The Dream Victory

Valery Rousset’s book examining Operation Desert Storm contains welcome discussions of less-explored aspects of this defining conflict.

A new French language work examining Operation Desert Storm is a welcome addition to the literature on this enduring conflict.

The understandable dominance of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the editorial schedules of news organisations has quietened what would have otherwise been a cacophonous commemoration of Operation Desert Storm’s pearl anniversary.

The Gulf War and its legacy continues to enthral and fascinate 30 years since a US-led coalition evicted Iraq from its occupation of Kuwait. The Armada offices have been fortunate in receiving copies of books, both new and reissued, focusing on this unique conflict. One of these is Valery Rousset’s work La Guerre à Ciel Ouvert: Irak 1991, la Victoire Rêvée (Open Air Warfare: Iraqi 1991: The Dream Victory).

This lavishly illustrated French language tome is a rich account not only of the conflict, but the events leading up to Kuwait’s invasion in the early hours of 2nd August 1990. Mr. Rousset provides welcome discussion of areas often neglected in the literary canon. For instance, he gives a detailed description of how Iraq’s armed forces exercised command and control, and the material used therein.

While the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) of Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein fall under Mr. Rousset’s gaze, he avoids re-treading worn ground by discussing less-examined aspects of the WMD programme such as Iraq’s attempted procurement of the so-called Project Babylon ‘supergun’.

These vignettes are reinforced with an erudite discussion of Desert Storm’s air campaign, which commenced on the morning of 17th January. This was instrumental in preparing the battlefield for the land offensive which began on 24th February. To re-examine a conflict which has already generated reams of analysis and add new perspectives is no easy task but Mr. Rousset does this with aplomb. Highly recommended.

by Dr. Thomas Withington