By Alan Munro
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Additional info for Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War
The passengers found themselves looking down into the blue waters of the Gulf. The hatchway into the flight cabin above their heads opened and the RAF loadmaster sergeant's head emerged. Seeing the damage, he remarked 'Sorry, Brigadier. We've got mice', and they carried on their way. It came as a considerable relief, not only to the Kuwait government but to ourselves as well, when in August the Arab League came up with a proposal to replace the British force with a composite Arab one. This was to be the first occasion for a joint Arab force to undertake a peacekeeping role in place of Western troops, and was only made possible by the fact that Iraq had in pique absented herself from Arab League meetings.
They were not taken in by a fierce and well-orchestrated campaign unleashed during 1989 by Iraq to create the impression of an imminent Israeli aggression against Iraq and perhaps more widely. This was suspected to amount to an elaborate Iraqi exercise in camouflage, but for what alternative objective was not clear. King Fahd's policy in response was to seek to contain Iraq by humouring Saddam and avoiding cause for provocation. Saudi unease was heightened by an unsolicited proposal on the part of Iraq in early 1989 for a non-aggression agreement with Saudi Arabia.
In this earlier instance, however, the Arab force, wearing green berets and under the command of a Jordanian general, took over the defensive role at the end of August with a screen of troops behind the frontier with Iraq. There were units from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sudan. They had never worked together before, yet settled down well under their unified comrnand and for the next two years sat out the sentry role. I went with a correspondent from the Egyptian daily, A1 Ahram, to see the last British units fly out to Aden in their Beverley transports.
Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War by Alan Munro