Other Mothers' Sons

Other Mothers' Sons, 1991 by P J Crook. Lines of Gulf war soldiers in formation, with only their heads and shoulders visible. The different helmets and headgear reflect the different nationalities of the soldiers involved, with British and American style helmets amongst them. All are wearing desert-style uniform.

On 2 August 1990 Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, a tiny oil-producing state in the Persian Gulf. The response of the international community was swift. The United Nations demanded Iraqi withdrawal and imposed a trade embargo.

A US-led coalition force made up of nearly one million service personnel from 32 countries, including 53,457 from the United Kingdom, was assembled to expel the Iraqis should diplomacy fail.

The United Nations set a deadline of 15 January 1991 for Iraqi forces to leave Kuwait. This deadline was ignored.

The air war began on 17 January with coalition aircraft flying over 100,000 sorties. Land operations started on 24 February and were successfully concluded in just five days.

Coalition forces lost 392 dead, including 47 British soldiers. Iraqi battle deaths were estimated at between 20,000 and 35,000, while over 3,000 civilians were killed in coalition air strikes.

Saddam Hussein remained in power in Iraq and subsequent sanctions left the country economically crippled and internationally isolated.

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