The Invasion of Kuwait
The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait refers to the conflict between the State of Kuwait and the Ba’athist Iraq. The conflict culminated with a seven-month occupation of Kuwait by the Iraqis, an occupation that prompted the United States to lead a multinational military campaign. The invasion followed the Iraqi accusation that the former was stealing the latter’s oil through what the Ba’athist regime termed as slant drilling (Long 29-31).
In spite of the Ba’athist’s accusations, observers argue that the war was instigated by several reasons, amongst them the Iraq’s inability to settle Kuwait’s debt that totaled $80 billion. Iraqis found it challenging to settle the debt since most of the money had been spent up during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. To make the matters worse, Kuwait had engaged in an over-production of crude oil; a development that caused the Iraqi oil revenues to plummet. The invasion that began on 2 August, 1990, resulted into the defeat of Kuwait within two days. In a few days, President Saddam Hussein announced that Kuwait had been annexed and that it was henceforth the 19th province; meaning that it administrators were to be appointees of Baghdad (Long 114-115).
Issues faced by Islamic Revivalists
With the current level of globalization, cultures and religions continue to be influenced by the outside forces. For instance, international sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup, the advent of the cable television networks, as well as international business activities and tourism means that natives from various locations across the world are continually interacting. The interactions have made natives of societies such as Iraq to lessen their adherent to the strictest interpretation of the Sharia, or the Islamic, Law (Khatib 56-57).
The contemporary Islamic revivalists are, therefore, being faced with the dissenting views; a fact that has made preaching a challenging endeavor. Muslims, especially the youth, have been expressing their objections, or displeasure, with some of the precepts of Islam in an unprecedented manner. This has, of course, been a threat to the cohesiveness of Muslims, particularly with regard to the strict interpretation of the Sharia Law (Khatib 78).
The Education System in a Contemporary Muslim Society
In Arabic, the term madrasah is used in reference to any educational institution, be it religious or secular. In the west as well as much of the rest of the world, the term is usually used to refer to the study, or teaching, of Islam. Nonetheless, individuals living in a contemporary Muslim society such as Iraq, Qatar, or the United Arab Emirates have a choice of two relatively distinct systems of education. They can opt to undergo schooling where secular courses are offered, or they can opt for a pure Islamic education (Hefner & Zaman 24-26).
There are natives of a modern Muslim society who opt to combine both the secular and the religious/Islamic education. However, while the individuals taking pure religious education have the opportunity to end up being Sheiks, or Islamic preachers and scholars, most of those who combine the two become less competitive when it comes to the religious roles. Of late, much of the Muslim world has adapted to modernization. For instance, the residents of nations such as the United Arab Emirates are able to live their lives in a manner that is relatively similar to the life in the rest of the world (Hefner & Zaman 61-63).
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Desert Storm is a code name that is used to refer to the war that the coalition forces waged against the Iraqi forces between 17th January 1991 and 28th February 1991. The U.S. led campaign involved 34 nations, and it was in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi invasion and the annexation of Kuwait had been met with serious international condemnation, and had actually attracted immediate economic sanctions by the United Nations Security Council (Lake 34).
Operation Desert Storm proved to be a Coalition forces’ victory since Kuwait was liberated from the Iraqi occupiers and, indeed, significant advances were made into the Iraqi territory. Nonetheless, there are observers who argue that the victory was not decisive since the Iraqi forces were still able to launch Scud missiles targeting Israel and Coalition military bases in Saudi Arabia. Although such an argument is debatable, the Coalition forces did achieve their goal; and, therefore, they were victorious (Lake 18).
The Roles of the Ulama
The term Ulama refers to the Muslim legal scholars who are also considered to be the educated class. These scholars engage themselves in various fields of Polymath and Islamic studies, and they are particularly experts in the Islamic jurisprudence. Being the Islamic lawyers and foundation upon which the law is based, they are widely accepted as the most significant arbiters of the Sharia Law (Zaman 188).
In a contemporary Muslim society such as the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait, the members of the Ulama engage in such activities as teaching, judicature, preaching, and advisory. Although they are significantly powerful and influential in such nations as Saudi Arabia, the Ulama’s role in several other Muslim nations do not involve heading important government institutions, or even advising the political leaders on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, the members of the Ulama from various nations have been engaging in lifetime missionary activities (Zaman 127).
Hefner, R.W. & Zaman, M.Q. Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010. p. 24-26, 61-63
Khatib, L. Islamic Revivalism in Syria: The Rise and Fall of Ba’thist Secularism. London: Routledge, 2012. p. 56-57, 78
Lake, J. B-52 Stratofortress Units in Operation Desert Storm. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. 2004. p. 18, 34
Long, J.M. Saddam’s War of Words: Politics, Religion, and the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004. p. 29-31, 114-115
Zaman, M.Q. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002. p. 188, 127