17 January 1991 Doctor Missing in Mideast

RAYMOND McALPIN
of the Herald
  

The woman in Ephrata at the other end of the telephone sounded worried but calm. Her husband has not been heard from since Monday, when he left his brother living in Jordan enroute to Iraq. But soon the steady calm faltered. Her attention turned to the television set tuned to the Cable News Network and her voice became barely audible. The sounds of exploding bombs and anti-aircraft fire echoed from her set as United Nations forces began their attack on Baghdad.

“Oh no. Oh no,” she said. “It’s started.” Nadia Said was being interviewed on the telephone when Operation Desert Shield went on the offensive and became Operation Desert Storm yesterday afternoon. Her husband is Ephrata physician Mohammed Said, who was on a peace mission to Baghdad. But his trip had another purpose – to help his relatives get out of Kuwait, where they have been trapped since the Aug. 2 Iraqi invasion. This is his third trip to Iraq. The first time he also went to Kuwait to see his family. He has relatives in Kuwait and in Jordan,” she said. “I’ve been thinking all types of things; whether he got to Kuwait or not.” Nadia Said has tried to remain positive. She has contacted everyone she could think of that might be able to help locate her husband, including Iraqi officials, American politicians and the Cable News Network, which once interviewed her husband during his September trip to Kuwait.

“I call my sister-in-law in Jordan everyday and there is no news. She hasn’t heard a thing,” she said. Nadia Said has contacted the governor, describing the problem but received no response, she said. She also contacted Congressman Sid Morrison, District representative for Washington.

“I tried to call Sid Morrison but couldn’t get in touch with him. A woman in his office said there’s nothing they could do because they can’t get in touch with him,” she said. She contacted the Iraqi embassy this week, which told her that they knew nothing of her husband’s whereabouts. Mrs. Said has been apprehensive about her husbands trips but knew how important it was for everyone to do as much as they could to prevent a war, she said.

He left on Middle East peace missions in September and October and reported that he had spoken with Iraqi officials, joining many others in attempts at finding a workable alternative to war. In an interview with the Columbia Basin Herald in November, he believed war could be prevented through a negotiated settlement.

Said has been active in trying to help resolve other Middle East conflicts, such as that between Iran and Iraq and between Israel and the Palestinians.