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The Gulf War: The Origins and Implications of the Iraq-Iran Conflict


Auteur : Majid Khadduri
Éditeur : Oxford University Press Date & Lieu : 1988, New York & Oxford
Préface : Pages : 236
Traduction : ISBN : 0-19-504529-7
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 145x215mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Kha. Gul. N° 1529Thème : Général

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Gulf War: The Origins and Implications of the Iraq-Iran Conflict

The Gulf War: The Origins and Implications of the Iraq-Iran Conflict

Majid Khadduri

Oxford University

“Why has this war, it may be asked, proved so difficult to control and bring to an end…? Is it really a conflict about frontiers and territorial sovereignty, as it has been dealt with by diplomats at international councils, or the projection of an urge on the part of one country or the other for domination over a region potentially rich in oil and strategically vital in any possible conflagration in which the major powers of the world might be involved? Are the confessional (sectarian) divisions in Islam, to which the majority of the people of the region belong, the root cause of the conflict, or are they merely the rationalization of deeper historical events and traditions which consciously or unconsciously prompted rival rulers to engage in competition and conflict? How much should the foreign powers, let alone the super powers, get involved in this conflict, and has their involvement aggravated or reduced the dimensions of the conflict?”


Majid Khadduri is University Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is the founder and former director of the Center for Middle East Studies, and the author of more than two dozen books (in English and Arabic) on the Middle East.



PRESENTATION

Now in its seventh year, the Iraq-Iran War has recently become the focus of intense world-wide attention, especially in the United States, where the attack on the USS Stark, the reflagging of the Kuwayti tankers, and the heavy presence of American warships in the Gulf have sparked a heated debate in Congress and among the American people. How did this conflict begin? And how can it be resolved?

In this informative volume, Majid Khadduri, a world-renowned authority on the Middle East and the author of numerous books on Iraq, provides a thoughtful account of the Gulf War, covering the complete history of relations between these two nations, the present conflict, and the possibility of peace in the future. As Khadduri points out, the roots of the war run deep, embracing not only ethnic differences (the Irani are Persian, the Iraqi Arab) and boundary disputes, but over ten centuries of religious antagonism. Khadduri explains how the rise of Persia as a Shi'ite state helped divide Islam into two factions (Shi‘ite and Sunni Muslims) and how the persecution of a Shi'ite minority by Sunni leaders in Iraq flamed tensions between the two countries. He describes the stormy relations between Iraq and Iran after World War I, the rise of the Pan-Arab Ba'th Party in Iraq in the late 1960s, and the Treaty of 1975, signed by the Shah and then deputy President Saddam Husayn, which brought a half-decade of peace before it fell apart. He also discusses how the nature of government in these two nations—one a clerical state headed by Khomeini, the other a secular state ruled by the Ba‘th Party and President Husayn—complicates peace negotiations (the Iraqi see the war as a political dispute over sovereignty, security, and national boundaries, the Irani as a religious war, with no political boundaries at all). The United Nations might be able to pressure these two nations to end the war, Khadduri concludes, but until their embedded antagonisms are resolved, there will never be lasting peace between Iraq and Iran.

For anyone concerned about the turmoil in the Middle East, this perceptive volume offers a goldmine of information, much of it enlightening, much of it disturbing.

 



A Note on the System of Transliteration


Western writers have used different systems of transliteration in reproducing names and words from non-Western languages. As in my earlier works, I have followed the system adopted by the Library of Congress and the editors of the Encyclopaedia of Islam with slight variations, particularly in omitting the diacritical marks and letters at the end of words that are not pronounced in the original language, such as Makka, Madina, and Basra (instead of Makkah, Madinah, and Basrah). But commonly known place names that have been anglicized, such as Persia (for ancient Iran), Syria (for Suriya), Algeria (for al-Jaza’ir), and Cairo (for Qahira), have not been transliterated. However, I have adhered to the phonetic system for the spelling of such names as Khumayni (Khomeini), Husayn (Hussein) and Asad (Assad).



Preface

The purpose of this work is to discuss the cumulative events and unresolved issues that initially brought about war between Iraq and Iran—two close neighbors linked not only geographically but also by intricate historical traditions—and subsequently led to the involvement of other Gulf countries. I have sought to discuss the major events and issues that have led to almost continuous tension and conflict between the two neighbors ever since Iraq came into existence as a modem state following the First World War. It is however, not a study in military strategy.
Nor is this volume merely a study in Iraqi-Iranian conflicts. Today, no Gulf country can remain aloof from a major conflict between one member of the Gulf family and another; sooner or later other members will find themselves drawn willingly or unwillingly into that conflict. Moreover, since antiquity domestic Gulf conflicts have tended to invite foreign intervention. For this reason, the last three chapters are devoted to the involvement of other Gulf members in the war; in particular, special attention has been paid to the question of how peace and security would be reestablished in the Gulf. In search of peace and security, not only the Gulf, but also other powers, whether individually or collectively, have become intimately involved through the United Nations. In the last chapter, peaceful endeavors to bring the war to an end are discussed. It is the message of this book, however, as 1 point out in the final chapter, that though the Gulf War might come to an end at any moment, unless the issues that led to the war are resolved, war might break out again at any moment in the future.

As I did in preparing previous works, during visits to Iraq and other Gulf countries I sought the assistance of several men in high offices who, in our discussions, provided me with information and advice, in addition to the information I obtained from official publications, the press, and studies by scholars and writers of various shades of opinions. Although my visits to Iran preceded the revolution of 1979 (my last visit was in June 1977), I have consulted several Iranians who left their country after the revolution in some of the Arab and Western capitals.
Needless to say, I have been under no illusion that the men whom I interviewed or consulted have not often given me their own personal views and opinions about events and issues. Not all those whom I had the privilege of interviewing or consulting have permitted me to identify them as sources of information, but the names of those who have given me permission may be found in the footnotes. I should like to acknowledge the kindnesses extended to me by all from whom I had the privilege of seeking assistance. Finally, I wish to thank the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University for extending to me secretarial assistance, and my daughter, Shirin Ghareeb, for compiling the index. No one, however, is responsible for any error or for personal opinions expressed in this work.

M. K.



Introduction

The Gulf War, which began as a conflict over territorial sovereignty and frontier security between two Gulf countries, has now begun to engulf almost all of the Gulf countries to varying degrees. Why has this war, it may be asked, proved so difficult to control and bring to an end, if it is being fought merely over territorial matters? Writers and diplomats, viewing the war from various perspectives, have given us differing interpretations of the origins and drives of the war. Is it really a conflict over frontiers and territorial sovereignty, as it has been dealt with by diplomats at international councils, or is it the projection of an urge for domination over a region potentially rich in oil and strategically vital in any possible conflagration in which the major powers of the world might be involved? Are the confessional (sectarian) divisions in Islam, to which the majority of the people of the region belong, the root cause of the conflict, or are they merely the rationalization of deeper historical events and traditions which consciously or unconsciously prompted rival rulers to engage in competition and conflict? How much should the foreign powers, let alone the superpowers, get involved in this conflict, and has their involvement aggravated or reduced the dimensions of conflict? Did international organizations—global or regional—which often exercise certain functions of a world government ever attempt to resolve some of the issues or contribute to bringing them under control?

Before we address ourselves to the major Gulf issues, perhaps a few words about the historical and ethno cultural identities of Iraq and Iran might be useful to bear in mind, as the identity of each had a significant influence on the role played by each when they passed under Islamic rule. Iraq developed a civilization (the Babylonian-Assyrian) and a highly organized form of government long before Persia (Iran’s historic name) had come into existence. But by the seventh century A.D., while Persia struggled to preserve its essential character after becoming part of the newly established Islamic Empire, Iraq’s identity had almost completely vanished, and its people were assimilated by the culture and had adopted the language of Arab rulers. Iraq regained its place of prominence when Baghdad became the seat of government and the center of Islamic teaming in the middle of the eighth century A.D. After the fall of Baghdad in 1258, Iraq was subjected to migrations and foreign domination—Mongol, Saljuk, and Ottoman—and remained under Ottoman dominion for over four centuries. Not until the end of the First World War did Iraq emerge as a new nation-state.

Persia’s separation from the Islamic Empire began much earlier than Iraq’s, when, in the early sixteenth century, it reappeared on the political map of Islam as an independent state and adopted the Shi'i heterodox creed as an official religion. It stood in opposition to the Ottoman sultans, who became the spokesmen of the Orthodox Sunni creed, the major division of Islam. The warfare that ensued between the two Islamic states, outwardly over confessional issues, was later transformed into conquest and rivalry between sultans and shahs over domination and control of Islamic lands. Iraq, where the original schism in Islam began, inherited both the historical confessional controversy and the subsequent conflict over territorial sovereignty and security as a successor to the Ottoman Empire.

The people of Iraq, at least when the country came into existence after the First World War, were split almost equally into the two Sunni and Shi'i communities. The Shi'i community, which had been discriminated against under Ottoman rule, began to play an increasingly important role under the newly created political system after the country’s separation from the Ottoman Empire. Owing to the deep confessional loyalty of Shi'i followers, relations between Iraq and Persia were necessarily affected by the domestic tensions between the Sunni and Shi'i communities. This situation has become even more crucial in the relationship between Iraq and Iran since the Iranian Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, claiming to assert the “true Islam” (Khumaynism), in 1979.

This book is neither an essay on military history nor on the conduct of the on-going military operations. Rather its aim is to inquire into the causes of the war, first as a conflict between two, and later other, Gulf countries, and to explore how it might be contained and brought to an end by peaceful means.

Since some of the causes that brought about the conflict originated long before the two major parties became sovereign states, an inquiry into the schism in Islam that created the estrangement between the Sunni and Shi'i communities is necessary before the more recent territorial and security problems can be tackled. The confessional or communal conflict has permeated Perso-Iraqi relations to the present day, even though both countries have adopted nationalism, presumably to supersede confessional loyalties, as a symbol of identity in both bilateral and international relations.

It is proposed in this study to pursue more than one method. Some thinkers, who assume that the drama of history is the unfolding of an already prescribed set of principles and rules of human conduct, whether of divine or human origin, maintain that the movements and events we are witnessing today should be viewed and inteqireted in accordance with the standard of their own religious-political system. If the outcome of events does not conform to their perceived standard, it is held, the whole process is condemned to have fallen under evil influences—Satanic or others—and therefore should be stopped or corrected. The Ayat-Allah Khumayni and his followers—indeed, all other believers, often called Muslim “fundamentalists"—fall into this category.

There are, on the other hand, some modem writers inspired by the economic interpretation of social and political movements, who have tended to interpret social change on the grounds of shifting social and economic conditions. Indeed, some have gone so far as to interpret all social movements in the Middle East in accordance with social and economic doctrines. By providing statistical data about conditions, these writers have ascribed all revolutionary changes to socioeconomic causes, even though it is well known to experts in the field that statistical data are incomplete and often faulty and unreliable. These social analysts, considered by their Western peers to have offered plausible arguments, have in fact provided inadequate and often misleading interpretations. Scholars who know Islamic society better have long realized that believers did not always respond to the call of leaders in accordance with socioeconomic doctrines but to other more intricate and deep-rooted traditions. Believers in Islamic lands are still duty-bound to respond to the call of the ‘ulama, especially Shi'i mujtahids, to whom they owe their loyalty in principle, irrespective of shifting social and economic conditions. The Imam, to Shi'i followers, is infallible and his authority is ultimately derived from God.

It is proposed in this study to combine the advantages of the so-called idealist approach without disregarding the advantages of the realist method. An attempt to combine idealism with realism, which may be called “empirical idealism” is a method I have pursued in earlier studies. It is thus not our purpose to elucidate only norms and values in abstract terms, but to relate them to movements and men who strive to realize them under existing conditions.

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