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On August 2nd, 1990 the Iraqi military forces of Saddam Hussein, rolled across the Kuwait boarder and quickly occupied the entire country. This action shocked the world and quickly upset the entire balance of Middle Eastern geo-politic politics. Iraq had just finished fighting a 10 year was against Iran which resulted in tremendous bloodshed, destruction and a stalemate. The U.S. had intervened in that war by supplying Iraq with military support when needed but had otherwise avoided entanglement in the area.

Saddam claimed that Kuwait had traditionally belonged to Iraq and that much of the oil which was being produced by the Kuwait companies was actually being stolen from Iraq territory. Saddam had the 4th largest military force in the world and expected that after an initial outcry, he other countries of the world would be forced to accept his action and Iraq would be immeasurably increased in power and prestige.

Margaret Thatcher was the first to publically denounce Saddam and state that the invasion would not stand. After consideration of the situation, President Bush, also stated that the action would not stand and within the context of United Nations mechanisms, a coalition of 35 countries was enlisted to carry out UN decisions that effectively demanded Saddam withdraw from Kuwait. 

During the later parts of 1990 and early 1991, a huge US lead UN force assembled in he Middle East. The first step had been to secure Saudi Arabia against Iraqi attack and then to prepare to enforce UN mandates ordering Saddam out of Kuwait.

Canada supported the action and as a part of the UN force dispatched a naval task force composed of the HMCS Terra Nova, HMCS Athabascan and the HMCS Protecteur. Canadian CF-18 jets, with over 500 personnel,  were based in Qatar and conducted air combat and reconnaissance missions. An air transport group supplied cargo plans for personnel and cargo and over 500 more Canadians served with the British Division as field hospital support.

Once the attack by the UN forces began the Iraq forces collapse quickly and within 100 hours the war was over. Kuwait was freed, Iraq defeated and the UN mandate fulfilled. Canadian forces stayed on in the area as peacekeepers and conducted operations until the 2nd Gulf War.

Canada had once again participated with the UN in protecting smaller vulnerable states and maintained its reputation as an international peacekeeper.

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