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February 17, 2019

Kuwait pays tribute to Bush for Gulf War support

Kuwait pays tribute to Bush for Gulf War support
'Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed Al-Sabah (R) receives former US president George H.W. Bush during a visit in December 1998' - By: AFP/File

Kuwait paid tribute to former US president George H.W. Bush on Saturday, saying his support during the first Gulf War "will not be forgotten".

Kuwaitis have long expressed their gratitude to the late 41st president for backing the tiny Gulf Emirate following Iraq's 1990 invasion.

In the wake of the war, many stuck bumper stickers on their cars of Bush standing in front of an American flag, and a few even named their children after him.

"Bush was an icon," said Farida al-Habib, a cardiologist who says she smuggled medicine to Kuwaiti forces during the invasion.

"I cried when I heard the news about his death," she added.

Bush died on Friday at the age of 94.

In a letter to US President Donald Trump, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah praised Bush's "historic and courageous stance... and his rejection of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait from the early hours".

His support "will remain in Kuwait's collective memory and will not be forgotten," he added.

"On behalf of the Kuwaiti government and people, I express my deepest condolences and utmost sympathy."

After dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Bush deployed hundreds of thousands of US troops to the neighbouring kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- urging other countries to do the same.

A US-led coalition expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait in a lightning campaign at the beginning of 1991.

Abu Fahad, a Kuwaiti army officer during the invasion who declined to give his full name, said he was "very saddened" by Bush's death.

"He stood by us even though he was not a Muslim," he said.

Bush visited oil-rich Kuwait in 1993 and was hailed as a "guest of honour".

Tributes have poured in online for Bush following news of his death.

"We will never forget you," Twitter user Manal wrote.

Lights at the landmark Kuwait Towers were set to be shut off Saturday evening and replaced with an image of Bush with Kuwaiti and American flags, the emirate's information ministry said.

The Gulf nations of Qatar, the United Arab Emriates and Oman also sent letters of condolence to Trump and Bush's son, former president George W. Bush.

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