chapter  10
16 Pages

WHAT IS IN A GULF?

From the ‘arc of crisis’ to the gulf war
ByJames Derrick Sidaway

In his references to ‘the Other,’ Campbell is writing about a form of orientalist logic: but a very particular one.3 To be sure, the Iraqi other is represented as different and inferior: part of the orientalist stereotype denounced by Edward Said. However, what was particularly evident in the Gulf War was the way that Iraq became the sole bearer of responsibility. In this, Iraq’s independent and heinous action (the occupation of Kuwait) was presented as the cause of the war. And in some versions an individual (demonized) Saddam Hussein became the simple source of evil. In these scriptings not only was the complex historical, social and political geography of the Gulf erased (see, Ó Tuathail 1993; Sidaway 1994), but so too, the West and its local allies were removed from any form of historical or contemporary responsibility for or complicity in the situation there. It was necessary to forget that Western imperialism had drawn the boundaries in the first place, that more recently Iraq had been armed in part by the West, which in turn had remained relatively quiescent in the face of Saddam Hussein’s first use of poison gas in the war against Iran and similar genocidal actions against the Kurdish population of the north. In this ignoring or side-stepping of Western complicity, Iraq was also marked as different from all the other states (amongst them prominent Western allies such as Israel,4 Turkey, Indonesia and South Africa) that have invaded and/or illegally occupied adjacent territories.