Mini Case Study on
International Crisis (week 6)
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, claiming that Kuwait was
stealing oil from an oil field that straddled the Iraq-Kuwait border and that
the territory of Kuwait had historically been a province of Iraq. Iraq quickly
overran Kuwait, which was much smaller and militarily weaker than Iraq. Once
Iraq had taken over Kuwait, it destroyed property records and other important
documents, as if to eradicate the legal vestiges of the Kuwaiti government.
Iraq also postured in a way that was widely viewed as threatening Saudi Arabia,
home to arguably the most important oil fields in the world.
In 1991, the United Nations Security Council authorized
military action to evict Iraq, and a multinational force with 34 members soon
evicted Iraq from Kuwait and restored the Kuwaiti government. The League of
Arab States also approved of military action to reverse the invasion of Kuwait;
both Iraq and Kuwait were (and still are) members of the league, and a number
of Arab states participated in the military action.
Under the terms of the 1991 ceasefire after the
restoration of the Kuwaiti government, Iraq pledged to dismantle its weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) programs. At the time, it was widely believed that Iraq
was developing nuclear weapons. Further, it was documented by the U.N. that
Iraq had actually used chemical WMDs against Iranian troops during the
Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and against a minority population in Iraq in 1988.
In response to Iraq’s noncompliance with the commitments it made in the 1991
ceasefire, the U.N. authorized economic sanctions against it. Despite the
sanctions, some claim that Iraq continued to defy the U.N. inspectors who were
responsible for checking on Iraq’s progress in dismantling its WMD programs,
and relations between Iraq and the United States reached a critical level.
In part, Iraq’s reluctance to work closely with U.N.
inspectors may have been a reaction to the U.S.’s response to the September 11,
2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. Iraq had nothing to
do with the attacks, but the attacks heightened the concerns of U.S. leaders
about the dangers of nuclear weaponry in the hands of adversaries. Some members
of the Bush Administration were convinced that Iraq was developing WMDs and the
United States raised its concerns at the U.N., but did not request Security
Council authorization for military action against Iraq to enforce the WMD terms
of the 1991 ceasefire. U.N. authorization may not have been requested because
the United States knew that the Security Council would not authorize the
action; five members of the Security Council have veto power, which is to say
any one of them could have prevented the authorization from being passed. The
United States claimed that a U.N. authorization was not necessary because the
1991 ceasefire agreement provided the necessary authority; this view was not
widely shared. In 2003, the United States and several allies (the United
Kingdom, Australia, and Poland) invaded Iraq to enforce the WMD provisions of
the ceasefire—but even after defeating Iraqi military forces, no WMDs were
Setting aside your personal views of the Iraq War and its
aftermath of violence, compare and contrast the 1991 and 2003 military actions
with respect to the roles of the United States, the United Nations, other
international bodies, and other states.
your previous essay, this one should have 500 to 750 words, be word processed,
double-spaced, edited, spell-chekced, and fully cited. Good essays will have an
introduction, a thesis statement, topic sentences for each paragraph,
supporting evidence, and a conclusion.

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