By John Duke Anthony
TODAY marks the anniversary of a momentous event: the reversal of Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991. For Kuwaitis, the citizenry of their fellow GCC members, and people from many other countries, including the United States and other Allied Coalition members, the multifaceted damage inflicted by Iraq in the course of its invasion and occupation of Kuwait unleashed changes from which the world has yet to fully recover.
The most comprehensive and rigorously applied international and political sanctions against any country in the last century, and the impact of the sanctions’ applicability and enforcement, remain a source of ongoing controversy in terms of their differing impact on Iraqis and Kuwaitis. Even now, two decades later, important postwar facets of what Iraq did to Kuwait remain elusive of closure. Certainly, the international legal dictum of an aggressor providing prompt, adequate, and effective compensation for the war’s victims has yet to be honored.
MIAs and Context
A full accounting of the fate of all of the Kuwaiti and other countries’ missing citizens — swept up and carted off to Iraq in the war’s waning hours — remains incomplete. At a recent gathering of diplomats, scholars, media representatives, and individuals who fought to liberate Kuwait and American armed forces’ civil affairs personnel who participated in the country’s reconstruction at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, it was noted that more than 500 of the missing Kuwaitis have died since their capture, but the fate of more than 200 of those missing remains unknown.
The more than 700 Kuwaitis who were and remain missing may seem small to some. However, they are more than 700 too many if viewed from the perspective of the victims and their loved ones who continue to await and pray for their return.