Today, there are very few structures remaining in Kuwait that remind one of the brutal Iraqi invasion in 1990. One such building is the Al-Qurain Martyrs Museum.
Located off the beaten path in the residential suburb of Qurain, a 20-minute taxi ride southeast of the city center, the Al-Qurain Martyrs Museum is a memorial to a group of young Kuwaiti patriots, who valiantly resisted the Iraqi forces from this building on 24 February, 1991.
During the occupation, which began on the 2 August, 1990, when Iraqi forces were forcing young Kuwaiti men out of their homes to be taken as prisoners of war, other young men rushed to form groups as a part of what is known as popular resistance.
One such group was the Al Massilah Group consisting of 31 young patriots. Their main aim was to resist the invading force by all means, which they did by collecting weapons from various sources. Their operations concentrated on sniping at Iraqi soldiers and planting bombs on Iraqi ammunition trucks.
Later on, as the Iraqi regime started to tighten their control over the country, Al Massilah Group moved to Al Qurain district since it was an unfamiliar area for the Iraqi intelligence, and provided a suitable and secure base as well.
As part of the Kuwaiti coalition formed to thwart the occupation, the Al Massilah Group played an important role in revealing the location of various Iraqi army units and its command posts.
On 24 February, 1990, when the Iraqi intelligence got news that the Al Massilah Group was located in a house at Al-Qurain (now known as the Al-Qurain Martyrs Musuem) they surrounded the building. What followed was a vicious battle between the lightly armed Kuwaiti resistance fighters and the forces of the Iraqi army equipped with heavy weapons, including tanks, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
While three of the Kuwaiti fighters fell as martyrs immediately, the leader of the group, Sayyed Hady Sayyed Mohammed Alawy, and nine of the injured Kuwaiti fighters were captured and killed after being brutally tortured by the Iraqi forces. Seven, who survived the battle, lived to recount the sequence of events that took place at the venue on that fateful day.
Today, the museum displays various relics from the battle, including pictures and information on the martyred men and their families, as well as a reconstructed, scaled model of the area, for a bird's eye view. Shell casings, machine guns, and various documents are also on display at the museum.
A half an hour visit to this sobering museum conveys the vicious scenes of an actual battleground and helps us better understand the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and its significance to the people of Kuwait. H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the former Amir of Kuwait, visited the villa and, in 2003, ordered that it be maintained as a national monument.