Ambassador Frederick Vreeland
December 9, 2018
The late President George H.W. Bush once told me he appreciated the support Morocco had shown when he was building the coalition of nations opposing what Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator, called its “annexation” of Kuwait, in August 1990. One week after that invasion, the Arab League met and adopted a resolution calling for troops to assure the liberation of Kuwait and the protection of Saudi Arabia. As for the Arab nations, a full dozen of them voted whole-heartedly for that motion; however, other than Saudi Arabia and Egypt who had proposed the resolution, only Morocco actually sent troops to join Bush’s military coalition in support of the Arab League position.
President Bush was always proud of that Gulf War, which, as coalition leader he officially ended with the liberation of Kuwait in February, 1991. I mentioned to him in a private conversation half a dozen years later, that some people still considered he should have continued the war by chasing the invading troops back into Iraq so as to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. He replied that he was aware of that, but the coalition he had so painstakingly put together was specifically devoted to pushing Iraq back to its borders, and therefore would have fallen apart if he had tried to go further.
So the great American president who died last week consciously showed respect for those countries, including Morocco, which had helped him restore Kuwait’s independence, and felt he had done so by respecting the very clear and limited mandate that they had given him to lead the successful coalition.
Frederick Vreeland was U.S. Ambassador to Morocco under President H.W. Bush, 1991-1993, and currently resides in Marrakech, Morocco.