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Nations around the world condemned the invasion and demanded that Iraq immediately withdraw its troops from Kuwait. Although Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (1937–) was surprised by the world’s strong reaction, he refused to remove his forces and instead began threatening nearby Saudi Arabia. The United States and many other countries began sending troops into the Middle East to defend Saudi Arabia and, if necessary, force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. This created a tense military standoff that lasted for six months before finally erupting into the Persian Gulf War.

After all, did we not seize power by plotting against our predecessors [the political leaders who came before]? Fortunately, I am far cleverer than they. I know who is conspiring to kill me long before they can actually start planning to do it. ” An armored car stands outside the Presidential palace in Baghdad, Iraq, after the Baath Party overthrew the Iraqi government in 1968. ©Corbis. Reproduced by permission. Another way in which Hussein tried to look like a strong leader was by placing pictures of himself all over Baghdad.

At one point, Hussein presided over an event that was broadcast on Iraqi television. He ordered twenty leading citizens to read “confessions” of crimes against the government and then had them taken outside and shot as traitors. Hussein used these brutal acts to inspire loyalty among the Iraqi people and ensure his absolute control of the government. He realized that Iraq faced both external threats from neighboring countries and internal conflicts among its different ethnic and religious groups.

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Air War - Desert Storm


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