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When revolution leads to war (1958-1991): monarchic solidarity’ in the gulf war

Along with Iraq’s institutions and regime, its approach to Kuwait also changed dramatically after the revolution. In sharp contrast to the monarchic period, invasion and occupation attempts (and actual invasion and occupation) were made under at least two different rulers, with a delegitimizing policy toward the Al Sabah as a continuity among the often-changing regimes and rulers of republican Iraq. While King Ghazi’s period might be seen as an exception, the antiSabah continuity in the republican period must be seen rather as the rule, belying a depiction as a mere "Saddam effect”.

After coming to power in 1958, Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Qasim attempted to reverse the monarchy’s domestic and foreign policies, especially regarding its alliance with Western powers and opposition to Arab nationalist forces. This led him to attempt to invade his neighbor in 1961, which was precluded by a broad British and Arab coalition. In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and was pushed out by a broad US-led Western and Arab coalition.

Structural similarities

Apart from continuing tribal and family ties that spanned across borders and the continuing Arab identity of the rulers, almost everything that linked the two countries and especially its rulers and regimes was ruptured by the coup in 1958. The new regime was a military dictatorship, secular instead of the traditional monarchy's reliance on Islamic values and guidance, socialist instead of capitalist (or quasi-feudal), and staunchly anti-Western and anti-imperialist, resulting in the deterioration and even cessation of relations with Western countries and a pivot into the sphere of influence of the USSR. Even the link via Arab identity was turned into a divide between the traditionally but not politically Arabist Kuwaiti elite and the fervently pan-Arab Free Officers inspired by the Egyptian model that had removed the monarchy.

Salience: constraints and catalysts of ingroup identification

After the breakdown of the monarchic dyad, the categories of salience can relate only to the smaller potential ingroup of the two states but not to broader alternative categories. In the Iraq-Kuwait case, no clear larger alternative group membership can be identified. Pan-Arabism contained at least as many divisive elements directed against Kuwait's monarchism as it contained legitimation for unity and could thus not serve as an alternative “club”. Shared ethnicity/language or religion could theoretically crystallize into an ingroup. But if we look at the indicators for salience - overall share of states with a shared trait, common threat, and divisive ideology - we find that it has not in the given case. While Pan-Islamism has in later years started to erode Iraq's staunch secularism, it was too broad: there are about 50 Muslim-majority countries, and they are too heterogeneous. One main driver of Pan-Islamist ideology was Iran, which formed a threat to both Iraq and Kuwait. In addition, the impact of joint threats as well as divisive ideologies hampered joint identification even between the smaller possible ingroup of just the two states.

Until 1979, there was thus hardly any external danger to bind the Kuwait and republican Iraq together. Israel was conceived of as a non-Arab. non-Muslim “other” by both sides, but despite a strong pro-Palestinian current and activism in Kuwait, it was not seen as a direct threat to Kuwait specifically. While Iraq had been involved in numerous wars against Israel, Kuwait had mostly stayed out of them, sending only nominal support (Tucker and Roberts 2008, 596).

Iran emerged as a hostile power toward both after the revolution in 1979. However. even after 1979, the threat from Iran did not lead to a clear anti-Iranian front. Despite strong Kuwaiti support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait was also one of the first Gulf states to re-establish relations with Iran after the war, in September 1988 (Karsh 2002, 87).

The threat from Iraq to Kuwait, however, rose significantly. Given that there is no shared political system, there can be no ideology inside the “club” that is inherently divisive and hierarchic. There was, however, a strong ideology that divided Kuwait and Iraq specifically, namely revolutionary pan-Arabism.

The freshly post-revolutionary regime led by Qasim used fiery rhetoric to match its ideology. However, this did not mean a complete rupture or about-face in all respects. One aspect that remained was Iraqi irredentism, now clad in a panArabist vesture instead of a dynastic Hashemite robe. Qasim revived the Greater Syrian Fertile Crescent idea of the Hashemites in 1959 but gave a different justification for it to justify republicanism:

this project was an imperialistic project when Iraq was a strong imperialist base but now that Iraq has become a free, liberated, fully sovereign and independent country, this project does not constitute a danger.... Also the Syrian people had the right to decide their destiny.

(Tonini 2003, 242).

Iraqi discourse on Arab unity and unification were highly ambivalent and reached their apex with the invasion and subsequent annexation of Kuwait in 1990. Saddam Hussein justified these actions by Arab unity (wahda arabiyya) before and after the invasion. That this overrode all other issues, be they national or even familial, was exemplified by a quote by Saddam Hussein in 1990 that "Brotherhood [i/ttrnw] is always the most important step - [but] wahda remains the nation’s aim” (cited in: Bengio 1998, 47, italics in original).

Part of the preparation for the incorporation of Kuwait into Iraqi territory were attempts to control and rewrite history. Books with titles such as Kuwait is Iraqi and Iraq’s Kuwait were published that supported Iraq's territorial claim and bolstered the continuity of Iraqi leaders’ attempts at "reclaiming” Kuwait through King Ghazi, Nuri al-Said, and Qasim (Bengio 1998, 171). This resonated among the Iraqi populace, who already believed that Kuwait was “an artificial, colonial creation” (Kamrava 2011, 182).

In Saddam's reading. Arab unity was the goal overriding all other separate and national interests, and this unity could be achieved only by unification instead of by federation or solidarity, thus necessitating a leader - the hallmarks of a divisive ideology that impedes ingroup identification. Saddam Hussein's divisive transnational pan-Arabism was not the inevitable outcome of identification with the Arab cause, as the contrast to Egypt’s Arab nationalism demonstrates. Egypt’s take on the conflict was decidedly different despite adherence to the Arab cause, and its officials continued to emphasize the principles of nonviolence in inter-Arab conflicts, nonintervention in the domestic politics of Arab countries, and the need for Arab solutions to Arab problems throughout the conflict (cf. Lesch 1991, 38). This sentiment against Iraq’s invasion was shared even by Islamist opposition and leftist opposition alike, who were aghast at an inter-Arab war (Lesch 1991, 39-40).

Social processes of ingroup identification

When Kuwait declared its independence in 1961, Qasim not only did not recognize it but also threatened military invasion. After he was overthrown in 1963, the new regime under President Abd al-Salam Arif and Prime Minister Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr seemed prepared to extend recognition and resume diplomatic relations.

Kuwait tried to seize this opportunity and sent a delegation headed by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Ahmad to Baghdad soon after the coup. Sabah's Iraqi counterpart, Talib Shibib, de facto extended recognition and agreed to remove objections to Kuwait's applications to the Arab League and the UN under the single condition of ending British protection. However, the next day, he withdrew his statements. He had been instructed by the National Revolutionary Command Council (NRCC), the prime decision-making institution in the new regime, that the relations between the two countries must be conducted in the framework of "unity” - that is, with the goal of incorporation into Iraq. The NRCC officials confirmed that the removal of Qasim did not imply a rejection of his policy toward Kuwait’s annexation. Although the Iraqi minister of economy disagreed with the decree, the meeting ended coolly (Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001. 68-69). In contrast to the Ghazi period, this was the decision not of just one individual but of the regime as a whole.

The frequent change of personnel and responsibility in the republic made the development of durable personal bonds on which mutual trust could be based difficult, if not impossible. Although rapprochement was often signaled by a heightened frequency of visits, these meetings did not generally translate into a greater acceptance of the other or a more intense friendship, because there was little personal continuity.

After Qasim's invasion attempt, the sudden opening of the Iraqi border to Kuwait on February 18, 1963, signaled détente (Joyce 1998, 113, 128). A few months later, members of the Iraqi cabinet visited Kuwait on an informal basis to talk mostly about economic issues but also about bilateral political relations (Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 69-70). However, by mid 1963, the political resident in Bahrain, Sir William Luce, would state that he considered the current government potentially more dangerous than Qasim's (Joyce 1998, 131). His concerns were somewhat borne out. On a visit to Baghdad in October 4 to discuss the border issue, the Kuwaiti delegation presented Iraq with a ready-made agreement that included Iraqi recognition of "the independence and complete sovereignty” of Kuwait and the agreed-on borders of 1932. Kuwait insisted on it being accepted without changes, and the Iraqi officials accepted the agreement, but only after the Iraqi defense minister reassured them by whispering that they had already come "to an understanding with several Kuwaiti army officers that, within a year or two, they would stage an uprising as a signal to the Iraqi army to occupy Kuwait!” (cited in: Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 70).

Apparently, the flowery rhetoric was not backed by a new acceptance of the Kuwaiti monarchy by the Iraqi leadership. However, a month later, the Iraqi officials involved were dropped from power, and President Arif, who never ratified the agreement, died under three years later, while the Kuwaiti emirate endured. With the following president, the former president’s brother, Abd al-Rahman Arif, negotiations dragged on (Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 71). On April 20, the SC unanimously recommended Kuwait’s acceptance into the UN, which was achieved in May, when Kuwait became the 111th UN member state. Although the October 4 agreement was never ratified, a tenuous understanding was reached, and Iraq received an $80 million interest-free loan in return (Assiri 1990, 24).

Since the republic replaced the monarchy in Iraq, invocations of fraternity by referring to “sister countries” or "brotherly nations” were common, but they referred to the level of the populace, not the regime. While Kuwait attempted to emphasize the remaining connection and the Arab and Islamic bond between the two countries, Iraqi rulers were more circumspect about it.

Following the 1958 revolution, Qasim at first tried to attract Kuwait and distance it from imperialist Britain. Shortly before its independence, he declared that there were no "frontiers between us and the Kuwaiti people”, who were "Arab brothers” to Iraq (cited in Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 64); however, at that time, the family reference was not detached from the regime completely, in that he also discouraged activities directed against the Kuwaiti government (Joyce 1998, 102). This lasted only until the opportunity to invade presented itself with Kuwaiti independence and continued British links.

After Qasim was removed from office, not least because of his failed attempt to incorporate Kuwait, another possibility for rapprochement emerged. Kuwait attempted to inscribe the familial relationship into official documents, but Iraq resisted. The agreement, Kuwait insisted, should be adopted by Iraq without changes. A visit by a Kuwaiti delegation to Baghdad on October 4, 1963, mentioned in the previous section, emphasized the "fraternal relations” between “sister countries, inspired by their national duty, common interest, and aspiration to a complete Arab unity”. The Iraqi officials present accepted the agreement after the Iraqi defense minister reassured them that a coup and the opportunity to invade were imminent (Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 70).

The breakdown of commonality was especially pronounced before and during the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, although the August 2 attack took Kuwait utterly by surprise. Just a day prior, after a meeting of the two conflict parties in Jeddah, the Kuwaiti negotiator and Crown Prince Sa’ad bin Abdallah Al Sabah issued optimistic statements of further upcoming negotiations between the two "brotherly nations” (cited in: Heard-Bey 2006, 205).

Foreign policy restraint - and escalation

In contrast to the monarchic period, militarized clashes were a frequent occurrence in the relations between Kuwait and republican Iraq. Apart from the escalation peaks in 1961 and in 1990, there were 14 other MIDs in the republican period before and after the attempted and actual war, the vast majority of which (ten out of 14) reached the highest possible escalation level before full-out war (“use of force”, hostility level 4), and most were recorded as at least "attacks” or “clashes”, many resulting in fatalities (Ghosn, Palmer, and Bremer 2004).5

After the Kuwaiti declaration of independence, Qasim reacted with hostility and raised territorial claims in a press conference on June 25, 1961. The British Foreign Office was informed about rumors of troop concentration in the Basra area, only 40 miles away from Kuwait, and warned that Qasim might plan to attack Kuwait to coincide with the third anniversary of the Iraqi revolution on 14 July and launched Operation Vantage to deter Iraq's attack. It was later replaced by an Arab force, consisting mainly of Saudi, Jordanian, and UAR troops (Bismarck 2009, 80).

The resultant embarrassment and marginalization in the Arab world proved taxing for Qasim's reign and contributed to the eventual toppling of his regime in February 1963 (Tonini 2003, 249-250). The last of the 3300 troops that arrived from Arab states departed on February 19, 1963 (Assiri 1990, 22-23; Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 66).

The coup in Iraq did not usher in a significant change in relations. After having "temporarily” stationed Iraqi troops south of Umm Qasr in Kuwaiti territory because of mounting tensions between Iran and Iraq in 1969, Iraq reinforced a garrison on the Kuwaiti side of the border in 1973. On March 20, 1973, Iraqi troops occupied Al-Samita, a Kuwaiti police post. When apprehended, the responsible commander opened fire on the poorly armed Kuwaiti police gendarmes who tried to stop the Iraqi construction. Two Kuwaiti soldiers and one Iraqi soldier were killed in the process, and two Kuwaiti soldiers were missing. Kuwait declared a state of emergency, and tensions flared up again (Assiri 1990, 54).

Further Iraqi action was precluded by external intervention, by the British in 1961 and by pressure from Iraq's Soviet ally in 1973. Kuwait’s immediate neighbors were reluctant to move beyond diplomatic support. After settling the Shatt al-Arab dispute in 1975, Iraq attempted to appear moderate and thus withdrew troops in 1977 (Assiri 1990, 54). In 1978, however, Kuwaiti oil provoked another Iraqi military posturing at the border (Tetreault 2000, 69). Kuwait tried to settle the conflict numerous times over the years, but Iraqi proposals entailed concessions that it was not willing to make, afraid it might whet Iraqi appetite for more Kuwaiti territory (Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 75), clearly an indication that mistrust was still ingrained in the bilateral relations.

In 1990, after a period of rising tensions and citing anti-imperialist arguments based on pan-Arabist tenets, Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and a week later declared Kuwait the “19th province” of Iraq (Hassan 1999, 157). The attack took Kuwait and most of its neighbors by surprise. This blatant

From monarchy to republic 165 transgression of international and inter-Arab norms instigated the intervention of a broad-based coalition of Western and Arab states led by the US, later known there as the First Gulf War.6 By October 1990, 220,000 coalition troops stood against nearly 400,000 Iraqi forces (Allison 2012, 78). An air campaign was launched on January 17, and with operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, a large international coalition of 34 countries led by the US eventually forced the Iraqi army out of its neighbor's territory by February 28, 1991; four days (or - deliberately -exactly 100 hours) after the launch of the ground initiative (Allison 2012, 139).

A “final” agreement followed the UN Boundary Demarcation Commission decision in 1993 (Hassouna 2001, 237), but hostilities have reappeared from time to time, showing the conflict as a rule rather than an aberration. In October 1994, Iraq staged maneuvers near the shared border, acting in a way that was seen as similar to those preceding the 1990 invasion (Al-Nahyan 2013, 99). In 1997, shooting incidents followed Kuwaiti drilling operations near Umm al-Qasr (Okruhlik and Conge 1999, 243).

The lack of restraint from escalation runs through the whole range of Iraqi policy, even apart from military action. Iraq employed a broad range of instalments to discredit, delegitimize, and destabilize the Kuwaiti regime. Vocal propaganda campaigns not only demonized the Kuwaiti regime but also at times eliminated the Kuwaiti state altogether, presenting Kuwait as an “integral part” of Iraq. Subversion was an oft-used element against the monarchy. There was no ingroup identification with the regime that could have precluded rhetorical and eventually military escalation. Rather, escalation and attack were often precluded by fear of external (super)power intervention. When this deterrent failed, Iraq attacked and annexed Kuwait in 1990.

This has been a constant driver in all Iraqi regimes since the revolution and until Saddam Hussein. Despite previous attempts at rapprochement by the new post-revolutionary regime, the cancelation of the British protection agreement, and its recognition of Kuwaiti independence in 1961 opened a window of opportunity that could not be resisted. As Joyce put it, “as soon as Kuwait declared independence it was clear that General Qasim’s intention was domination rather than cooperation” (Joyce 1998, 104).

Instead of the expected congratulations by Iraq to their neighbor’s independence. Qasimheld a press conference on June 25,1961, in which he laid irredentist claims on the whole territory of Kuwait (Assiri 1990,19). He announced publicly that Kuwait had always been “an integral part” of Iraq given its historical connection - that is, it was part of the Ottoman province of Basra before being severed illegally by the British - and Iraq had decided to “protect the Iraqi people in Kuwait” from imperialism by subjecting it under Iraqi authority (cited in Khad-duri and Ghareeb 2001, 65). He stated that "the Iraqi republic will never cede a single inch of this land” (cited in: Tonini 2003, 248). Qasim escalated his rhetoric further, depicting the Kuwaiti rulers who made contracts with Britain and signed the independence treaty as "irresponsible people who are under the sway of imperialism” (Assiri 1990, 19). He then brought to mind the futility of peace with imperialists and threatened to kindle an "internecine war” (Assiri 1990, 19-20).

Not only were these utterances evidence of high hostility, but they also delegiti-mized the Kuwaiti leadership entirely, who were portrayed as having no agency or legitimacy. They also delegitimized the Kuwaiti state as an independent entity, all according to the will of “the Iraqi people” (since there was no Kuwait, there could be no “Kuwaiti people”). This goes beyond a contained territorial dispute and a difference of opinion and shows a high willingness to escalate.

The day after the British mobilization in Operation Vantage, the UN SC session on July 2 provided the diplomatic battlefield to match the military one. The Kuwaiti representative presented a letter objecting to the Iraqi aggression and Qasim's statement “to protect the Iraqi people in Kuwait and to demand all the territory belonging to the Qadha of Kuwait in the Liwa of Basrah” and the Iraqi announcement to appoint the "present Ruler of Kuwait as Qaimaqam of Kuwait”, who would be considered a rebel and receive severe punishment if he "were to misbehave” (UN Security Council 1961, 5).

The Iraqi representative, for his part, launched a tirade denigrating Kuwaiti statehood:

Kuwait is not more than a small coastal town on the Gulf. There is not and has never been a country or a national entity called Kuwait, never in history. It is only a town surrounded by barren desert which is inhabited by nomads who roam the deserts stretching from the Euphrates in south central Iraq to Nejd in the heart of the Arabian peninsula [sz

(UN Security Council 1961. 11, underlined in original text)

The whole passage completely dismisses any legitimate statehood appeal that Kuwait might have and, especially combined with the "Qaimaqam" announcement. denigrates the Kuwaiti leader - now emir and independent monarch of an independent state - to a mere subordinate position as a regional governor. This sentiment was not confined to the leadership. Dr. Abdallah al-Hussain, Iraq's acting director-general of political affairs and lecturer at Baghdad University, stated that Kuwait is an anachronism, “a family rather than a state” (quoted in: Joyce 1998,93). These snippets make clear that there was no hint of mutual recognition, at least on the part of Iraq.

Although the new government after Qasim accepted Kuwait’s independence and its boundaries, the agreement remained unratified, and annexation plans would resurface over the next years. After the coming to power of the Ba'th party in 1968, ideological conflict increased. Iraq supported Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (PFLOAG) activities that were directed against the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula (Ahmadi 2008, 112).

In the 1970s, Iraq also again laid claim to two Kuwaiti islands, Bubiyan and Warba, "replacing” that claim for the claim on Kuwait proper, thus minimizing the conflict issue, although larger claims tended to reappear from time to time. In interviews with as-Sayyad and al-Nahar, Iraqi Foreign Minister Murtada Abd al-Baqi stated that Iraq needed the islands because it should be a Gulf state and declared in an interview that "the whole of Kuwait is a disputed area. There is a document saying that Kuwait is Iraqi territory. There is no document which says it is not Iraqi territory” (cited in: Assiri 1990, 54). Troops were mobilized at the border. During an official visit of heir apparent Jabir al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the claim was transformed into a bid for a lease of the islands, which Kuwait did not grant (Hassan 1999, 157).

In the prelude to the invasion in 1990, claims and threats intensified again. Baghdad demanded a moratorium on its loans accumulated during the Iran-Iraq War, when it was strongly supported by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (and the US) and by additional funds. Saddam Hussein directly and openly threatened the Gulf monarchies when he said, for example, that "if they will not give this money to me, I will know how to get it”, relaying this message via King Hussein of Jordan (cited in: Karsh 2002, 90). Economic pressure on Iraq was also constituted by the Gulf monarchies’ refusal to abide by the oil production quota agreed on by OPEC in early 1990. When these demands were not met, Saddam Hussein’s rhetoric grew more and more histrionic. He demanded "an Arab plan similar to the Marshall Plan to compensate Iraq for some of the losses during the war” and accused Kuwait of conspiring with “world imperialism and Zionism” - reminiscent of the most menacing of Arab Cold War times (both quotes in: Karsh 2002, 91).

Kuwait rejected the allegations and demands, feeding Hussein's image of Kuwait as a rich parasite that had to be forced to contribute to the cause. Kuwait and the UAE had agreed to curb production in June 1990, but it was already too little too late for Iraq. By July 19, Iraqi troops were stationed on the border to Kuwait, their number reaching 100,000 by the end of the month. On August 8, annexed Kuwait was announced by Saddam Hussein as the 19th province of the Republic of Iraq (Allison 2012, 41, 50).

Saddam Hussein also used every trick in the book to discredit, delegitimize, and demonize the Kuwaiti leadership and later the US-led alliance. Saddam Hussein’s rationalizations for the war were numerous, often presenting it as the will of the people, as Qasim had done before him (Long 2004, 27).

Rhetorical escalation was the norm, often combined with intense othering rhetoric, which even expanded toward traits that Iraq and Kuwait and their elites shared, such as religion. Despite (secular) pan-Arabist rhetoric and institutions, Ba’thist Iraq started to use Islamic frames of reference, even calling the coalition the “imperialist camp of the infidel” (Long 2004, 82). This linking of Arabism to Islam had been employed in the prelude to the invasion for many months (Long 2004, 81-138). The Iraqi regime also delegitimized the Saudi regime by referring to the country as the "lands of Hijaz and Najd” and thus disconnected from the Al Saud as the official name of the kingdom demanded. This appellation also served as a necessary step before the invocation of Hussein's alleged Sharifian ancestry.

which he pointed out neither the Al Saud nor Mubarak possessed (Bengio 1998, 79-80; Long 2004, 106-107).7

Saddam Hussein clearly directed his mélange of pan-Arabist and Islamic calls to arms against a broader front, as when he exclaims in his infamous "jihad speech" on August 10, the day of the annexation: “Until the voice of right rises up in the Arab world, hit their interests wherever they are and rescue holy Mecca and the grave of the prophet Mohammed in Medina” (Long 2004, 85). Before the launch of the air campaign on January 17 that would result in the liberation of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein prepared his people and his attackers for a fight that he called “the mother of [all] battles” (utnm al-ma ’arik). In a public speech on January 20. Hussein invoked religious identity and sacrifice by casting the attackers as “infidels” and the Iraqis as supported by God (“all the means and potential that God has given us”), calling them (and all Arabs) to jihad and delegitimized the coalition members as "infidels, the Zionists, and the treacherous, shameful rulers, such as the traitor [King] Fahd”, repeatedly linking the conflict to Palestine (Allison 2012,106).

Kuwait also employed Arabist and Islamic frames of reference. Both identities could have been used to appeal to unity and friendship with Iraq, which was also Arab and increasingly emphasized Islamic identity as well. Instead, as Iraq, they were employed to "other” the opponent and rally possible supporters to their cause. Thus, the last appeal of Kuwaiti radio on the day of the invasion was "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is Kuwait. O Arabs, o brothers, O beloved brothers, O Muslims, your brothers in Kuwait are appealing to you. Hurry to their aid” (quoted by: Long 2004, 81). The Islamic frame was a desperate last-minute attempt in that Kuwait had drawn heavily on pan-Arabist tropes before. Apart from mobilizing support, it was used to delegitimize Iraq. Kuwait railed against the "Tatars” who came to invade their land, as Saddam Hussein has done before in relation to Iran and has done since in relation to the US coalition forces (Long 2004. 82). At the height of the conflict, the affiliation with Iraq as an Arab neighborly state broke down. While Kuwait appeals to Arab (and Muslim) “brothers”, it simultaneously excludes the Iraqis from that appellation, who become foreign "Tatars”.

There is a plethora of explanations for Saddam Hussein's actions, as there was for Qasim's. Psychological approaches were exceptionally popular in explanations of Saddam Hussein's behavior, whose belligerent foreign (and domestic) policy lends itself to psychological profiling and personalization (see e.g. Post 2003; Renshon 1993), and indeed, some features of his personality - paranoid inklings and a drive for power and prestige - seem to suggest idiosyncrasies.8 An Iraqi opposition member contended that it was the former obsession with making history (quoted by: Bengio 1998, 243, fh 18). Another consequence of Saddam's psychology was the miscalculation of the reaction of both superpowers - erroneously hoping for the crumbling Soviet Union’s support (Allison 2012,71) and US acquiescence (Karsh 2002, 91, 92)?

However, these and other factors, like economic and hegemonic explanations, cannot explain the timing of the attack, because they were present at other times when Iraq refrained from aggression. The timing of this particular attack can be

From monarchy to republic 169 explained instead via a combination of an increased perception of threat and the open possibility to "strike at the foreign sources of domestic problems” to explain war initiation (Gause 2002, 51-53). But this in turn does not explain the continued and persistent Iraqi hostility up to military action throughout the over three decades before as well. This and other attacks and destabilization campaigns were enabled by the breakdown of the monarchic system.

Kuwaiti-Iraqi cooperation was mostly opportunistic and ad hoc and therefore easily turned into hostility on numerous occasions. It was not a persistent alliance that continued during periods of diverging interests and aims.

During the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait moved ever closer toward Iraq and became the main economic supporter, along with Saudi Arabia. Iran had to mostly rely on aid from outside the region (except for Libyan, Syrian, and Israeli support) (Karsh 2002,44-45). Compared to the revolutionary Shia regime in Tehran, Saddam Hussein appeared a pragmatic choice. Being more clearly delimitated and restricted, shared Arab identity proved more powerful than pan-Islamic identity did, despite Iranian attempts to threaten Kuwait into neutrality (cf. Khadduri and Ghareeb 2001, 71-74). Although Kuwait (along with Saudi Arabia) was the biggest supporter of Iraq during the war, the bond did not outlast the divergence of interest and can therefore not be considered an informal alliance. Saddam Hussein's tone and foreign policy behavior changed in early 1990 and were accompanied by an increasingly hostile stance toward the GCC states, which ended in the confrontation described earlier (Gause 2002, 57-58).

But solidarity and alliance in periods of Iraqi aggression toward Kuwait exists -among monarchies. The actions ofArab monarchies during the Gulf Crises of 1961 and 1990 demonstrate monarchic solidarity and will thus be shortly addressed in this section, which is otherwise reserved for Iraqi-Kuwaiti cooperation.

Kuwait appealed for British (and Arab) protection after Qasim's speech. Saudi Arabia vocally proclaimed its support, in which King Saud reassured Emir Abdallah Salim in a telegram on June 28 that "We are with you through thick and thin and shall be faithful to our undertakings” (quoted by: Joyce 1998,105). Saud also expressed dismay at the Iraqi ruler behaving like a "maniac” (Joyce 1998, 105). British troops and subsequently Saudi Arabian-led Arab League troops came to Kuwait’s rescue and prevented Iraqi intervention (Bismarck 2009; Metz 1994). Britain launched Operation Vantage, the largest mobilization of forces in the Middle East since the Suez Crisis (Bismarck 2009, 75), which were subsequently replaced by Arab troops (Joyce 1998.108). Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the two largest monarchies, were major contributors, and their forces were the last to leave, in 1963. The year before. Kuwaiti soldiers were sent to Jordan for training. When the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia eventually withdrew their troops, it was not because of disagreement with the Al Sabah but because of the unfriendly atmosphere among the population in the country, evoking an atmosphere of imminent revolutionary takeover (Joyce 1998. 111-112). The episode reverberated among the Gulf monarchies and shaped a community of fate among them. Following Abdallah Salim's death in 1965, they all sent condolence telegrams (except for Muscat-Oman) (Joyce 1998, 140).10

The invasion by Saddam Hussein had an even greater impact on the monarchic club. It polarized the Arab world. Most of the Arab governments condemned the invasion and annexation, and only Jordan and the PLO remained as Iraq's allies (although King Hussein would criticize the invasion as well). The populaces were similarly divided. Arab states provided two-thirds of the funding for the coalition that ultimately pushed out Iraq (Allison 2012, 102).

This attempted erasure of a dynasty by invasion prompted a show of broad monarchic solidarity. All monarchies of the region at the time participated in the efforts to reinstate it, even Jordan, which refused to join the military coalition against Iraq and attempted to mediate the conflict. It was the first war experience for some of them: Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE had never been active (interstate) war participants before.

The fates of the monarchies were connected, which made solidarity more pronounced. Anti-Kuwaiti propaganda was also directed against other reactionary and "parasitic” monarchies and shaikhdoms. Saudi Arabia feared not only for the Al Sabah but also for its own territorial integrity. Saddam Hussein ordered Scud missiles which directly attacked the country. King Fahd and the Kuwaiti Emir supported the coalition with $15 billion, and Saudi Arabia provided crucial flyover access. In an attempt to drag the coalition into a ground war, Iraqi forces thrust into Ras al-Khafji, a small town 10 miles inside Saudi Arabia. Apart from US troops, Saudi and Qatari military played a major role in pushing them out, losing 19 soldiers in the process (Allison 2012, 67,117, 120-122). The UAE was among the first Arab countries to send ground forces to Kuwait and repeated the feat in October 1994, when Iraqi troops moved toward the Kuwaiti border (Hellyer 2001, 169). Following the emergency Arab League summit two days after the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait on August 10, Egypt, Morocco, and Syria sent troops to Saudi Arabia, while Somalia and Djibouti provided staging areas for international forces (Lesch 1991, 37). In a later meeting in Jiddah on August 22, the defense ministers of the GCC would lament the aggression by “an Arab brother”, but their weak military capabilities did not allow them to act on their own. Still, each GCC state contributed to the international coalition (Heard-Bey 2006, 205).

The Iraqi aggression prompted wide outrage among most of the Arab world, and important supporters - like Egypt or Syria - were republican. However, the unified reaction and commitment by countries that - unlike Egypt or Syria - had no combat and war experience is remarkable. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, and (to a lesser extent) Morocco, objected not only out of respect for the international norm of territorial integrity but also because the victim was “one of them”.

The only seeming exception to monarchic solidarity was the policy of Jordan, which did not take part in the anti-Iraq coalition. This is even more puzzling in light of the fact that more "radical” Syria did take part, a constellation that would be reversed in the Second Gulf War of 2003, when the sons of Hussein and Hafiz al-Asad took the opposite position from their fathers in the First Gulf War (cf. Hinnebusch and Quilliam 2006) and that Jordan had been hostile toward Iraq since the 1958 revolution well into the 1980s (Lynch 1998, 354-355).

Nevertheless, while Jordan was a monarchic outlier, it was not a complete contradiction. Although King Hussein preferred to abstain from military efforts against Iraq, he fulfilled a mediating role rather than full alliance, which would imply support for Iraqi aggression. To the contrary, he always made his support for the Al Sabah and their legitimacy evident.

King Hussein claimed that Saddam Hussein gave him Saddam's personal assurance that Iraq would not use military force against Kuwait (Allison 2012, 45). As were the rest of the Arabs, he was taken by surprise and woke up to the startling news of invasion by a call by King Fahd at 5:50 a.m. on August 2. Because of his strong ties to Saddam (he was described as a "personal friend” of the Iraqi president) and his chairpersonship of the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), a short-lived organization of which Iraq, Egypt, and North Yemen were also members, it was a particular sharp blow (Shlaim 2009,486). In addition, the closeness of the relationship heightened distrust against Jordan among its Arab neighbors; Kuwaitis suspected Jordan of being an accessory; and the Saudis even feared that Hussein intended to renew Hashemite irredentism and join Iraqi forces to reclaim the Hijaz. This suspicion was aggravated by Hussein's defiant behavior and his public request in front of the Jordanian parliament to call him "sharif’ (Shlaim 2009, 488-489). For the next few weeks, he also started wearing Hashemite garb and grew a beard, increasingly resembling his namesake great-grandfather (Shlaim 2009, 489, 503).

The day after the invasion. King Hussein flew to Baghdad and attempted to broker a peaceful solution without relinquishing his support for his Iraqi neighbor, but he was ultimately unsuccessful (Allison 2012, 72-73). Although Jordan abstained from the anti-Iraq front as the only monarchy, its stance was not one of unequivocal support of Saddam Hussein's action. In contrast. King Hussein stated his disapproval of annexation and his belief that the Al Sabah continued to be the legitimate rulers of Kuwait (Lesch 1991, 45). He also tried numerous diplomatic endeavors, pleading with the Iraqi president to pull back to avoid war and foreign intervention (cf. Shlaim 2009, 500-501).

Inside Jordan's regime, the policy was highly controversial, and his intention to restore Jordanian-Iraqi ties to pre-1958 closeness caused a severe row between him and his brother Hassan. As King Hussein's popularity at home soared to unseen heights, he was talking privately about abdicating. In the aftermath of the conflict, it was so essential for Jordan to appear “neutral” in the conflict that it prompted the government to release a white paper containing the official stance on the crisis and 15 official documents (Shlaim 2009, 485, 491^193).11

Still, the Jordanian behavior had long-lasting repercussions for Kuwaiti-Jordanian relations. It led Kuwait to refuse normalization with it up to the late 1990s, after all other Arab states had already done so, despite King Hussein’s support for Iraqi opposition aiming at regime change in Iraq since 1995 (Maddy-Weitzman 1999, 129-130).

Besides important domestic and economic factors, it could be argued that ideational factors that competed with monarchic ingroup solidarity might explain King Hussein's deviation.12 Marc Lynch argues that the crucial factor was in fact common identity with Iraq, albeit on the societal instead of elite level: the “networks of community of identity and interests” between the two states, which are not easily replaced, made Jordan put normative values before material ones (cf. Lynch 1998, 363). Lynch claims that it was not the existence of a threat per se but the construction of a community of fate of sorts where a threat to Iraq was seen as a threat to Jordan (Lynch 1998, 361). If that were indeed the case, it would compete on the same identity-based level with monarchic solidarity and might explain, along with economic and geopolitical reasons, why Jordan did not conform completely to the policy of the "royal club”.

Ingroup identification after regime change

In contrast to the monarchic period, republican Iraq and monarchic Kuwait do not have many unifying similarities, resulting in a high level of hostility throughout the period. Iraq's republican period is characterized by a lack of joint identification. Shared categories (Arab, Muslim) are used just as much to "other” Kuwait as to affirm commonality. Few structural similarities remained between the two states. Instead, representatives of Iraq’s republican ideology frequently called for the abolishment of the "reactionary” system still in place in Kuwait.

Building personal relations also became more difficult: Iraq's republican elites had been socialized in different education facilities (especially the military) and upheld a different and highly divisive ideology. In addition, no long-term interpersonal relations on the political level could be forged, because of the frequent coups and regime changes in Iraq. Overall, there was thus no sense of community that could be affirmed and reified.

Therefore, there was no established norm of respect for national sovereignty between the two states. From Qasim to Arif to Saddam Hussein, Iraqi rulers heavily criticized the Kuwaiti regime and the Gulf monarchies in general. The brotherly spirit of former times was nowhere to be found. Since Iraq did not recognize Kuwait as an equal and legitimate partner, military escalation was not precluded by bilateral interstate bonds. When hostility built up, it was usually de-escalated by external deterrence not by a preference for cooperation over conflict. Once that deterrence failed (as in the Glaspie episode in the wake of the First Gulf War), there was nothing to stop an Iraqi attack. Restraint based on deterrence is naturally weaker than restraint based on community bonds. Not wanting to risk war with someone is a less stable condition than not wanting war at all.

The hostility between Iraq and Kuwait not only stands out in comparison to the jointly monarchic period. Iraq's expansionist foreign policy contrasts starkly with the behavior of other monarchies once their fellow dynasty in Kuwait came under attack, based on a strong sense of monarchic identification with the victim. In 1961, Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Kuwait diplomatically, financially, and ultimately militarily. In 1990/1991. all monarchies except Jordan joined in a military coalition against Iraq, even if they had never fought a major war before. Even Jordan, while under heavy political and economic pressure to support Iraq, stood by the affirmation of the legitimacy of the Kuwaiti regime that Iraq denied.

While some republics also participated in the joint effort to liberate Kuwait, only Egypt and Syria provided troops. Their participation, however, was less surprising given their size and important role in Middle East relations and their ample military experience. While small republics like Lebanon and Tunisia did not participate, small monarchies like Qatar and the UAE all united in support of Kuwait. While the “Arab club” was divided by Iraqi irredentism and Arab nationalism. the "monarchic club” rallied around one of its own.

 
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