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See also: Gulf War (disambiguation)

The Gulf War was the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent liberation of Kuwait and partial invasion of Iraq by the Coalition Forces. The conflict is known by numerous alternative names that reflect the historical, political, and journalistic views of different groups and regions.


The war

The following names have been used to describe the conflict itself:

  • Gulf War and Persian Gulf War have been the most common terms for the conflict used within the Western countries. These names have been used by the overwhelming majority of popular historians and journalists in the United States. In a manner reminiscent of Union Army practices of the American Civil War, the name of the war has been associated with the closest, largest body of water. The major problem with these terms is that the usage is ambiguous, having now been applied to at least three conflicts: see Gulf War (disambiguation). With no consensus of naming, various publications have attempted to refine the name. Some variants include:
    • War in the Gulf
    • 1990 Gulf War
    • Gulf War (1990–1991)
    • Gulf War Sr.
    • First Gulf War: to distinguish it from the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
    • Second Gulf War: to distinguish it from the Iran–Iraq War.
Persian is often included in the name.
  • War of Kuwait and Second Gulf War appear to be the names commonly used in France[1] and Germany[2].
  • Mother of Battles ('Uum al-M'aarak) is the term used by Iraq.
  • Other names sometimes used include Iraq-Kuwait conflict and UN-Iraq conflict.

Operational names

Most of the Coalition Force countries used various names for operational phases of the war. These are sometimes used as the name of the conflict, especially Desert Storm:

  • Operation Desert Shield was the US operational name for the US buildup of forces and the defense of Saudi Arabia from August 2, 1990 to January 16, 1991.
  • Operation Desert Storm was the US name of the airland conflict from January 17, 1991 through April 11, 1991.
  • Opération Daguet was the French name for the conflict.
  • Operation FRICTION was the name of the Canadian operations
  • Operazione Locusta (Italian for Locust) was the Italian name for the operations and conflict.
  • Operation Granby was the British name for its armed forces' activities during the operations and conflict.
  • Operation Desert Farewell was the name given to the return of US units and equipment to the United States in 1991 after the liberation of Kuwait, sometimes referred to as Operation Desert Calm.
  • Operation Desert Sabre was the US name for the airland offensive against the Iraqi Army in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations (the "100-hour war") from February 24–28, 1991, in itself, part of Operation Desert Storm. Operation Desert Sword was an early name for Operation Desert Sabre.

In addition, various phases of each operation may have a unique operational name.


The US divided the conflict into three major campaigns:

  • Defense of Saudi Arabia for the period August 2, 1990 through January 16, 1991.
  • Liberation and Defense of Kuwait for the period January 17, 1991 through April 11, 1991.
  • Southwest Asia Cease-Fire for the period April 12, 1991 through November 30, 1995, including Operation Provide Comfort.




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