On this day 30 years ago, the US-led coalition launched a violent air attack from all sides on Iraq, in what was called Operation Desert Storm, and the world watched it live on television as if it was an entertaining video game that masked much of the horrors of war.
And from its archive, the French newspaper Le Figaro recalls this memory today in an article by Camille Listien, who said that CNN correspondent John Holliman in Baghdad was the first to tell the world of the launch of the attack, describing it as a terrible thunderstorm;
"There are white lightnings in the sky, and bullets are being fired from all sides, as if a huge lightning bolt is falling from the sky."
The air attack was on an unprecedented scale, in which part of the American bases in Saudi Arabia and aircraft carriers stationed in the Gulf of Oman participated, but for viewers this world was a video war, in which they see an unrealistic scene of green dots exploding on a black screen.
The story began - as you can see the newspaper - 5 months before that day on the second of August 1990, when Iraq invaded the State of Kuwait, against the backdrop of its refusal to cancel debts owed by it and raise oil prices, accusing it of not respecting its production quota.
The United Nations condemned the invasion, and began imposing an embargo on Iraq on August 6, before the Security Council voted on November 29 on Resolution 678, which legalizes the use of force against Iraq, setting a deadline that expires on January 15, 1991. At midnight.
Missiles and launchers
Missiles and launchers
before the attack - as the newspaper says - on January 16, then French President Francois Mitterrand warned from Paris in a serious tone, saying, "Except for an unexpected and therefore unlikely event, weapons will speak." And he called on his people to "unite around our soldiers." And for the ideals that inspire our work. "
Shortly before 1 a.m. on January 17, the air attack began, led by a coalition of 35 countries led by the United States, and thus launched Operation Desert Shield aimed at protecting Saudi Arabia, before it turned into "Desert Storm" with the participation of nearly two thousand aircraft. Fighter, as the largest air raid in history, according to British experts.
More than 100 Tomahawk missiles were launched from American ships, which are used for the first time in the war, and 1300 sorties were carried out during the first 24 hours, as was planned, and an army of more than 900,000 men, including 540,000 Americans and 15,000 French, moved in against An army of about 500,000 soldiers and 240 combat aircraft.
In the evening bulletins, Americans listen to the White House spokesperson explaining that "the liberation of Kuwait has begun," while a CNN reporter from the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad - where journalists live - raises the noise of the explosions for the whole world to hear.
US President George Bush Senior intervenes - as the newspaper says - at nine o'clock in the evening local time, to announce that Iraq's nuclear and chemical capabilities and its military apparatus are the main target of this attack.
Le Figaro correspondent from the scene, Remy Favre, described the scene on January 18, 1991, saying, "Fires caught fire in the sky of Baghdad, and the camouflaged air defenses on hundreds of surfaces began firing, the American F-15 planes struck Iraq on the head, a surgical precision shaking Iraqi defenders.
Since the first raids, the communication tower has been destroyed;
Which led to the isolation of Baghdad from the rest of the world.
The howling sirens did not start until 5 long minutes after the attack, during which the sky was torn apart, and the detector bullets and missiles fired.
A war as a video game, and
A war as a video game, and
after a few days, the idea of "blitzkrieg" began giving way to "the syndrome of attrition war," says the newspaper's Washington correspondent Stephan Marchan, who points to the paradox about this war that the world is experiencing directly, but television at the same time "took it out from realism".
Through a false presentation, television played a fundamental role in this trance of anesthesia from a purely aesthetic point of view. Pictures of the hellish bombing on the first night of the war looked beautiful, and that ABS photographer Fabrice Mossos, for example, He placed a green filter on his camera, which turned the scene into unreal fireworks, scenes of shattering political and strategic sites in the Iraqi capital and its 4 million inhabitants.
The impact of high-tech - according to the newspaper - made the critical minds of the Americans sleep during the first week of the war, and TV "exaggerated" the broadcast of the soldiers' comments on the pictures filmed by the video cameras of the Allied aircraft.
The newspaper warned that the horror of the war in Vietnam slowly penetrated into "quiet American homes" thanks to television, while the media scramble for the war in Iraq temporarily turned it into a bodyless and harmless game, as Le Figaro reported on January 24. 1991.
Within 42 days, after 5 weeks of precision bombardment;
A ground offensive began, in which the disorganized Iraqi army was defeated in just 4 days, from February 23 to 28, in a battle that lasted only 100 hours, the newspaper says.