->"''We have just started a war, it isn't a one day affair. It is not going to be over before the next commercial break.''"
-->-- '''[[http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/oral/powell/3.html Colin Powell]]''', then serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Note: This article is about the 1990-1991 war in the Persian Gulf and Kuwait, also known as Operation Desert Storm. If you are looking for what some refer to as "Gulf War II", then please see TheWarOnTerror. In fact, that is the third Gulf War and this is the second: The UsefulNotes/IranIraqWar of the 1980s was originally called the Persian Gulf War because of its impact on shipping.

The Gulf War lasted from August 1990 to March 1991.

It began when Kuwait began diagonally drilling for oil into Iraqi territory. UsefulNotes/SaddamHussein told the Kuwaitis to knock it off, and when they didn't, invaded. At first, America was not terribly interested in intervention. However, the Kuwaiti ruling family, using their enormous wealth, hired a PR firm which was successful in drumming up public support. Their campaign climaxed when a Kuwaiti girl was brought before congress to testify about Iraqi atrocities she allegedly witnessed. Unknown to Americans at the time, the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, and was not in the country at the time, meaning her testimony was a total fabrication.

Regardless, NATO and it's Arab allies eventually intervened, and the rest is history. The Iraqi army was routed fairly easily and the right of a slave owning monarchy to illegally drill for oil was preserved.

A fuller history can be found in UsefulNotes/HistoryOfTheColdWar, as it was the final "UsefulNotes/ColdWar" conflict.

!!'''Tropes Involved with this War'''

* TheAlliance
* AirstrikeImpossible: Several took place in the Gulf:
** The RAF attacked Iraqi airfields using the [[RecursiveAmmo JP233 cluster bomb]][[note]] A weapon the USAF thought too dangerous to use [[/note]] -- which had to be delivered straight and a few hundred feet over the massive Iraqi runways, under enemy fire. No aircraft were lost while using [=JP233=].
** A flight of USAF B-52 bombers flew 14,000 miles from their base in the US to Iraq and back again, returning 35 hours later.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: Justified; the US Military did almost all of the work, and 75% of the Coalition forces were American.
* UsefulNotes/AussiesWithArtillery
* BatmanGambit: The Coalition massed naval assets in the Gulf, and pounded Iraqi defenses along the coast, implying an impending [[SemperFi massed amphibious assault]]. Once the Iraqis had committed to defending against that, in came the famous "[[CurbStompBattle Left Hook]]" land invasion via Saudi Arabia.
* BigDamnHeroes: The Western and the Arabic allies.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: It was this to some extent in the US. A quick, short victorious war won in a landslide by the American democracy, utterly defeating the Iraqi dictatorship and liberating Kuwait. It gets considerably less "white" on the American side when one considers that Kuwait wasn't all that free under its own government, and that we left the Iraqi dictator in power, at least for another decade or so.
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: This was the final time battleships fired their guns in anger. The USS ''Wisconsin'' and USS ''Missouri'' fired Tomahawk cruise missiles as well as 16" and 5" artillery at Iraqi positions in the Shatt al-Arab delta, totaling over [[MoreDakka 500 tons of ordinance fired, by each ship.]] Also an example of SchizoTech, because the battleships launched remotely-piloted aircraft (the first in the US Navy to do so) to scout targets and assess damage. The incoming fire was [[StuffBlowingUp so devastating]] that some Iraqi positions actually surrendered to the UAV, rather than get blown to smithereens from a ship they couldn't even see.
* UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships: They were the second largest member of the coalition, with the [=1st=] Armoured Division, Naval Units and aircraft drawn from most squadrons of the RAF -- the British naval ship HMS ''Gloucester'' scored the [[ImprobableAimingSkills first ever missile-on-missile kill]], destroying an Iraqi Silkworm missile aimed at the USS ''Missouri''--ironically, perhaps the ship least likely to be seriously damaged by a missile -- with a Sea Dart.
* UsefulNotes/CanucksWithChinooks: Yes, they were there too.
* CurbStompBattle: Desert Storm, the actual air and ground assault to liberate Kuwait and destroy Iraqi infrastructure lasted roughly 2 months. The ratio of Iraqis killed to coalition members killed were 300 to 1. [[WakeUpCallBoss Unfortunately, the Iraqi army and independents would learn from their mistakes a decade later.]]
** On an individual level, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_73_Easting Battle of 73 Easting]] is one of the most lopsided victories in the history of war; one regiment of US armored cavalry rolled up the entire Republican Guards armored division they'd been sent to locate like a cheap rug, losing only one vehicle and suffering only one casualty. And in the following Battle of Norfolk the British First Armored Division scattered four Iraqi infantry divisions before crushing a fifth, armored division in place.
* DeathFromAbove: Extensive use of airpower, centralized command and control of the numerous different air forces employed, and state of the art technology (stealth fighters, cruise missiles, and smart bombs) went far to contribute to the above mentioned CurbStompBattle.
* UsefulNotes/EgyptiansWithEagleFighters: The Egyptians were at 20,000 troops the fourth-largest contributors of manpower to the Coalition (after the US, Saudi Arabia, and UK) and second-largest Arab contributors (after the Saudis who, you know, were right there) and fought well. In return, foreign states agreed to relieve much of Egypt's (substantial) debt.
* FriendOrFoe: According to official U.S. Department of Defense records, 367 Americans were killed in the war, 165 of them due to friendly fire. Of the total casualties taken by the whole alliance, only 48 percent were caused by the enemy according to a UsefulNotes/UnitedNations estimate.
* UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades: The French would be glad to know that they're no longer CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys, considering they took part in the war. Not to mention the fact that the bulk of the Iraqi forces choose to surrender than fight at all, which would make them worthy of the title instead.
* GreyAndBlackMorality: From the point of view of most Muslims at least: Genocidal, imperialist dictator seeking more oil revenue to exploit versus Americans fighting to maintain their own stranglehold on Gulf oil and their repressive monarchist cronies.
* HeroBall[=/=]WhatAnIdiot: If UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush, or the United Nations, just went the whole way and just overthrown Saddam Hussein, it would had saved his son as well the Kurds, everyone else in Iraq and the whole world a lot of troubles.
** However, most argue that due to pre-existing ethnic tensions between Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds in the country, that the occupation would have been just as bloody as the occupation of the 2000s.
** Dick Cheney argued this himself on TV in 1994 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9YuD9kYK9I]], actually-a massive case of {{Irony}} compared with his [[TheWarOnTerror later stance]] as Vice President.
* NewRomanLegions: Italy took part in this war alongside the USA, Britain, France, and Canada
* {{Prequel}} / {{Foreshadowing}}: To the [[TheWarOnTerror The War in Iraq]]
* {{Qurac}}
* RedShirtArmy: Iraq and to a lesser extent, Kuwait.
* SaltTheEarth: The retreating Iraqi forces set Kuwait's oil wells ablaze, [[ForTheEvulz just because they could.]]
* SemperFi: Invoked. The Coalition made a big deal about deploying Marines (US and British) in the Persian Gulf, making it look like they were getting ready for a direct amphibious assault on the Shatt al-Arab delta (see also BreakOutTheMuseumPiece above). While the Iraqis were preparing for that, the armored columns snuck in the back door through the desert. Cue MassOhCrap.
* {{Sequel}}: To the UsefulNotes/IranIraqWar
* StupidEvil: The Iraqi Army putting out its right flank in the open as if to say,"Oh please attack me your blessedness".
** The Iraqi Army was relying on a trackless, near-impossible to navigate stretch of desert to protect their right flank. A decade prior it might have worked, but thanks to a new piece of technology called GPS...(It should be noted that this tactic wouldn't have worked even against 1940s British Army, which was quite adept in navigating desert by using naval navigating procedures - compass, sextant etc.)
* TwentyFourHourNewsNetworks: The first big story to prove their worth.
* VillainBall: The war was extremely destructive to Saddam's military, so anything that would put a stop to the fighting would be in his best interests. However, whenever a ray of hope seemed to glow, Hussein always unintentionally found a way to snuff it out:
** Saddam fired SCUD missiles at Israel in the hopes that Isreal would join the war, which he hoped would shatter the Coalition. The United States responded by deploying Patriot Missiles in Israel, and sending choppers to hunt SCUD launchers. To protect his launchers, Saddam hid them for a while, which made the Americans think they had destroyed them. When they planned to remove the Patriots from Israel, the Israeli government threatened to declare war on Iraq. Before the Patriots could be removed, Hussein redeployed the launchers and began firing at Israel again. Had he waited a few days, Hussein may have got what he wanted.
** Before the ground assault into Kuwait, the Russian ambassador to the U. N. hoped to bring an end to the conflict by negotiations, which would save Saddam's army. If Saddam would leave Kuwait, the Soviet Union would try to get him a few favors in return. The ambassador's plan involved sympathy for Saddam. The CurbStompBattle was so one-sided that he hoped to tell the world, "Hasn't Saddam suffered enough?" Unfortunately, just before the U.N. session, photographs showed massive oil slick in the Persian Gulf, and multiple oil fields burning in Kuwait. This act of brazen and pointless environmental vandalism enraged the world and all sympathy for Saddam evaporated.
* WhatTheHellHero: Poor intel and planning led to a bombing in Baghdad that killed three hundred civilians in a bunker. The refusal to help the Iraqi insurgents after the end of the War has been considered this as well.
* [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks Yanks with Tanks and Stealth Fighters]]

'''In fiction'''


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Cherry (of all characters) in "Sgt. Cherry and her Squealing Commandos" in ''CherryComics''. (And, yes, it was a satire.)
* ComicBook/ThePunisher has recently had the Gulf War retconned into his past, replacing his longstanding status as a Vietnam Vet. The logic given by [[Creator/GregRucka the writer]] is that if he was a Vietnam Vet he would be approaching his seventies, while he wanted to portray Frank as a man in his early forties.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/IndependenceDay'', it is mentioned that the relatively-youthful President Thomas Whitmore served as a fighter pilot during the Gulf War. [[{{ChekhovsSkill}} It comes in handy.]]
* ''Film/ThreeKings'' takes place in the closing days of the war, in which four American soldiers attempt to steal some gold from the Iraqis after finding a treasure map hidden on one of the surrendering Iraqi soldiers.
%%* ''Film/{{Jarhead}}''
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' takes place during the Gulf War. The Dude says "this aggression will not stand, man," echoing George HW Bush's televised speech, while Saddam Hussein (played by Jerry Haleva, who repeatedly portrayed Hussein in movies) appears in The Dude's infamous dream sequence.
* The remake of ''Film/TheManchurianCandidate'' changes the Korean War backstory to Gulf War.
%%* ''Film/CourageUnderFire''
%%* ''Live from Baghdad''
* ''Film/DrillbitTaylor'' the title character was a soldier who served in the gulf war but didn't see any real combat, and AWOL from the army.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Anthony Swofford's memoir, ''{{Jarhead}}''.
* Joel Turnipseed's memoir, ''Baghdad Express''
* ''Literature/OnlyYouCanSaveMankind'' is set during the Gulf War and makes comments about the similarities between video games and the news coverage of that war.
* ''The First of God'' by Creator/FrederickForsyth is before and during the war.
* ''Literature/TheManFromBarbarossa'' is set just before the war starts, and the bad guys plan use it to frame their enemies for nuking people, before setting up a coup in Russia and starting a global war.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Several references to the conflict are made throughout the series. In the fourth season episode "Mr. Rabb Goes to Washington", rumors are spread on a cable news network ([[AlphabetNewsNetwork ZNN]]) that Sarin nerve gas was used by U.S. Marnes during the invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
* Gunnery Sergeant Leroy Jethro Gibbs from ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' served as a Marine in Desert Storm and was severely injured, spending nineteen days in a coma. The murder of his wife and daughter while he was in Kuwait did not help things.
* Dennis from ''Series/JustShootMe'' often claimed to have driven a tank during the war.
* Robert [=McAllister=] in ''BrothersAndSisters'' is a Gulf War veteran, injured in that conflict. He won a medal that he doesn't feel he fully deserved- he froze in combat.
* ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey'' referred to the exploits of the Globelink News team during the war; including Damien dunking cormorants in oil in order to provide visuals for a story on the ecological impact of the war.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'''s Finn was told by his mother that his dad died while fighting in the Gulf War. [[spoiler: Except he didn't. He was dishonorably discharged and died of an overdose while back in America.]]
* Major John D. [=MacGillis=] from ''Series/MajorDad'' writes a letter to UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush asking to fight in Kuwait.
* '''Series/HouseOfSaddam'', chronicling Saddam Hussein's reign, features the Gulf War, although it mostly shows the aftermath.


[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Wrestling/SgtSlaughter [[FaceHeelTurn turned heel]] and became an "Iraqi Sympathiser" during the war, defeating [[Wrestling/UltimateWarrior The Ultimate Warrior]] for the [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwe/wwe-h.html WWE World Heavyweight Title]] at ''Wrestling/RoyalRumble 1991'' and then dropping it to Wrestling/HulkHogan at ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} VII'', after the war finished (although, in one of wrestling's most embarrassing incidents, the end of the war was not acknowledged on WWF TV until Hogan had the belt again).


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} 1942'' mod ''Desert Combat''.
* One of the final chapters of ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' is set in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War. Given [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne an earlier chapter's setting]], the game seems to like less depicted conflicts...
--> ''Wherever disaster and death lurk, there is likely to be an [[EldritchAbomination Ancient]] just beyond our senses, waiting. They prey on our misfortune and exploit it for their own twisted ends. When hundreds of oil fields are set ablaze on the heels of war, the Ancient's grip tightens, knowing that lives will be forfeit and resources squandered. Yet there are those who make a difference. People like Michael Edwards - a Canadian industrial firefighter hired to put an end to the insanity at the end of the war. Unfortunately for him, [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness the insanity was just beginning...]]''
* Popular Electronic Arts helicopter game ''VideoGame/DesertStrike''.
* SETA Corporation's ShootEmUp/[[SimulationGame Fighter Sim]] ''[[VideoGame/ASPAirStrikePatrol A.S.P. Air Strike Patrol]]'' (AKA ''DesertFighter''), despite the deliberate use of fake names. [[OutsideContextVillain Among other things.]] Notably averts the FollowTheLeader trend mentioned below; part of the game's main mechanics involve managing public opinion while not wasting supplies (fuel/aircraft/ammo) and quickly destroying enemy targets as much as possible. [[NintendoHard This is harder than it sounds.]]
* Tons and tons and ''[[FollowTheLeader tons]]'' of period arcade action games that all had "WarIsGlorious" as a unifying theme because the relative lack of casualties and the media's portrayal of Desert Storm as a total CurbStompBattle made it acceptable again to believe that war was cool. Primary offenders include ''TotalCarnage'', ''MERCS'', ''Desert Assault'', and many more.
* Liquid Snake of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' is said to have fought in the war, being captured near the end and freed years later. He and the protagonist Solid Snake later discuss the war, with Liquid revealing that the "Gulf War syndrome" experienced by veterans of the conflict [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy was the result of the same sort of gene therapy experiments that lead to this game's Genome Army]]; the "official" story of it being caused by exposure to depleted uranium in tank armor was a cover-up in this game's universe.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Supposedly, PTSD caused from his time in Iraq, combined with a nasty divorce when he came home, is what caused the DC Beltway Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, to go on his killing spree. His stated intent was to round up orphans and train them into a militia and overthrow the government.
* Similarly, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy [=McVeigh=] was a Gulf War vet and credited it with his StartOfDarkness.