From Baghdad to Basra, Kirkuk to Babylon, Iraqis agree that the incursion "marked the beginning of the end."
Thirty years have passed since Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait, but despite hints of a diplomatic rapprochement, people in both countries say the wounds have yet to heal.
On August 2, 1990, Saddam sent his military, already exhausted by an eight-year conflict with Iran, into Kuwait to seize what he dubbed "Iraq's 19th province."
The two-day operation turned into a seven-month occupation and, for many Iraqis, opened the door to 30 years of devastation that has yet to end.
On July 18, 1990, tensions spiralled after Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing petrol from the Rumaila oil field and encroaching on its territory.
Saddam demanded $2.4 billion from the emirate.
Kuwait countered, saying Iraq is trying to drill oil wells on its territory.
It was one of several disputes, the most complex involving their border – a bone of contention since Kuwait's independence in 1961.
Attempts by the Arab League and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the crisis failed and talks were suspended on August 1.
The next day, Iraq invaded.
"Iraqi troops began at 11 pm GMT (2 am local time) to violate our northern borders, to enter Kuwait territory and to occupy positions within Kuwait," Radio Kuwait announces in its first news bulletin.
Faced with 100,000 Iraqi troops and 300 tanks, the 16,000-strong Kuwaiti army was overwhelmed.
The capital fell that morning and Kuwait's head of state Sheikh Jaber al Ahmad Al Sabah fled to Saudi Arabia.
The international community condemned the invasion and oil prices soared on world markets.
At an emergency meeting, the UN Security Council demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
The Soviet Union, Iraq's main arms supplier, halted its deliveries.
Washington froze Iraqi assets in the US and its subsidiaries abroad, along with Kuwaiti assets, to prevent them benefiting Baghdad.
On August 6, the UN Security Council slapped a trade, financial and military embargo on Iraq.
Two days later, the US president George HW Bush announced he was sending troops to Saudi Arabia.
On August 8, Baghdad announced Kuwait's "total and irreversible" incorporation into Iraq.
Later in the month, Iraq annexed the emirate as its 19th province.
On November 29, the UN Security Council authorised the use of "all necessary means" to force Iraq out of Kuwait if it did not voluntarily withdraw its troops by January 15, 1991.
Baghdad rejected the ultimatum.
On January 17, after diplomatic initiatives failed, Operation Desert Storm launched with intensive bombardments of Iraq and Kuwait.
On February 24, Bush announced a ground offensive.
The allied troops then freed the emirate in days.
Bush announced on February 27 the liberation of Kuwait and the cessation of hostilities the next day, at 4 am GMT.
Iraq accepted all UN resolutions.
The crisis divided Arab states.
Egyptian and Syrian armies took part in the coalition, but it was denounced by other Arab countries.
Even politically, the war's bitter legacy took years to undo.
The UN only lifted the last of its sanctions on Iraq in 2010, and Baghdad has paid around $50 billion in the last three decades in reparations.
While Iraq languished, Kuwait prospered: its currency is one of the most valuable in the world and its people are some of the wealthiest.
Kuwait has demonstrated some goodwill: in 2018, it hosted a global summit to gather funds to rebuild Iraq, ravaged by the three-year fight against Daesh.
But it remains bitter over two issues: borders and bodies.
Kuwait is lambasting Iraq for delays in identifying the remains of Kuwaiti victims buried in Iraq.
The fate of around 1,000 citizens from each country remains unknown, after years of war and chaos.
More than a decade later, in 2003, Kuwait served as a bridgehead for the US-led invasion of Iraq, which leads to the overthrow of Saddam.