The Persian Gulf War

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What key strategies shaped the conduct of the Persian Gulf War?

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There were three strategies that were of greatest importance in shaping the conduct of the war.

First, there was the strategy of making this a coalition war.  For political reasons, the US did not want to be the only country fighting Iraq.  Therefore, it took many steps to ensure that it had a large coalition of countries on its side.  This included, for example, the decision not to invade Iraq once Kuwait had been liberated.

Second, there was the strategy of using air power to destroy much of Iraq’s capacity to wage war.  American and coalition air power was hugely superior to that of Iraq.  The US therefore wanted to use air power as much as possible to weaken Iraq and reduce the number of casualties that would be suffered once a ground war started.

Finally, there was the strategy of rapid movement in the ground war.  The coalition forces were too mobile and well-coordinated for the Iraqi army to handle.  They used their mobility to circle around Iraqi forces and attack them from the flanks instead of launching the frontal assault that Iraq expected. 

These strategies shaped the conduct of the war and allowed the coalition to win a relatively quick and decisive victory.

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