The 1990-1991 Kuwait Crisis Remembered: Profiles in Statesmanship

For the last twenty-seven years, today has marked the anniversary of an infamous event: Iraq’s brutal invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait, which began on August 2, 1990, and which was brought to an end on February 28, 1991. The regional and international effects of numerous aspects of the trauma then inflicted upon Kuwait remain ongoing. Like Kuwait itself, the world, even now, has yet to fully recover.

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony was one of the first American civilians into Kuwait following its liberation. He would return there twelve times over following year with delegations of American leaders tasked with assisting in one or more facets of the war-torn country’s reconstruction. He is here with his escort observing one among over 650 of Kuwait’s oil wells set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi armed forces. Photo: National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

Over a quarter century later, important postwar facets of what Iraq did to Kuwait fall short of definitive closure. And they defy effective description. The international legal requirement that an aggressor provide prompt, adequate, and effective compensation for a war’s victims was not honored at the end of hostilities. Despite continuing United Nations-supervised efforts to collect on this inhumane debt, what is due has still not been paid.

The Missing in Action and Context

A full accounting of Kuwait’s and other countries’ missing citizens swept up and carted off to Iraq in the war’s waning hours – in the immediate aftermath of the conflict its main cause celebre – continues to remain incomplete.  The reason is not for lack of effort.  After Kuwait’s liberation, an informal and unofficial effort was mounted by George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to provide an estimate of the MIAs’ status.

The focus group included diplomats, scholars, media representatives, American armed forces’ civil affairs personnel, and other individuals who fought to liberate Kuwait. Their unscientific consensus reported that more than 400 of the missing Kuwaitis died after they were captured. The fate of more than 200 of the missing, however, was unknown.

In the immediate hours and early days following Kuwait’s liberation, when none of the country’s electric power, desalination water purification plants, and far more of the country’s infrastructure were left operative, and domestic security prospects had been rendered uncertain, armed personnel carriers and mounted automatic weaponry units were omnipresent in the country. Photo: Dr. John Duke Anthony.

That possibly countless others remain missing is no small matter. The numbers in question, to some, may seem few. Not so, however, for those among the loved ones who tear up at the thought of them. Not so either for those who, despite the absence of grounds to warrant optimism for a fortuitous ending to their pining, and continue to wait and pray for their return.

We Americans would do well to stop and think about this for a moment. We are often criticized, and rightly so, for having an empathy deficit when it comes to understanding the suffering of people in other countries and situations. An irony in this needs to be understood and underscored. The irony is that many in the United States demand that people in other countries understand us. For those in front of an American Consular Officer with ticket in hand to visit a friend or relative in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, or wherever, but who lack such empathy along with the understanding and civility that comes with it, they need to be wished good luck in obtaining a visa to the United States.

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Vision 2030: Enhancing American and Saudi Arabian Business and Investment Dynamics

On June 20, 2017, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee hosted a public affairs briefing on “Vision 2030: Enhancing American and Saudi Arabian Business and Investment Dynamics” in Washington, DC.

Featured specialists included Dr. John Duke Anthony, Dr. Paul Sullivan, Mr. Fahad Nazer, and Mr. Edward Burton.

A video and podcast recording of the program, along with presentation slides from Dr. Sullivan and Mr. Burton, are available below.

“Vision 2030: Enhancing American and Saudi Arabian Business and Investment Dynamics” podcast (.mp3)

Dr. Paul Sullivan slides (.pdf)

Mr. Edward Burton slides (.pdf)

Economic Dynamics of U.S.-GCC Relations

On May 8, 2017, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Nasdaq, and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee hosted a public affairs briefing on “Economic Dynamics of U.S.-GCC Relations.”

NCUSAR Briefing on

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony speaks at the Council’s May 8, 2017, public affairs briefing on “Economic Dynamics of U.S.-GCC Relations.”

Featured specialists included Dr. John Duke Anthony, Mr. Khaled Alderbesti, Ms. Khlood Aldukheil, and Dr. Ihsan Ali Bu-Hulaiga.

A podcast of the event can be found below as well as in iTunes along with recordings of other National Council programs: http://bit.ly/itunes-ncusar.

“Economic Dynamics of U.S.-GCC Relations” podcast (.mp3)

Dr. John Duke Anthony Meets With Mahmoud Abbas

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony met privately with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today following Abbas’ visit with President Trump at The White House.

Dr. John Duke Anthony with Mahmoud Abbas.

Dr. John Duke Anthony with Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, D.C., on May 3, 2017.

 

How the World Turns: Saudi Arabia in Transition

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Following is important background information. It has to do with numerous high-profile administrative changes made by Saudi Arabia Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in the past few weeks in the government of Saudi Arabia. Of special significance is the appointment of a new Ambassador to the United States, HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and a new Minister for Culture and Information, H.E. Dr. Awwad bin Saleh bin Abdullah Al-Awwad.

HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman was previously an adviser to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court, and the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. He is also an accomplished F-15 pilot and was one of the first Saudi Arabian fighter pilots to conduct attacks on ISIS in Syria. H.E. Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad was most recently the Kingdom’s envoy in Germany.

Note also the more than a dozen new ministerial-level appointments of governors and deputy governors of various among the Kingdom’s 13 provinces. Note, too, the assignment of new director-generals to key agencies responsible for various aspects of the country’s modernization and development.

Saudi Arabian princes and ministers designated to new posts with the King, Crown Prince, and Deputy Crown Prince.

Saudi Arabian princes and ministers designated to new posts with the King, Crown Prince, and Deputy Crown Prince. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

The declaration of such changes will naturally invite close examination and comment by specialists. This is to be predicted. What even the country’s critics will be unable to deny, however, is that the shakeup in the upper echelons of the country’s leaders gives the lie to those – and no doubt there are many – among the country’s critics, adversaries, and enemies who tend to dismiss any announcement that contains positive information about and insight into the Kingdom as rubbish.

As ever, these include those that are prone to perceiving the nature and extent of any Saudi Arabian governmental commitment to economic or any other kind of reforms as insincere, deceptive, cosmetic, and/or sclerotic. These will almost certainly do the same in this case.

The latest changes illustrate not only the degree to which important components of the Kingdom’s reforms are underway. They also demonstrate that among the reasons the reforms are being undertaken is an effort to enhance the country’s image, reputation for, and the increasing reality of its public sector accountability.

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The Future of U.S.-GCC Trade and Investment

On March 29, 2017, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee hosted a public affairs briefing on “The Future of U.S.-GCC Trade and Investment” in Washington, DC.

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony speaks at the Council’s March 29, 2017, public affairs briefing on “The Future of U.S.-GCC Trade and Investment.”

Featured specialists included Dr. John Duke Anthony, Mr. H. Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Christopher Johnson, Ms. Nahlah Al-Jubeir, Mr. Robert Hager, Mr. Mike Jones, and Dr. Karl Petrick.

A podcast of the event can be found below as well as in iTunes along with recordings of other National Council programs: http://bit.ly/itunes-ncusar.

“The Future of U.S.-GCC Trade and Investment” podcast (.mp3)

Statements From Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Meetings with President Trump & Secretary Mattis

March 14, 2017Statement from a senior adviser to Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump (via Bloomberg)

March 15, 2017White House readout of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

March 16, 2017Opening remarks from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ meeting with Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon

March 16, 2017Readout of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ meeting with Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon