Kuwaiti envoy doesn't think embargo will succeed

October 11, 1990|By Fernando Goncalves | Fernando Goncalves,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- The Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States said yesterday that he does not believe that the current United Nations embargo against Iraq will be sufficient to get the Iraqis out of Kuwait, which they invaded Aug. 2.

Citing violations of the embargo and Iraq's agricultural potential, the ambassador, Sheik Saud Nasir al-Sabah, who was testifying before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, declared that action that does not go beyond sanctions "will not bring down the Iraqis and force them to withdraw from Kuwait."

He specified only Jordan as one of the countries that he claims have openly violated the embargo, but he said a number of others have provided credit lines in hard currency to Iraq.

"Funds are moving from central banks into Iraq," he said, adding that "the loophole we have here is Jordan. The border is open, and foodstuffs are moving into Iraq from Jordan."

The hearing, co-chaired by Representatives Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and John Porter, R-Ill., included testimony from Kuwaitis who escaped after the invasion and Americans who had lived in Kuwait with their native spouses.

Deborah Hadi, who met her Kuwaiti husband when they both attended the University of Louisville, lived in Kuwait for 12 years until the events of Aug. 2 forced her to depart, leaving her husband behind.

"I am afraid that I will never be able to go home," Ms. Hadi said, tears streaming down her face. "I am afraid I will never see my husband again."

Ms. Hadi had worked at an American school, where, during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, she and other Americans were once held hostage by Iranians. But comparing those days with the treatment by Iraqi soldiers, she said, never "were we treated so badly."

Ms. Hadi told of how one night, when she and her husband took a cousin in labor to Sabah Maternity Hospital in Kuwait City, they saw a Kuwaiti woman at the front door "in hysterics" because she was in labor but was not allowed to enter. When the woman continued to scream, Ms. Hadi said, guards "put a bayonet through her stomach, pinning her to the wall."

A 10th-grader who testified anonymously to protect her family still in Kuwait said she and other volunteers at Al-Adan Hospital in the Kuwaiti capital witnessed armed Iraqi soldiers storming the hospital room where 15 babies were in incubators.

"They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die," she said. "It was horrifying. I could not help but think of my nephew [born July 29], who if born premature, might have died that day as well," she said.

Another American married to a Kuwaiti, Ruth Al-Qallaf, testified that Iraqi soldiers "are taking young Kuwaiti girls, 13, 14 and 15 years old, and raping them," a devastating act in a conservative society where virginity is a prerequisite for marriage, she said.

A statement presented by the U.S. chapter of Amnesty International cited refugees fleeing Kuwait in the third week of September as saying that "scores of people have been hanged on the grounds of Kuwait University" and that soldiers are indiscriminately firing at civilians, including women and children.

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