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

  • Smithsonian Institution

    Photos of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

    In April 1904, St. Louis opened its doors to the world, welcoming millions to see the fascinating buildings and exhibits of art, technology, and history on display at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

  • Randall Hill / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Baobab Alley, Armed Mob, River Rescue

    A beard-and-mustache battle in Los Angeles, a sleepy young rhino in France, a shepherd among Turkish foothills, the Corso Zundert flower parade in the Netherlands, the “Futurium” in Berlin, and much more

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    Photos: The Wreckage Left by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

    Early images of the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Dorian’s slow crawl across the Bahamas

  • Justin Reznick Photography / Getty

    A Photo Trip to Washington State, Dedicated to My Parents

    After a difficult month, a time when I lost both my mother and my father, I’ve collected images of the place they loved and called home, as a tribute to them.