chapter  10
22 Pages

Iraq and Kuwait

The Seizure and Destruction of Historical Patrimony
ByBruce Montgomery

In the August 1990 invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait, Iraqi forces prosecuted a mass campaign of pillage of Kuwait's financial and cultural assets with the aim of annexing the emirate as part of greater Iraq. In response to Iraq's invasion and plunder of Kuwait, a US-led coalition of countries ousted Saddam Hussein's armed forces from the small emirate. Iraq's defeat in the first Gulf War precipitated more than a quarter century of near continuous war, rebellion and internal upheaval, resulting in the repeated plunder and seizure of Iraq's own cultural and historical patrimony. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Anfal campaign waged against the Kurds constituted genocide and crimes against humanity – the culmination of decades of Kurdish persecution. The Ba'ath Party archive was discovered in 2003 by a US soldier in a warren of rooms in the basement of the Iraqi secret police headquarters.