August 9, 1990 – The Gathering Desert Storm – Hostages In Baghdad
August 9, 1990. Inching ever-closer to a confrontation with Baghdad, U.S. troops were arriving in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to begin deployment and training for what would inevitably be known as Desert Storm. So far, 5,000 U.S. troops had arrived ahead of anticipated 30-40,000 more, along with a steady stream of F-15 and F-16 fighters, with more coming in hourly. As well as assurances from allies, and even Russia, that troops would be sent to join if needed.
With all the buildup, there was growing concern over the fate of the 38 U.S. hostages still in Baghdad, even as the Iraqis released one hostage; 10 year-old Penelope Nabokov. The hostages were still being held under armed guard in Baghdad’s Hotel Rashid, as well as thousands of others still stranded in Kuwait, and many feared this would all turn into a long hostage siege. Even Saudi Arabia chimed in, with a broadcast from King Fahd, demanding Iraqi forces leave Kuwait and calling the U.S. presence in his kingdom ‘temporary” and seeking a non-military solution to the Gulf crisis, which was looking increasingly remote. A last ditch try at some kind of diplomatic solution was being discussed at a summit meeting of Arab nations in Cairo this evening. Iraq was sending a Foreign Minister as a token presence at the meeting. Israel was quietly worried that Iraq would try to involve Jordan to provoke an Israeli response, hoping the action would rally Arabs to Saddam Hussein’s side.
There were rumors, fears and dangers all around.
Iraq’s Ambassador to Greece indicated Baghdad would use poison gas if attacked by the U.S. or Israel. Further cause for concern, but the buildup was going ahead nonetheless and the saber rattling was well-underway.
There was other news, but the Crisis in the Gulf was taking precedence, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup for August 9, 1990.