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The International Struggle over Iraq: Politics in the un Security Council 1980-2005

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Iraq has dominated international headlines in recent years, but its controversial role in international affairs goes back much further. The key arena for these power politics over Iraq has been the United Nations Security Council. Spanning the last quarter century, The International Struggle over Iraq examines the impact the United Nations Security Council has had on Iraq—and Iraq's impact on the Security Council.

The story is a fascinating one. Beginning in 1980, in the crucible of the Iran-Iraq War, the Council found a common voice as a peacemaker after the divisions of the cold war. That peacemaking role was cemented when a UN-mandated force expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991, offering a glimpse of a new role for the UN in the 'New World Order'. But unilateralism soon set in, as the Security Council struggled under the weight and bureaucratic demands of its changing identity. The Security Council gradually abandoned its traditional political and military tools for the legal-regulatory approach, but was unable to bridge the gap between those who believed allegations of Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction and those who didn't. Growing paralysis led eventually to deadlock in the Council in 2002, with the result that it was sidelined during the 2003 Coalition invasion. This relegation, when combined with the loss of some of its best and brightest in a massive truck bomb in Iraq later that year, precipitated a deep crisis of confidence. The future role of the UN Security Council has now, once again, become uncertain.

Drawing on the author's unparalleled access to UN insiders, this volume offers radical new insights into one of the most persistent crises in international affairs, and the different roles the world's central peace-making forum has played in it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A uniquely clear and lucid account of the workings and background of the UN Security Council's fateful refusal to legitimize US military action against Iraq in 2003 and of the international fall-out of Operation Iraqi Freedom"—Sir Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books

"An illuminating account of the 25 years of tangled Security Council involvement with Iraq a fascinating portrait of the changing and often conflicting uses of the Security Council by the major powers This book is essential reading for those who want to use the lessons of the Security Council's tumultuous encounter with Iraq to guide UN reform."—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"A long-overdue contextualized, balanced history of international conflicts surrounding Iraq since 1980. ...An important addition to a literature which is too often shallow and one-sided. ...Highly recommended."—CHOICE

Foreign Affairs
The diplomatic stalemate over Iraq at the UN Security Councilin 2003 will stand as an indelible moment of the post-Cold War era. This book, by a Canadian scholar-diplomat and UN insider, provides an illuminating account of the 25 years of tangled Security Council involvement with Iraq, culminating in the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein without council mandate in 2003. It is a fascinating portrait of the changing and often conflicting uses of the Security Council by the major powers, played out against a backdrop of shifting security threats, geopolitical realities, and U.S. foreign policy ambitions. Malone argues that the success of the Security Council's mandated expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 transformed the UN's role in peace operations and foreshadowed its expanding role in internal conflicts and humanitarian emergencies. He is also particularly good at capturing the limits of the Security Council's "regulatory approach" to disarmament, embodied in the Iraqi sanctions and inspection regime. This book is essential reading for those who want to use the lessons of the Security Council's tumultuous encounter with Iraq to guide UN reform.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199238682
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David M. Malone is Canada's High Commissioner for India and Ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal, and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations. From 1998 to 2004 he served as President of the International Peace Academy in New York. A scholar of the political economy of violent conflict and of US foreign policy, he is the author of numerous books and articles. He is the co-author of Law & Practice of the United Nations (OUP, 2007).

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Cold War peacemaker : brokering peace in the Iran-Iraq War 22
3 New world order policeman : responding to Iraqi aggression against Kuwait 54
4 Creeping unilateralism : humanitarian interventions and no-fly zones 84
5 Sanctions enforcer : economic sanctions and the oil-for-food program 114
6 Weapons inspector : UNSCOM, UNMOVIC and the disarming of Iraq 152
7 Sidelined : from 9/11 to August 19, 2003 185
8 Crisis of confidence : Annus Horribilis and a 'vital' role 222
9 Conclusions : serious consequences : how twenty-five years of involvement with Iraq has changed the security council 265
App. A UN SCRs pertaining to Iraq 309
App. B Iraq and the security council - a chronology 321
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