jump to navigation

Kuwait: still seeking reparations from Iraq after 19 years 27, February 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iraq, Kuwait.
Tags: , ,

I have just learned that Iraq is still paying Kuwait war reparations for the invasion 19 years ago. Apparently, Iraq pays 5% of its oil revenues to Kuwait each year. So far this has totaled some $13.3 billion. Here are a few statistics to be thinking of:

………………………………………….Kuwait                                Iraq

Infant mortality                          9/1000                              45/1000

Average life expectancy             77                                         69

Unemployment rate                    2.2%                                     18-30%

GDP per capita                        $60,000                             $4,000

So, in sum, Kuwait is an epically rich country with a tiny, healthy population whose infants are going to out-survive Iraqi infants 5:1, whose population out lives Iraqis by 12 years, who are vastly more likely to be able to work, and whose GDP is 15 times greater. This, of course, is not even mentioning things such as a Kuwaiti’s ability to walk down the street, go shopping, visit friends without the fear of being kidnapped, murdered, raped or beaten. The biggest problem that a Kuwaiti has is whether to gorge themselves at Chillis or TGI Fridays.

I do not doubt for a second that the invasion of Kuwait was devastating as well as utterly illegal and immoral. Reparations were undoubtedly due. It was, however, 19 years ago and carried out by a ruthless dictator. The population had no say whatsoever and could not ‘opt out’. Kuwait’s actions can only be aimed at punishing a population that have been continuously punished to varying horrifying degrees over the last four decades.

In the last 19 years, Kuwait has recovered in every way, shape and form and is prospering like never before. In the intervening 19 years, Iraq has descended into a spiral of country-wide decay and destruction. For Kuwait to demand more money from Iraq, as it is trying to rebuild every facet of Iraqi life – from electricity generation to basic agriculture – is utterly immoral.


1. la russa - 27, February 2009

You lived in Kuwait and yet you find it ‘despicable’ eh?

These are UN mandated laws following the occupation of Kuwait, which included billions in damage concerning infrastructure, oil facilities, compensation for victims of the war – local and expatriate etc etc etc –

davidbroberts - 28, February 2009

Thanks for the comment.

I did live there for a time, though I’m not overly sure what that has to do with me finding this policy despicable or not.

As for the UN mandating them, do you not think that if Kuwait wanted not to receive the reparations they could do so quite easily as, for example, a brotherly humanitarian gesture? Or would the UN force them on Kuwait?

I realise the vast levels of destruction wrought by the invading Iraqi army on Kuwait. It was – as i said – a wholly illegal and particularly punitive war, especially towards the end and the Iraqi retreat. But has Kuwait not recovered today? Does Iraq not need this money today more then Kuwait? And, crucially, is it just that Iraqis continue pay the price for Saddam’s actions?

The whole question is just so clear for me: Kuwait is a rich, prosperous, healthy, intact, safe and economically sound nation today. Iraq is none of these things. To inflict these punitive damages on Iraq when Kuwait does not need* them and Iraq so palpably does seems to be totally wrong to me. Iraq under Saddam committed a crime. That era is over and the crime itself is nearly two decades old. Kuwait needs to forgive their neighbour and help them through an arduous period of their history. Not to do so is, to me, immoral.

*Yes, of course, Kuwait might want them and any country in the world would be glad of an extra $13.3billion, but I am talking about need, as in basic economic needs: food, water, sanitation, education etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: