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

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From a Western perspective, the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 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 delegitimating 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.