Despite Defeat, Iraqi Forces Still Hold Part of Kuwait
ABDALY, Kuwait (AP) _ Despite Iraq’s defeat by allied forces in the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein’s troops still control a pocket of Kuwaiti territory, a Kuwaiti tank commander said today.
Capt. Nasser al-Duwaila said about 300 Iraqi soldiers never were ousted from a small section of Kuwait just south of the Iraqi port of Uhm Qasr.
″This is our land,″ he said. ″Kuwait is not free if there is one Iraqi soldier on our land.″
Al-Duwaila, acting commander of Kuwait’s 7th Armored Battalion, said there were no Kuwaiti officers in authority when allied units first moved in to the area, apparently resulting in uncertainty as to the location of the border.
″This is a big mistake here - you must do something,″ al-Duwaila recalled telling allied officers when he reached the area later. ″They said, ’No - there’s a cease-fire.‴
The matter has been brought to the attention of the allies’ headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and al-Duwaila said he was confident the U.S. commander, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, would ensure that Kuwait would be protected.
But the Kuwaiti nonetheless was impatient.
‴We are a small country and we can’t afford to lose any piece of our land,″ he said. ″We want it back immediately.″
Al-Duwaila said he told allied officers at a weekend meeting that they should oversee the ouster of the Iraqis, allow Kuwaiti troops to reclaim the area or let Kuwaiti forces occupy an equal area of Iraqi land until a formal cease-fire is signed.
The area is question covers about two square miles directly south of Uhm Qasr. Al-Duwaila said the Iraqis occupy a small Kuwaiti military complex that includes a barracks and an observation post.
One of the senior U.S. Army commanders along the border area, Col. Bill Nash of the 3rd Armored Division’s First Brigade, said he was aware of the Kuwaiti soldier’s complaints.
″Our task is to defend the DML (the demarcation line established at the end of hostilities), not the international boundary,″ he said. ″I’m where I’m supposed to be, and nobody has intruded into my space.″