Kuwait marks on Tuesday the 32nd anniversary of its invasion by neighboring Iraq in 1990. Since its independence in 1962, Kuwait has been rocked by local and regional political tensions that underscore the danger looming over the geographic location enjoyed by the wealthy Gulf state.
In the Gulf’s far north, Kuwait is situated in the crosshairs of regional security and political hurricanes.
On August 2, 1990, Kuwait woke up to the impact of a surprise and lightening attack by Iraqi tanks that took over the country in two days.
Soon after, Iraq forcibly annexed Kuwait, renaming the Gulf state as the 19th Iraqi governorate and erasing its political and diplomatic representation worldwide.
Moreover, invading forces carried out a brutal subjugation campaign aimed at breaking the will of Kuwaitis. The population experienced the worst forms of bloody repression and enforced disappearance.
To date, the effects of the Iraqi invasion still linger in the memory of Kuwaitis as they search for their children in mass graves.
On November 29, 1990, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 678 that gave Iraq until January 15, 1991, to withdraw from Kuwait, and empowered states to use “all necessary means” to force it out after the deadline.
At the dawn of January 17, 1991, international coalition forces launched a major attack on Iraqi military and strategic sites in Kuwait and Iraq in preparation for the liberation of Kuwait.
The campaign saw aerial bombardment of Iraqi military installations and bases, command and control centers, public facilities, bridges, water and electricity stations, as well as 60 military bases.
This was followed by a ground assault by the coalition into Kuwait on February 24. The offensive was a decisive victory for coalition forces, which included 30 states, who liberated Kuwait and promptly began to advance past the border into Iraqi territory.
By February 26, Kuwaitis had regained hold of their country after around 210 days of occupation.
Regarding its politics, Kuwait today pursues a policy based on quiet diplomacy to cross to the shore of salvation, amidst an inflamed ocean of regional tensions.
Kuwaiti diplomacy is often active in extending a protective umbrella to ease regional tensions as the Gulf nation enjoys distinguished relations with most countries.