Invasion Of Kuwait, 10 Years Later

Ten years after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the fruits of America's victory over Saddam Hussein are meager, and U.S. policy on Iraq seems to be at a dead end, reports CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton.

To add to the irony, former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter has returned to Baghdad with the approval of the Iraqi government. Ritter quit the U.N. inspection team two years ago, because he thought the Clinton administration was not tough enough on Iraq. He now says the West should lift the economic sanctions because Iraq has disarmed.

"Iraq no longer has long-range missile capability, either missiles or production capability," Ritter said. "They no longer have the chemical weapons or the capability to produce them. It's the same with biological weapons, the same with nuclear."

Iraq is delighted and is allowing Ritter to make a documentary there "to show the reality of the situation in Iraq today," Ritter says.

The reality is that the arms inspectors kicked out two years ago have not returned. There is no end to the economic sanctions that have created hardships for millions, and Saddam Hussein is still in power.

Bob Simon
CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon, then covering the Mideast from the Tel Aviv bureau, was taken prisoner just before the Gulf War, along with producer Peter Bluff, cameraman Roberto Alvarez and soundman Juan Caldera. They had ventured too close to the Kuwaiti border.

"They beat us up all the time," he recalls. "It wasn't anything technical like electrodes or stuff like that, but they made our lives pretty miserable."

They were released March 2, 1991. He's been back to Iraq often since then.

"The starvation isn't as bad as it was a few years ago, but it certainly isn't the contender for capital of the Arab world, which is certainly what Saddam Hussein meant it to be before he invaded Kuwait," he reports.

Relatives of Kuwaitis killed during Iraq's seven-month occupation remembered their dead on Wednesday as Kuwait marked the 10th anniversary of the invasion that still haunts the Gulf Arab states.

Iraq marked the 10th anniversary of its invasion of Kuwait on Wednesday with defiant rhetoric despite the harsh economic situation caused by U.N. trade sanctions.

State-run newspapers lash out at Kuwait's rulers, blaming them for Iraq's seven-month occupation of the oil-rich country.

The ruling Baath party newspaper said "there was no option" for Iraq but to send troops into Kuwait to repulse what it described as a conspiracy by the United States and Kuwait against Baghdad.

Government newspaper al-Jumhouriya added: "What Iraq did on August 2, 1990 was to exercise its legitimate right to defend itself against a major plot aimed at our sovereignty and unity."

Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait after weeks of wrangling over oil production quotas. The occupation lasted until a U.S.-led multinational alliance based in Saudi Arabia drove the invaders out in February 1991.

Kuwaiti Anood al-Saleh, only 7 when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein sent his troops across the border into Kuwait, said her heart went out to Iraqis languishing under international sanctions, although she was still afraid of Kuwait's larger neighbor.

"With Saddam's presence, I still feel the danger but with God's help everything will be fine," said the 17-year-old. "I pity the Iraqi citizens, but I hope God will get rid of the tyrant Saddam."

Ten years later, and despite being subject to crippling sanctions, Baghdad still says it has no regrets.

"The Iraqis were able to foil the conspiracy and despite the aggression and the unjust embargo we are still strong enough in all fields," the official al-Iraq newspaper said.

The papers stopped short, however, of declaring Kuwait part of Iraq as was the case in the early years after the invasion.

In 1994, as part of efforts to get the sanctions lifted, Iraq recognized Kuwait as an independent state within the borders demarcated by a U.N. commission.

Jumhouriya slammed Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for what it said was their "participation" in the almost daily U.S. and British warplanes' bombardment of Iraqi targets in the northern and southern no-fly zones imposed on Iraq.

"Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are continuing their aggression through allowing American and British warplanes to use their air bases to commit attacks against Iraq," it said.

U.S. and British warplanes use Saudi and Kuwaiti air bases to patrol southern Iraq and they use a Turkish air base to patrol northern Iraq.

Jumhouriya also blamed Kuwait for the continuation of the 10-year-old sanctions. "The rulers of Kuwait are responsible for maintaining the unjust embargo," it said.

The U.N. embargoes include a ban on Iraq's oil exports. But since December 1996 the United Nations has allowed Baghdad to sell oil to buy urgently needed food and medicine.

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An Iraqi man carries a sack of flour from the United Nations from a warehouse in Baghdad.