Pre-War and War Reactions To the Persian Gulf War: A Study of Editorials In the Conflict Zone

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Mazharul Haque

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


This interpretive study addresses four questions through analysis of editorials in six Middle East newspapers during the seven-month Persian Gulf crisis and War. Analysis of editorials in the Jordan Times, the Syria Times, the Arab News (Saudi Arabia), the United Arab Emirates News, the Jerusalem Post (Israel), and the Kayhan International (Iran) revealed the following: (1) Major actors and the roles they played in the war narrative, (2) Macro and micro themes, (3) Values showing cultural and socioeconomic relationships, and, (4) Values that apply to the whole region. The newspapers could be categorized as Arab and nonArab, with the Arab category further broken down. The Jordan Times and the Syria Times shared the Arab-unity theme and saw Iraq's invasion of Kuwait as an interArab problem. Saddam Hussein was not demonized and values denoted a solution based on economic values and a return to the issue of Israeli territorial aggression. The Arab News and the UAE News represented Gulf sheikhdoms which professed Arab unity but quickly demonized Saddam Hussein and turned the responsibility of defending Kuwait over to the world community with the United States as the enforcer. Both newspapers valued Arab unity, the monarchy, and the world community's defense of the Arabs. The nonArab Kayhan International based its approach on Islamic unity and saw the U.S. as the aggressor upon the entire region. Saddam Hussein became the victim of U.S. aggression as Iran took on the role of mediator. Values centered around Islam, Middle East autonomy, economics, alliances and oaths. The Jerusalem Post viewed Israel as the victim of the Arabs which was misunderstood by the world community, and whose primary and overriding values were based on the right of the Jewish State to exist. The newspaper demonized Saddam Hussein and relied heavily upon the Saddam-as-Hitler theme. This study illustrates the complexity of perspectives in the conflict zone.