Kuwait marks 27th an­niver­sary of Iraq’s bru­tal 1990 in­va­sion

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Kuwait marks to­day the 27th an­niver­sary of the Iraqi 1990 bru­tal in­va­sion, that severely and harshly sought to ef­face the iden­tity of the coun­try. Since the early hours of the in­va­sion, the Kuwaiti gov­ern­ment and peo­ple ut­terly re­jected the fla­grant ag­gres­sion, and Kuwaitis, both at home and over­seas stood by the side of their le­git­i­mate lead­er­ship to de­fend their coun­try, free­dom and sovereignty. Dur­ing the in­va­sion, the Iraqis adopted a scorched-earth pol­icy, set­ting fire to 752 oil wells, dig­ging trenches and fill­ing them with oil as a bar­rier against the US-led in­ter­na­tional coali­tion troops.

But thanks to the wise lead­er­ship of the late Amir His High­ness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the late Fa­ther Amir His High­ness Sheikh Saad Al-Ab­dul­lah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, and His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah - who was a For­eign Min­is­ter - and with the as­sis­tance of the Kuwaiti peo­ple, Kuwait was able to gain sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and to achieve lib­er­a­tion.

As soon as the ag­gres­sion took place, the world con­demned it and the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is­sued a host of de­ci­sive res­o­lu­tions, start­ing with Res­o­lu­tion 660, which de­manded an im­me­di­ate with­drawal of the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Then other ones fol­lowed un­der Chap­ter VII of the UN Char­ter. The Arab and in­ter­na­tional stances adopted sim­i­lar stances, de­mand­ing im­me­di­ate with­drawal of ag­gres­sors, and hold­ing the Iraqi regime ac­count­able for all the dam­ages caused by the in­va­sion.

His High­ness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah, being in charge of the for­eign min­istry port­fo­lio, played a key role for mo­bi­liz­ing the Arab and in­ter­na­tional sup­port to Kuwait’s le­git­i­macy, thanks to his long ex­pe­ri­ence as Kuwait’s chief diplo­mat since 1963. Over the long years, he had man­aged to es­tab­lish strong ties with the UN, its af­fil­i­ate or­ga­ni­za­tions and mem­ber states. Sheikh Sabah’s hard and sin­cere ef­forts for the na­tion proved fruit­ful, as he man­aged to gain the world’s sup­port for oust­ing the ag­gres­sors, lib­er­at­ing Kuwait and restor­ing the na­tion’s le­git­i­macy and sovereignty.

Pol­icy to­wards Iraq

In the years that fol­lowed the in­va­sion, more pre­cisely 1990 to 2001, Kuwait’s for­eign pol­icy to­wards Iraq was based on cer­tain con­stants, mainly estab­lished in line with the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions is­sued be­fore and dur­ing the cri­sis. One of these was the coun­cil’s Res­o­lu­tion 687 of 1991.Un­til 2003, the main features of this pol­icy were: Sad­dam Hus­sein’s regime could not be trusted or dealt with; the Iraqis were vic­tims of a dic­ta­to­rial regime; and Kuwait would stand by the side of the Iraqis, as Arabs and Mus­lims. “We dis­tin­guish be­tween the Iraqi regime and the Iraqi peo­ple, and we are out­raged that the peo­ple of our neigh­bor­ing coun­try must en­dure poverty and star­va­tion,” His High­ness Sheikh Sabah had re­marked. He stressed that Kuwait would carry on with help­ing the Iraqi peo­ple after the in­va­sion, es­pe­cially for the refugees in the north and south. His High­ness Sheikh Sabah’s fa­mous procla­ma­tion on Au­gust 4, 1998 was in re­sponse to al­le­ga­tions by the Iraqi regime that Kuwait was be­hind the in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions on the gov­ern­ment of Bagh­dad. “We are not a su­per power to force the (UN) Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to lift, or to keep sanc­tions on Iraq,” His High­ness Sheikh Sabah said, not­ing that “Iraqis re­sid­ing in Kuwaiti live with dig­nity and re­spect.”

On Novem­ber 23, 1998, dur­ing a visit by Egypt’s for­mer min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs Amr Moussa, His High­ness Sheikh Sabah said: “Kuwait does not plan in­flict­ing any harm on Iraq or its peo­ple, and over­throw­ing the Iraqi Pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein is an in­ter­nal af­fair that Kuwait will not in­ter­fere with.”

Thanks to the hu­man­i­tar­ian prin­ci­ples that Kuwait and the peo­ple have ad­hered to, the Kuwaiti re­lief aid have been flow­ing into Iraq since 1993. Prompted by His High­ness Sheikh Sabah’s di­rec­tives, the Kuwait Red Cres­cent So­ci­ety (KRCS) pro­vided as­sis­tance to the refugees at home and in Iran in April, 1995. Fol­low­ing the lib­er­a­tion war of Iraq in 2003, Kuwait hur­ried with re­lief and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to the refugees there, as a ma­jor donor to the coun­try. In April 2008, Kuwait do­nated $1 mil­lion to the UN refugee agency to sup­port its op­er­a­tions for al­le­vi­at­ing the suf­fer­ing of the Iraqi peo­ple who lacked ba­sic needs, food, water and health care.

Then, in Novem­ber 2010, Kuwait an­nounced pro­vid­ing $1 mil­lion to the agency to of­fer aid to the home­less Iraqis who were forced to seek safer places. Dur­ing the 65th ses­sion of the So­cial, Hu­man­i­tar­ian and Cultural and So­cial Com­mit­tee of the UN General As­sem­bly, Kuwaiti diplo­mat Has­san Shaker Abul­has­san, stressed the prime im­por­tance of the hu­man­i­tar­ian side in the is­sue of the Iraq refugees. Pro­vid­ing those with pro­tec­tion and en­sur­ing their safety and se­cu­rity is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Abul­has­san said then. Amid the rise of the num­ber of dis­placed Iraqis and the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of their con­di­tions, Kuwait on July 11, 2014, do­nated $3 mil­lion to the UN refugee agency in hu­man­i­tar­ian aid for Iraq, and in 2015 pre­sented $200 mil­lion for the same pur­pose. In 2016, and ahead of the Mus­lim fast­ing month of Ra­madan, Kuwait dis­trib­uted 12,000 food pack­ages through its char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tions in Iraq’s Kur­dis­tan re­gion. The same year, the KRCS of­fered 40,000 ra­tions of food to the dis­placed Iraqis in the re­gion. Also dur­ing a con­fer­ence for Iraq’s donors in Wash­ing­ton, July 2016, Kuwait pledged $176 mil­lion to the Iraqi peo­ple. The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil highly ap­pre­ci­ated Kuwait’s con­tin­ued sup­port to re­al­ize sta­bil­ity in Iraq.

Most re­cently, after the Iraqi gov­ern­ment an­nounced the lib­er­a­tion of Iraq’s city of Mo­sul from the so-called Is­lamic State (IS), July 2017, Kuwait ex­pressed readi­ness to host an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence for the re­con­struc­tion of the lib­er­ated re­gions, in line with the coun­try’s long-estab­lished prin­ci­ples of sup­port­ing “Arab brothers.” —KUNA

—KUNA pho­tos

KUWAIT: De­struc­tion left by the in­vad­ing Iraqi army at Al-Seif Palace.

To­tal de­struc­tion in­side the Na­tional As­sem­bly’s main hall.

Al-Shuwaikh Beach dur­ing the in­va­sion.

De­struc­tion left at the his­toric Mubarakiya Mar­ket.

Kuwaiti oil­fields set on fire by in­vad­ing Iraqi troops dur­ing the 1990 in­va­sion.

Heavy dam­age at Kuwait In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

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