W. Nathaniel Howell speaks through the American Embassy gate
to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who visited not long after the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. While the embassy was under siege,
Howell maintained the U.S. position in defiance of Saddam
Husseinıs military action and wrote about it in this book.
conference reviews history, aftermath
Ghabra recalled the morning, 10 years ago last summer, that he
and his wife, Taghreed Al-Qudsi-Ghabra, awakened to the sound
of artillery firing near their Kuwait City home.
"We argued about it," Ghabra said. "I told her
the firing was at the border [with Iraq], but she said, 'No, it's
too close.' She was right." Saddam Hussein's invasion of
Kuwait had begun.
Ghabra and Al-Qudsi-Ghabra were among the speakers at a conference
on "The Liberation of Kuwait: Dawning of a New World Order,"
sponsored by U.Va.'s Institute
for Global Policy Research and held in Old Cabell Hall Feb.
22-24. The purpose of the conference, organized by Ambassador
W. Nathaniel Howell, who now directs the institute, was to review
the events leading to the Persian Gulf War and to draw lessons
in crisis management that could be applied to future conflicts.
was the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait at the outset of the 1990-91
Persian Gulf War.
a late winter snowstorm Feb. 22, a group of U.Va. students huddled
in parkas on the Lawn, across from the entrance to Old Cabell
Hall, protesting the cost to Iraqi civilians of the post-war economic
sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations. Over the next
two days, more than half a dozen protesters mounted the stage
inside the hall and were arrested by University police for trespassing
after refusing to step down.
is at stake in this tiny country on the eastern shore of the Arabian
peninsula, a country consisting mostly of flat desert, slightly
larger than Connecticut, with a population of about 2.3 million?
things, according to Gen. Tommy Franks, a conference panelist
and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Department of Defense's Central
Command, which covers the Middle East. He participated on the
panel, "Maintaining International Peace and Security: The Gulf
as Regional Model?"
forces offer a stabilizing military presence that supports allied
countries and keeps open maritime shipping lanes, including the
outlet of the Red Sea between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, the
gulfs of Aqaba and Suez, and the Strait of Hormuz, Franks said.
U.S. interests lie in securing the export of crude oil
92 billion barrels of which are estimated to lie under Kuwait's
from the region and making possible the import of billions of
dollars' worth of U.S. goods. The U.S. military also is concerned
about the security of 200,000 Americans living in the region and
supports regional humanitarian initiatives of the U.S. government.
the past 10 years, the U.S. military has worked with defense forces
in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region to improve their readiness
through better training and equipment.
has worked," Franks said, referring to the ongoing efforts of
U.S., British, Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti military forces to restrict
Iraq's military movements, both inside and outside Iraq. "Since
the [Persian Gulf] War, Saddam has not killed Kurds in the north.
He has not killed Shi'ites in the south. He has not effectively
threatened Kuwait to the south."
panelist William Quandt, the Edward R. Stettinius Professor of
Government and Foreign Affairs and U.Va.'s vice provost for international
affairs, agreed that the policy of military containment has been
effective in restricting Saddam Hussein's ability to threaten
other countries in the region. But he noted that the policy has
not been fully successful in achieving all its aims.
Hussein is still in power," Quandt said. "There is no prospect
for stability in the region without the U.S. military. And U.N.
[economic] sanctions have not weakened Saddam Hussein."
because there are no longer any U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq,
it is impossible to determine the status of Saddam Hussein's efforts
to develop weapons of mass destruction, Quandt said.
view of the ineffectual nature of economic sanctions, the extent
of illegal sales of Iraqi oil, and the high humanitarian cost
paid by Iraqi civilians, Quandt believes a more effective approach
is in order.
sanctions should be modified," Quandt said. "We should keep sanctions
on explicit military sales to Iraq," but general economic sanctions,
because they are difficult to enforce and have not proven to be
effective in changing Saddam Hussein's behavior, should be reviewed,
U.S. should consider changing its sanctions policy, which hurts
civilians more than Saddam," Quandt said. Instead, the U.S. should
reshape its policy "to focus on military containment and deterrence."
the same time, Quandt, a former member of the National Security
Council and Middle East expert who was actively involved in the
Camp David Accords under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter,
suggested that the U.S. should continue its efforts to strengthen
and maintain diplomatic relations with other countries in the
region, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iran and