Aug. 7, 1990: Operation Desert Shield begins

President George H.W. Bush has U.S. troops deployed to Saudi Arabia.
3:15 | 08/03/18

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Transcript for Aug. 7, 1990: Operation Desert Shield begins
Good evening the president of the United States is determined the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is defiant. The United States says that Iraqi forces on the frontier of Saudi Arabia are in a menacing posture. And so President Bush has decided that US forces will go to Saudi Arabia the saudis are clearly worried. Nervous enough to let the US military on to Saudi territory and by doing so they risked inciting Iraq. And losing support from other Arab states. In one of the most unpredictable parts of the world a political military implications of all this are dangerous. We begin with our pentagon correspondent Bob Zelnick. Units from the 82 airborne division based at Fort Bragg North Carolina will be among the first to leave for Saudi Arabia. Military sources say troops from the 24 infantry division at Fort Stewart Georgia may follow. Total US ground forces are expected to number only a few thousand there principal mission will be to defend the bases where US aircraft will be deployed. Sources say the planes will include F fifteen fighters from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Strategic B 52 bombers now based at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. As well as anti tank Apache helicopters stealth fighter planes and awacs radar planes. Pentagon sources say the saudis have also agreed. To permit F 111 bombers now it faces in Turkey to land in Saudi Arabia after completing bombing runs against Iraqi forces should that become necessary. In addition intelligence sources tell ABC news that Egyptian President Mubarak today told Defense Secretary Cheney that at least two Egyptian divisions. Will soon take up defense of positions inside Saudi Arabia. And that Egypt will respond militarily if Saudi Arabia is attacked. US naval forces are also gathering to enforce a blockade of Iraq. Today the aircraft carrier Saratoga left Florida for the eastern Mediterranean. Its task force will include the battleship Wisconsin plus 2100 Marines aboard the amphibious carrier in shown. More ships with the carrier Eisenhower prepared to move through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. They are they could be in position to prevent tankers from hauling Iraqi oil transported by pipeline through Saudi Arabia. Some of the warships that had been accompanying the third carry of the independents. Moved today from the Arabian Sea to the Persian gulf. Together with the command ship LaSalle in each task force. The US now has more than enough force in the gulf to prevent tankers from serving port Kuwait or southern Iraq. Pentagon sources say a number of Navy SEALs and other special operations forces are already in the go. Ready to launch Covert attacks against Iraqi supply depots. Communications facilities and other military targets if the embargo fails to produce a withdrawal from Kuwait. The name of the game is still deterrence not war if the embargo works the blockade by the US and other navies won't be necessary. And the hope is the few American troops sent to Saudi Arabia will prevent the Iraqis from attacking. Bob Zelnick ABC news at the Pentagon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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