From July 26, one week before Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, until last Monday, Washington Post correspondent Caryle Murphy was the only American newspaper reporter inside Kuwait.
During that month, she provided Post readers eyewitness with accounts of the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Some of her stories were published without her byline while she hid from Iraqi troops who were under orders to round up Americans remaining in Kuwait. Murphy succeeded in escaping from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia this week.
Murphy, 43, who is based in Cairo, was sent to Kuwait last month as anxiety grew there about increasing public threats against the small Persian Gulf emirate by President Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq. Murphy had reported earlier from Cairo that Saddam was accusing Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil and conspiring with "imperialist-Zionist" forces to hold down world oil prices by exceeding production quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries.
On July 23, The Post reported from Washington that Iraq had moved 30,000 elite troops to its border with Kuwait. On July 30, Murphy reported from Kuwait that the Iraqi buildup along the border had reached 100,000 troops.
When the Iraqi forces suddenly attacked Kuwait three days later, Murphy reported on the invasion in vivid detail in the Aug. 2 and 3 editions of The Post. She remained in contact with the newspaper until telephone lines out of the country were cut on Aug. 3.
From then, until yesterday, the newspaper had little direct contact with Murphy and no precise information about her whereabouts. But she continued to move around Kuwait City collecting information about the Iraqi occupation and managed to send several lengthy stories out by a variety of means, including giving some of them to other foreigners who were escaping from Kuwait.
To help protect Murphy's safety as American hostages were being taken in Iraq and Kuwait, these stories did not carry her byline. They were described only as eyewitness accounts from inside Iraqi-occupied Kuwait.
The first such dispatch, published Aug. 11, was a combined report from Murphy and two other foreign journalists then still inside Kuwait, Victor Mallet of the Financial Times of London and Hettie Lubberding of Dutch radio. Mallet and Lubberding then escaped from Kuwait across the Saudi border on Aug. 13.
More detailed dispatches from Murphy alone, without her byline, were published on Aug. 15, 22 and 26. She was in hiding as word spread in Kuwait City that Iraqi soldiers were searching more intently for foreigners remaining there.
A message was received in The Post newsroom on Monday that Murphy had left Kuwait City, heading for Saudi Arabia. Hours later, she was reported to be safely across the Saudi border.
Here are excerpts of some of the stories The Post published from Murphy in Kuwait during the past month: Aug. 2By Caryle Murphy
KUWAIT, Aug. 2 -- A massive Iraqi invasion force stormed through this small Persian Gulf emirate today, driving out the government and taking control of the capital after meeting surprisingly stiff initial resistance from outnumbered Kuwaiti troops.
The Iraqi troops, who crossed the border at 2 a.m., quickly secured control of several key government ministries and spread their tanks and armored vehicles throughout the city. But they had to wage tough battles at several points during the day. Aug. 3 By Caryle Murphy
KUWAIT, Aug. 2 -- The emir's palace, a symbol of this wealthy but vulnerable nation, became a brutal battleground today -- pounded by Iraqi tanks and artillery and veiled in plumes of black smoke -- as the Iraqi invaders overran the city.
From the seventh floor of the Kuwait International Hotel, a few blocks away from the palace, the day provided a vivid tableau of destruction. The hotel window was, in effect, a front-row seat for witnessing a small nation being crushed by its larger neighbor. Aug. 4 By Caryle Murphy
This report was filed Friday before telephone communications with Kuwait were cut.
KUWAIT, Aug. 3 -- Iraqi troops pushed south of Kuwait City toward the border with Saudi Arabia today, but they encountered scattered pockets of resistance from vastly outnumbered Kuwaiti forces.
Two large explosions were heard from the palace of the emir at 8 a.m. local time, more than 24 hours after 100,000 Iraqi troops rolled into this Persian Gulf emirate. Aug. 5 By Caryle Murphy
This report was filed last week before telephone communications with Kuwait were cut.
KUWAIT -- On Tuesday, two days before Iraq invaded this complacent little sheikdom, a European ambassador placed an urgent call to Kuwait's civil defense chief to discuss the safety of his expatriate flock.
Sorry, the ambassador was told, but the head of civil defense is on vacation. Could he please call back in three weeks?
That about summed up the level of official preparedness within the House of Sabah -- as the Kuwaiti royal family is known -- on the eve of the Iraqi invasion that would drive the ruling emir, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah and other family members into exile in Saudi Arabia. Aug. 11 The following is an eyewitness account of events in Kuwait this week. It was received yesterday.
A week after the Iraqi invasion, there is no sign of any civil administration -- Kuwaiti or Iraqi -- in this occupied country of 1.7 million people, where residents nervously await their fate.
The real fear among Kuwaitis and Westerners here is of an attack to oust the Iraqis, or of retaliation against them if Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, is attacked. Aug. 15 The following dispatch has been received from a Washington Post correspondent.
KUWAIT CITY, Aug. 11 -- Occupied but not conquered, Kuwait City today is a mixture of stubborn resistance and defiance by its native population, and fear bordering on panic among the Westerners and other expatriates held hostage here by Iraq . . ..
The situation for Westerners . . . took a drastic turn for the worse on Thursday when the Iraqi liaison with Western diplomats here informed them that citizens of the United States, Canada, West Europe and Australia would not be allowed to leave Kuwait . . .. Said a Western source on learning this: "It's clear we're faced with a hostage situation bigger than any previous one." Aug. 22 The following is an eyewitness account of recent events in Kuwait.
By day, Kuwait City feels like the eye of a storm. Its deserted streets are eerily calm and quiet, even as Iraqi troops and missiles continue to move south past the city to Kuwait's border with Saudi Arabia. Burned garbage and trash smolder in empty lots and on sidewalks, and shelves in most stores become barer day by day. Hundreds of homes are empty, and cars driving on the main highways give off a low hum from the washboard-like ruts caused by the treads of heavy tanks that have passed through the city in the past three weeks.
The royal palaces are in ruins and the Kuwaiti flag, which flew over the exiled emir's Dasman Palace, scene of heavy fighting on the first day of Iraq's invasion, was lowered Aug. 13. The scenic coast road that passes by Dasman Palace is littered with wrecked cars, a burned-out Kuwaiti armored personnel carrier and shards of glass. One recent day, a solitary camel walked along the beach in front of the palace, and Iraqi soldiers fooled around with a golf cart stolen from a nearby marina. Aug. 25 The following is an eyewitness account of events in Kuwait.
Electrical power to the U.S. Embassy here was cut today, a day after Iraqi authorities ordered the embassy to close, and two more Americans were picked up by Iraqi troops, according to an embassy spokeswoman. . ..
None of those contacted had any indication of what steps the Iraqi authorities would take next to enforce the closure of the embassies. "Keep us in your prayers," pleaded one diplomat.