The United Nations Security Council and International Conflict Resolution
A Case Study of the UN Security Council Weapon Inspection in Iraq
This research effort grew out of concern for the increasing use of force in settlement of disputes by the United States which has the tendency to reduce the moral stature of the UN (above all, the security council) an organization committed to the maintenance of international peace and security. It seeks to analyse the role of the United Nations security council in international conflict resolution, using the UN Weapons inspection in Iraq as a case study. This research work sets itself to determining whether the Weapons Inspectors did indict Iraq of possessing WMD. The central focus of the study is to determine whether the UN Security Council authorized the war or whether the war was a pre-emptive action on the part of the U.S. and its allies. On the above premise, the theoretical framework of political Realism which holds that the overriding national interest of each State is its national Security and survival defined in terms of power. However, the study revealed that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a clear-cut case of aggression and territorial annexation of another country and therefore a violation of State Sovereignty. The findings of this research are that the United Nations Security Council which is the only organ that can authorize war in modern International law did not authorize the war on Iraq. Consequently, in a bid to justify the war, the U.S and U.K anchored their action on UN Resolution 1441 which, however, never gave Member States an explicit permission to attack Iraq. The study also revealed that the U.S. led war on Iraq was pre-emptive. Most importantly, the work revealed that the war has a significant relationship with the U.S. foreign policy on the Gulf region. Based on these findings; the study concludes that for peaceful co-existence among Nations, all States should uphold the integrity and authority of the United Nations and of International Law.
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The United Nations Organization was formed in 1945; it was to be a universal single purpose organization that would promote world peace and security. In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the organ of the United Nations charged with maintaining international peace and security among nations. While other organs of UN only make recommendations to member governments, the Security Council has the power to make decisions which member governments must carry out under Article 25 of the United Nations Charter, which reads “the members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the president charter. The decisions of the Council are known as UNSC Resolutions. The Council is made up of 15 Member States, consisting of five permanent seats and ten temporary seats. The five
permanent seats are China, France, Russia, The United Kingdom and the United States. These big five hold veto power over substantive but not procedural resolutions. The ten temporary seats voted in by the UN General Assembly on a regional basis. The presidency of the Security Council is rotated alphabetically each month.
The Security Council performs these functions on the basis of a universal phenomenon that has come to be known as collective security. This is a system in which aggression against a state is taken to be aggression against all that are parties to the treaty; consequently, a collective action is to be taken by other states to counter such an aggression. A good example was in 1991, when the United States led a coalition force of about 23 countries in a battle code- named “Operation Desert Storm” on Iraq for the formers invasion and annexation of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.
Resolution 687, adopted in 3 April 1991 set out terms of ceasefire which demanded respect of inviolability of Iraq- Kuwait border, as well as inspection and destruction of Iraq’s weapon which range greater than 150 kilometres, together with related items paragraph 9 of the Resolution provided for the creation of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) with the mandate to implement immediate on- site inspections of Iraq’s chemical, biological and missile Capabilities, on the basis both of Iraq’s own declarations and of the designation of the special Commission itself. Iraq was equally obliged to declare its nuclear material, equipment and sub-systems to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A major reason given by the Bush administration for waging war on Iraq was that she possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) as well as had links with al-Qaeda (Osama Bin laden and Saddam Hussein). This led to the adumbration of a doctrine of “pre-emption” by the Bush administration; in Blair’s words, “it is a matter of time unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons of mass destruction come together, and I regard them as two sides of the same coin”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In the period before the war, when it became apparent that a specific UN Security Council authorization was unlikely, States and international lawyers criticized the proposed US-led military action in Iraq as unlawful since this action was not a case of self-defence. To the extent that the invasion was based on a claim of anticipatory self-defence, Article 51 has been stretched beyond endurance. Secondly, to the extent that the invasion was based on claims of threats to international peace and security sufficient under Chapter vii to justify Security Council authorization, but with those claims poorly argued and the council eventually by passed, the credibility of the whole Charter system has again been frontally
challenged. And thirdly, to the extent that the invasion was based on Saddam Hussein’s record of tyranny over his people- but again, poorly and inconsistently argued, and with the council by passed – we have almost choked at birth what many were hoping was an emerging new norm justifying intervention on the basis of the principle of “responsibility to protect”.
Finally, this work would analyse the war on Iraq and its implications for international law. The law is clear, no amount of weapons a state has whether chemical, biological, and nuclear, laser and blinding weapons can be conceived as an attack by the possessor state against another state. Such possession may however be styled by the UN as constituting a threat to peace. A threat to National Security is not a recognized basis for use of force. President Bush, in giving the President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, a 48 hours ultimatum to leave Baghdad said: “the United State of America has the Sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security”. It becomes the task of this thesis to ascertain whether every state can launch a pre-emptive war against any state, she regards as a threat to her national security, which implies that international law no longer exists for nations to obey or that international law only entitled the right of pre-emptive war on the United State of America. Nevertheless, the study will be guided by the following research questions.
(1) Did the UN Security Council Support for the invasion of Iraq help eliminate the production of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq?
(2) Did the UN Security Council Sanctions on Iraq help minimize the Iraqis quest For Weapons of Mass Destruction?
(3) Did the IAEA of the UN fail to discover Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to critically examine the UNSC and International Conflict Resolution. Whereas the specific objectives of the study are:
(1) To determine whether the UN Security Council Support for the invasion of Iraq helped eliminate the production of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
(2) To determine whether the UN Security Council Sanctions on Iraq helped minimize the Iraqis quest for Weapon of Mass Destruction.
(3) To determine whether the IAEA of the UN discover Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, this research seeks to contribute and bring fresh insight to the understanding of the UN Security Council Weapon Inspection in Iraq. As a result it will reveal how America, invaded Iraq. Therefore, the significance of this thesis is predicated on the fact that it would re-echo, the need for nations to support the concept of collective security, a process in which all members of the international community join strengths to deter or punish those who resort to violence and aggression and discourage unilateral action on the part of powerful nations in pursuance of its national interest. The study will add to existing literature in this area and serve as a reference material for students and scholars with interest Weapon Inspection in Iraq. We hope that the study will stimulate further investigation in this area as little or no research has be done regarding Weapon Inspection in Iraq.
At the Practical level, the findings of this study will highlight the role the United Nations Security Council played in trying to discourage and prevent the United States from attacking Iraq. This work will help to reaffirm and increase the moral status of the UNSC among States especially third world States (the weaker and vulnerable members of the international system who depend upon these institutions to protect their sovereign status). This work hopes to make a modest contribution by way of addition to the extant literature on the US-led war on Iraq and its implication for international law by showing that, both the UN Charter and international law made adequate provisions for peaceful settlement of disputes among States.
This work is equally important as it will act as a light and a guide on the paths of powerful States not to use their privileged positions in the UN to telescope and interfere with any UNSC weapons inspection activities in the future. Finally and most importantly, this work will show that, the United States and the United Kingdom stand accused of having waged an aggressive war against Iraq, exactly the same crime of which Iraq was accused in 1990 following the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. International law protects the sovereignty of disagreeable regimes, just as it did not matter in 1990 whether Kuwait was
well governed, so it was irrelevant to this indictment that the governing regime in Iraq in 2003 was deeply unpleasant. Also, the findings of this study will help policy makers in Africa and Nigeria in particular to weigh options critically before acting especially, in international politics where betrayal has become almost a norm of statecraft.