The Crimes of Saddam Hussein

By Dave Johns

1990 The Invasion of Kuwait

Military helicopters over a city

In the early hours of August 2, 1990, more than 100,000 Iraqi troops moved tanks, helicopters and trucks across the border into Kuwait. Iraq maintained the world’s fourth–largest military and had mobilized an overwhelming invading force. Within an hour, they reached Kuwait City, and by daybreak, Iraqi tanks were attacking Dasman Palace, the royal residence. The emir had already fled into the Saudi desert, but his private guard and his younger half–brother, Sheik Faud al–Ahmad al–Sabah, had stayed behind to defend their home. The sheik was shot and killed, and according to an Iraqi soldier who deserted after the assault, his body was placed in front of a tank and run over.

It was Saddam’s idea alone to invade Kuwait. He had gambled that he could get away with seizing the tiny oil–rich nation to help pay off debts. But his gamble did not pay off –– he had misread the interests of the international community and the United States in a stable Middle East. After the invasion, Saddam defied orders to retreat and the U.N. imposed sanctions. After months of deliberations and with U.N. support, the United States and international Coalition forces launched a full–scale air and missile attack on Iraq on January 16, 1991. A ground assault followed a month later, and Saddam’s troops were quickly forced out of Kuwait. The United Nations declared an end to the war on April 11, 1991.

Charges and evidence

The Iraqi military allegedly committed crimes while in Kuwait. Evidence suggests that it tortured and killed hundreds of Kuwaiti nationals and people from other nations. Foreign hostages were taken, Kuwaiti properties were looted, and Iraqi forces set fire to more than 700 Kuwaiti oil wells and opened pipelines to let oil pour into the Gulf. In addition to these crimes, Saddam may be tried for the crime of aggression. An Iraqi law dating back to the 1950s prohibits the act of aggressive war against other Arab countries.

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