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2003 Second Gulf War

Par   •  3 Juillet 2018  •  2 823 Mots (12 Pages)  •  211 Vues

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Second of all, the crisis that followed US intervention questioned the very legitimacy of the UN as the garant of an international community and as the symbol of a new world order calling for multilateralism. Indeed, the end of the Cold War, at the turn of the 90s, has seen the establishment of a new World Order, characterized by the revival of the UN with “unprecedented expansion of UN’s responsibilities and powers”, as stated by Mark Mazower. In fact, the UN were becoming — or at least expected to become — the symbol of a new order based on — and advocating — multilateralism. But, insofar as the intervention in Iraq was unilateral, the Second Gulf War marked a clear break-up between the US and the UN. Actually, the context before 2003 was already carrying the premises of the international crisis that was to follow. In the decade following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations passed 16 Security Council resolutions calling for the complete elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Member states communicated their frustration over the years that Iraq was impeding the work of the special commission and failing to take seriously its disarmament obligations. Iraqi security forces had on several occasions physically prevented weapons inspectors from doing their job and in at least one case, took documents away from them. The US, continuing to call for "regime change" in Iraq, threatened to use military force to overthrow the Iraqi government. Admittedly, the American stance on the Iraqi question was legitimately motivated by the 9/11 attacks. But, this stance is not the only factor that worsen the relationship between the UN and the US. Actually, the Bush administration aggravated the tensions between the UN and the US, not only due to particular American grievances towards the UN, but also due to the real crusade against multilateralism and expressed tendency to play on its own, or with the so-called coalition of the willing. So, US diplomatic pressures to bring Iraq to compliance quickly created a diplomatic crisis in the UN, where some members were in agreement with the U.S. position, while others dissented, notably the permanent Security Council members France, Russia and the People's Republic of China, and fellow NATO members Germany and Belgium. But, in November 2002, the UN passed the Resolution 1441 adopted unanimously by the Security Council. This resolution basically offers Iraq under Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions. The UN did opted for the diplomatic alternative, instead of the military one. The United States, disagreeing with such a solution, kept advocating an armed intervention in Iraq. Several close allies of the U.S. (like Germany, Belgium and France) opposed a military intervention because they asserted it would increase rather than decrease the risk of terrorist attacks, and because they consider that “only the Security Council is entitled to engage in a military operation in Iraq”. As a response to France and Germany reluctance, the US arouse many initiatives that end up dividing the international consensus on the Iraqi case, like for instance the Letter of the Eight or the Vilnius Letter. Subsequently, France, Russia and China, 3 permanent members at the Security Council, threaten to resort to their veto so as to prevent the UN from approving any military intervention in Iraq. Acknowledging the fact that the UN is more likely to disapprove the intervention, the US and the UK decide to attack Iraq without the UN approval, and most importantly, without the support of the international community. All of this definitely confirmed what Kofi Annan stated in a speech to Harvard University, that a ‘crisis of solidarity’ is occurring between the UN and the US.

It is this very unilateral intervention that tends to demonstrate the inability for the UN to make authority. But further than the mere failure of the UN, one can see in it a glaring admission of weakness from the international community. Buzan & Gonzalez stated in a 2005 paper “that the invasion and occupation of Iraq created deep divisions within and among countries” and talked “about the damage done to the ‘international community’, whether the context be the future of the UN, […] or a breakdown of trust between the war coalition and the rest of the world”. Actually, the worldwide divisions were not only inter-states divisions: the worldwide public opinion was also divided, as proven by opinion polls, which showed that populations were generally against an attack, especially an attack without clear UN Security Council support. When created in 1945, in the aftermath of the WWII, the UN reflected the hope for a fair and peaceful global community. It is actually the only global institution with the legitimacy that derives from universal membership. The performance of the UN in terms of peace and security has been shaped by the global political context. Clearly, the Cold War hampered the functioning of the UN Security Council, since the veto could be used whenever the major interests of the USA or Soviet Union were threatened. For example, from 1945 to 1990, 193 vetoes were invoked in the Security Council, compared to only 25 from 1990 to 2012. The very principle of the UN ended up turning against it as a setback of the international community unable to get along and reach agreements. But, with the end of the Cold War came a hope and a strong belief in the importance of the role of the UN in the world. However, the event of 2003 proved the inability of the UN to make authority. The very fact that the UN have been bypassed in a way, neglected in an other, made it clear that UN was not able to face and address issues of strong internal division within it. So, the 2003 international crisis not only weakened and called into question the role of the UN as the garant of an international community, but also led to a legitimacy crisis for the UN inasmuch as it fails to meet not only the expectations the world was holding, but also to carry the ideals in the name of which it had been created. Therefore, this international crisis, since deeply rooted on the international scene, and the failure of the UN on the Iraqi case can be seen as evidence for the impossibility of an international community. This apparent dead-end finds roots in, first, the American unilateralism resurgence at the end of the 1990s, due to Bush’s foreign policy, second in the advent of the public opinion as a non-negligible actor on the international scene, a fact already witnessed during the Vietnam war for instance and third, in the pervasiveness of the sovereign state as the last-resort decision-making actor, as proved by the US role.

To conclude the 2003 intervention in Iraq not only jeopardized the


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