Memories of Iraq Sanctions are Still Raw

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair

In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi troops into Kuwait, Iraq’s oil-rich neighbor, mistakenly assuming that other Arab countries in the region and the United States would offer no support to Kuwait. The United Nations reacted immediately and, at the urging of the US and the UK, put in place economic sanctions through Resolution 661 along with a naval blockade to enforce the sanctions with Resolution 665. In November, the UN passed Resolution 668 giving Iraq until January 15, 1991, to withdraw or face military consequences from United Nations troops.

On January 16, 1991, with Iraqi troops still ensconced in Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm, led by American General Norman Schwarzkopf and joined by thirty-two UN countries, commenced with the first fighter aircraft being launched from the Persian Gulf, headed for Baghdad. Sanctions continued for thirteen years—1990-2003—until long after the Iraqi government had pulled out of Kuwait.

Hero Anwar Brzw, along with her brother, was a student at Salahaddin University in Erbil, Iraq, part of the northwestern area of the country – Kurdistan. Iraq and Kurdistan have a long history of disagreements and rebellions going back to shortly after WWI, when the Ottoman Empire was split as the spoils of war, and the British took over this area.

This is a retelling of her story of the terror of war and of the inhumane effects of sanctions on the Kurdish and Iraqi population.

Hero’s…

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