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Begun in War, Built in Peace: The US-Kuwaiti Strategic Partnership

Picture of Kuwaiti oil wells on fireFebruary 26th marks the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait

Check out the Global Resources Center exhibit in Gelman 207 or click here to experience it online.

An Exhibit from the Global Resources Center

Gelman Library Room 207

On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded and occupied the State of Kuwait. The international community forcefully rejected this violation of Kuwait’s territorial integrity and the associated threats. Within a day the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to demand an Iraqi withdrawal. With the United States in the lead, 35 nations including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf sheikhdoms, Syria and Egypt ultimately forced Iraq’s retreat, liberating Kuwait on February 26, 1991. The destructive capacity of the Iraqi occupation forces shocked international observers. The fleeing Iraqi forces set ablaze more than 600 oil wells -- inflicting catastrophic environmental damage.

Members of the GW community played a pivotal role in this geogrategic drama. General Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a GW alumnus.  Current faculty member and GW alumnus Edward "Skip" Gnehm had just been named US Ambassador-designate to Kuwait when the Iraqis invaded. In the fall of 1990 Professor Gnehm found himself in Taif, Saudi Arabia, working alongside the exiled Kuwaiti government. On March 1, 1991, when Ambassador Gnehm entered Kuwait, his mission had taken on new purpose. He was not just the primary representative of the United States, but the person on the ground responsible for working with the Kuwaiti government to help rebuild the nation.


Learn more about the George Washington University Libraries' Global Resources Center

View the Online Exhibit


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