The seven months of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 until the liberation of the state on February 26, 1991 are engraved forever into the history of Kuwait.
Aug 2 is a day that is hard to forget. It will remain a sad memory full of pain, especially for those who lost a father, son or daughter. Every year, this particular day brings back memories of the Iraqi invasion and the period of killing, looting and torture; to death, fear, joy and the return of the homeland. So it is not surprising that many people have bitter memories and it is difficult to believe for a moment that Kuwaitis who suffered the horrors of the Iraqi invasion will forget those days.
Yes, it was seven months between Aug 2 and Feb 26, during which Kuwait was the axis of the world, which rallied under the umbrella of international legitimacy along with Kuwait against the invasion. Hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the UN Security Council passed resolution no. 660, which denounced the invasion and demanded the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait. Under the military operation Desert Shield, US forces began flowing into Saudi Arabia on Aug 7, 1990 until the liberation process was complete.
On Jan 23, 1991 Iraq began dumping nearly one million tons of crude oil into the waters of the Arabian Gulf, causing an environment disaster, and on Feb 26, 1991, the Iraqi army began to withdraw after setting fire to Kuwaiti oilfields. US President George H W Bush announced the liberation of Kuwait 100 hours after the ground campaign with the famous words saying that Kuwait has become liberated and that the Iraqi army has been defeated. The world, especially the countries that sided with Kuwait, was overwhelmed with happiness.
Today we mention the invasion as a memory, but there are lessons that we should benefit from, including that we are part of the Gulf. We know with the invasion experience that the Gulf countries are our strategic depth, and that our relationship with them is necessary for the continued existence of our country. The Gulf is the foundation and nothing else, because on the first day of the invasion, when many Kuwaitis left Kuwait, they were received by their brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. It is regrettable today to see some people criticize Saudi Arabia or other GCC states and do not realize that the Gulf is our strategic depth forever.
The most important lesson is the need to focus on Kuwaiti citizens and their needs, because this is the line of defense, so when I worry about fraud in Kuwaiti nationality and the internal security of the country, this is normal in order to preserve the country. The invasion by Iraq was a big lesson and I was hoping like others to emerge out of it safely. Despite all the bad things that we see and talk about in Kuwait, Kuwait remains safe and a homeland for many people – citizens and expats.
By Muna Al-Fuzai