Thoughts on the 30th Anniversary of the Invasion of Kuwait
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (right) greets Donald Rumsfeld (left), then special envoy of US President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad, December 20, 1983. (Iraqi state television)

Thoughts on the 30th Anniversary of the Invasion of Kuwait

Al-Mada, Iraq, July 31

Over the course of this month and next one, Iraqis will commemorate the anniversary of two monumental events in their national history: the first is the 30th anniversary of the August 2, 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the second is the 40th anniversary of the September 22, 1980 Iraqi invasion of Iran. Both were carried out by Iraq’s autocratic regime led by Saddam Hussein. What is interesting about these two invasions is that both countries, Kuwait and Iran, succeeded in recovering from the destruction of these wars and ended up building a better future for themselves. In contrast, Iraq only continued to suffer following these wars. In addition to the high cost paid by ordinary Iraqi citizens for the military adventures of their despot leader, Iraqis also lost their dignity and normal life. Saddam Hussein’s actions left Iraq as a pariah state that is alienated from the international system. The psychological effects of these two wars, and their consequences, followed the people of Iraq for many years. The biggest lesson we learned from these two invasions is that they were both characterized by foolishness, arrogance, shortsightedness, and even stupidity. They reminded us that acting without any foresight can often lead to the downfall of a nation. Today, Iraq is less preoccupied with foreign adventures, but it is still caught up in foolish domestic campaigns. These domestic actions are fueled by narrow interest and ideological predispositions. Iraq, its people, and its new government face difficult situations, severe crises, and troubled and complicated social and political conditions, both internally and externally. This inevitably requires our leaders to make informed strategic decisions that place the supreme national interests of Iraq and its people above any other consideration. At the top of Iraq’s agenda should be the commitment to protect Iraq’s sovereignty while distancing us from any regional and international conflicts in which we have no interest. We deserve to step away from these irrational wars in which we have no stake. – Abdul Halim Al-Rahimi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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