Today In History Spotlights Jan. 17, 1991, Operation Desert Storm Begins

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Today’s History Spotlight

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Operation Desert Storm begins. Several months prior, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army invaded Kuwait to annex the country for oil fields. In response, the largest Allied coalition since World War II readied to Kuwait’s defense.

Primary Coalition forces consisted of Kuwait, the US, Britain, France, and Saudi Arabia, but many other nations provided support, including China and even the dying Soviet Union. Desert Storm ended on February 28 of that year, bringing an end to the Gulf War and crushing Hussein’s army.

What Happened On This Day – January 17

  • 1995 The Great Hanshin earthquake hits Kobe, Japan. 6,434 people lost their lives during the quake, according to estimates.
  • 1991 The Gulf War in Iraq begins. “Operation Desert Storm”, launched in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, resulted in about 100,000 civilian deaths.
  • 1961 Patrice Lumumba is murdered with support from western governments. An independent commission concluded that Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of the Congo, died at the hands of his domestic adversaries with the assistance of the Belgian government and the CIA.
  • 1946 The UN Security Council holds its first session. The UNSC is the most powerful organ of the United Nations and it is charged with upholding international peace and security.
  • 1945 Soviet and Polish forces liberate Warsaw during World War II. About 85% of the city was destroyed at that point.

Births On This Day – January 17

  • 1962 Jim Carrey – Canadian/American actor, producer
  • 1942 Muhammad Ali – American boxer
  • 1927 Eartha Kitt – American actress, singer
  • 1899 Al Capone – American gangster
  • 1706 Benjamin Franklin – American politician, scientist, publisher, 6th President of Pennsylvania

Deaths On This Day – January 17

  • 2008 Bobby Fischer – American chess player
  • 1961 Patrice Lumumba – Congolese politician, 1st Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 1936 Mateiu Caragiale – Romanian author
  • 1893 Rutherford B. Hayes – American politician, 19th President of the United States
  • 1468 Skanderbeg – Albanian lord

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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