A documentary research on the state of Kuwait’s national archives : pre and post the Gulf War
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On August 2, 1990, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq after a history of political and economic tensions between the two countries. This invasion is referred to as the Gulf War (1990-1991). Claiming that Kuwait is part of Iraq’s territory, the Iraqi military tried to occupy Kuwait and destroyed or confiscated all that attests to and symbolizes Kuwait’s history, culture, and identity. Iraq caused massive losses in Kuwaiti lives and property, but the main targets were governmental and cultural institutions that held records and materials representing Kuwait’s national archives. What the state of the Kuwaiti national archives was before the Gulf War? What factors led to the complete loss of the national archives during the war? What actions were taken by the international community to restore Kuwait’s cultural heritage? What initiatives did the Kuwaiti government take to recollect and rebuild the archives? What other developing countries within and outside the Arab world have lost their national archives due to conflict? What successes and failures characterized their experiences as nations and people trying to rebuild their archives? This thesis analyzes Kuwait’s case along with the case of other countries that have lost their archives during times of internal conflicts, invasion, or colonization. Based on the analysis, the thesis concludes with recommendations on building the archival profession in Kuwait so that it is resistant to times of emergency and adheres to international standards and best practices. These recommendations can serve other countries that have faced or are facing the challenge of trying to rebuild and/or preserve their national archives in a region of constant political turmoil and instability.