'Suez in reverse': The Arab response to the Iraqi bid for Kuwait, 1961-63

Elie Podeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


On 25 June 1961,';Abd al-Qarim Qassem, the ruler of Iraq, declared Kuwait to be an integral par of Iraq. The announcement ignited a crisis involving Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and aLL the Arab states. In retrospect, and in light of Saddam Husayn's subsequent invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, one may regard this event as a 'dress rehearsal'. Despite its being mainly an Arab crisis, most studies have focused on the role of the Western powers-in particular Britain. This article, in contrast, aims to shed new light on the conduct of the Arab states during the Arab world operated as a system with its own features and characteristics. The article shows that the crisis heralded the decline of President Nasser's central role in the Arab system - a trend that was reinforced with the demise of the Egyptain-Syrian merger shortly after. In addition, although the dialogue between the Arab rules was couched in pan-Arab terminology, the players acted according to thier own interests, thus strengthening the territorial Arab state.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)103-130
Number of pages28
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


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