From Central to Peripheral: The United Nations and the Recent Iraq Crisis

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  • October 2003

    The United Nations was founded on the principles of sovereign equality of its member states. The sovereignty exercised by states in their domestic jurisdiction and external relations was to be upheld in the conduct of international relations especially through the UN. However, the recent developments culminating in the United States-led war in Iraq have raised several doubts about the efficacy of the UN in preserving the sovereignty of its member-states while maintaining international peace and security.

    This paper attempts to focus on the recent Iraq crisis. It analyses the close involvement of the UN in Iraq for over a decade beginning from the 1990 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Many Security Council resolutions became the basis of the deep entrenchment of the UN in the political, economic and security issues of Iraq. The present crisis in Iraq is a reflection of the enormous potential and capability of the UN to engage itself in resolving a conflict and the limitations of that exercise. The UN, while charting a unique journey in Iraq through Resolutions 660 to 1511, has essentially proved its significance in the face of increasing American attempts to impose a unilateral world order.

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