Overview: The North
In the predawn hours of August 2, 1990, as Iraqi troops
crossed into Kuwait, residents of the North were the first
to feel the wrath of the invaders. At the border village of
Abdali, its mosque and other buildings were wrecked. In
Jahra, homes were completely demolished.
The Iraqi army overran Doha's amusement park, where
they dismantled rides, loaded them on Baghdad-bound
trucks, and vandalized what was left. Later, they dug
miles of trenches and built defensive structures in Doha
as they did all along the coast. They also destroyed the
Umm Al-Aish telecommunications satellites.
Before the retreat, the oil wells were lit up just as they
had been in the south.
In a frantic attempt to escape from the coalition ground
forces, the Iraqi soldiers packed up their booty and
headed for the border. But it was too late. Caught on two
open roads, they were bombed and strafed. Amid the twisted, smoldering wreckage of their vehicles lay all the spoils of the war scattered in the sand. The scene became known as the Highway of Death.
For a video of Umm Al-Aish and of firefighting, see 4001
||Lasting Land Pollution (4067)
During the Iraqi occupation, massive digging was done in the desert to create trenches
and other defensive military structures. This disturbed the layer of pebbles on the
desert's surface that had minimized airborne sand, dune formation, and erosion on
windy days. During the retreat, Iraqi troops filled trenches with oil and set them on fire.
The remaining trench oil, along with oil mist, and black rain, and oil lakes formed from
gushing wells, seeped into the ground and combined with the sand and pebbles to
become a solid layer of tarcrete. This layer varies in places from a few centimeters to
3 meters thick. No plant life can co-exist with tarcrete, which in turn impacts insect and
animal life. Tarcrete covers about 850 square kilometers of Kuwait's desert.