Second, rich deposits of oil straddled the ill-defined border and Iraq constantly claimed that Kuwaiti oil rigs were illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields. Middle Eastern deserts make border delineation difficult and this has caused many conflicts in the region. Iraq also accused Kuwait of producing more oil than allowed under quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), thereby depressing the price of oil, the main source of money for Iraq,
Finally, the fallout from the First Persian Gulf War between Iraq and Iran strained relations between Baghdad and Kuwait. This war began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran and degenerated into a bloody form of trench warfare as the Iranians slowly drove Saddam Hussein's armies back into Iraq. Kuwait and many other Arab nations supported Iraq against the Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran, fearful that Saddam's defeat could herald a wave of Iranian-inspired revolution throughout the Arab world. Following the end of the war, relations between Iraq and Kuwait deteriorated due to a lack of gratitude and acknowledgement of the Baghdad government for financial assistance and help in logistic support provided by Kuwait during the war and the reawakening of old issues regarding the border and Kuwaiti sovereignty.
Later in the fall, President George H. W. Bush made the decision to deploy US
forces on a massive scale to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait and protecet Saudi
Arabia. The lead unit for this deployment was the VII Corps from Germany. The
1st Armored Division was one of four American heavy divisions assigned to VII
Corps in theater.
In the ground attack of the Gulf War, the Division led the VII Corps' flank attack on the Iraqis. To the north, elements of the 1st Armored Division, "Old Ironsides", after conducting an assault on dug-in Iraqi commandos in the town of Al Busayyah and destroying them, turned east. In subsequent engagements, 1st Armored Division units destroyed one brigade each of the Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) 3rd Tawalkana and 7th Adnan Divisions, and two brigades of the Medina Division, as well as captured the headquarters of the Medina Division.
Aerial and ground surveys of Highway 80, known as the "Highway of Death" during Operation Desert Storm or the Persian Gulf War, showed the degree of mass destruction of tanks and other Iraqi military vehicles. Aerial views revealed many charred and smoking vehicles, retreating from Kuwait to Basra, Iraq and parts of wrecked tanks and other military vehicles were littered all over the road. Smoke bellowed from the destroyed tanks. Below, Iraqi soldiers in a group wavrd white flags of surrender. In the fignal hours of the war, General Norman Schwarzkopf and his staff discussed the means of implementation for the "end game" Gulf War strategies.
In eighty nine hours, the Division moved 250 kilometers, destroyed 768 vehicles, and captured 1,064 prisoners of war, at the loss of four soldiers KIA. The 1st Armored Division returned to Germany on 08 May, 1991, and celebrated with a visit from Vice President Dan Quayle.
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