Nine years later: Iraq still defiant over Kuwait
August 2, 1999
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- On the ninth anniversary of Iraq's invasion of neighboring Kuwait, there was a defiant tone and a universal sentiment across Iraq: Kuwait belongs to Iraq.
"We woke up August 2nd and found things had changed," one Iraqi man said. "Kuwait had returned."
State-run newspapers ran front-page editorials that denounced Kuwait's leadership, blaming it for the seven- month occupation of the oil-laden state.
Some editorials praised the 1990 invasion, calling it "an historic event, when the world stopped."
Babel, a newspaper owned by the eldest son of President Saddam Hussein, declared, "There was no other option for Iraq" except to send troops into Kuwait to repulse what it termed "plots and aggression" staged by Kuwait and the United States.
Officially, this is known as "the day the branch returned to its origin," or "the day of the call."
The government-controlled press ran the usual pictures of Saddam Hussein. One archival photo, according to some citizens, showed Iraq's leader in Kuwait after the 1990 invasion.
The invasion of August 2, 1990
After weeks of disputes over oil production quotas, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in the pre-dawn hours of August 2, 1990.
The Iraqi occupation lasted until February 1991, when a multinational force led by the United States drove out the invaders following a six-week war.
The United Nations imposed sanctions, which included a ban on Iraq's oil exports. Since December 1996, Baghdad has been permitted to sell limited amounts of oil to buy urgently needed food and medicine.
"At first they are happy, but now they are sad, because the sanctions are very difficult and still continue," an Iraqi said.
Newspapers also reminded citizens that "more than once, the Iraqi leadership has announced readiness to bury the past and start a new chapter."
That's a sentiment one Iraqi man readily accepted.
"They wanted us to leave Kuwait and we left," he said. "So that's it."
Reporter James Martone and Reuters contributed to this report.
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