The 1991 Gulf War saw only 100 hours of ground fighting as U.S. forces entered Kuwait to end the Iraqi occupation, but echoes of that conflict have lingered for decades in the Middle East.
The war pushed America into opening military bases in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, drawing the anger of an upstart militant named Osama bin Laden and laying the groundwork for al-Qaida attacks leading up to Sept. 11, 2001. Saddam Hussein, demonized as being worse than Adolf Hitler by President George H.W. Bush, would outlast his American rival in power until Bush’s son launched the 2003 American-led invasion that toppled the Iraqi dictator.
Now, 25 years after the first U.S. Marines swept across the border into Kuwait, American forces are battling the extremist Islamic State group, born out of al-Qaida, in the splintered territories of Iraq and Syria. The Arab allies that joined the 1991 coalition are fighting their own conflicts at home and abroad, as Iran vies for greater regional power following a nuclear deal with world powers.
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