The dead line...15 Jan 1991
Geetha and I discussed how to go about it since war was almost sure to take place. Probability of use of chemical warfare by Iraq as suggested by US forces complicated the situation.We were getting the latest news from all over the world since Geetha was working as Foreign Press Reviewer in the Ministry of Information.Many newspapers were churning out articles on chemical warfare and its impact on those would be affected ! Right from cancer to impotency were potential side effects!! I suggested to Geetha that she and children could leave for a while to India like most of the Indian families in Doha did at that time cutting down the risk for the whole family.She categorically objected to that, contrary to her approach in general.Either we all go to India or stay put together in Qatar was her stand. I had to yield to her decision.
In the middle of the night before Desert Storm was declared to start, before I slipped to sleep, silently I got up and checked once again all the widows and openings of the apartment to ensure that it's all closed airtight with masking tape. Geetha and children were sleeping. I spent some time looking at the main highway from the window. Everything was still. No movement on the road at all.But the street lights are on. Tension was there in me a bit. Did I take a wrong decision staying back? Action of Saddam Hussein was unpredictable. Or at least it was projected so by the media. The worse scenario expected was firing salvo of his missiles on the first day with chemical war heads to all neighboring countries who have joined allied forces to show his strength! For the first time after coming to Doha, one torch was kept handy within hand's reach by the bed side!!
Yes, we were ready for the war ....
I was expecting a black out in the night at least at the peak hours but did not happen. As usual the roads in the city were flood lit. Not only that day but for the whole period!
On Jan 23,Iraq forces dumped millions of gallons of crude to Arabian Gulf causing largest spill in history to that date, could be to ward off attacks from sea.
Firing of SCUD s-total of 88- by Saddam,commencement of ground assaults by Allied forces on 24 Feb and later pulling down of the statue of Saddam in the central yard in Baghdad are the scenes still live in my mind like anyone else who was in the Middle East then. Torching of hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait,700 of them I was informed later, by the retreating Iraqi forces which produced vast amounts of smoke and pollution in the region was really concern by all.
On 27 February, Saddam ordered a retreat from Kuwait and Allied forces declared Kuwait liberated.