The first Gulf War (1991)

Caused by Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait and his refusal to withdraw from it, the coalition led by the United States included four Arab states and all the Western allies while Iraq was isolated. Toppling Hussein’s regime was wisely avoided so as not to strengthen Iran by bringing the Shia majority to power.

The Kurds, fiercely repressed, were saved by Western television. A no-fly zone was guaranteed to them after the French, then the British, intervened in their favor. The United States launched Operation Provide Comfort.

In 1993, a truck-bomb attack was aimed at the World Trade Center (seventeen dead). In Saudi Arabia, unclaimed attacks in 1995-1996 killed twenty-four US soldiers. It was in 1998 that al-Qaeda loudly claimed attacks against the Unites States Embassies in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). Another attack left seventeen dead in the crew of US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Cole at the port of Aden, in Yemen (2000).