The Iraqi Invasion
At dawn on 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded the State of Kuwait. The Iraqi government alleged that Kuwait had once been part of Iraqi territory - a claim that had no basis in historical fact. Before Kuwait emerged as a separate political entity in the middle of the eighteenth century, it had in fact been part of the territory of the Bani Khalid tribe, which ruled the region of Al-Ihsa to the south. Kuwait has a longer history as a separate state than does Iraq, which was part of the Ottoman Sultanate until the end of the First World War.
Invasion is contrary to international law, and the settlement of disputes by force is a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter. In addition, during the seven months that it occupied Kuwait, the Iraqi regime established a reign of terror, killing and torturing innocent and defenseless people. More than one thousand Kuwaitis were killed by the invasion, which also snatched many Kuwaitis from their homes to send them to detention centers in Iraq.
The invaders destroyed vital installations, flattened buildings, bombed factories and sabotaged bridges. They looted extensively from public institutions, state facilities and private homes. Their looting in particular targeted equipment in hospitals, educational institutions and research centers, and books in libraries, without consideration for their academic value or humanitarian concerns.
The Liberation of Kuwait
The invasion aroused international condemnation, and several countries from all continents formed a coalition to assist in the liberation of Kuwait. The international community did its best to solve the crisis without the use of military force. Many governments individually warned the Iraqi regime to cease the invasion and withdraw its forces. The United Nations Security Council issued several resolutions demanding that the Iraqi regime withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait, or face eviction by international forces.
The last such warning was UN Security Council Resolution 678, which set 15 January 1991 as a deadline for Iraqi forces to withdraw from Kuwait. The Iraqi regime arrogantly rejected the international warnings, and thereby brought destruction and devastation to its land and people. At dawn on 17 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm was launched when warplanes of the international coalition took off towards precisely defined targets in Kuwait and Iraq. This was the first step on the road to the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation.
The first piece of Kuwaiti land to be liberated from the Iraqi occupation was Qaro Island, when Kuwaiti forces landed on it on 23 January 1991. The Iraqi garrison on the island surrendered without a fight. During the sixth week of the war, at 1 a.m. on 24 February 1991, the international coalition's forces launched their land attack and liberated Kuwait within 100 hours. Kuwaiti civilians came out of their houses on the morning of 26 February, to welcome the coalition forces after seven dreadful months. During that crucial period of their history, the Kuwaiti people showed most heroic forms of resistance and defiance to the brutal occupation forces.
Kuwait Prisoners Of War
After the war, Iraq released several thousand prisoners of war to the International Committee of the Red Cross. More than 600 innocent people whom the occupation forces seized (mostly Kuwaitis, but also a few foreign residents in Kuwait) have still not been released or accounted for.
The National Committee for the Affairs of Prisoners of War and Missing Persons is conducting an international campaign to demand that the Iraqi regime release these innocent people, and allow them to return home, to end the daily anguish of their relatives and friends who do not know what has happened to them. All decent people who value human rights are earnestly invited to support this campaign.
Iraq's Environmental Crimes
On 26 February 1991, the Allied forces announced the liberation of Kuwait and the defeat of the invading Iraqi forces. The despot of Iraq had boasted that he would inflict a crushing defeat on the forces of the international coalition, but throughout the war the Iraqi forces showed little military effectiveness and collapsed after a short campaign. Communications were broken off between the command in Baghdad and their forces in Kuwait, which fled before the Allies. "The mother of battles" that Saddam Hussein had promised turned out to be the mother of farces.
The tyrant of Iraq decided to take his revenge on Kuwait's oil resources. He ordered his fleeing troops to pour millions of barrels of oil into the sea or onto the ground, and burn the Kuwaiti oil fields. They set fore to 723 oil wells. The flames consumed the equivalent of 5% of total world oil consumption every day, and caused the daily emission of between one and two million tons of carbon dioxide, a "greenhouse gas" that is seriously damaging the whole world's environment. The oil spilled caused severe harm to both land and marine life.
This is in addition to all the environmental and human damage, which the invaders caused by laying land mines, causing explosions, and using bombs, artillery shells and other military equipment.
The effects of the crime of the Iraqi invasion on human beings may subside in time, in spite of its brutality. But its effects on the environment will remain for many generations to come, and people everywhere will pay the price in their health and lives.
The crime committed by the Iraqi regime against Kuwait and its people on August 2nd, 1990 will remain a black spot in the history of mankind. The tragedies of this crime will be transferred from one generation to another. War is known from the earliest stages of life on this planet and people described it as "the ugly face of life on earth". In the course of time, mankind was able to take advantage of historical lessons, to rationalize the evil of violence among nations and lay down principles to reduce its burden on human beings, after realizing that it is impossible to totally avoid violence and war.
This led to the legislation of international laws and eventually to international agreements and conventions obliging the world nations to respect human dignity in the times of war and violence.
But when the Iraqi forces betrayed Kuwait and ravaged its territory, they put these international agreements and conventions under the boots of thief soldiers, who shamelessly danced over them enjoying the wailing of Kuwaiti citizens, who lamented human injustice.
More than one thousand Kuwaiti men and women fell as martyrs in defense of their beloved country. Thousands of men and women have been detained and hundreds of them are still hostages in the prisons of the Iraqi regime. This unique crime in the history of mankind can be truly described as an insult to human beings everywhere.