ALI KHALED lifted his robes to climb down the well shaft in his
back courtyard. Following him into an underground chamber, I shone
my flashlight on two dozen long plastic packages secured with tape,
piled on crates above the waterline. For seven months, this cache of
rifles and machine guns had remained hidden from Iraqi eyes.
"Most Kuwaiti families hid things like this," Khaled said. "We
were all part of the resistance."
Leaders of that resistance are reluctant to unmask themselves
until the political situation in Kuwait has stabilized. But
conversations with resistance officers, gunmen, and civilian
organizers suggest that the movement comprised a few hundred young
men who struck at the Iraqi occupation violently, shielded by a wide
network of civilian supporters.
Resistance fighters say their opposition to the occupation began
the first day of the invasion, when soldiers and policemen put up
what fight they could against the Iraqi Army. The resistance
developed around the nucleus of those soldiers, as civilians rushed
police stations and Army barracks to clear out their arsenals.
"I spent five days with Army people shooting at them, but their
strength was in numbers, and then they brought tanks to the area
where we were," recalls Abu Mohammed, a colonel in the Kuwaiti Army,
who asked that his real name not be published.
Realizing the futility of fighting street battles with the
Iraqis, Abu Mohammed said, resistance fighters took off their
uniforms, broke into groups of five or six, and went underground.
For security purposes, the members of each cell knew only each
other, and their leader knew only his immediate superior. Since most
of the officers knew each other from military service, the structure
was relatively immune to Iraqi spies.
At the top, according to Abu Mohammed, is a high command,
comprising Army, police, and national guard officers along with
"We work as a team," he said. "There is a military side and an
administrative side, and we cooperate with each other, though the
leadership comes from the Army because we have the experience."
For the first several weeks of the occupation, Kuwaitis with guns
sniped at Iraqi soldiers, but the Iraqis put a stop to that with
violent retaliation. They reportedly shot 10 Kuwaitis in reprisal
for each soldier's death, and burned or shelled houses in the area
where shots had been fired. …