08:12 GMT +320 September 2018
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    USAF aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991

    Operation Desert Storm Memorial to Be Built in Washington, DC

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    A memorial to Operation Desert Storm, also known as the Gulf War, or First Iraq War in the United States, will be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC, after a federal commission ended a years-long debate.

    The National Desert Storm Memorial will be located on the western part of the National Mall in downtown Washington, next to the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Military Times reports.

    Not far from the chosen spot are memorials to several other wars the US has fought in, including the World War II Memorial and Korean War Veterans Memorial, both less than half a mile away.

    Iraqi migrants are pictured inside a refugee center located in former barracks, in Lahti, Finland
    © AFP 2018 / LEHTIKUVA / Markku Ulander
    The decision that settled the debate was made by the US Commision of Fine Arts, who had to review a plan already supported by the National Capital Planning Commission.

    The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, which is responsible for the planning and construction of the memorial, had a tough time convincing the authorities to chose this particular spot, arguing that placing the monument elsewhere would make it too hard to reach vis-a-vis the other war memorials. Earlier in March, the Capital Planning and Fine Arts commissions failed to come to an agreement, which is required for a monument to be given the green light.

    ​"We felt like, if you have something that's the most beautiful memorial in the world, but it takes a lot of work for people to get there and people aren't going to visit, then it kind of defeats our purpose," said Scott Stump of the Desert Storm Association.

    According to Military.com, the memorial's construction is expected to cost about $25 million and will be ready in 2021.

    ​"I hope obviously that if they don't know the story that they will learn about it," Stump said about the future visitors of the memorial. "If they kind of remember the story, maybe it will jog their memory and remind them that this was not the 100-hour war that it's so erroneously referred to so many times. This was a big deal — it affected 700,000 people, and it was also one of the most overwhelmingly successful military operations in history."

    The Desert Storm memorial was approved by a resolution US President Donald Trump signed in March.

    Some 700,000 US troops were deployed during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. The war, which aimed to reverse Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, took the lives of nearly 400 US soldiers, while estimates for Iraqi deaths range between 20,000 and 35,000.

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    Tags:
    memorial, Gulf War, Kuwait, Iraq, Washington DC, United States
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