells.

Allied troops swept into Iraq and Kuwait from several points along the Saudi Arabian border. Hundreds of tanks raced north to take on the Iraqi Republican Guard.

More forces took control of the highway running south from Basra to Kuwait, cutting off supply lines to Iraqi troops in Kuwait as marines and Saudi-led coalition troops pushed into the emirate itself.

By 26 February, Iraq had announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kuwait, but still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it.

Iraqi tanks, armoured vehicles, trucks and troops fleeing the allied onslaught formed huge queues on the main road north from Kuwait to the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Allied forces bombed them from the air, killing thousands of troops in their vehicles in what became known as the "Highway of Death".

An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Iraqis were killed during the ground war alone.

A military helicopter flies past a burning oil well in Kuwait
Oil wells blazed as the troops went in

Bombed out vehicles on the Basra road

The "Highway of Death"

"The allied Blitzkrieg has gone like clockwork"
The BBC's Brian Barron
"The bombers overhead caught the flood of escaping soldiers"
Kate Adie, Basra Road


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