By Egon Friedell
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Extra info for A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE MODERN AGE : THE CRISIS OF THE EUROPEAN SOUL FROM THE BLACK DEATH TO THE WORLD WAR (VOLUME I ONLY)
To the sons of Gamal Abdel Nasser, it is your day to prevent the foreigner and his ﬂeets from passing through the skies in Egypt and the Suez Canal. . ’’ To Western ears, this type of speech chews the scenery. But Saddam had touched on all the right themes: the selﬁshly wealthy, the honor of the Arab male, the dignity of the Arab woman, the sanctity of the holy places, the perﬁdy of Zionism. And although the Suez remained opened, Saddam’s appeal to the street, as opposed to governments, began to drive a wedge in deeper throughout the Arab world.
And in his 23 July Revolution anniversary speech in Egypt, Mubarak was able to oﬀer some re14 s a d d a m ’ s wa r o f w o r d s assurance. He had just met personally with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and spoken with Saddam by phone the day before. ’’ 25 But public relations aside, there apparently had been a plan to attack Kuwait some months before the CIA noted the marshalling of troops in July 1990. 26 Writing in harb taled okhra: al-tariq al-sirri li harb al-khalij (War Begets Another: The Secret Road to the Gulf War), al Bazzaz maintained that, while the economic conditions were the primary cause, a longstanding vendetta against the Kuwaitis also played a part.
Marvin Feuerwerger captured the king’s dilemma in early August: ‘‘The king is now trapped between his 34 s a d d a m ’ s wa r o f w o r d s Arab obligations, his international obligations, and his desire to survive. . [He] hopes he will be at the bottom of Saddam Hussein’s enemies’ list. ’’ 39 Indeed it was not. The king had to balance competing potential disasters. Better than most, he saw what the presence of the Western coalition could mean. ’’ 40 But the king’s more immediate concern was at home.