KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti Islamist MP presented a request yesterday to question the Gulf state’s only woman minister, a liberal who has been under hardline fire for refusing to wear a head scarf.
Nouriya Al Subeeh had stirred the anger of Islamist MPs when she took the oath in parliament in April without wearing a head cover in line with strict Muslim laws. Since then she has been under scrutiny by Islamist MPs and could be dismissed if the grilling leads to a parliamentary no-confidence motion against her. — from this news article
This is the kind of story that helps rip the mask off of the sheikhdom depicted in 1990-91 as “plucky little Kuwait,” a splendid little sheikdom that was the victim of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Plucky little Kuwait, brave little Kuwait, Kuwait the Soft, Kuwait the Victim, Kuwait the So-Much-More-Moderate-Than-Saudi-Arabia, brave little plucky little Kuwait saved by its age-old friends the Americans, who came in 1991 to save it from the rapaciousness of Saddam Hussein. And in so doing the Americans earned gratitude so eternal that it lasted as long as it took the first President Bush to come and collect, when out of office, a million dollar speaker’s fee, and a few other well-placed Americans (was Clinton one of them? James Baker? I forget) to pocket similar sums for a half-day’s work.
That eternal gratitude must have lasted at least 3-4 years. Then Kuwait, not the Kuwait represented by a handful of members of this or that family (Fouad Ajami visiting them from time to time) that sends its children to the American School of Kuwait, but all the other Kuwaitis, revered to type, to the type of all societies and peoples suffused with Islam.
The Gulf War certainly made sense as far as the ruling families of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the U.A.E., and Saudi Arabia were concerned. But did it, the original Gulf War, make sense for the long-term interests of Infidels? What if Saddam Hussein had captured and held the oil riches of Kuwait?
What then? What would Saudi Arabia have done? Saddam Hussein’s army could not simply march into Saudi Arabia. The American Air Force could have destroyed it as it marched across the desert. Would Saddam Hussein have managed to appeal to the people who live in Saudi Arabia? Not to the Wahhabis, who would regard his brand of Sunni Islam — just look at the freedoms of Iraqi women — as far too secular. Not to the Shi’a in the Eastern Province, where the oil is produced: Saddam Hussein was the arch-enemy of the Shi’a. The Al-Saud would very likely have had to embrace, as they never really have embraced, the American government, and it would have been ready to pour out huge sums for a guarantee of protection against a more powerful, and closer, Iraq.
That would have been a good thing. We want the Al-Saud to be worried. We want them to have to worry about whether or not their enemies, foreign and domestic, will be held in check by the powerful Americans. We want to force them to give us far more of their unmerited wealth, for such protection, and thereby have less to spend on mosques, madrasas, and campaigns of Da’wa.
And what would Saddam Hussein have done had Iraq been able to take over Kuwait, and make it a province of Iraq? Would he not, over the next decade, have used that wealth to try again to destroy once and for all the “Persians” of Shi’a Iran? And would he not have been supported in such a new effort by the Saudis themselves, both because they would take his side against those “Persians” of Shi’a Iran, but because they might hope that he would once again be in an endless war with Iran, with Iraqi military might confronting the human-wave techniques of the basiji? For this would keep both Saddam Hussein and the Islamic Republic of Iran busy for a long time.
The American government at the time was intent on “protecting Saudi Arabia,” and it saw things one-dimensionally. It could not conceive of how mischief-makers and megalomaniacs can sometimes be used, or at least not prevented from acting, in ways that, objectively, help the Camp of the Infidels, and damage the Camp of Islamic Jihad.