War in the Gulf, 1990-91: The Iraq-Kuwait Conflict and Its Implications

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War in the Gulf, 1990-91: The Iraq-Kuwait Conflict and Its Implications

By Majid Khadduri and Edmund Ghareeb
Oxford University Press, 1997
299 pp. $30.00
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Majid Khadduri published his first book on Iraq in 1951. His many works since have concentrated on Iraq or Islamic and international law. Now this indefatigable scholar (born in 1908) has teamed up with Ghareeb, himself a specialist on Iraq and the Kurds, to produce a book explicitly intended to offer a better appreciation of the Iraqi case. The four-part treatment presents the history of Iraqi claims to Kuwait, the immediate causes of the war, the war and postwar history to the present, and an apportionment of responsibility for the Gulf War, which, the authors maintain, was avoidable. Useful as a scholarly and sympathetic exposition of the historical Iraqi position, and not just the actions of Saddam Hussein, certain of the book's arguments, often presented in legal and normative terms, will be questioned. To claim, for example, that the United States and the United Nations preempted an "Arab solution" glides over the family resemblance between Middle Eastern diplomacy and that of the nineteenth-century Concert of Europe: no state attempting a major change in regional power balances goes unchallenged.