Invasion, Occupation, Liberation — Invasion

US representatives meet with Saddam Hussein; February 1990.  Pictured: Edward W. Gnehm, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs; April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq; John Hubert Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; and Saddam Hussein.

After the end of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, increasingly feared that outside forces were contemplating ways to remove him from power. In the spring of 1990 he renewed claims against Kuwaiti territory and ignoring outside mediation efforts, began amassing troops on the border with Kuwait. On July 25, 1990, Ambassador Glaspie met privately with Saddam Hussein and clearly presented the US position on Kuwait vis-à-vis Iraq.

Official Appointment as US Ambassador to Kuwait

On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait and on August 9 named it the 19th governorate of Iraq. Over 2 million people fled the country. Finding no reliable Kuwaitis to lead a provisional Kuwaiti government Saddam Hussein named his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, "Chemical Ali", to govern occupied Kuwait.

On August 6, 1990 President George H. W. Bush appointed Edward “Skip” Gnehm as US Ambassador to Kuwait, four days after the Iraqi invasion.
Coalition Forces: Flag Array

The US immediately began forging an international coalition to oust Iraq, quickly winning unanimous United Nations’ condemnation of the invasion and calling for Iraqi withdrawal. Edward W. Gnehm, the US Ambassador-designate to Kuwait, joined the Kuwaiti government-in-exile in Taif, Saudi Arabia, their base of operations. Here he quickly became an integral part of the U.S diplomatic effort to oust Saddam Hussein and joined the intensive planning already underway to restore Kuwait once it was liberated.

Operation Desert Storm, Strategy Map
The US-led coalition began amassing forces and firepower in the region in anticipation of a probable military action. In November the UN Security Council supported US-led efforts and authorized coalition forces to use all necessary means to liberate Kuwait should Iraq not withdraw by January 15, 1991. Iraq did not comply.