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Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: Memories of the Kuwait invasion -- Aug. 2, 1990

By Raheem Salman in Baghdad

I still remember the Thursday morning -– Aug. 2, 1990 -- when I was driving my car to buy construction materials for my brother-in-law’s house. He met me near my home and told me that Iraqi troops had invaded Kuwait.

At first, I thought he was kidding, but then I heard Iraqi radio broadcasting anthems, praising the president and talking about Kuwait as the 19th Iraqi province. “Look Raheem, our sufferings are going to start,” my brother-in-law warned.

I returned to my house and asked my wife to bulk up on food supplies as a precaution. People in the neighborhood told each other the latest -- President George H.W. Bush has condemned the invasion and asked Iraq for unconditional withdrawal.

In the coming days, we heard that the Iraqi troops were close to the Saudi border and Bush warned Saddam not to enter Saudi Arabia. Then, the Iraqi army brought British and American hostages from Kuwait to Baghdad. Iraq formed a temporary government in Kuwait. And the U.N. Security Council talked about sanctions.

I didn’t imagine that things would develop so quickly and that Aug. 2 would go down as a black mark in Iraqi history. We paid the price and became the hostages of our former President Saddam Hussein’s miscalculations.

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