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Iraqi-Americans Celebrate End to Gulf War Hostilities

February 28, 1991

DETROIT (AP) _ Aram Yasso and his brother, Adnan Yasso, popped open a bottle of champagne in their liquor store and cheered when President Bush announced the Persian Gulf War was about to end.

″This is very good, I was for the U.S. from the beginning and now it’s finally over,″ Aram Yasso, an Iraqi native, shouted from behind the Plexiglas separating him from customers Wednesday night.

The Yassos and their brother-in-law, Sam Toma, chatted excitedly among each other, pausing only to wait on customers. The men said they still worried about relatives they haven’t heard from in Iraq, and were concerned about the future of the Iraqi people.

″If that guy (Saddam) stays in power no one will be safe,″ Toma said. ″Until he gets killed, they are still in trouble.″

The Yassos are Chaldeans, Christian Iraqis. Their store is on a main thoroughfare in the city’s Chaldean neighborhood. Many of the customers who came by Wednesday night shared similar sentiments.

Salah Kulato, the Iraqi-born operator of an AM radio station that caters to a Middle Eastern audience, said he was happy peace would come soon to his native land.

″I don’t support any war, not even Saddam’s,″ he said. ″It’s ugly and it costs a lot of money. I want peace for people on all sides.″

Bush announced hostilities would be suspended starting at midnight Wednesday, EST. Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. Then on Jan. 17, allied forces attacked Iraq to force it out of Kuwait; a massive ground campaign began on Saturday.

An American flag was draped over the entrance to Narro’s Party Store on the outskirts of Dearborn. Inside, the store was decorated with miniature stars and stripes.

″I put that up the day we went to war,″ said Haytham Narro, the owner, referring to his patriotic decorations. ″I’m glad for the people of Kuwait, but Iraq needs to get rid of Saddam.″