On Aug. 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein led a well-equipped Iraqi army into Kuwait, a major supplier of oil to the United States.
The U.S. had supplied Iraq with military aid during its eight-year war with Iran, giving Iraq the fourth-largest army in the world at that time. This posed a threat to Saudi Arabia, another major exporter of oil. If Saudi Arabia fell, Iraq would control one-fifth of the world’s oil supply. The Iraqi leader also was repeatedly violating United Nations resolutions, so the U.S. had U.N. support in responding to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
The United States remains in good standing with many of the countries involved in the coalition that began with Operation Desert Storm 27 years ago.