The Battle of al-Khafji
Robinson, Glenn E.
Blanton, Harold D.
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The battle for the Saudi coastal town of al-Khafji, was the first major ground battle of Desert Storm. Despite the fact that Iraqi forces were being systematically destroyed by the allied air campaign, the Iraqis were nonetheless able to mount a rather sophisticated ground attack and seize the Saudi town with relative ease. The Iraqi attack came as an absolute surprise despite the coalition's technological advantages in reconnaissance equipment and the impressive array of coalition forces defending the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein attempted to use the surprise attack into Saudi Arabia as a method to advance several strategic-level political and military objectives. First, he was able to use the attack as a propaganda mechanism to rally domestic and Arab nationalistic support. Next, he endeavored to destabilize or destroy the coalition arrayed against him. Lastly, he sought to dampen American enthusiasm for the war by generating American casualties, thus demonstrating to the American public the unappealing potential for, and disastrous results of a protracted ground conflict. Ultimately, the Iraqi incursion was a failure in that it neglected to achieve Saddam's strategic objectives of disrupting the coalition forces arrayed against him.
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