Saddam's War of Words: Politics, Religion, and the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait

Synopsis

From a Western perspective, the Persian Gulf War of 1990ndash;1991 largely fulfilled the first President Bush's objective: "In, out, do it, do it right, get gone. That's the message." But in the Arab world, the causes and consequences of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and his subsequent defeat by a U. S.-led coalition were never so clear-cut. The potent blend of Islam and Arab nationalism that Saddam forged to justify the unjustifiable - his invasion of a Muslim state - gained remarkable support among both Muslims and Arabs and continued to resonate in the Middle East long after the fighting ended. Indeed, as this study argues in passing, it became a significant strand in the tangled web of ideologies and actions that led to the attacks of 9/11. This landmark book offers the first in-depth investigation of how Saddam Hussein used Islam and Arab nationalism to legitimate his invasion of Kuwait in the eyes of fellow Muslims and Arabs, while de-legitimating the actions of the U. S.-led coalition and its Arab members. Jerry M. Long addresses three fundamental issues: how extensively and in what specific ways Iraq appealed to Islam during the Kuwait crisis; how elites, Islamists, and the elusive Arab "street," both in and out of the coalition, responded to that appeal and why they responded as they did; and the longer-term effects that resulted from Saddam's strategy.

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