20th Anniversary Commemoration of the Beginning of Military Operations
to Liberate Kuwait
The Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC) is pleased to support the Scowcroft Institute’s 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the Beginning of Military Operations to Liberate Kuwait. In support of the symposium, we are releasing translations of captured audio files of three meetings between Saddam Hussein and his inner circle. All three meetings took place on 24 February 1991, as Saddam and his advisors reacted to the onset of the Coalition’s ground campaign to liberate Kuwait. We have included in this packet advanced copies of the relevant transcripts.
These records provide a window into Saddam’s reactions to the ground attack, the information and counsel he received as events unfolded, and Iraqi plans to garner domestic and international support. The first CRRC record, SH-SHTP-A-000-630, appears to begin in the early morning hours of 24 February, as the leadership received the first reports of Coalition assaults. In this meeting the Iraqis read and analyzed recent correspondence with Gorbachev. Saddam noted that he accepted Gorbachev’s peace proposal and expressed concern that his acceptance did not reach Moscow in time. In a letter from Gorbachev, the Soviet leader advised Saddam to clearly state his intention to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Kuwait.
The second CRRC record, SH-SHTP-A-000-931, addresses many of the same issues as the first. Saddam and his advisors complained that the Soviet Union allowed the United States to initiate a ground war against Iraq in the middle of negotiations over the Soviet peace proposal. Advisors encouraged Saddam to “embarrass” the Soviets into providing support for Iraq by emphasizing the U.S. rejection of Gorbachev’s peace proposal and the U.S. president’s allegedly “deceitful” actions. Saddam and his advisors also discussed how to rally the support of the Iraqi people and other Arab nations.
The third CRRC record, SH-SHTP-A-000-666, is the final available segment of the 24 February deliberations. In this meeting Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, shared information on his recent talks with senior Soviet officials. Saddam, as in the other recordings, expressed conviction that Gorbachev had betrayed Iraq by misleading Iraqi leaders into thinking that peace was at hand. Saddam and his advisors suggested that Iraq’s acceptance of the Soviet ceasefire proposal caused President Bush to rush the ground assault against Iraqi troops in Kuwait. They also discussed the prospects for an Iraqi withdrawal and why they destroyed Kuwaiti oil installations.
CRRC Record Number SH-SHTP-A-000-630:
CRRC Record Number SH-SHTP-A-000-931:
CRRC Record Number SH-SHTP-A-000-666:
These translations were provided by Laila Sabara (CRRC's senior translator) and JTG Inc.