Scores of Kuwaitis gathered Saturday outside the U.S. Embassy here to thank coalition forces for liberating neighboring Iraq, a rare sight in Arab countries, most of which oppose the American-led war.

"This is the kind of demonstration we like to have," a beaming Ambassador Richard Jones told the crowd of some 50 men, women and children.

Kuwaitis stand alone among Arabs in their open support for the war that toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraq invaded this small oil-rich state in August 1990, and an international coalition led by then-President George H.W. Bush forced Iraqi troops out of the country seven months later.

"Bush Senior, Bush Junior, you're great," read one of the signs. "U.S.A., we are proud of our friendship," read another.

"Dictatorship has no place in the 21st century. It is high time Arabs stop thinking conspiracy and start thinking transparency and economic reform," rally organizer Rula Dashti said.

Tens of thousands of Arabs throughout the Middle East have joined protests against the war since the conflict began March 20.

Kuwait has been the launch pad for the coalition strike on Iraq. Saddam's forces retaliated by targeting Kuwait with 19 missiles during the first two weeks of the war. Most, however, were intercepted by Patriot missiles or fell harmlessly into the water or the desert.