Multinational Interception Force (MIF)

16 March 1996 - 25 March 1996
Military personnel

Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. The UN Security Council immediately demanded the unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi armed forces and a few days later proclaimed a general trade embargo against Iraq. On 25 August 1990, the Security Council authorised UN Member States to use force if necessary to enforce this embargo.

A large number of countries complied with the UN resolutions and sent ships to the Persian Gulf. In the following months, led by the United States, the anti-Iraq coalition increased its military presence in the Gulf region.

Desert Storm

Despite the show of force, Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait. Consequently, the 1st phase of Operation Desert Storm, an air offensive, was launched on the night of 16 to 17 January 1991. The 2nd phase of the operation, the ground offensive, commenced on 23 February. 5 days later, after a 100-hour ground war, the Iraqi regime asked for a ceasefire. The Iraqi army was defeated and ejected from Kuwait.

Embargo remains in force

International military operations continued. The trade embargo would remain in force until Iraq complied with the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions regarding disarmament. Force could still be used to enforce the embargo at sea. Ships involved in enforcement were included in the Multinational Interception Force (MIF). The United Kingdom and the United States provided ships for the MIF on a permanent basis. They were supported in this regard by an alliance of countries that changed each year in terms of composition.