The Iraq War - An Islamic View

It has now been a number of years since the armies of the US and its “coalition of the willing” crossed the borders of Kuwait and other “undisclosed” nations to invade the Republic of Iraq. The daily news of Iraqi casualties, cities being bombed, prisoners being tortured, hostages being taken, number of “insurgents” killed, and number of US soldiers being killed, etc. had become so frequent that most of our senses during that time was numbed and we have moved on with our lives as if the ongoing tragedy was a normal part of daily news and life.

While the stated reasons for invasion at the time fluctuated from “weapons of mass destruction” to “regime change” to “fighting terrorism” to “stopping a civil war,” it is the Islamic view on the actions of invading a sovereign nation and subjugating its people to occupation that shall be the subject of this paper.

Iraq Invades Kuwait – August 1990

To speak clearly and justly of the current situation in Iraq it is crucial to start at the very beginning of the road which led to the 2003 invasion – the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait (1990-1991).

On August 1990, and after a build-up of political and economic confrontations between Iraq and Kuwait – some of which were based on the mischievous border lines drawn in light of the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 – and after a number of failed attempts at mediation by Arab states and persons; the government of Iraq (led by its then President Saddam Hussein) decided to militarily attack Kuwait and overthrow its monarchy which was deemed to be hostile and agonistic to Iraq and its interests.

The history that led up to the Iraq-Kuwait conflict has been recorded in many publications and is not the subject of this paper.

In 1991 a massive military force being led by the United States and involving the majority member states of the United Nations was able to dislodge the Iraqi army from Kuwait after a massive air campaign aimed at the military forces and the infrastructure inside Iraq. This Iraqi retreat from Kuwait was followed by a “cease-fire” agreement with the government of Iraq in March 1991 and the forced acceptance of UN resolution 687 in April 1991.

The key points to the UN resolution 687 can be highlighted as follows:

  • Iraq shall dismantle all chemical, nuclear, biological, and even certain conventional weapons programs under UN inspections. 
  • Iraq shall be financially liable for all damages to Kuwait, damage to the environment, all expenses incurred by foreign nations to expel Iraq from Kuwait, all compensation for loss of life or property or damage to foreign nationals or governments as a result of the invasion and subsequent war.
  • Sanctions on technology, weapons, materials, and specific goods and products shall be imposed on Iraq.

As an addition (but not part of resolution 687), the US and UK took it upon themselves to impose “no-fly-zones” which they put into effect covering Iraq’s northern and southern territory.

While the nations and people of the world may not have had any issues with the ending of the conflict in this manner, it is the subject of this research to compare how the laws of God (as transmitted to us through the Holy Quran) would judge the 1990-1991 conflict and what measures should have been taken.

Believer Vs. Believer

Although both the Iraqi and Kuwaiti governments at the time of the 1990 invasion would be considered as “dictatorships/monarchies”, the bulk of the populations of Iraq and Kuwait could be construed as “Muslims” in a broad sense  as they accept the message of the Quran as delivered by Prophet Mohammed over 1,400 years ago. Thus in resolving the conflict that had ensued between the two peoples would entail the following law as revealed from the Almighty:

“And if two parties of believers battle with each other, you shall reconcile them; but if one of them aggresses against the other, then you shall fight the one aggressing until it complies with God's command. Once it complies, then you shall reconcile the two groups with justice, and be equitable; for God loves those who are equitable. The believers are brothers; so reconcile between your brothers, and be aware of God, that you may receive mercy.” (Quran 49:9-10)

When comparing the above law with what actually occurred in 1991, here are the differences:

  1. Try to reconcile them.

Out of political circumstance (and not as a result of attempting to follow the divine law) both Egypt and Saudi Arabia had spearheaded various negotiations prior to the 1990 invasion which failed when Kuwait withdrew from talks.

  1. If reconciliation fails, then fight the aggressor.

This was achieved when the coalition of nations led by the US was able to push Iraq out of Kuwait (though it must be mentioned that there was excessive use of force with the bombing of army units and infrastructure facilities inside Iraq not related to the conflict as well as the infamous “highway of death” massacre which took the lives of over 10,000 Iraqi soldiers on their retreat from Kuwait).

  1. Once the aggressor complies, then reconcile with justice.

This is where the laws of God were totally ignored and where the seeds of humiliation, suffering, and future wars were planted. Not only were the grievances that Iraq had with Kuwait (and which led to the invasion) totally ignored, but the victors of the war (the US and its allies) also saw fit to impose unjust conditions on the nation of Iraq ranging from sanctions, to territorial no fly zones, to an unbearable financial compensation requirement that went beyond the damages and losses resulting from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, but that it was also required to compensate all expenses incurred by the nations that came to liberate Kuwait (i.e. US and its allies) thus creating a “free-for-all” where Iraq’s resources could be pillaged through compensation claims, death and damage claims, and a long list of endless expenses that could see no end.

Can Iraq Own Weapons?

Other than the sanctions and the burden of unjust compensation requirements, there was also the issue of the ban set in resolution 687 that forbade Iraq from possessing, owning, or developing various weapons. When comparing this UN rule to the Quran’s law, we find that the Quran permits all nations to posses weapons at all times for both self-defense and also to deter the state’s enemies from undertaking or planning covert or overt hostile action.

“And muster for them all that you can of might, and from the steeds of war, that you may instil fear with it towards God’s enemy and your enemy, and others beside them whom you do not know but God knows them. And whatever you spend in the cause of God will be returned to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Quran 8:60)

To ban Iraq’s possession, development, and ownership of weapons has nothing to do with “justice” but is based on mischievous goals and hidden agendas of “softening-up” the nation of Iraq for any future full scale invasion or military aggression if required (and which did happen).

The Sanction Years (1991-2003)

When reviewing the laws of God with UN resolution 687, we find that the resolution becomes null & void as it has been built upon injustice and falsehood. The fact that the Iraqi government has accepted the terms of this resolution based on their military defeat in 1991 is also null & void as laws that contradict the laws of God cannot be allowed to stand even if all parties have agreed to them.

The years between 1991-2003 were the years of misery and hardship for the men, women, and children of Iraq. According to UNICEF’s report, from 1991-1996 over 500,000 children had as a direct result of sanctions and many more were infected with various diseases and deformities.

The sanctions not only targeted Iraq’s weapons ownership, but also banned crucially important items like “chlorine, ambulances, pencils, x-ray machines, batteries, etc.” which adversely affected the quality of health and life (see http://againstbombing.org/list.htm for details of banned items).

The final toll of how many Iraqis died or were permanently incapacitated by the sanctions was estimated to be in the 2 million range (mostly children). While some people may view this number as an acceptable “casualty of war,” there are others who view matters with the eyes of justice and will be quick to compare this number to the total Kuwaiti losses of around 2,000 lives throughout the 1990-1991 conflict (and let’s not forget to throw in the estimated 100,000 Iraqi soldiers who were killed in 1991 as a result of the massive aerial bombing campaign and the Highway of Death massacre).

To get a direct response from the then Secretary of State Madeline Albright regarding the mass suffering and death of the people of Iraq when she was asked if the “price was worth it”:

“…we think the price is worth it.” (Madeleine Albright, in a 1996 CBS Lesley Stahl interview, when asked whether 500,000 dead Iraqi children was too high a price to pay).

The Invasion – March 2003

After the 12 years of sanctions, bombings, no fly zones, and weapons dismantling, the forces of the US and its “coalition of the willing” felt it was safe enough to now invade and occupy the sovereign nation of Iraq and establish a new dawn for the Middle East under the new vision of Imperial America.

In exposing the unjustness and falsehoods that were placed into effect against Iraq and its people ever since 1991, it becomes evidently clear how the invasion of 2003 was nothing but a continuation of the falsehood and a further attempt to undermine the laws of God that are to govern our world.

“And judge between them by what God has sent down, and do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you away from some of what God has sent down to you. If they turn away, then know that God wants to inflict them with some of their sins; and most of the people are corrupt. Is it the judgment of the days of ignorance that they seek? Who is better than God as a judge for a people that comprehend? (Quran 5:49-50)

While the true reasons behind the sanctions and subsequent invasion may vary between “oil” to “Greater Israel” to “having leverage over Europe and China”…That is again not the subject of this paper.

Freedom from Occupation (April 2003-Ongoing)

As pointed to in the sequence of events above, with an illegal occupation, it becomes the duty of all involved to seek liberation from the occupation that has overtaken them and to gain freedom through a call to arms.

What makes the situation in Iraq more deceiving, is that the occupation has not limited itself to foreign troops and mercenaries, but has employed the use of locals in the form of Iraqi army and police, as well as Iraqi politicians, whom it carries out its objectives through – be they elected or unelected.      

“And fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress, God does not like the aggressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled you, and know that persecution is worse than being killed. And do not fight them at the restricted Temple unless they fight you in it; if they fight you then kill them, thus is the reward of the disbelievers.” (Quran 2:190-191)

The Qur’an is ripe with details on the conduct of warfare from tactics, to strategy, to prisoner dealings (see article “War in the Qur’an”).

After The Liberation

That Iraq will be liberated from the forces of occupation or their agents is a certainty based on the people adhering to the rules of engagement and the laws stipulated by God. What needs to be introduced at this stage is a plan for what will occur “after” the liberation.

What is proposed is for a just constitution, based on the Qur’an, which establishes freedom and rights of all people (irrespective of race, religion, or background) to be implemented and propagated amongst the population in preparation for the inevitable collapse of the occupation and its installed government.

Such a constitution has been written, and the constitution, as well as a summary of its points, can be read at the following links:

http://www.ProgressiveMuslims.Org/Iraq_Constitution_English.pdf (English)

http://www.ProgressiveMuslims.Org/Iraq_Constitution_Arabic.pdf (Arabic)

http://www.ProgressiveMuslims.Org/iraq.htm (Summary of Points)

We hope that the desire for justice and long term stability outweighs the desires and needs of the individuals in greed and momentary enjoyment of power.

And that the judgment of God Alone will always prevail…

“…And whoever does not judge by what God has sent down, then these are the rejecters.” (Quran 5:44)

“…And whoever does not judge by what God has sent down, then these are the wicked.” (Quran 5:45)

“…And whoever does not judge by what God has sent down, then these are the vile ones.” (Quran 5:47)

 


Written for www.free-minds.org

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