Mohammad Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah
delivered 20 January 2011, Bush School, College Station, Texas
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Mr. President, distinguished guests, old friends, faculty members, and students, thank you for your warm and generous welcome. I am truly honored and humbled to be here today with such noble individuals, all true friends of Kuwait.
I can honestly say that one of the most important factors in being here today as the envoy of His Highness, the Emir of the State of Kuwait, Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, is to remind you of the courage and vision of President George Herbert Walker Bush 20 years ago when he decreed that the outrageous aggression against my country would "not stand." This, clearly, is one of history's most notable achievements and it will be forever remembered.
His Highness, the Emir Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, would say the same thing if he could be here with us today. Unfortunately, he is unable to attend because he is in Sharm el-Sheikh attending the Arab Economic Summit, an idea which he initiated himself. He is handing over his responsibilities as chairman of that summit to the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. I assure you His Highness is with us today in heart and spirit.
I would like to recall the memory of the liberation of Kuwait
which began 29 years ago with the
commencement of Operation Desert Storm. It marked
the pinnacle of the historic relationship between our two countries, a
relationship which has endured for over 60 years and was ultimately tested when
Saddam Hussein's forces
invaded and occupied
Under the leadership of President Bush, the United States of America sought legitimacy for the international coalition by working through the United Nations. The United States would not take the easy path of acting alone without international legal sanction. Guided by the charter of the United Nations, American diplomacy, inspired not only by President Bush but also by Secretary of State James Baker, led to the implementation of dozens of UN Security Council resolutions, many under Chapter 7.
The U.S. did not rush to use force. Its strategy provided room and time for diplomacy to work. Still, there was no hesitance to act boldly after the Iraqi regime rejected all international diplomatic attempts to complete their [forces' withdrawal] from Kuwait.
History also records the tireless efforts to assemble a historic multinational coalition under UN auspices. The coalition was the broadest and strongest ever put together to enforce UN resolutions. It truly spanned the world's nations and included the full support of countries and organizations in the Middle East region, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The coalition undertook a major military campaign, Operation Desert Storm, against Iraq which ultimately liberated Kuwait. Kuwait's Air Force proudly participated in that coalition, flying its fighters from bases in Saudi Arabia.
Allow me, Mr. President, to express the gratitude of the people and the government of Kuwait to the leading and significant role which the peoples and the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Syria, and other coalition countries played not only in the liberation of my country but also in hosting the Kuwaitis who were forced to leave Kuwait during the occupation.
In the weeks and months following the launch of Desert Storm, President Bush adhered to the spirit and letter of the many UN resolutions and the mandates they contained. In line with these resolutions, he halted all military actions after Kuwait was liberated and its legitimate government restored. There were no acts of vengeful retribution. The result of President Bush['s] decisive action not only liberated Kuwait but lay the basis for the renewal of the Middle East peace process with the convening of the Madrid Conference.
The world is a safer place thanks to Desert Storm, and to the strength of the international community's response to Saddam Hussein['s] aggression.
There are no words to express the enormous gratitude of the Kuwaiti people for America's role in leading the international coalition that literally saved our country. Kuwait is deeply grateful to the young men and women of the coalition forces from many nations around the world for [the] selfless role they played when they were called upon to help save the people of a small, faraway nation from the brutal aggression of a ruthless neighbor.
Their sacrifice and valor continue today in the distant lands as they fight in the war against [the] threat of terrorism.
Even as we remember and mourn the loss of parents, husbands, wives, sisters, and brothers, it cannot be said often enough: Their bravery was not in vain. We cannot even imagine the result if Saddam had not been expelled from Kuwait. Where would he have stopped? What would the region look like? How many of the other Gulf nations would [have held] on to their independence and freedom?
[The] Kuwait liberation was not just a restoration of the old order. It led to a new dynamic in our economic, political, social, and environmental development. Anyone who has visited the Gulf states recently, and has seen the phenomenal changes that have taken place, and talked to the people, cannot help but be [impressed] by the change.
Our liberation also gave us a new awareness and appreciation for our links to the rest of the region and the world beyond. The participation of so many countries in restoring our freedom made us realize the importance of being part of the international community.
Once again, I thank [you for] the privilege of being with you today to commemorate the start of Operation Desert Storm for the liberation of Kuwait, and to especially remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for that purpose.
Next month, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kuwait's liberation, we once again will [pay] tribute to those who have -- who have [fallen] in battle and express our eternal gratitude to all those who shared in our liberation. Believe me...Kuwait and its people will never forget you. We carry in our hearts what you did for us each and every day.
Thank you. God bless the United States of America. God bless Kuwait.
Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)
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