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The NGVFA was originally set up to support veterans of the gulf war 1, which took place in 1990-91. When it became a charity the governing documents were written so that veterans and their families from any future desert conflicts could also be supported by the NGVFA.
Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait on 2nd August 1990; Saudi Arabia invited the allied forces to help them liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion. The response to this request and the following conflict was initiated and led by the United States of America (USA) under Operation Desert Storm. The United Kingdom (UK) forces were deployed to work alongside the USA under Operation Granby.
Other countries that were directly involved in the conflict included: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Kuwait, Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman and United Arab Emirates.
UK military personnel were deployed to the Persian Gulf and surrounding areas from August 1990 in readiness for any action in the event of failure of the diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation. The conflict started with air strikes on 17th January 1991 and the ground offensive into Kuwait began on the 24th February. On the 28th February 1991 the conflict ended with the suspension of offensive operations and Iraq agreeing to comply with UN demands. The formal ceasefire came into effect on 11th April 1991.
It is recorded that the UK deployed approximately 53,000 military personnel which included regular forces personnel, Territorial Army (TA) and Long Term Reservists.
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After Gulf War 1 the USA and its allies maintained a policy of "containment" towards Iraq and were ultimately encouraging a regime change and the removal of Saddam Hussein.
In addition in 2001 the world had witnessed the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, known to us all as 9/11.
Iraq was requested to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons (weapons of mass destruction - WDM) and was given a final deadline in March 2003 which it failed to comply with.
In order to deal with the two threats of Terrorism and WMD, which politicians considered were linked and were immediate and intolerable threats to world peace, the invasion of Iraq commenced with an air strike on the Iraqi Presidential Palace on 19th March 2003.
This offensive was led by the USA under Operation Iraqi Freedom and backed by the UK under Op Telic. Additional allied forces were also deployed.
Although the conflict was declared over on 1st May 2003, the occupation and guerrilla war continued. 144,700 UK military personnel were deployed and UK forces were finally withdrawn in June 2009, though some USA military personnel have remained.
Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2004 and was later hanged for crimes against humanity.
As a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York the UK established four goals in their campaign against international terrorism. These were to "deny Al Qaida its Afghan base, deny them an alternative base outside Afghanistan, attack Al Qaida internationally, and support other states in their efforts against Al Qaida" - this is known as Operation VERITAS (MoD 2009).
In October 2001 the USA led the Coalition forces' involvement in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The UK operation to support OEF is known as Op Herrick. The figures from the Ministry of Defence suggest that over 70,000 UK military personnel have been deployed on Op Herrick to date; however, data for the period January 2003 - October 2005 are not available.
In December 2001, after the collapse of the Taliban, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was created at the request of the Afghan government and authorised by the United Nations to assist the Afghan Transitional Authority to ensure and maintain Kabul and surrounding area as a safe and secure environment.
NATO assumed ISAF command in late 2003. The operations to support Afghanistan's ongoing stabilisation and reconstruction still continue.
This page last updated : July 2009