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SPECIAL REPORT: WITNESS TO WAR : Memoirs From the Battle Front, the Diplomatic Front and the Home Front

March 12, 1991

Prelude to War: Aug. 2 to Nov. 29, 1990

BATTLE FRONT Aug. 2: Iraq invades and occupies Kuwait. Aug. 8: President Bush tells nation that "a line has been drawn in the sand" and 50,000 U.S. troops may be sent to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force. Aug. 13: U.S., Britain implement naval blockade of Iraq. Aug. 16: U.S., British citizens in Kuwait ordered to surrender themselves to Iraqi authorities. Aug. 17: Iraq says it will detain Westerners from Kuwait at military installations, using them as a "human shield" against attack. Sept. 21: Iraq vows the "mother of all battles" if the coalition tries to free Kuwait by force. Sept. 23: Saddam Hussein vows to retaliate against Saudi, Kuwaiti oil fields and Israel if attacked. Oct. 23: U.S. troops deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield reach 210,000. Nov. 8: Bush announces an increase in U.S. force levels in the Middle East to provide an offensive option. Nov. 19: Iraq calls up 60,000 reservists and 100,000 new conscripts, moves six divisions to southern Iraq. Nov. 22: Bush visits forces in Saudi Arabia for Thanksgiving. Nov. 29: Pentagon says it will send an additional 300 warplanes to beef up its air power in the Gulf.

DIPLOMATIC FRONT Aug. 2: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 660 condemning invasion of Kuwait and demanding Iraq's withdrawal. Aug. 3: U.S., Soviet Union issue joint statement condemning invasion, calling for ban on arms sales to Iraq. Aug. 6: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 661 imposing economic sanctions and a trade embargo on Iraq. Aug. 8: Iraq annexes Kuwait. Aug. 9: U.N. Security Council passes unanimous resolution 662 voiding Iraqi annexation of Kuwait. Aug. 10: Iraq orders foreign embassies in Kuwait closed. Aug. 30: Bush unveils "action plan" under which affluent European, Asian and Gulf countries would share costs of allied military intervention, blockade of Iraq; Japan pledges $1 billion to assist multinational force. Oct. 29: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 674 calling for release of hostages, holding Iraq responsible for financial losses caused by the invasion. Nov. 29: U.N. Security Council passes resolution 678 on a 12-2 vote, setting Jan. 15, 1991, deadline for Iraq to abide by previous resolutions or face military force.

HOME FRONT Aug. 22: President Bush calls up U.S. reservists by executive order for the first time since 1968. Oct. 2: Joint congressional resolution backs Bush. Oct. 17: Secretary of State James A. Baker III tells a Senate committee that the Administration would consult with Congress, but not seek its prior approval for any attack against Iraqi forces. Oct. 20: U.S. anti-war marches staged. Oct. 29: Baker says U.S. will "not rule out a possible use of force if Iraq continues to occupy Kuwait." Nov. 14: Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney authorizes activation of 72,500 reservists who may be needed in Saudi Arabia. Nov. 20: 45 members of House of Representatives file suit to force Bush to seek congressional approval before attacking Iraq.

Buildup of Forces: Nov. 30, 1990 to Jan. 15, 1991

BATTLE FRONT Dec. 6: Saddam announces that he will release all foreign hostages, citing "positive changes" in the U.S. position; U.S. proposes U.N. Middle East conference; U.S. reinforcements arrive in Saudi Arabia from Europe. Dec. 14: Last group of American hostages evacuated from Iraq. Dec. 19: U.S. Lt. Gen. Calvin Waller tells reporters that he urged Bush to delay Gulf strike until February, when allied forces will be ready. Dec. 25: Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tell Bush that U.S. will not be ready to attack Iraq until several weeks after Jan. 15 U.N. deadline.

Jan. 3: U.S. troops deployed in Operation Desert Shield reach 325,000.

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