The Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991), commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from thirty-four nations led by the United States and United Kingdom, against Iraq.
This war has also been referred to (by the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein) as the Mother of All Battles, and is commonly, though mistakenly, known as Operation Desert Storm for the operational name of the military response the First Gulf War, Gulf War I, or the Iraq War, before the term became identified with the 2003-2010 Iraq War.
The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops that began 2 August 1990 was met with international condemnation, and brought immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council. U.S. President George H. W. Bush (Bush senior) deployed American forces to Saudi Arabia almost 6 months afterwards, and urged other countries to send their own forces to the scene. An array of nations joined the Coalition. The great majority of the military forces in the coalition were from the United States, with Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Egypt as leading contributors, in that order. Around US$36 billion of the US$60 billion cost was paid by Saudi Arabia.
The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial bombardment on 16th January 1991. This was followed by a ground assault on 23rd February. This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, which liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased their advance, and declared a cease-fire 100 hours after the ground campaign started. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and areas on the border of Saudi Arabia. However, Iraq launched Scud missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia and against Israel.
Bush and Saddam Hussein had had a close relationship for many years. In his role as CIA director, and later as vice president under Ronald Reagan, George Bush had supported Saddam through his eight year war against Iran following the ousting of the Shah in 1979.
The pentagon had known that Iraqi troops were massing along the Kuwait border since mid July 1990. On July 25th Saddam sought advice from the United States on his intentions to reclaim Kuwait (a UK protectorate since 1914). The US response via Secretary of State James Baker, was that the Kuwaiti issue is not associated with America. So you could say Saddam Hussein was double crossed by the US, he had presumably outgrown his usefulness. He was a volatile character and maybe they just felt he could be no longer trusted. As for his Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) the US knew exactly what he had regarding chemical, biological and nuclear capability, they had sold him almost his entire arsenal.