military equipment. But Iraq was burdened by debt incurred during the war and
the price of oil, Iraq's only major export, was low.
18. By 1990 Iraq's financial problems were severe. Saddam looked at ways to press
the oil producing states of the Gulf to force up the price of crude oil by limiting
production and waive the $40 billion that they had loaned Iraq during its war
with Iran. Kuwait had made some concessions over production ceilings. But
Saddam blamed Kuwait for over production. When his threats and
blandishments failed, Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. He believed that
occupying Kuwait could prove profitable.
Abuses by Iraqi forces in Kuwait
Robbery and rape of Kuwaitis and expatriates.
People dragged from their homes and held in improvised detention
Amnesty International has listed 38 methods of torture used by the Iraqi
occupiers. These included beatings, breaking of limbs, extracting finger
and toenails, inserting bottle necks into the rectum, and subjecting
detainees to mock executions.
Kuwaiti civilians arrested for crimes such as wearing beards.
19. Saddam also sought to justify the conquest of Kuwait on other grounds. Like
other Iraqi leaders before him, he claimed that, as Kuwait's rulers had come
under the jurisdiction of the governors of Basra in the time of the Ottoman
Empire, Kuwait should belong to Iraq.
20. During its occupation of Kuwait, Iraq denied access to the Red Cross, which has
a mandate to provide protection and assistance to civilians affected by
international armed conflict. The death penalty was imposed for relatively minor
crimes such as looting and hoarding food.
21. In an attempt to deter military action to expel it from Kuwait, the Iraqi regime
took hostage several hundred foreign nationals (including children) in Iraq and
Kuwait and prevented thousands more from leaving, in direct contravention of
international humanitarian law. Hostages were held as human shields at a
number of strategic military and civilian sites.
22. At the end of the Gulf War, the Iraqi army fleeing Kuwait set fire to over 1,160
Kuwaiti oil wells with serious environmental consequences.
23. More than 600 Kuwaiti and other prisoners of war and missing persons are still
unaccounted for. Iraq refuses to comply with its UN obligation to account for the
missing. It has provided sufficient information to close only three case files.