Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait, provoking international protests. On August 3, the Arab League passed a resolution calling for a resolution of the conflict within the League and warned against Western intervention.

On August 7 President George H. W. Bush authorized the start of Operation Desert Shield, “a wholly defensive” stationing of American forces in Saudia Arabia to protect the country from invasion by Iraq, and on August 8 Saddam Hussein declared that Kuwait was now the 19th province of Iraq.

On August 25, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 666, the fourth of an ascending order of resolutions denouncing the Iraqi invasion and imposing sanctions on Iraq.  Resolution 666 authorized a naval blockade to enforce the previous sanctions.