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Timeline: 1991

Jan 12  The UN has authorized its members to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait if those forces are still there after January 15. The US president, George Herbert Walker Bush has worked to be a part of a broad coalition of nations and seeks congressional approval to use military force "against Iraq pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678." In the House of Representatives, Democrats vote no 179 to 86. In the Senate, the Democrats vote no 45 to 10. An overwhelming vote yes by Republicans makes passage possible.

Jan 13  The Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev has sent Soviet troops against Lithuanian efforts at independence. The troops assault the Vilnius TV tower and kill 14 unarmed civilians. The pro-Soviet National Salvation Committee in Lithuania accuses Lithuanian nationalists of preparing to "unleash direct military actions" and "pogroms" against pro-Moscow Russians and other residents.

Jan 15  The United Nations' deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait expires, preparing the way for the start of Operation Desert Storm.

Jan 16-17  In Baghdad, the night quiet is broken by dogs barking. Then comes continuous fireworks created by airstrikes, broadcast without commercial interruptions on CNN.

Jan 17  Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel, breaking glass, injuring seven people and scaring many more.

Feb 18  The Provisional Irish Republican Army explodes bombs at Paddington station and Victoria station in London, killing one man and wounding forty.

Feb 23  In Thailand the prime minister and formal general, Chatichai Choonhavan, has allowed one faction of the military to get rich on government contracts. A rival military faction overthrows the prime minister in a bloodless coup.

Feb 24  Ground forces begin their move out of Saudi Arabia against Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

Feb 25  An Iraqi Scud missile hits an American military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killing 29 and injuring 99 US soldiers. In Kuwait, Iraqis are setting fire to oil facilities.

Feb 26  Iraq's frontline troops are melting away and surrendering in droves. Saddam Hussein announces the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Feb 27  A column of tanks, armored vehicles, trucks and looted cars driving north into Iraq is attacked by air. Every vehicle is destroyed and no one is seen as having survived.

Feb 28  President Bush is moved by the sight of the "Highway of Death." He asks his military advisor, General Colin Powell, "Why not end it now?" Powell, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and the US commander in Iraq, General Schwarzkopf, agree that it is time to end the fighting. Hussein's elite Republican Guards are fleeing from the south northward toward Baghdad.

Mar 3  Iraq accepts UN conditions for a permanent cease fire. Allied military commanders and Iraqi military commanders meet at a captured Iraqi airbase, at Safwan, to arrange terms of a formal cease-fire. General Schwarzkopf assures the Iraqis that the boundary on his map marking the area occupied by his coalition forces is temporary. The Iraqis claim they need their helicopters to transport wounded soldiers and other tasks and ask if they could fly armed helicopters across that line. Schwarzkopf says yes. Later he is to say that he had been "suckered."

Mar 6  Regarding reports of rebellions against the Hussein regime, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says: "We don't think that outside powers should be interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq."

Mar 6 An exultant President Bush tells a cheering joint session of Congress that "aggression is defeated. The war is over."

Mar 15  Four Los Angeles police officers are indicted for the videotaped March 3 beating of motorist Rodney King during an arrest.

Mar 16  A speech by Saddam Hussein is broadcast in which he promises to allow multi-party democracy.

Mar 16  Hussein is crushing a rebellion in southern Iraq, using helicopter gunships and troops in areas occupied by US soldiers.

Mar 19  Iran radio reports that the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (not to be confused with Khomeini) believes that the Hussein Government cannot endure for long "because of the arms that have fallen into the hands of the people."

Mar 20  An Iranian press agency reports that Kurdish rebels say they now control the city of Kirkuk, a major oil production center and Iraq's fourth-largest city.

Mar 29  Lee Atwater dies of a brain tumor at the age of 40. In 1988 he led the campaign that won the presidency for George H. W. Bush. Wikipedia would write that Atwater was criticized for his "unethical and dirty tricks" but was "widely regarded as a brilliant political operative who delivered victory for his candidates." It would be said on PBS's Frontline that had he continued operating for Bush, Bill Clinton would not have won the presidency in 1992.

Mar 31  Albania has its first multi-party elections for seats in parliament. Communists hold on to 160 of the 250 seats, but the head of the Communist Party, Ramiz Alia, loses in his parliamentary district to a young geologist representing the newly formed Democratic Party.

Apr 2  In the UN Security Council, France fails to persuade members to adopt a resolution to provide protection for the Kurds. China, the Soviet Union and the United States are opposed, claiming that it would create a precedent for involvement in a sovereign country's internal matters.

Apr 3  A month long rebellion against Saddam Hussein by Kurds is coming to an end as Kurdish rebels flee to their mountains. A Baath Party newspaper claims that the rebellion will be "stamped out within days."

Apr 5  Saddam Hussein's regime announces "the complete crushing of acts of sedition, sabotage, and rioting in all towns of Iraq." Thousands of civilians are reported to have been killed. Hussein's security forces are applying a fear strategy for control. They have been arriving in the wake of armored assaults and executing people at random and rounding up thousands of others.

Apr 10  The Bush administration demands that Iraq cease all military activity north of the 36th parallel – a line south of Mosul but excluding the oil area of Kirkuk. It warns Iraq that it will use force if there is military interference in international relief efforts for the Kurds.

Apr 17  Armed forces of the United States and other countries move into northern Iraq, declaring that they will coordinate relief supplies and set up camps to secure the safety of Kurdish refugees.

Apr 18  Iraq declares some of its chemical weapons and materials to the UN, as required by Resolution 687. Iraq claims that it does not have a biological weapons program.

May 14  Jiang Qing, or Madam Mao, 77, has been released from prison because of her throat cancer. She commits suicide by hanging herself in the bathroom of a hospital.

May 21  Rajiv Gandhi (46), grandson of Nehru and son of Indira Gandhi, former prime minister, is assassinated while campaigning as the Congress Party leader during parliamentary elections. His assassin is a female suicide bomber for Sri Lanka's Tamils (who are 90 percent Hindu). The attack is believed to have been revenge for his having ordered Indian troops to intervene in Sri Lanka's civil war.

May 25  An article in the New York Times describes Iran's government as supplying Shiite rebels and Kurdish dissidents in Iraq with more weapons, supplies and moral support.

May 29  In Nepal, the first elections in thirty years were held earlier in the month – long opposed by the country's landed and feudal elite. The Nepali Congress party has won bare majority. Various Communist parties make a strong showing. A Nepali Congress Party government is installed with G.P. Koirala as prime minister.

Jun 12  In the Republic of Russia – still a part of the Soviet Union – Boris Yeltsin wins 57 percent of the vote for president, defeating a candidate preferred by the Soviet Union's president, Gorbachev.

Jun 17  In South Africa, President de Klerk is still negotiating with Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act, which has required racial classification of all South Africans at birth. The repeal convinces numerous countries to end their boycott against South Africa.

Jun 25 With the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and dissatisfaction with the Serb majority domination, Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Jun 26 Yugoslavia's government does not recognize Croatian and Slovenian independence. Units of Yugoslavia's federal troops fail to dislodge Slovenian militias occupying border posts.

Jun 28  Iraq soldiers fire warning shots at a U.N. inspection team attempting to intercept Iraqi vehicles they believe might be carrying nuclear related equipment.

Jun 30  The Yugoslav Army issues an ultimatum to Slovenia, saying it will take "decisive military action" unless Slovenia gives up control of its border.

Jul 1  At a meeting in Praque, Warsaw Pact representatives dissolve the organization.

Jul 6  Croatia has a large ethnic minority, Serbs, eleven percent of Croatia's population, and they have been rebelling against the idea of Croatian independence. Yugoslav army tanks and troops deploy in Croatia, ostensibly to keep peace between Croats and Serbs, but violence between Croats and Serbs continues, while Croatia's government agrees to postpone independence.

Aug 1  Croatia has drawn up a peace plan offering its Serb minority key concessions, including home rule and control over local police. Some Serbs in Croatia will reject the offer, wanting instead their neighborhoods unified with a greater Serbia.

Aug 3  Croatia's military has suffered another defeat, with reports today that as many as 80 police officers and national guardsmen were killed in an unsuccessful attempt to hold three strategic towns in eastern Croatia.

Aug 19  In the Soviet Union a coup attempt begins with President Gorbachev put under house arrest.

Aug 20  Estonia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

Aug 21  Latvia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

Aug 23  In Moscow, Yeltsin has called for a general strike to resist the coup against Gorbachev. Huge crowds and some tank commanders support Yeltsin. The coup collapses.

Aug 24  President Gorbachev resigns as General Secretary of the Communist Party.

Aug 24  Ukraine proclaims independence from the Soviet Union.

Aug 25  Belarus declares independence.

Aug 27  Moldova declares independence.

Aug 27  The Supreme Soviet suspends all Communist Party activities.

Aug 31  Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan declare independence.

Sep 1  Serbians have an Eastern Orthodox religious heritage and a history of victimhood at the hands of Muslims and Roman Catholics. In Yugoslavia, President Milosevic of Serbia, the largest republic in Yugoslavia, announces that Serbs are surrounded by enemies. To thunderous applause he says, "If we must fight, then my God we will fight, and I hope they will not be so crazy as to fight against us. Because if we don't know how to work well or to do business, at least we know how to fight well."

Sep 6  The Soviet Union recognizes the independence of the Baltic States. The city that since 1924 has been called Leningrad reverts to its original name: Saint Petersburg.

Sep 8  In a referendum, Macedonians vote in favor of independence from Yugoslavia.

Sep 30  For four days Iraqi soldiers have refused to allow UN weapons inspectors to leave a site without the inspectors turning over documents they have confiscated. The UN Security Council threatens enforcement actions. Iraq permits the inspectors to leave with the documents.

Sep 30  Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed from power by a bloody military coup led by Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras.

Oct 5 Croatia has been subject to mortar and air attacks. Croatia's President Tudjman calls all Croats to mobilize to defend against "Greater-Serbian imperialism."

Oct 7  Bombs planted in Croatia's capital destroy government rooms but fail to kill government leaders.

Oct 15  In the US Senate, contentious hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas for a seat on the Supreme court have ended. The Senate votes 52 to 48 to confirm.

Oct 29  Yugoslav warplanes attack positions across Croatia's eastern panhandle. European Community foreign ministers threatened to impose economic sanctions on Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic, if it does not accept its peace plan for Yugoslavia.

Nov 1  In an interview for Croatian television, Britain's former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, criticizes Western governments for not recognizing the right of Croats and Slovenians to independence and for failing to help the Croats with the arms they have needed to defend themselves from Serbian-led Yugoslav army attacks.

Nov 14  In connection with the downing of the Pan Am Flight 103, US and British authorities announce indictments against two Libyan intelligence officials.

Dec 1  In a referendum, Ukrainians vote overwhelmingly for independence.

Dec 4  In Beirut, the American journalist Terry Anderson is released after seven years as a prisoner of terrorists.

Dec 13  North and South Korea sign a non-aggression and cooperation agreement, to become effective February 19, 1992. The Joint Declaration calls for bilateral nuclear inspections to verify the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. It states that the two sides "shall not test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons," and that they "shall not possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities." North Korea's has benefitted from help from the Soviet Union regarding nuclear developments, but the Soviet Union no longer exists and Russia is not providing North Korea with the help it once received.

Dec 16  The 12-nation European Community unanimously agrees to recognize Croatia and Slovenia by January 15. President Bush disagrees with this decision, saying that it is "fraught with danger."

Dec 24  The president of the Russian Republic, Boris Yeltsin, has met in secret with the leaders of the Ukraine and Byelorussian republics and agreed to leave the Soviet Union and form a Commonwealth of Independent States.

Dec 25  At the United Nations, the Russian Federation takes the seat that had belonged to the Soviet Union.

Dec 26  The Supreme Soviet meets and formally dissolves the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union ceases to exist. Millions of ethnic Russians find themselves in independent states other than Russia.

to 1990 | to 1992

Copyright © 2007-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.