I need a trivial question ruling.

My friends and I are in a very competitive bar trivia league, the question:

“What participating Arab nation contributed the most troops to Operation Desert Storm?”

One side says Saudi Arabia, the other states enemies are by definition ‘participating’ and goes Iraq.

The answer does indeed depend on that word, what say you all?

Iraq may have participated in the war, but didn’t participate in “Operation Desert Storm” since that was the operation based on defeating Iraq in the war.

Full marks to whoeveritis for creativity though

Iraq participated by opposing Desert Storm.

I see it differently- both sides participate in a sports fixture- if I can draw a long bow.
To argue that no Germans participated at Operation Overlord would be ridiculous.

The key word here appears to be ‘at’ as opposed to ‘in’.
One can participate at an event and not be in an operation that is part of the event.

Iraq certainly did not contribute any troops to Operation Desert Storm.

But that was not included in the original question, and I may have misled you there.

“contributed to”- does that mean it has to be on the side that was conducting the Operation?

I am still trying to arrive at that.

While I appreciate thinking outside the box as well as anyone, there is no way you could say Iraq “contributed troops to Operation Desert Storm”, seeing as that was the name of a specific US Offensive against Iraq.

Had the question asked “contributed troops to the Gulf War”, it would be an entirely different beast, but as quoted, no reasonable person could argue your friend’s point (IMHO).

Also participating in a contest is not synonymous to contributing to the efforts of one particular side.

I vote Saudi Arabia.

Minor derail: Do Iraqis think of themselves as ‘Arabs’?

I imagine if you checked every news report, press conference, official announcement, and even ordinary conversation about that war that used a form of the word “participate,” you’ll find it was consistently used to refer to the allies who joined the U.S. to fight Iraq. I further submit that Iraqi troops were pitched against Operation Desert Storm, and could not in any reasonable sense be thought of as contributing to it. Play with semantics all you want, but I don’t see how a credible, much less compelling, case can be made that “Iraq” is a correct answer to the question posed.

I agree- I was wrong.

No, arguing that Germans did participate in Operation Overlord would be ridiculous. Germans participated in the war for western Europe. They did not participate in the invasion, by definition.

Based on the wording of the question, Saudi Arabia is correct. If the question was, “which participating Arab nation contributed the most troops to the Gulf War of 1991?” the correct answer would be Iraq.

Yes, except for Iraqi Kurds. Iraq was one of the founding members of the Arab League.

Another vote for “no leg to stand on”.

The question is: “What participating Arab nation contributed the most troops to Operation Desert Storm?”

The quibble that Iraq was a “participant” in Desert Storm rises just barely above the laugh-it-out-of-court level. But there is no way to conclude that Iraq contributed troops to that operation (which, as has been noted, is not the name of the war, but rather of the allied effort against Iraq).

So your friends lose, and for bringing a frivolous case are assessed court costs (a round of drinks).

Nitpick: Operation Desert Storm was the name of the US effort against Iraq, specifically. Other coalition states named their own deployments - the UK war effort was called Operation Granby, for example.

I would say Iraq was not a participant in Operation Desert Storm, in the same way that a mugged person is not a participant in the mugging. (I modified my analogy to avoid Godwin.)

I literally wrote a book about this, and the book was heavily fact-checked. According to my research, Saudi Arabia contributed about 50,000 troops to the war and Egypt about 30,200. Syria, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates also sent troops, but those numbers were considerably smaller.

I don’t even see how this can be controversial.

Even if we concede that Iraq is/was ‘participating’, the question wasn’t about ‘participating’. It was about contributing troops to a specific operation, Operation Desert Storm. An operation mounted by the US and her allies. Iraq contributed nothing to this operation.

Oooh, the plot thickens. I think the best answer is “there is no answer because no country other than the US can participate in a US operation.”

The OP says contributed. Iraq didn’t contribute anything beyond a major dose of stupidity. Contributing to Desert Storm means participating with the US in the invasion of Iraq. I don’t see how else to read it.

Well, in some sense other countries did participate in Operation Desert Storm; Saudi Arabia and India, for example, provided the US with use of their infrastructure in order to facilitate US operations.

Desert Storm (without the Operation part) has also become a sort of shorthand for the 1991 Gulf War in general.

If there’s anything I learned from trivia contests, it’s that the wording of the question makes all the difference. I’m assuming this is the actual wording:

“What participating Arab nation contributed the most troops to Operation Desert Storm?”

From the original wording, I’d say Saudi Arabia is the correct answer. The word “participating” should not have been included the question – it only confuses things.

However, Iraq did not contribute any troops to Operation Desert Storm, which is the military operation, not the war (if Saddam had left Kuwait without a shot being fired, there still would have been an Operation Desert Storm, but no war). Iraq participated in the war, but not in the operation.