Operation Desert Storm: 25 Years Since the First Gulf War

On January 16, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced the start of what would be called Operation Desert Storm—a military operation to expel occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait, which Iraq had invaded and annexed months earlier. For weeks, a U.S.-led coalition of two dozen nations had positioned more than 900,000 troops in the region, most stationed on the Saudi-Iraq border. A U.N.-declared deadline for withdrawal passed on January 15, with no action from Iraq, so coalition forces began a five-week bombardment of Iraqi command and control targets from air and sea. Despite widespread fears that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might order the use of chemical weapons, a ground invasion followed in February. Coalition forces swiftly drove Iraq from Kuwait, advancing into Iraq, and reaching a cease-fire within 100 hours—controversially leaving Saddam Hussein in power. While coalition casualties were in the hundreds, Iraqi losses numbered in the tens of thousands.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Chip Somodevilla / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Ice Castles, Northern Lights, Inauguration Fireworks

    Fashion Week in Berlin, the departure of former President Donald Trump, bull-taming in India, a snow-covered Great Wall in China, diploma artwork in New York City, and much more.

  • Andrew Harnik / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    Scenes from a unique moment in American history

  • Samuel Corum / Getty

    An Inauguration Like No Other

    Rehearsals and preparations are underway for the upcoming inaugural ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris.

  • David Delgado / Reuters

    Photos: A Little Midwinter Fun and Beauty

    Recent images of people across the Northern Hemisphere enjoying themselves in the middle of this winter