Operation Desert Shield

US troops in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield
US troops in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield

Historical Context

On August 2, 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed Kuwait, the small oil-rich nation on Iraq's southern border. In response, the largest alliance since World War II was formed and led by the United States, initially to defend Saudi Arabia, and then to prepare for the retake of Kuwait.

Operation Desert Shield was the name of this operation. More than 500,000 US troops were deployed to Saudi Arabia beginning on August 7, 1990. As diplomacy wore on, and eventually failed, the UN passed a resolution authorizing all necessary means to remove Iraq from Kuwait, and Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm: the military to remove Saddam's forces.

The war was quick, over in 100 hours, and Iraq was expelled from Kuwait. The conflict with the West simmered however, leading to a second, far more disastrous conflict in 2003.

Photo Info


Photographer: Unknown
Location taken: Saudi Arabia

Source: US Department of Defense

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  • 1990-08-07 US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia beginning Operation Desert Shield

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