The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] On revenging the 1993 Bush assassination plot

One of President Bush's supposed motives for regime change is personal, revenge
for a 1993 assassination plot against his father when he visited Kuwait.  The
plot was blamed - unconvincingly, some feel - on Saddam Hussein, and Bush
recently described Saddam as "a guy that tried to kill my dad".

We shouldn't forget that President Clinton responded to the reported plot in
June, 1993, with a cruise missile attack that killed eight civilians when a
Tomahawk went astray.  The dead included Iraqi artist Laila al-Attar, whose
daughter is profiled, below.

The narrative here isn't Hamlet; Bloods, Crips and a drive-by, perhaps.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

[1] Bush quote:


Uncle Sam regrets ...
When U.S. officials warn of "regrettable civilian casualties" resulting from a
renewed bombing of Iraq, they should talk to Rema al-Attar.


With all that wall space in the White House, perhaps President Clinton can find
some room for a painting by Laila al-Attar. He may not remember her, but he
should -- she was the Iraqi artist who was blown to bits by the U.S. bombers
sent to punish Saddam Hussein in 1993. So was her husband.

Their only daughter, Rema, survived, blinded in one eye. Rema -- "little deer"
in Arabic -- left Baghdad soon after the bombing. She has had five operations on
her face in Los Angeles and Canada, and is still in pain.

She was 24 when "the bombs changed everything." In 1995, she married and moved
to the San Francisco Bay Area, where her husband has a business. Trained as a
draft designer, she took courses at a community college until their baby, Laila,
was born four months ago. Rema is anxious to complete her courses in interior
design as soon as possible. "I can still do this work with my one good eye," she

Perhaps the Clintons might call on Rema next week on their way to visit their
daughter Chelsea at Stanford, which is only a few minutes away. She might shed
some light on the consequences of the impending decision to bomb Baghdad again.

The president will surely remember the last time. It was June 27, 1993, in the
first months of his presidency. As commander in chief, he announced, he was
acting to foil an alleged plot to assassinate former President George Bush
during his victorious visit to Kuwait.

It was 2 a.m. when the bombs started falling. Rema's family was sound asleep.
"There was no warning. We heard an explosion and felt the walls shake. We tried
to get out but we couldn't do it. The whole house collapsed on top of us."

Rema was terrorized then and confused now. "It had nothing to do with us. My
father was a successful businessman. My mother was an artist. I used to work as
a display designer in a museum. We had nothing to do with politics. It was two
years after the (Gulf) war had ended."

Rema has never received an apology from the government that took her parents
away from her "in the prime of their lives." Rema was buried alive for five
hours under the broken stone and rubble that was once her home. "I was very deep
under and no one could hear me. I was dying by the time they got through. They
didn't get to my parents for another two hours. It was two hours too late."

Her mother, Laila, was director of the Iraqi National Art Museum and a powerful
force in gaining recognition for woman artists throughout the Middle East. She
was also, her daughter remembers, "very beautiful, very well respected and very

Rema does not speak of anger and revenge, but of sorrow and fear. "I get scared
so easily now, I can't do anything. I always wear dark glasses." And she has one
major concern -- her brother, who miraculously escaped serious injury when
"smart bombs" turned his parents and his home into a bit of what Pentagon
officials refer to as "acceptable collateral damage."

"I'm very worried about my brother," she says. "He is still in Iraq and they are
getting ready to bomb."
SALON | Feb. 23, 1998

Dennis Bernstein is a producer for Pacifica Radio.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]