Build Up of Forces
Saddam Hussein's move into Iraq was so alarming that it galvanized most of the nations in the region to send troops to Saudi Arabia to help oppose the Iraqi build up. The United Nations had looked askance at Iraqi behavior for some time. At this juncture, the United Nations felt compelled to condemn Iraq and to request an immediate withdrawal of troops from Kuwait. The United Nations would eventually authorize allied use of force in order to forcibly expel Iraq from Kuwait.
General H (Stormin') Norman Schwarzkopf was sent by President Bush, to Saudi Arabia to take command of US forces and defacto command of all the forces in the region. (The Saudis insisted on at least the appearance of joint control.) Sent to the General, via land, sea and air was the best that the United States could provide including the XVIII Airborne Corps (24th Mechanized Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division, and the 82nd Airborne Division), plus the 1st Marine Division. In time, the United States would send over 500,000 personnel to the region. Other allies, Britain, France, Egypt, Syria even the UAE sent contingents. The force took on an international complexion, with United States leadership.
The build-up was prosecuted as rapidly as possible. Schwarzkopf feared that the Iraqi's would launch an invasion before a proper defense could be constructed. Strategists hypothesize that if Hussein had ordered his troops into Saudi Arabia within a few days of his conquest of Kuwait, there would have been little to stop him from rolling into Riyadh. Saddam hesitated and this hesitation proved his undoing. For it was not until coalition forces had deployed that he decided to test their metal.
On 30 January 1991 the 15th Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Brigade attacked across the border a small town,Al-Khafji, in Saudi Arabia. The attack was swiftly repulsed; it served only to dissuade any wavering allies from any notions that Saddam would be willing to be satisfied with merely taking Kuwait. He would indeed aggrandize all his fellow Arabs.
Operation Desert Shield was meant to defend Saudi Arabia, but in January of 1991 President Bush, advised by Collin Powell and the Joint Chiefs of Staff determined to go on the offensive and take the war to the Iraqis...