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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII - Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion....a nice variety for the human-hater, amoral, anti-rationalist to choose from.  It is so much fun mocking them isn't it ?

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

A long note on the pros and cons of the United Nations

Reform please.

by StFerdIII

“The globalists and transformationalists argue that power is no longer primarily organized and exercised on a national scale but, increasingly, has acquired a transational, regional or even global dimension. As a consequence, the business of government and politics, itself, is becoming internationalised and globalised.” D. Held, p. 135, 2001.

There are many who argue that the nation state is ‘sandwiched’ between various levels of governance: supranational [global and regional bodies], transnational [various governmental and non-governmental bodies], and intra-national [regional, special interest bodies]. Many believe that global and inter-national groups are increasing in power and influence and relevance. For the average citizen the United Nations is the highest profile example of inter-governmental authority and seemingly the most impartial and moral. Given recent events in the Middle East and the lack of accountability and financial efficiency within the UNO group, there is a growing level of criticism and disillusionment within nation states about its efficacy and relevancy. The problems that beset the UNO are issues that prevent the smooth working of intern-national units in which nation state interests are opposed or juxtaposed against the rhetoric and idealism of world governing bodies. The UNO must either be reformed or it will fade into irrelevance.

Globalisation and the role of International Organisations:
In the modern period IGO’s were originally developed out of security and military concerns. For most states territorial conquest is no longer a prime function of foreign policy, and the ‘Great’ Powers are not the only ones who control lethal weapons. The actions of rogue states, terrorism, arms proliferation, as well as environmental, health, trade, immigration and sundry other issues are transnational and impel inter-state cooperation. States are now obliged in some form to work with these new partners and recognise them as real players though states themselves are still very much the dominant actors .

These IGOs and NGOs have three different roles; first they are used by states as instruments of foreign policy; second, they serve to modify state’s behaviour and condition domestic interests; and third they are trying to achieve some measure of autonomy to regulate certain international affairs . These reasons highlight the importance of organisational efficiency and the centralization of issues in dealing with topics in which inter-nation technical and political knowledge can be consolidated. Such groups help develop a normalization of rules pertaining to the international regime, which protects national interests and independence. This also means that constructivism and realism guide the actions of states that join inter-governmental bodies. In terms of economic utility, the benefits accruing to member states depends on the time and investments made by these states in the IGO or NGO organisation and the moral credibility and general power position of those states within the greater organisation .

The United Nations Organisation:
The founders of the UNO designed the system to replace the inefficient and largely ineffective League of Nations in a post war world, where peace and democracy would be emblematic of the international order. In order to express such universal ideals since 1945 member states have added dozens of new agencies, programs, and operations. The UNO is now a vast, sprawling group of agencies which spend about U$10.5 Billion per annum and which contain some 51.000 employees with offices scattered around the world. The UNO was meant to be highly decentralised with power shared amongst the Secretariat and a number of specialized agencies and other organs. It has 6 main branches to organize its empire; the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat. These 6 branches are charged with solving some of humanity’s most intractable social and economic problems, as well as ensuring the integrity of its member states’ territory. It is an organization full of lofty rhetoric, aspirations and beset by seemingly intractable problems.

The General Assembly:
All 190 UN Member States are represented in the General Assembly in what the UN forebodingly terms a ‘parliament of nations’. In this assembly each member state is treated as an equal with one vote per state. Key issues, which are discussed and voted upon, need ratification by 67 % of the UN General Assembly including; international peace and security, admitting new members and passing the UN budget. Outside of these key issue areas, a simple majority decides other matters. In reality there is a lot of time spent trying to ensure a broad based consensus agreement on most key issues as opposed to taking a formal vote. As such the system is a complex mixture of negotiations, compromises, deals and trade-offs. The working session for the General Assembly is very short running only from September to December. In a typical year 180 – 200 topics will be heard, discussed and voted upon. Sometimes when special circumstances demand it, the General Assembly may resume its session or hold a special or emergency session. Typically the real work is carried out by six main committees, some subsidiary bodies, and of course the UN Secretariat.

The Security Council:
One of the prime and most important aspects in creating the UNO was to safeguard world peace. The UN Charter gives the Security Council the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. There are 15 Council members. Five of these — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States — are permanent members and reflect the so-called winning powers of World War II. The other 10 are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The 5 permanent members are vested with the power to veto Security Council resolutions. In order for a decision to pass the Council nine yes votes are required. The Council also makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the appointment of a new Secretary-General and on the admission of new Members to the UN.

The Economic and Social Council:
The Economic and Social Council, [ECOSOC] is charged with coordinating the economic and social work of the United Nations and the UN family of organizations. Its mandate is to improve international cooperation for development including communicating with NGOs and keeping an open discourse with civil groups. This Council has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms. It meets throughout the year and holds a major session in July, during which a special meeting of Ministers discusses major economic, social and humanitarian issues. The Council's subsidiary bodies meet regularly and report back to it. The Commission on Human Rights, for example, monitors the observance of human rights throughout the world. Other bodies focus on such issues as social development, the status of women, crime prevention, narcotic drugs and environmental protection. Five regional commissions promote economic development and cooperation in their respective regions.

The International Court of Justice:
The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the main judicial organ of the UN. Consisting of 15 judges elected jointly by the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Court decides disputes between countries. Participation by States in a proceeding is voluntary, but if a State agrees to participate, it is obligated to comply with the Court's decision. The Court also provides advisory opinions to the General Assembly and the Security Council upon request.

The Secretariat
The Secretariat carries out the substantive and administrative work of the United Nations as directed by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the other organs. At its head is the Secretary-General, who provides overall administrative guidance. The Secretariat consists of departments and offices with a total staff of some 7,500 under the regular budget, and a nearly equal number under special funding. They are drawn from some 170 countries. Duty stations include UN Headquarters in New York, as well as UN offices in Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and other locations.

The Trusteeship Council
The Trusteeship Council was established to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories. By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence, either as separate States or by joining neighboring independent countries. The Trusteeship Council now consists of the five permanent members of the Security Council and it has amended its rules of procedure to allow it to meet as and when the occasion may require.

The UN system
The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and 12 other independent organizations known as ‘specialized agencies’ are linked to the UN through cooperative agreements. These agencies, among them the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, are autonomous bodies created by intergovernmental agreement. They have wide-ranging international responsibilities in the economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related fields. In addition, a number of UN offices, programmes and funds — such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) — work to improve the economic and social condition of people around the world. They report to the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council.

All these organizations have their own governing bodies, budgets and secretariats. Together they are known as the ‘UN system’. In sum the UNO covers an enormous array of social and economic policy areas. The sheer reach and ambition of the UNO has transformed the organization from what was originally a security apparatus into a dominant force to improve world society. UNO agencies provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help in virtually all economic and social areas. For many analysts the UNO is a precursor to a viable form of World Government.
UN Agencies:
• Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
• International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA)
• International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
• International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
• International Labour Organization (ILO)
• International Maritime Organization (IMO)
• International Monetary Fund (IMF)
• International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
• UN Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)
• UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)
• UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UN Development Programme (UNDP)
• UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
• UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
• UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
• UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
• UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
• UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
• Universal Postal Union (UPU)
• World Bank Group
• World Food Programme (WFP)
• World Health Organization (WHO)
• World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
• World Meteorological Organization

Of the $10.5 billion disbursed through UNO agencies, approximately 39 % is spent on funds for emergency work and relief work relating to refugees, starvation, medical aid and disaster control. This percentage keeps climbing and puts additional pressure on UN finances. For the past decade or more the UN has faced a debilitating financial crisis and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas in order to appease member states demands for better use of invested member state dues. Even given these modest program cutbacks many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN's voluntary funds. At the end of December 2002, members owed the UN $1.684 billion, of which the United States alone owed $.738 billion (44% in total and 62% of the regular budget). The shaky financial structure of the UNO is a major concern.

UN Funding: Top 10 Countries and 2002 dues:
Country 2005 Dues in U$ million % of Total
USA 283 22
Japan 218 20
Germany 109 10
France 72 6.5
UK 62 5.57
Italy 57 5
Canada 29 2.6
Spain 28 2.5
Brazil 23 2.2
Netherlands 19 1.8

The US is by far the single most important benefactor of the UNO. It is also the most important single source of financing for all UNO related agencies and peacekeeping missions for expenses above and beyond those in the budget. Jealous to protect its national sovereignty and its right to unilateral action the USA [along with other member states] has been very critical of the UNO calling for widespread administrative and financial reform. Many member states have withheld payments ostensibly to provoke needed internal reform. A partial compromise was secured in the late 1990s when the US agreed to pay its back dues over a period of time. Financial instability remains nonetheless a damoclean sword above the organization.

The financial problems of the UNO are driven by member state disagreement over how to manage the UNO and hold it accountable. Since the UNO is a complex general aggregation of the world’s nations, any change in its financial structure or budgeting will entail much inter-governmental debate and politicking. It is not realistic to expect large financial reforms given this inter-national consensus model. Nor is it realistic to expect the top paying nations not to have more say in its structure, policy making and decision making. The current ‘one nation one vote’ structure and the archaic membership of the Security Council are prominent concerns that must be solutioned. One member one vote does not reflect the geo-economic and political realities of the world, nor does an archaic Security Council premised on power relations in 1945.

In this regard most EU and American analysts want to streamline, reduce, reinvent, re-engineer, or re-establish realist policies, in securing efficiencies within the UNO. The Heritage Foundation in the 1980s and the Cato Institute more recently express the conservative American position that has influenced the US Congress to withhold full US payments until UNO reform is enacted. By withholding funds the US Congress is forcing the UN to reduce waste, mismanagement and the endless ‘talking shops’ that dominate its proceedings. This viewpoint is highly critical of the social democratic nature of the UN and its Keynesian biases versus the enlightened self-interest of the more liberally minded USA. Indeed the 1996 appointment of the pro-reform Kofi Annan was desired and implemented by the United States to replace Boutros Ghali (the US refused to make payments if Ghali was re-elected) who was not reform minded.

Some supporters of the UN point out that though the UNO disburses through itself and related agencies about $10.5 billion per annum and controls a $2.5 Billion annual budget it’s finances are not that large when compared with many national ‘projects’ and subsidies or international traffic in arms, and currency trading. As such the UNO is not the financial quagmire depicted by its detractors nor is it the spendthrift agency that is constantly asking for more funding. In fact in the recent past there have been some minor programme cuts. What is needed is a fully accountable independent auditing process, which looks at all of the myriad investments and their purported returns to truly make a deliberation on the financial efficiency of the UNO.

Critics and Reformers:
The UN's response to global problems such as population growth, resource depletion, environmental protection and migration has yet to be fully articulated and activated. Vital social concerns -- the status of women, youth unemployment, education, cultural diversity, the impact of technology -- are only now being met with action and much of it ineffective. The UN has not as yet been able to deal effectively with such global economic issues as currency instability, indebtedness, protectionism, and inequitable commercial relations. Nor is there any consensus that it should or can handle these pressing issues. As well it has been extremely ineffective in maintaining territorial integrity and minimizing international conflict. The use of military force for purposes of peace requires clarification and rethinking in the context of increasing the UN's capacity to handle emergencies. In the post Gulf War II world, the UN’s role in political-military affairs is under withering criticism for its inability to uphold its own resolutions on Iraq.

Governments will only give the UNO needed support if they perceive the body as essential for advancing their interests in an effective and appropriate manner. Grappling with their current concerns, governments cannot be expected to invest in totally new formulas of international organization or world government. For now, the key to progress is to understand the paradox which confronts the UN, and to work more effectively through existing mechanisms or, where further change is necessary, to improve those mechanisms. Many believe that the UN's complex of organizations must be made to operate as an integrated system within the framework of agreed policies. Its activities, including peacekeeping, development and social programs, should obviously complement each other.

As well organizations such as the ICC and the Human Rights Commission do not add credibility to the international system due to the selectiveness of their indictments and the disturbing anti-Americanism that seems latent in the make up of their mandates. The United States is not a member of the ICC fearing that it would be come a tool for anti-American hearings to constrain US policy. Immediately after the finish of Gulf War II the ICC was petitioned by a group of legal experts and humanitarian groups to try the US government for war crimes during its bombing of Iraq. Given that the US is not a signatory to the agreement this group has petitioned the ICC to arraign Britain and by extension the USA for the deaths of Iraqi civilians. The use of the ICC to selectively indict Britain and the US is rather egregious and self-serving. No such arraignments have proceeded against the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, the Congo, Russia, China, Palestine or Saudi Arabia for crimes against humanity.

The UN Humans Rights Commission as well seems to be divorced from the reality of the modern world. Cuba, North Korea, Congo, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia were all nominated to 6 vacant seats on the UN HR council chaired by Libya. The reason for the accession to the UN HR of these human rights abusing nations is the well known ‘vote trading’ which is an ongoing form of soft corruption at the UN. Countries make deals and trade offs based on their needs to get elected to a particular agency or to acquire some politically important plum within the UNO group. Such trading leads to the incomprehensible appointments of rogue dictators to such UN groups as the Human Rights Commission.

Adding to the credibility gap of the UNHRC is the recent April 15th 2003 resolution sanctioning the use of all available means including armed struggle, which includes suicide bombing, as a legitimate tactic against the state of Israel. Only 5 countries including the US voted against it, with the UK and France abstaining and Russia of course [with its large Muslim population], approving the resolution. This most recent UNHRC session was full of anti-American and anti-Jewish sentiment with for instance the Algerian representative stating, “The Israeli war machine has been trying for five decades to arrive at a final solution.”; the Cuban delegate musing that the USA had, “..massive and flagrant violations of human rights and of the systemic institutionalization of racism.” The fact that only the Israeli’s and American’s are cited for human rights abuses while Libya, Cuba, Congo, Russia, China, the Palestinians and scores of other nations are actively engaged in forms of terrorism, genocide or civil destruction makes a laughing stock of the entire UNHRC and indeed of the UNO itself.

UN Organisational Structure and Issues:
Many analysts point out that the systemic role of the UNO in the IPE is limited by three sets of problems. First, the UNO itself has little or no legitimate role in exercising governance or oversight of the global economy. ECOSOC conflicts in intent and structure with both the IMF and World Bank. The UNO should stop duplicating effort and streamline ECOSOC and limit it to a few social goals and projects. Second, the UN is populated by a host of development-oriented agencies and programs whose overall effectiveness is constrained by a lack of policy direction and coordination. In essence it is too large, varied, bureaucratic and unwieldy. Third, UN actions to either prevent or stop inter-national wars or civil conflicts have failed. These political and military failures and the seeming impotence of the UNO and its Security Council either to uphold their own resolutions or to avert bloody crises have damaged its reputation as an effective international body.

Critics and reformers point out that the sheer size of the UNO ensures that bureaucratic power struggles and uncoordinated policies are the result. These analysts cite the proliferation of meetings, talking shops, innumerable international conferences, duplication of services, rising costs for interpreters, huge volumes of unread reports and records, as evidence of an organization whose focus has been lost and whose undemocratic, unaccountable nature makes it increasingly difficult to comprehend let alone reform. . They also point to a seemingly marked decline in the quality and moral of the UN civil service, with issues surrounding pay, competencies, training, and many criticize the hiring policy of the UN charging it with being nothing more than a jobs program for poorer nationals.

Besides poor employee quality and a low level of bureaucratic productivity, perhaps the UN’s greatest weakness is the degree of separateness of each agency. The wide array of agencies and funding measures lacks coherence. The UN is so geographically dispersed that real coordination of objectives, political priorities and money management is next to impossible. The maintenance of 5 separate UN funds to disperse 62 cents per capita over 4 billion people is plainly not effective nor justified. The UN is further compromised by governments allocating nearly $1 billion a year to a dozen agencies and other elements in the UN system for overlapping work. Importantly as well the administration costs for developing countries are high and they must support many UN agency offices. There is a need to centralize the funds, rationalize offices and regional commissions and improve inter-agency coordination.

Significantly there is a deep and probably unbridgeable divide with the IMF and World Bank institutions. Oftentimes World Bank and IMF policies run counter to UN mandates and especially that of the ECOSOC. The UN charter provides ECOSOC to be the centerpiece of the UN’s global economic policy – directly in competition at times with World Bank and IMF policy. Within ECOSOC a tangle of mechanisms delivers development aid of $3-4 billion per annum. It is unclear why these funds cannot be consolidated in the already existing international financial management of the IMF and World Bank entities. This makes the current disbursement of funds subject to conflicting and confusing demands necessitating first of all uniform funding and second of all a set of consolidated funds.

The auditing and control of funds needs significant reform as well. The UN Internal audit division is understaffed running at for example only about 1/3 of that of the US government level. This makes it very difficult to have tight management of financial processes and perform proper audits. It also leads directly to lax accounting standards and processes. For instance conflict of interest rules are non-existent. This entails that managers in UN assistance funds can take a position in institutions that receive funding leading. In order to thwart media and member state criticism on the inefficacy of the UN’s financial management these are issues that need immediate resolution.

Finally the financial basis and capitalization of the UNO needs to be improved. A perpetual UN funding crisis exists stemming from payments in arrears by the US and Russia. There are some who believe that a 10-12 % limit on the budget dependency upon a single nation state is needed, though it is difficult to understand where the deficit in funding would come from. Some analysts are pushing for a more ‘global’ tax base to fund the UN including additional funds from an assortment of ‘global’ taxes, a tax on arms sales, a currency transaction tax, and funds from a UN lottery. These will no doubt be resisted by member states. More probably the funding formulae and reliance on US dues will continue indefinitely and will consistently bedevil the UNO.

The complexity of the issues involved in the three areas mentioned above makes reform difficult. There is importantly no consensus within the UNO membership on reform measures – either economic or political. During the Bretton Woods era Western countries increasingly relied upon the IMF and World Bank to resolve world economic issues. Due to political and security reasons they largely bypassed the UNO, viewing it as a collection of nation states with single voting power that were in the main, opposed to Western interests. Such a view is still defensible today, especially given the almost virulent anti-American and anti-Israeli promulgations regularly issued by UN agencies and the reluctance of the UN Security Council to uphold its own resolutions against Iraq.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Security Council has become a much more active decision-making body, with its members showing increased awareness of their responsibility to maintain peace. Nevertheless, its present membership and composition do not reflect the reality of economic and political changes over the past 50 years, still less the fact that the relative position of nations is likely to be even more transformed during the next half-century. The body is becoming increasingly isolated from the geopolitical realities of the IPE and needs a reformation in rules, procedures and member state constitution.

Important political-economic transformations have not been considered at all in the formation of the Council. France for instance is at best a second rate power, yet sits on the Security Council with veto power, a legacy of the immediate post World War II balance of power. The EU as a body does not have a permanent voice on the Security Council though it purports to speak for a ‘United’ Europe. Also absent in any permanent form are large nations such as Brazil, India, Mexico, Japan and Germany. Russia has a permanent seat but possesses an economy roughly the size of the Netherlands with a largely outdated and rusted military. Such inconsistencies only serve to undermine the credibility of the Security Council, which seeks to establish itself as a ‘world’ body. There needs to be a dramatic reorganization in its permanent and non-permanent membership and its operational procedures in issuing and enforcing its own resolutions and in facing the realities of regional power relations.

As part of the Security Council’s reorganization there should also be a reassessment of the role of the veto. The veto should be applicable only to peacekeeping and enforcement measures. This would return the UN to the original spirit of the Charter, where the veto was intended mainly to prevent the Security Council from authorizing military action against a Permanent Member or requiring use of its forces against its will. In fact the veto has been invoked over a much wider variety of decisions and resolutions. A change in the use of the veto could be arranged by agreement among the Permanent Members and without Charter amendment, and would be in order even if no alteration is made in the Council s membership.

As such it is difficult to see why nation states will continue to support what is in effect a complicated, transparent and often times, illiberal body. Importantly there is a real inability on the part of the UNO to mobilise its disparate membership around certain principles and actions during political and military crisis. Such a failing is dramatically apparent in its inability to prevent the irruption of hostilities either between or intra-nation states. This incapacity to enforce certain principles necessitates the intervention of nation states such as the United States to resolve international crises. As such the UNO and its Security Council are often viewed as ineffective organs, subject to the whims of nation state interests and veto prerogatives, oftentimes anti-western and illiberal and unwilling to defend their own Charter.

Case Study – UNO Failure: Iraq and the Second Gulf War

“If Iraq filled warheads with VX, why should Iraq not say that to UNSCOM? What’s the reason? We declared that we filled warheads with anthrax. Anthrax, according to the experts, is more lethal than VX. So as we admitted that we filled warheads with anthrax, why should we not admit that we filled them with VX, if that was the case?”
Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister, Meeting with UNSCOM, Baghdad, August 3 1998.

Iraq circa 2003
? Population; 24 million
? Ethnic; Arab 75-80 %, Kurdish 15-20%
? Religions; Shia Muslims 63 %, Sunni 34 %
? Life Expectancy; 61
? GDP; $29 Billlion
? Per capita; $2500
? Oil exports; $12 billion per annum
? Proven oil reserves; 112 billion barrels 2nd in the world

In the early years of the 21rst century terrorism and militant Islam pose the greatest threat to the security and economic interests of the West. Disarming rogue nations and those states that harbor, abet or engage in terrorism is the most singular and vital security policy for Western nations, especially in light of the attacks of September 11 2001. National security concerns and nation state priorities are bound to conflict with multi-lateral and international institutions. Iraq was a clear example of where the good intentions of the UNO were subverted and contradicted by nation state self interest. Hussein was the worst human rights violator since Pol Pot. The UN’s inability to deal with Iraq and enforce its own set of Resolutions regarding Hussein’s treatment of his own people, and his construction of weapons of mass destruction meant that individual nation states, and especially, the USA and Britain, had to bear the costs and risks in disarming Iraq. This action has seriously deranged the credibility of the UNO and the utility of its Security Council construction.

The case for nation state action was presented to the UNO and the world during 2002 and 2003, many times by both President G. W. Bush and Prime Minister Blair of the UK. These pronouncements were little different than the arguments put forward for armed intervention which were presented many times from 1991 – 2003 by different leaders including President Clinton and various UN inspectors as well as many independent analysts and experts. During this period Iraq was a complicit actor in supporting terrorism in the Middle East even providing training camps for Al Qaeda and other groups. It was a destabilizing force and one of the main sponsors of the Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli citizens. In recognizing the unfinished business posed by Iraq, President George W. Bush’s March 17 2003 speech outlining US war aims was important in many respects. It stated the crucial principles edifying a multi-national action in defiance of UN inaction and international torpidity.

First Bush’s speech clearly stated that the Iraqi regime was responsible for the war. Despotic, never accounting for approximately 100 tones of weapons of mass destruction, contemptuous of the UNO and the United States, and unwilling to abide by international rules or resolutions, Hussein’s Iraqi regime was a ticking time bomb and a bold menace that had to be eliminated. The speech also reiterated that a US-British strike would remove a regime which had also spent a considerable amount of effort in state propaganda, demagogic harangues and in written elegiacs to the greater Arab world, how Iraq would lead an Arab confederation to destroy the immoral Zionists in Israel . Clearly WMD and military power were critical elements for Hussein to lead the Arab world. The ability to create WMD or to use existing illegal stockpiles had to be removed.

Second, Bush clearly stated that the invasion by the US and its 40 allies was to support the 14 broken UN resolutions and as well, basic human rights as envisioned under the UN Human Rights Charter. Due to political factionalism within the UNO Security Council the UNO had been unable to uphold its very own set of resolutions and had allowed over a period of at least a decade the murder of citizens from one of its national members. It was therefore incumbent upon nation states to enforce the collective will of the UNO through the military enforcement of 14 resolutions, which had been violated by Hussein’s regime and remove a regime that had no regard for basic human rights and freedoms. It has been estimated that Hussein’s regime had murdered on average, between 20.000 to 50.000 of its own citizens per year. Such a regime was in direct violation of the UN’s own human rights organization and various UN resolutions demanding not only disarmament but also a cessation of internal oppression.

Third, after regime removal and the destruction or collection of WMD, Bush made it clear that the Iraqi people would control their oil revenues and be responsible to develop their national institutions and systems of representation. Democracy would not be imposed from above nor would Iraq be colonized or dismembered. In this regard the US and its coalition members would stay in Iraq until a new democratic and legitimate government could be formed, with the country secured, peace established and the beginnings of a rebuilt infrastructure and market economy underway. Bush made it plain that the invasion and reconstitution of Iraq as a stable democracy was a vital link in the war on terror.

Bush’s stand was in effect a declaration of a new US foreign policy mission. The US was henceforward engaged in the remaking of the unstable and despotic Middle East into states that could function within the world community. Such an aim while noble will be fraught with uncertainty. It is however vital to the security of Western nations. The Second Iraqi or Gulf War was simply the closing chapter to the unfinished business of the First Gulf War and was necessitated by the incapability of a despotic regime to admit its defeat in 1991, or even truly contemplate a curtailment in its military and regional ambitions. It is the first step to reconstituting and rebuilding a vital region.

While critics have pointed out the paucity of WMD in Iraq, which was used as a main argument by the US and Britain for invasion, there are many reasons to explain the lack of WMD facilities found after the war. Some common ideas range from Hussein’s pathological obsession to cow his neighbors and exude power and thereby exaggerate his WMD strength; to fascist bureaucratic processes in which overstating WMD production was necessary to appease the leadership; to the inability of the Iraqi governmental structure to actually offer proof of WMD which was destroyed; to the destruction, sale or hiding of such WMD. Probably the lack of WMD in Iraq is due to a combination of all these factors. In any event, even without WMD, the war was justified on the grounds of pre-emptive security, the protection of innocent civilians within Iraq, the ability to remove US troops from Saudi Arabia, and the destruction of a fascist regime that destabilized the Middle East.

The Gulf Wars 1990-2003:
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 in an effort to acquire more control over oil supplies, and to subjugate a far richer country whose assets could help solve Iraq’s burdensome debt and financial obligations stemming from the stalemated 10 year Iran-Iraq war. At the time of the invasion both Iraq and Kuwait produced 4-5 % of the world’s oil supply. If Hussein could control both countries’ supplies his economic power would rival that of Saudi Arabia, which accounts for about 11 % of world oil supply. With a more powerful military Hussein could threaten and cajole Saudi Arabia into serving the interests of Baghdad or face a military strike. With his increased economic power Hussein would have more than enough funds to build and deploy advanced weaponry, WMD and even nuclear devices. In effect Iraq would become a regional hegemon and would be able to dictate terms to Western countries.

In this grand plan however, Hussein and his advisers made a few key unrealistic assumptions. First, they believed that the Americans and their public would not tolerate any casualties to retake Kuwait. Second, the Iraqi’s assumed that the US would never be able to put together and maintain an allied coalition including Arab countries and that without such a coalition the US would not unilaterally invade Kuwait. Third, Iraq totally underestimated the number of US troops that could be sent to the theatre and certainly were not aware of their quality and the vast differential in firepower between US and Iraqi forces. Fourth Hussein believed that air power would not constitute a serious threat in a war with the US and that the lack of an adequate Iraqi air force and air defense was not a serious concern. These assumptions helped form not only the Iraqi invasion plans but ultimately its defeat.

Based on these assumptions the Iraqi’s rolled into Kuwait surprising US intelligence who had viewed the military build up of the Iraqi forces but did not believe they would actually invade. As Iraq took Kuwait City it dispatched forces to the south potentially threatening the rich northern Saudi Arabian oil fields. Very quickly the US and the Saudi’s agreed that US troops must be rushed to the Kingdom to defend it from an apparent invasion by Iraq. Concomitantly the UNO was asked to ratify a Resolution to restore the sovereignty of Kuwait and the US rapidly collected a vast coalition of partners to support a true multi-lateral force to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Beyond the liberation of Kuwait however, no political objectives were ever determined or agreed upon either within the US administration or at the UNO.

As the Americans and their coalition allies built up forces in Saudi Arabia to retake Kuwait, a long list of officials, from the UNO, and its sundry member states, trekked to Baghdad to try and construct a workable peaceful solution. Hussein of course refused to accept any UN Security Council Resolutions or to negotiate except on his own terms. He truly felt that the US did not have the stomach to endure casualties in liberating Kuwait. At each stage Hussein would use the list of supplicant UN officials to score propaganda points and to perhaps reinforce the image that the Western powers were weak and looking for a way out. At the same time he used the interregnum to secure his borders with Iran, virtually conceding all of Iran’s demands and giving up the last of the Iranian land he had secured during the Iran-Iraq war. In effect he had waged 10 years of war against his neighbor for nothing. Thus secured he could direct his entire army of over 550.000 men to the defense of Kuwait and southern Iraq.

On January 17 1991 the US led coalition began Operation Desert Storm, which lasted 43 days. Air forces quickly disrupted Iraq’s command and control network and tore up its air defenses. American fighters found that Iraqi pilots were not good at dogfights and quickly shot down 30-40 Iraqi jets with only 1 loss. Much of Iraq’s electricity, water and oil production, as well as its transportation network were destroyed. Many WMD targets were attacked as well. Air attacks with no ground movement continued for 39 days. Estimates are that the air strikes destroyed around 1,200 Iraqi armored vehicles or about 20 % of the total. Most importantly the strikes lead to widespread desertions from the Iraqi army. From a high of 550.000 troops by the time of the ground assault only about 350.000 Iraqi troops were left in Kuwait after the 39-day aerial assault.

On February 24 1991 the coalition finally launched its ground assault. When they hit the Iraqi lines, many Iraqi formations disintegrated or surrendered. A powerful armor concentration swung left around the Iraqi lines in a vast outflanking maneuver, and a smaller diversionary attack struck southeastern Kuwait, all simultaneously timed with the main offensive against the Iraqi front. The flanking maneuver was intended to cut off the entire Iraqi army. Recognizing this Hussein ordered a general retreat from Kuwait to save his army. Republican Guard forces were pulled back to act as a defensive screen while the main army retreated.

On the third and fourth days of the attack the Republican Guard shield was hit by coalition ground forces. Though outgunned and outmaneuvered by the Americans the Guard fought hard, inflicting however, minimal damage. During the close fighting three Guard divisions were annihilated by US forces including the loss of their armor. Elsewhere in parts of the desert west of Kuwaiti City Guard units fought to the death. It was clear nonetheless that even despite such resistance the Iraqi army was crumbling and the US pincer movement was getting close to sealing off the Iraqi army in Kuwait. At this juncture however the US forces and especially their intelligence services then made a number of mistakes.

At this time, field reports indicated that the bulk of the Republican Guard had been wiped out. In fact only about 3 of the 8 Guard units in Kuwait had been engaged and beaten. Other reports claimed that the US had surrounded al-Basrah in southern Iraq, that the air force had sealed off Kuwait, and that the ‘highway of death’ from Kuwait City to Iraq was littered with most of the Iraqi army’s armor, and thousands of soldiers. TV images of ‘slaughtered’ Iraqi forces were swaying domestic audiences that the Iraqi’s were finished and were being unnecessarily butchered. The Arab street supposedly seethed at the mammoth annihilation inflicted by the infidel Americans on Iraqi forces. Based on such faulty intelligence and international empathy for the Iraqi’s, Bush Senior announced a halt to the ground offensive on February 28th 1991.

Needless to say the reality was different. Most of the Guard and its armor remained in tact and American units were never as far forward as intelligence reports stated. Neither were the exits from Kuwait cut off. Two Guard divisions had already escaped and were moving to Baghdad to defend the capital and other units had already moved to defend al-Basrah. The ‘highway of death’ was also a fiction. The Iraqi soldiers and drivers had fled at the sight of aircraft and US forces found only a few dozen bodies amongst the wreckage. Many of the lorries and trucks that were destroyed were carrying booty out of Kuwait City and the military hardware destroyed whilst not minimal constituted only a fraction of total Iraqi military hardware. This was confirmed during a post war audit in which it was found that more than 800 Iraqi tanks survived the war.

Even given the gross exaggeration of the Iraqi’s army destruction there were only about 5 Guard divisions, which stood between the coalition and Baghdad in February 1991. It would have been relatively easy to take the Iraqi capital but the US chose not too. The critical reasons given by the US not to march on Baghdad are not wholly convincing. Ostensibly the US administration maintained that the UN objective was to liberate Kuwait. Once achieved the coalition did not have the mandate to march on Baghdad. This seems however rather specious. The UN Resolution serves as a convenient excuse but many analysts cite the following reasons why the US did not take Baghdad in 1991:

• The US believed that Hussein would soon be toppled and that it was unnecessary to invade Iraq.
• There was no plan on rebuilding Iraq after an occupation precluding an invasion, which had no firm political or societal objective.
• Iraqi WMD facilities were mostly destroyed and Iraq’s threat to the region was thus minimized. [They were not and as inspectors later related only a fraction had been destroyed].
• A strong cohesive Iraq was thought vital to counter-act Iranian power. If the US invaded Iraq the country would fragment allowing Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.
• A US occupation of Iraq would thwart the policy objective of Middle Eastern peace and cause the Arab street to rise in protest delaying other important policy prerogatives such as solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
• An invasion and prolonged occupation was too expensive.

These assumptions were erroneous. The main central tenet of US policy was that Hussein would be toppled from within. Though the Kurds and Shiites did in fact revolt the US never supported the insurrections with enough material or hardware to guarantee anything more than ephemeral success. As such the revolts were crushed by an Iraqi army humiliated but not destroyed during the Gulf War and with enough men and weapons to easily handle domestic uprisings. The US had greatly underestimated the strength of the remaining Iraqi forces, which in a matter of weeks ruthlessly quelled the rebellions in the north and south.

In Kurdistan the Iraqi forces killed some 20.000 people and displaced 2 million more. In order to handle this humanitarian crisis on April 3 1991 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 688, which demanded that the Iraqi regime cease the repression of its people. A safe haven was created for the Kurds in the north including a northern ‘no fly zone’ north of the 36th parallel in which no Iraqi aircraft could fly. In the south a similar ‘no fly zone’ was created patrolled by coalition aircraft to protect the southern approaches to Kuwait and the Shiite population.

The missed opportunity to remove the Iraqi regime was thus based on a host of poor assumptions and this framework set the stage for the ‘containment’ policy of the 1990s. Diplomatic consensus, military pressure, inspections, the destruction of WMD and economic sanctions were the key elements of this policy. After the war the main concern of both the US and the UNO was not only containing Iraq but dealing with its humanitarian problems. Resolution 687 exempted food from economic sanctions, eased restrictions on essential civilian needs, and unfroze many of Iraq’s foreign assets for the purchase of food and medicine. It specified that Iraq’s WMD and missiles with a range greater than 150 km must be destroyed. It also set up the UNSCOM – [UN Special Commission to audit and destroy WMD], as the organ of the Security Council to conduct the disarmament.

Resolution 706 soon followed which authorized Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion in oil over 6 months using an escrow account from which 30% would go to compensate victims of Iraq’s aggression and the rest to buy humanitarian supplies. Iraq fearing an infringement on sovereignty however rejected the resolution. Even as early as 1991 it clearly signaled its reluctance to lose any aspect of sovereignty. However under Resolution 687 UNSCOM had the right to go anywhere, do anything and search anything that it wanted. This necessary condition to disarming Iraq very quickly became a battleground. The Iraqi’s were determined that sensitive sites, palaces, historic areas, and government buildings would be declared off limits. Most importantly both 687 and 706 were rooted in law, precedence and justified concern that the Iraqi regime would pose an international threat unless disarmed.

What forced Hussein to deal with the UN was the abysmal state of the Iraqi economy. Economic conditions in Iraq during 1991 deteriorated very quickly leading to social instability. By August 1991 inflation had reached 2000 percent and earnings had fallen to 10 per cent of pre Gulf War levels. Hussein wanted the economic and military sanctions lifted though he never had any intention of surrendering WMD to the inspection of UNSCOM. He did however need a stronger and more vibrant economy to afford the programs of WMD. He also believed that the inspections and sanctions would be short-lived.

As such Hussein played for time. Hussein was hoping that Tariq Aziz his Deputy Minister and the Iraqi Special Services would obfuscate and prevent UNSCOM from finding any evidence of WMD. By selectively cooperating and ensuring that his allies France and Russia were firmly on board and in agreement, Hussein and Aziz tried to portray Iraq as a supplicant and compliant with UN regulations. Unfortunately for them and after some good work by the inspectors, Iraq was forced to confess to a biological warfare program and an enriched uranium program to build nuclear weapons in May of 1992. It appeared that the containment program that at first analysis might have appeared to be a feasible and low cost method of first disarming and then perhaps even changing the Iraqi regime, was fast becoming ineffective.

However true to form the UN did little to uphold its own resolutions and enforce compliance. Iraq obstructed UNSCOM from 1992-1994, preventing visits, denying to provide lists of destroyed WMD, even denying in most cases that chemical or biological weapons existed. The articles stating ‘direct and open compliance’ were ignored by Iraq. In December 1994 the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Services defected and provided the US with evidence that VX nerve gas had been loaded onto missiles during the Gulf War; that the biological weapons program was far more extensive than the UN believed; and that Iraq had a stash of chemical and biological munitions along with 40 modified long range Scud missiles. By 1995 it was clear that Iraq had no intention of complying with UNSCOM or various UN Resolutions and were engaged in covert programs to reconstitute WMD. For instance the Iraqi’s first denied they had ever produced VX nerve gas, then when shell fragments containing traces of the gas were found they said that only 200 liters were produced, however after further probing by UNSCOM revealed that 3.9 tones had been produced.

Meanwhile the Iraqi economy continued to crumble. As Iraq’s economy and humanitarian crisis worsened, the US put forward Resolution 986 which was passed by the Security Council and which created the controversial ‘oil for food’ deal. Building on Resolution 706’s offer to allow Iraq to sell some oil to buy food and medicine, UNSCR 986 set up a comprehensive system by which Iraq could sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months to buy food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies. It created a UN escrow account into which all proceeds from Iraqi oil sales would be delivered within a UN system, which would approve all of Iraq’s contracts for purchases with those funds. It allocated 30 % of the funds to compensate the victims of Iraq’s aggression and 4 % to pay for the costs of the UN’s various Iraqi programs. As well 13 % was given to the Kurds, where the program would be administered by the UN, leaving 53 % of the funds for the rest of the Iraqi population. The UNSCR passed it unanimously. True to form Hussein rejected it and the Iraqi Dinar collapsed.

In August 1995 Hussein’s son in law, Hussein Kamel, apparently in fear of his life, defected to Jordan with his family. UNSCOM officials found at Kamel’s chicken ranch in Jordan, some 650.000 pages of text, photos, videos, microfilm, and microfiche, relating to Iraq’s WMD program. It was clear that the inspectors were being duped. In fact according to Kamel’s evidence 166 bombs and 25 missile warheads were outfitted with biological agents. As well there was a ‘crash’ nuclear program desperately searching for methods to complete fissile material for a nuclear bomb. The inspectors who had just declared that Iraq was close to being disarmed were stunned by the evidence.

As the inspection regime crumbled so do did Iraq’s economy continue to worsen. During 1995 and early 1996 the Dinar continued to fall and the government was forced to cease the printing of money, cease the payment of international phone line connection fees, impose new taxes and sell assets to raise capital. Under this exigency and extreme hardship Hussein finally relented and agreed to UNSCR 986 or the ‘food for oil’ deal. As the deal was signed the Dinar rose in value and the Iraqi people celebrated. Money and supplies started to flow in. As soon as the economy began to turn around, Hussein announced that due to some trivial matters in the text Iraq was now not going to abide by UNSCR 986. As part of brokering a deal UNSCOM agreed to limit 60 sites as off limits to inspections. This was in spite of the obvious failings of the inspection regime and that Iraq’s special security forces were the primary agents in deceiving the inspectors. Most of the 60 sites belonged to these agencies or to Hussein and his inner circle. Nevertheless Hussein accepted this condition but did not ratify UNSCR 986.

Meanwhile in 1995 after a failed Kurdish uprising, Hussein pushed out the CIA from northern Iraq and destroyed the effective military power of the various Kurdish factions. This greatly enhanced his prestige and restored the morale of the Republican Guard. It also made the UN and USA look weak and disorganized. Such an increase in his standing and in his domestic power allowed Hussein to finally accept UNSCR 986 and gave him perversely more control over the economy and dispensation of contracts for oil sales and food purchases. Politically Hussein was able to use the UNSCR 986 to his political and economic advantage and begin to use such largesse to divide the Security Council. As well the Iraqi’s were engaged in selectively destroying their declared stocks of WMD but not their hidden stocks. Tariq Aziz the Deputy Prime Minister even referred to WMD as a necessary condition for Iraqi survival – surrounded as it was by Israel, Iran and a US occupied Saudi Arabia.

By 1997 Iraq was not only using UNSCR 986 to improve its economy it was also engaged in ‘illegal’ sales of oil for food with neighboring countries growing from 5 % of total oil revenues in 1996 to about 20 % by 2002. This gave Iraq great clout in the region and further emboldened it to use funds to reconstitute its WMD program. As well the Iraqi’s began to intimidate the UNSCOM inspectors. It demanded that British and American inspectors be limited or taken off inspection teams. It fired rockets [harmlessly] into the UNSCOM compound. The bullying reached such a level that the Security Council passed Resolution 1134 which threatened to impose travel restrictions on Iraqi officials unless UNSCOM bullying was arrested. This only served to highlight the growing divisions within the UNSC. France, Russia and China, all major recipients of Iraqi contracts abstained from voting on Resolution 1134. Thus emboldened Iraq demanded that all American inspectors go home, charged some inspectors with spying for the CIA [an oft cited Iraqi complaint] and threatened to shoot down US U2 spy planes. It also demanded that it would withdraw from the ‘oil for food’ programme if the UN did not set a date for the lifting of sanctions.

American and British forces immediately began a build up in the region. EU governments just as quickly distanced themselves from the Anglo-American action. The Russians intervened and brokered a deal wherein the inspectors would be allowed in, as long as the Russians could speed up the work of UNSCOM, and would convince the UN to set a timetable to lift the sanctions. As the UNSCOM inspectors went back to work, the Iraqi’s prevented them from seeing sites. Hussein declared that if all sanctions were not lifted within 90 days the inspectors would be sent home. Again the US began a military buildup but found itself isolated as the EU, Russia and China condemned the activity. To diffuse the situation Kofi Annan brokered a deal whereby inspections would continue and Iraqi palaces would be declared off limits to inspections. Annan without UN authorization committed the Security Council to the following deal [summarized below], concluding that Hussein is a man “I can do business with.”

Memo of Understanding [MOU] between Annan and Hussein:
1. Government of Iraq reconfirms its acceptance of all relevant resolutions of the UNSC including resolutions 687 [1991] and 715 [1991].
2. The UN reiterates the commitment of all Member states to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.
3. Iraq agrees to accord to UNSCOM and IAEA immediate and unconditional access with the resolutions referred to, subject to procedures already established [i.e. Some sites cannot be inspected].
4. Senior diplomats would then monitor the work of UNSCOM [this meant that political hacks would now have input into what was an independent audit].
5. Lifting of sanctions is of paramount importance and should be advanced quickly.

What the agreement did was sanction the various sites that the Iraqi’s wanted off limits and put political pressure from France, Russia and China – Iraq’s erstwhile allies – to bear on UNSCOM. In any event before the ink was dry Iraq was already claiming that the agreement was invalid and that the real meaning of the agreement was that UNSCOM needed to have Iraqi experts on each and every approved inspection and that the MOU just concluded was not what was discussed between Annan and the Iraqi government.

Even as they retreated from the most recent MOU it was clear that Hussein had achieved another victory. He proved that the UN had to bargain with Iraq and that 70 odd sites were now off limits to the inspectors. As well he proved that most of the UNSC were not interested in using force to uphold their own Resolutions. Unfortunately for Hussein within a few months of renewed inspections VX nerve gas was discovered. Baghdad had always denied that it had biological or chemical weapons. Unable to deny the VX find, and after several months of arguing with UNSCOM the Iraqi Parliament voted to end the inspections. To recommence UNSCOM Hussein demanded a spate of changes to the inspection regime and the reduction of US and British roles in inspections. After a few more months and another UN Resolution condemning the Iraqi action, Hussein finally kicked out the inspectors and ordered them to leave by the end of 1998. As Richard Butler head of the UNSCOM at the time asserted: “Such behavior was typical of Iraq’s treatment of UNSCOM: a mixture of bluster, brazenly inept lies, and thinly veiled threats of violence.”

In retaliation during December of 1998 the Americans and British launched Operation Desert Fox. This four-day attack consisted of air and cruise missile strikes against military and governmental targets. In total the US and Britain flew 650 aircraft sorties and fired 415 cruise missiles. The objective of the attack was to derange the WMD programs and facilities of the Iraqi regime. However only 11 out of 97 targets were actually WMD facilities since in the main the US did not know where such facilities actually were located. Most of the targets were command and control facilities, Guard barracks, airfields and internal security facilities.

Operation Desert Fox was however quite effective. Hussein panicked during the offensive. Large scale domestic arrests and security measures were enacted as the regime felt itself threatened and Iraqi society broiled with unrest. These measures however backfired and sparked uprisings in the north and south. It also appears that some Iraqi officials were plotting to kill Hussein but were discovered and dispensed with. Rioting in Iraqi cities began and the regime looked shaky. If the strikes had lasted more than four days, the regime might have encountered widespread instability. However somewhat inexplicably, using the beginning of Ramadan as an excuse, Washington stopped the assault. This occurred even as Clinton on the third day of the strike in a public speech declared that removing Hussein was a prime US foreign policy goal, and that Hussein was an international threat. In any event by March 1999, the Kosovo campaign had begun and Iraq faded into the background.

The Iraqian problem appeared to diminish. In December 1999 most economic sanctions were lifted against Iraq. In UNSCR 1284, the cap on the amount of oil Baghdad could sell to pay for humanitarian goods was lifted, as was the list of goods approved for import. It did preserve the military embargo and the UN control over Iraqi finances. It also established a new inspections regime. Washington agreed to suspend the remaining economic sanctions if Iraq made significant progress on key remaining disarmament tasks, to be determined by UN Monitoring and Verification Commission or UNMOVIC. France, Russia and China of course abstained from passing the Resolution. Hussein once again could see a divided UNSC and rewarded the 3 abstainers with more money and contracts.

By 2000 Iraq’s trade was worth about $17 billion and the French and Russians were determined to increase their share of it. Iraq would only award contracts to those nations who supported Hussein. Baghdad made it clear that such support was a prerequisite in winning contracts in the ‘oil for food’ deals. The UN Sanctions committee referred to the UNSC many instances of illegal trading activity on the part of French, Russian and Chinese firms, but no action was ever taken. Certainly the UN never imposed new sanctions or attempted to enforce the legality of Resolution 1284. When Clinton became preoccupied with sex scandals and a coming election he refused to make a determined effort to topple Hussein and countries were encouraged to act in concert with Baghdad to effect financial advantage.

As a result smuggling escalated and the Iraqi’s began charging a sur-charge on each barrel of smuggled oil, payable into regime accounts. With this extra revenue the Iraqi regime was able to further its clandestine WMD operations and rebuild its army. In effect the sanctions never strong to begin with, had totally failed to contain Iraq. They served chiefly as a propagandist tool for the Iraqi regime, which was able to beam pictures of starving and dead children to the world, blaming the US sponsored sanctions for their demise. The fact that it was the Iraqi regime itself that was responsible for murdering its own population made little impact on Western media sources.

In general it is clear that the Iraqi regime never accepted defeat in 1991. The 1991 cease-fire agreement was predicated upon Iraq complying with UN demands for unilateral disarmament and the destruction of various stores of chemical and biological weapons. During the 1990s the Iraqi’s defied the UN inspectors by not proving that they were cooperatively destroying their stocks of outlawed weapons and materiel. In fact the Iraqi’s engaged in various programs to reconstitute their supply of weapons of mass destruction and did their best to obstruct the UN Inspectors. After a number of confrontations and problems the inspectors were ejected from the country in 1998 and only allowed back in due to US military pressure in 2002. Resolution 1441 was then created and passed by the UN Security Council, on November 8 2002, stating in unambiguous language the conditions that Iraq must meet to fulfill its obligations to disarm and comply. If not it would face ‘serious consequences’ diplomatic-speak for an invasion.

True to form Iraq ignored the Resolution as it had ignored 16 previous dictates from the UNSC. In early 2003 UN inspectors confirmed in the course of various reports that Iraq was not in compliance with UN Resolution 1441. During the January 27 2003 de-briefing at the UNO, Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix stated, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance – not even today – of the disarmament which was demanded of it, and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and live in peace.” Further reports indicated that Iraq still possessed large amounts of chemical weapons and biological weapons as well as missiles and warheads all of which contravened Resolution 1441.

By early 2003 some key breaches of Resolution 1441 included :
• Names of Scientists:
o Baghdad had supplied to the UN the names of 480 scientists even though 3,500 worked on such programs according to information gathered by the inspectors from 1991-1998. A total list of scientists who have worked on all weapons programs was required under the resolution.
• Scientific Cooperation:
o The Iraqi regime prevented scientists from cooperating with inspectors who were unable to interview scientists in private without a chaperon. As Blix stated, “…the individual will only speak at Iraq’s monitoring directorate or, at any rate, in the presence of an Iraqi official.” The Iraqi regime has threatened scientists with punishment including death if they discussed the programs without Iraqi officials being present with the inspectors.
o Homes of scientists were found to contain at least 3.000 pages of files related to programs of weapons building, most marked secret or classified.
• Chemical Agents and Nuclear Programs:
o A 12.000 page Iraqi submission did not answer the whereabouts of VX nerve gas, anthrax, 2 tons of nutrients for biological agents, 550 artillery shells filled with mustard gas, and an accounting of 6.500 chemical bombs.
o According to Blix Iraq has also rebuilt its missile production technology, “In particular, Iraq reconstituted a number of casting chambers, which had previously been destroyed.”
o Defectors maintain that Iraq is only 2 years away from building a nuclear bomb.
o The US maintains that Blix intentionally did not include in his reports evidence of a drone aircraft capable of carrying chemical or biological agents.
• Importation of illegal items:
o Iraq bought in contravention of the embargo, missile engines, raw materials for rocket fuel, and chemical agents.
o Iraq also illegally circumvented UN sanctions to import chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation, and guidance and control systems.
• Missiles:
o Iraq possessed and then started to slowly destroy 150 Al Samoud missiles, which have a range of more than the allowed 150 km. These missiles contravened the cease-fire agreement.
• Surveillance:
o Iraq also prevented the inspectors from deploying a U2 surveillance plane that could take pictures of areas for study.
o U2 surveillance planes on multi-plane flights were threatened by Iraq, which maintained that only one surveillance plane is allowed when in fact Resolution 1441 allows for multi-plane surveillance activity.
• Terror Training:
o Iraq harbored Al Qaeda members providing some level of training for these members as well as offering training camps other terrorist groups and individuals. [A training camp discovered in northern Iraq during Gulf War II near the Iranian border confirmed such links, including the discovery of manuals and facilities of chemical weapons development.]

Goaded by security concerns, alarmed that Iraq had not desisted in its attempt to build and acquire WMD and frustrated that Iraqi money was funding terrorist groups in Israel and Iran, the US with its principal ally Britain, invaded. In three weeks the coalition forces led by US personnel, air, sea and special operations toppled the Hussein regime and seized control of Iraq. It was an incredible display of raw power, technological prowess, military speed and skill. The technological, logistical and communication systems displayed by the coalition forces demonstrated that US power was irresistible. The impact on the greater Islamic world and on North Korea was profound. The so-called Arab street never rose up, there were no widespread Islamic irruptions or attempts at jihad, no terrorist attacks were committed against Western targets and the Iraqi population and infrastructure were not shattered.

Opposition to Gulf War II:
Why did France, Germany and Russia oppose enforcing the UN’s own resolution? There are a number of domestic and international factors that makes such posturing politically opportune. Domestically in every nation state anti-Americanism plays well to gain votes and media support. It is fair to say that collectively in most nation states no one likes the Americans or its hyperpower. Politicians who wish to acquire polling favor, and glowing media reports find it easier to purchase such support with an intransigent, national appeal to their state’s unique greatness and the principle that the US cannot dominate the rest of the world and violate internationalism. Leaders of nations who have no effective military, are untroubled by defending greater Western interests, or see no right or wrong in international affairs, or the moral imperative of securing populations from potential terrorist attacks and find easy political succor in such a policy. Indeed in Germany Gerhard Schroeder won an election on an anti-war, anti-American platform.

Nationalist politics in such post-modern entities has compromised issues of national security and defense. In these post modern regimes defeating fascist regimes and protecting home populations can only be effected via a UN sanctioned and supported war. In reality for many nations the UN is a useful tool that allows their governments to covertly support the US without raising citizen and media ire and instigate potential retaliation by terrorist groups. Many countries such as Germany, France, Italy or Britain who possess large Muslim populations, and most probably many terrorist cells, are also reluctant to engage in a war without the cover of the UNO since it might roil domestic populations and lead to charges of racial discrimination or intolerance. Polls show that in many countries support for the invasion of Iraq was higher under the auspices of the UNO rather than as part of a ‘unilateral’ American initiative. A UN sanctioned war allows countries to court both domestic anti-American opinion and satisfy those who feel that the UNO and multi-lateralism offer panaceas to international crises.

Besides domestic advantages, international trade also gave politicians in both France and Russia good reason not to support US and British action against Iraq. Total Iraqi debts exceed $100 billion not including reparations payments of $300 billion for its invasion of Kuwait. Russia and France were 2 of the largest creditors. Russian government and industry long had substantial investments and concessions in the country. A real fear in Russia was that a regime change would null and void these loan repayments. The Russians were therefore in solidarity with the French, asking for more time and more inspections so that they may extract more money from the large illegal trade that flourished around the exportation of Iraqi oil and try to resolve the pressing issue of debt repayment. For Russia more time to extract payments from Iraq was necessary given that its own economy has shrunk 40 % since 1989 and is in desperate need of hard currency. As well Russia still believes that it is a world power able to challenge US dominance in the Middle East. Such a policy has much appeal to a Russian audience who still wants to believe in their great power status.

France had more at stake and was even more belligerent in opposing US actions against Iraq. The French have in turn been against sanctions, inspections and practical disarmament. It appears that French national interest had more to gain by supporting Hussein than by supporting the US. Since at least 1972 France had been tightly allied with the Hussein regime. During 1972 Hussein nationalized the oil industry and the West became united in opposition and demanded the de-nationalization of foreign oil assets. The French sniffing a golden opportunity broke ranks and cut a side-deal with Hussein ensuring French oil concession rights and the establishment of a tight friendship between Baghdad and Paris. Such an advantage was followed up in 1975 when then Prime Minister Jacques Chirac sold to Hussein a fast breeder reactor in exchange for $3 billion in cash, oil concessions and a large contract to purchase French Mirage fighter jets. This was soon followed by other deals until by the early 1980s Iraq was France’s largest single foreign client for military hardware.

After the First Gulf War the French defended the territorial legitimacy of Iraq’s claims and espoused that sanctions should be lifted. In 1997 after a series of problems with UN inspectors the Security Council passed resolution 1134 which threatened to impose travel restrictions on Iraqi officials. Russia, China and France abstained. Shortly thereafter the UN inspection regime was closed down by Iraq and the inspectors were forced to leave the country.

The French and the UN then further gratified Hussein in 1999 when it passed Resolution 1284, which expanded the exemption to sanctions in a food for oil deal, with promised to lift all remaining sanctions as long as Iraq allowed inspectors back in the country. The French along with Russia abstained. The French rationale was that they could not vote in favor of the Resolution while the Russians demurred since such an action would cost the French their fair share of a large section of the oil for food trade, estimated to be about $17 billion per year. French action was driven solely by a longstanding relationship with Hussein.

Pre-War Objections to the Second Gulf War:
Of course official French and Russian political platitudes only reiterated the common anti-war rationale against invading Iraq and changing its regime. Such posturing hid the real economic motivations of the French and Russian governments and played well to domestic audiences who are not predisposed to war. Essentially the anti-war movement established a few general organizing principles in opposition to the war. These principles were a combination of the following; opposition to unilateral action; a naïve trust in the UNO; a misreading of Hussein and his regime; a misunderstanding of international law; an aversion to war at any costs; a desire to limit US power and world domination; a belief that the war would kill innocent Iraqi’s; and a violent agitation that the war was initiated over the US desire to control oil.

In the main the anti-war group was largely anti-American and tinged with anti-Semiticism, bizarrely accusing Israel of somehow manipulating the US to invade Iraq. Most of these objections and beliefs are rooted in a total misreading of history, the willful blindness to a regime that murdered 20.000-50.000 of its people each year, appropriated approximately $2 billion annually into personal bank accounts, and ignored UN Resolutions. In a 2003 study the US Congress estimated that the Iraqi regime and in particular Hussein and his familial inner circle raised more than $6 billion from 1997-2001 from various illegal oil smuggling deals with its neighbors. The study stated that not only did billions go into Hussein’s personal account but also billions went into to buying components for WMD.

Objection One: It is unilateral
Reality: 40 nations supported the US’ resolve to invade Iraq and change its regime including 6 Arab nations, and 16 out of 19 NATO nations. It was a multi-lateral disarmament group of like-minded nations who for various reasons, including the solidification of military, investment and trading ties with the US, saw the need to disarm a tyrannical and unstable regime. It was unilateral in that most of the forces were American including most of the military hardware. This has more to say about the lack of other nation states’ capability to fight an engagement than it does about US unilateralism. The base fact is that other Security Council nations with the exception of Britain, can offer no more than token forces in foreign theatres. This shows a depressingly elevated neglect of security and military responsibility. In any event during October 2003 by a 15-0 vote, the UN Security Council approved the US plan for continued US and coalition occupation until such time that the Iraqi’s were ready to govern themselves. This was a prudent decision and a vigorous US diplomatic triumph.

Objection Two: It is unprovoked
Reality: The end of the Gulf War in 1991 was a cease-fire wherein the Allies would not enforce regime change in 1991. This entails that the defeated party needs to conform to the resolutions of the victors. Iraq violated 17 such resolutions. In this light the war never truly ended, and there was only an interregnum of UN brokered peace. Iraq had materially breached many resolutions including Resolution 688 that forbade the Iraqi regime to oppress torture or make war upon its own people. In this vein the Second Gulf War was indeed provoked by Iraq and its regime, which did nothing to comply to the demands of the international community.

Objection Three: The West supported Iraq in the 1980s
Reality: France, Germany, Britain and the US [and all NATO allies to some degree] supported Iraq against Iran, which was supported by Russia during the 1980s. This was a Cold War proxy fight, and Iran under the militant mullahs and an overt ally of the Soviet Union, was deemed at that time for the NATO powers, a greater danger than Iraq. Yet the USA still hedged its bets selling arms during this conflict to Iran [the Iran-Contra affair] and it is fair to say that the American’s detested the regime in Baghdad but felt that a Soviet backed Iranian hegemony over the Middle East was not in US national interests. In fact this balance of power approach pervaded US thinking until the late 1990s. US officials believed that a strong Iraq was vitally important to counter a fundamentalist and expansionist Iran. This changed with 9-11-01 attacks. WMD programs using biological and chemical weapons were intolerable in such an unstable regime. This holds true not just for Iraq but any despotic, expansionist regime. The liberation of Iraq was merely the first step in a long process for American and British governments to rid the world of tyrannical regimes, which possess WMD.

Objection Four: The UN has not authorized it
Reality: The UNO is not a world government. It is populated by selfish, power seeking nation states. If the UN can't enforce its own resolutions, its credibility is compromised. It certainly cannot dictate the security policies of member states that have tried to use multi-lateral processes to enforce UN authorized resolutions. For example Resolution 678 dating from November 1990, and passed after Iraq invaded Kuwait, clearly stated that the UN nations could use "authorized force against Iraq, to eject it from Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area". Resolution 687 dated from April 1991, set out the ceasefire conditions after Operation Desert Storm, "the Security Council imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction in order to restore international peace and security in the area". Iraq never complied. Clearly international law such as it is, favors the US position. Iraq has never bothered to accommodate itself with any of the Resolutions that prohibit the regime from oppressing its own people, or to develop programs and WMD.

As well there is no precedent for nation states to ask the UNO for approval for a pre-emptive strike or to engage in a war that is deemed vital for national interests. The Americans invaded Grenada and Nicaragua without UN approval. George Bush Sr. precipitated the First Gulf War without UN approval. The French have invaded the Ivory Coast without UN approval, the British took back the Falklands without UN approval, and China invaded Tibet without UN sanction. It is rather provocative to demand UNO sanction on a second Gulf War with the mass of evidence which now exists about Iraqi non-compliance during 12 years, and a vast weapons and nuclear program in development without there being any historical precedent.

Objection Five: No Proof of WMD
Reality: This is the most critical and trenchant claim of those who were against the war. That WMD did exist before the war is not really in doubt. What is in doubt is the amount and location of such banned weapons and the whereabouts after the war of the 100 tones or so, identified by the UN inspectors and US officials, that Iraq had not accounted for before the war began. Theories abound about the fate of Iraq’s cache of WMD. Some believe that Hussein destroyed the WMD stock, or that part of it has been plundered or that it was moved to Syria or Iran. The US and Britain maintain that WMD stock exists in Iraq but that it will take months of painstaking searching and Iraqi compliance to find. Mobile trailers, chemical suits, and thousands of pages of documentation have been found, but no tangible physical WMD.

The looting of information sources and government buildings has also compromised the search for WMD. Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defence for policy, stated publicly that some of the looting might be ‘strategic’ and that nuclear and WMD stock might actually have been stolen by Iraqi government workers. Some US officials feel that former Baath Party and Iraqi government officials might be engaged in some of the looting of government facilities including those that might have records or materials relating to weapons of mass destruction. If true this would seriously derange the rapidity of discovering WMD. It appears that US forces were somewhat tardy to take and hold key government buildings and compounds. Such an obvious failure is perplexing given that the security of WMD was a prime war objective.

Many senior U.S. officials with responsibility over postwar Iraq were highly critical of the delay in securing those facilities. One official described it as “the barn-door phenomenon.” Retired Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, the brief military occupation governor of Iraq, sought special protection for 10 Iraqi ministries, identifying them as potential repositories of weapons data, but that only the Oil Ministry remained intact after U.S. ground forces took possession of Baghdad. Combat commanders gave insufficient priority to getting into such locations and lacked the requisite force to accomplish the initial sequestering of buildings and records.

Even the estimated 50 facilities protected by U.S. forces immediately after the cessation of heavy fighting represent only a tiny fraction of the many thousands of government and Baath Party offices, state enterprises, prisons, barracks, camps and private homes of senior Iraqi officials — all of them types of places where Iraq has a history of concealing evidence of non-conventional arms. The Ministry of Industry and Minerals, for example, oversaw more than 600 Iraqi state enterprises and 100,000 employees. U.N. arms inspectors once found more than a million pages of weapons documents on a chicken farm. The plethora of compounds, barracks and bunkers will make the search for WMD a time consuming and rather daunting task.

Even if WMD is found it remains to be seen how accurate US intelligence reports were about the 100-500 tones of stockpiled chemical weaponry. Bush launched and justified the war with declaring in various terms and on many occasions “that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who took the lead public role in defending that proposition, said, among other particulars, that Iraq had a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. Such declarations were based on US intelligence sources that are now under criticism. There are those who suggest that certain parties within the White House manipulated information and exaggerated the Iraqi WMD threat in order to galvanise the Pentagon to topple Hussein’s regime.

Defectors before the War had alerted the UN and US to where these caches were yet immediately after the war, no WMD was found at these facilities. While defectors will routinely exaggerate issues to gain favorable terms it would be too facile to discount all of their information. Iraq produced no evidence before Gulf War II that the bulk of these products had been destroyed. It would be odd that if Iraq did not have or intend to produce WMD that it would not offer up tangible proof to the UN, which supported it indirectly during the 1990s. Instead it was apparent that Iraq’s policy was ‘minimal’ compliance to appease the UN, but not to engage in full disclosure.

During the 1990s UN Weapons Inspectors and those from the Atomic Energy Commission failed on previous missions to find or audit Iraqi compliance with previous resolutions. Part of the problem might have been with the small team of inspectors that were tasked with auditing Iraqi non-compliance. It was not to be expected that 60 inspectors could cover a large country with many installations and be able to uncover programs in progress. This is not the purpose of such inspections that can only be used to monitor and audit compliance, not discover weapons programs and military caches. In any event the current search for WMD should reveal not only a deliberate set of programs, but also chemical and biological material.

Objection Six: Iraq is [was] not a threat
Reality: This is the line that Germany and France often used before the war, though they offered no source material or logic to defend it. A despotic, psychotic regime that needs money, which has invaded its neighbors, gases and tortures its own citizens and desires money to develop biological and nuclear potential, is an incredibly obvious threat to civilization. More nefarious would be the ability and desire of such a regime to cooperate with terrorist groups. There is little evidence that the containment of Iraq worked or is militarily, financially, economically, and in the case of the Iraqi population, morally justified. It is somewhat incomprehensible that the US and Britain should maintain huge stations of troops in the area, at their nation’s costs, to watch over the Iraqi regime without having the ability to intervene militarily when needed. Not acting when a dictator ignores UN Resolutions is only to delay the inevitable and necessary regime change. Delay will also increase the risks of another potent strike against Western interests perhaps with chemical or biological weapons.

Objection Seven: The risks of war
Reality: No probabilities are ever attached to the so-called risks of war argument. Usually such analysis is no more than just superfluous rhetoric, with catch-all phrases such as ‘millions will die’, ‘the country will be bombed into rubble’, ‘innocent babies will starve’, ‘the environment will be shattered’, ‘military personnel will be sacrificed’ and so on. The same arguments were used in the First Gulf War and in Afghanistan in 2001-02 and all were falsified by events. During the First Gulf War about 5-10.000 Iraqi soldiers died and perhaps upwards of 1.000 Iraqi civilians perished. In the Second Gulf War the estimates are that about 1.000 civilians died, 400 US and British military were killed during and after the war, and upwards of 10.000 Iraqi soldiers are believed to have fallen. These losses are hardly the horrific casualties trumpeted by anti-war protestors before the conflict began. In neither conflict was the Iraq infrastructure, with the exception of the 650 oil well fires in the first Gulf War, significantly degraded.

The risks of war are mitigated by a number of crucial factors. Before the Second Gulf war many analysts made three important observations. First there is the overwhelming superiority of American technology and military hardware. It was felt that the U.S. military could probably capture 75% of Iraq in the first week and convince part of the Iraqi military commander to either disappear or surrender. This indeed did occur with many thousands of troops giving up or going home.

Second, at least half of Iraq's 400,000 troops were not considered reliable and most analysts projected that they would not offer much resistance. Some elements such as the 20,000 members of the Special Republican Guard and the Special Security Organization, [which would be suspected of hiding banned weapons in their various facilities], would be expected to fight in Baghdad, and Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, 100 miles north of the capital. During the invasion Iraqi resistance was indeed sparse and inept and largely uncoordinated only stiffening around the concentric defenses of Baghdad.

Third, Pentagon planners suggested before the war that more targets in Baghdad would be hit in the first 24 hours of Gulf War II than were hit in all 43 days of the Gulf War I. In 1991 fewer than 10% of the bombs were smart, while in Gulf War II 80% were classified as smart bombs. Such precise bombing and calculated devastation alone would unbalance the regime even more so than the limited 4 day strikes of operation Desert Fox did, in 1998. The revolution in communications and technology limited collateral damage and casualties and made the risks of war objection even more specious.

Objection Eight: There is no plan for rebuilding Iraq after the War
Reality: For many the lack of a coherent plan of reconstruction of Iraq after a war is reason enough to oppose Gulf War II. While potentially appealing such a theory ignores that firstly, the war has to be won and the manner and shape of the victory will help determine a post-war regime [including which Allies participate and how], and second, there is no magical formula for rebuilding a country – it takes a long time, requires patience and necessitates a dialogue between many and often times competing interests. One thing which is certain is that reconstruction will be an expensive process with about U$100-150 billion in costs in the first year alone and many experts stating that a minimum of U$500 Billion is needed over the coming few years in aid and infrastructure spend. Rebuilding Iraq is a cooperative effort involving nation states, IGO’s, NGO’s and the UNO and could entail costs of at least $1 Trillion over the next 10 years.

Given the complexities involved, post war regime building is a hard and murky affair. The rebuilding of any country takes years and sometimes generations. West Germany under US military protection was only able to rebuild its economy in 5-7 years following the Second World War. The German economic minister Erhard established a hard currency, eliminated price and wage controls, and allowed for the functioning of a free market system. These economic reforms in combination with political and institutional reform, the protection of private property, democratic rights and civil rights, ensured that the German economy would experience its ‘miracle’. Institutional rebuilding along the line of the ‘German’ model would go far in helping Iraq regain stability.

Even Afghanistan and East Timor have taken longer to reorganize than most analysts had first thought. Afghanistan succumbed within 3 weeks to US military force, contrary to the ardent liberal propaganda and anti-war sentiments portrayed by the media and special interest groups opposed to the invasion. In conjunction with NATO and UNO agencies, the US has embarked on stabilizing Kabul and then slowly spreading its power and control to the outlier regions outside of Kabul, dominated by various warlords. The military operations are de-jure under the command of NATO, with 5.000 or more international troops in Kabul aiding US forces. This process has met with mixed results and it is clear that NATO and US forces will need years to stabilize Afghanistan. In eradicating the Taliban and future terrorist activities such an investment is a necessary and rather cheap insurance policy when compared to the human and economic costs of 9-11-01.

East Timor is the only case example of a relatively successful effort by the UNO to rebuild a country. Since its independence from Indonesia the tiny statelet has made good progress towards a stable and liberally based regime premised on democratic plurality and a strong legal infrastructure. Many who advocate a greater UNO role in Iraq use East Timor as an example of successful multi-lateral nation building. This analysis is however false. East Timor comprises a tiny geographic area with only 750.000 citizens. It has no discernible vast sources of natural wealth, it is not situated in an area of the world that is riven by conflict, it has little geo-political strategic value and is not a potentially major regional economic or political power. East Timor has nothing in common with Iraq.

Those who compare East Timor to Iraq which has 30 times the population and economic value, or even Afghanistan with a far larger geography and perforce, an abundance of infrastructure, political and economic issues that dwarves East Timor, are disingenuous. In large states with dispersed and variegated populations riven by differing interests and by serious socio-economic issues, no case example exists of a successful UNO led nation state reconstruction. In modern history nations have only been rebuilt when under direct hegemonic control [Germany, Japan, Grenada, Nicaragua] or indirect hegemonic control wherein economic aid, political reform and security guarantees were provided by the hegemonic power to the receiving state.

Re-building failed states through multi-lateral UNO efforts is at best only one part of the solution. Itself riven by rivalry, disputes, inefficiencies, bureaucratic torpor and multi-lingualism the UNO has no experience with restoring a system of democratic, economic and pluralist reform in important nations, which have been shattered. Large countries broken by war or extreme socialism and fascism such as Japan, Russia, Afghanistan, Argentina, and Poland amongst others, are testimony to the complexity and length of time that is needed to reconstitute nations that have suffered from despotic, corrupt and illiberal regimes. Many of the FSU states for instance are still struggling to halt economic decline and contraction whilst creating a liberal governance structure, the rule of law, and a semblance of a free media. Russia, Ukraine and other FSU nations have seen their economies contract 40-70% since 1989 and have witnessed widespread criminal elements take control of large parts of the economy and government. Reforming and reshaping such societies into liberal entities purged of criminal interests will take more than a generation to complete.

The situation in Iraq is just as complex as in the FSU mandating hands-on expertise under a unified, Iraqi supported government. Currently there is no enthusiasm in Iraq for UNO troops, but it is quite clear that the Iraqi people want the US to stay until regime change and stability have been accomplished. Given the challenges facing the coalition forces and Iraqi people this is rather sensible. Iraq has a dilapidated infrastructure, incomes are 1/10 of what they were in 1980, many of the elite have fled, most families rely on government handouts to survive, there exists an oppressed Shia majority in the south, and an unstable Kurdish majority in the north and Iraqi political groups are fractured and in discord. It is a complicated, poor, and disfigured country. Oil reserves will take years to develop and exploit, and much of this revenue will be used to pay off existing foreign debt claims and will not be available to fund necessary nation building projects. The UNO has no experience with such a program. Indeed the UNO after the bombing of its mission in Baghdad in August 2003 has vacated Iraq and its role in reconstruction is unknown.

Objection Nine: The US only wants Oil
Reality: This argument is the most facile and incorrect assessment of the Second Gulf War. For Russia and France it certainly appeared as if their national calculus was largely about oil. Both countries made billions of dollars in direct trade with Iraq and were sitting on concessions that would activate once all sanctions were lifted. TotalElfFina concessions in the oil fields north of Basra alone were worth $4 billion. Under a new regime these rights and monies would most likely disappear. Hence the French recalcitrance during the 1990s in supporting any form of regime change which would imperil their economic interests. The same can be said of Russian self-interest whose oil firms had received billions in concessions from Hussein.

Yet incredibly, in the liberal media and on the ‘street’, the Americans were pilloried for their ‘oil lust’. If the true motivation was to acquire oil the Americans would naturally have lifted all UN sanctions pertaining to the drilling and selling of oil and allowed their firms back into Iraq on an equal footing with the French and Russians. Before the Second Gulf War Iraq produced only 2 million barrels per day while the world consumed about 77 million barrels per day. Iraqi oil is equal to about 3 % of world consumption or about Gross U$27 billion per annum in revenues. Undeveloped reserves notwithstanding, Iraq is simply not a huge player on the world’s oil market. The Saudi’s produce about 8 million barrels per day [mbpd] and have extra capacity that could be ramped up to 10 or 11 mbpd. Iraq’s production is not large enough to significantly influence the price and supply of oil.

According to a study by W. Nordhaus of Yale, Iraq could produce a maximum output within reconstruction of about 3.5 million barrels per day, which would reduce world prices by 92 cents per barrel. The ‘no war for oil’ group does not make a convincing case that a 92 cent per barrel reduction in oil would induce the US to spent $150-500 billion or so in invading and managing a broken economy with the political opprobrium and the risks of war attendant in such a strategy. Furthermore Iraqi exports to the US and Europe was limited by sanctions and both economies have access to oil reserves closer to home. The US for instance imports more oil from Canada then any other country and large reserves of oil in the Canadian tar sands lie undeveloped and would be cheaper to obtain and ship to US markets than comparable oil development in a broken economy such as Iraq’s. There are also quite plainly far cheaper ways to control Iraqi or any other nation’s oil than invasion and occupation.

Real Issues in Iraq and the ‘War on Terrorism’:
There is a good argument to be made that in order to stabilize the Middle East, and ensure US domestic security, there was a genuine need for a regime change in Iraq. This will have a significant impact on the entire region. As Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz stated: "Disarming Saddam's weapons of mass terror is a second front in the war on terrorism. We know that the terrorists are plotting greater catastrophes than the attacks on that we saw on September 11, and we know that they are seeking more terrible weapons -- chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons. In the hands of terrorists, these so-called weapons of mass destruction might better be called weapons of mass terror." Far from being divorced from the war against Bin Laden and other groups, the Iraqi regime was viewed by Washington as a central pillar in the ‘Axis of Evil’ as well as in the general fight against fundamentalist and extreme Islam.

Viewed from a security perspective Iraq was a key component in the war on terror. Without a reconstituted and representative system of governance Iraq would have continued to pose a security threat to the region and to the West. Iraq’s leadership was intent on usurping the balance of power in the region and posing as the leader of Arab anti-Americanism and anti-Semiticism. As such Iraq was not only a threat to Western oil supplies but to Western assets in the region and beyond. Such a regime was quite capable of building nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and allying itself with terrorist groups to attack Western targets.

A regime change in Iraq sends clear signals to other outlaw nation states and especially to other Middle Eastern nations that the West is committed to its war against terror and against rogue states and that force will be used to defend Western interests. In Syria for example the one party state is controlled by Baathists - a party with fascist roots. It is well documented that Syria has WMD, including miles of tunnels built by the Chinese and North Koreans containing hundreds of Scud C and D missiles, some with ranges of over 700 km. As well for years Syria illegally imported oil from Iraq circumventing UN Sanctions and earning billions in revenue. Syria also controls Lebanon and the terrorist Hezbollah party, which many call the most dangerous terrorist organization the Middle East. If the war on terror is to succeed it is clear that there must be either a peaceful or military means of removing the Syrian Baathist regime. The same can be said of the fascist-Islamo theocracy in Iran, another regime that sponsors terrorist activity in the Middle East and in particular against Israel.

It is difficult to believe that the UNO will be of any use in engendering such profound changes to the governmental structures in Syria, Iran or beyond. It will take US and British military power to effect the needed redrawing of the map in the Middle East. They will use the UN to selectively ‘legitimize’ such changes. By not supporting its own resolutions and blindly defending the rights of regimes to impose external or internal acts of terror, the UN Security Council has in effect violated the principle of its own charter. Chapter VII of the UN Charter is clear that force can and should be used to maintain the principles of the organization and to ensure that nation states acceding to UN law or principle are properly protected. It is clear that Iraq threatened its immediate neighbors – all of whom are UN members - and that there was either an existing link between Iraq and terrorist organizations, or an obvious future link between such groups and Iraq. The West and principally the Americans could not wait until the time when such links using various weapons of mass destruction are completed and put into action. Indeed when looking back it was clear that Baghdad should have been taken in 1991.

What then is the true result of the Iraq crisis? One group feels that the split inside the UN Security Council and within NATO and the trans-Atlantic rift will be healed. They point to past differences during the Cold War where the Security Council members used vetos on numerous issues yet the overall alliance of Western powers somehow stayed together. There was also virulent anti-Americanism that accompanied US troops and missile deployments in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s and the French withdrawal from NATO. These disputes did not cause the dislocation of NATO or radically impair the functioning of the UN or its Security Council.

Another group believes that the Iraqi crisis is fundamentally different than past disagreements between the Western powers. The war on terror has irrevocably changed the landscape and as Bush said, either ‘you are with us or against us’. The 1990s era of engaged internationalism used by the Clintonites is over. The Clinton administration’s less than forceful diplomacy included: an attempt to mollify North Korea [with an oil for food deal, in which North Korea would stop its nuclear program, which North Korea violated]; allowing the UN to spend 7 years in weapons inspection in Iraq without disarming or proving the disarmament of the country; withdrawing US troops from Somalia at the first sign of trouble; and neglecting to capture Bin Laden before 9-11-01 or destroy his training centers because internal polls suggested the US electorate and left wing Democrats which Clinton needed in his legal battles, were opposed to war. All of these events had their role in emboldening Iraq and terrorist activity leading directly to the September 11 2001 attacks. A lethargic US foreign policy and lackadaisical UN and inter-governmental problem resolution in many theatres directly led to the imperiling of the security of the US mainland. It is doubtful that any US administration – Republican or Democrat - would ever take such a risk ever again.

The post 9-11 world has dramatically altered the once benign US view of multi-lateralism and the UNO process. Gulf War II has dealt the UN a severe blow. It is clear that France, Germany and Russia with their statist societal construction and lack of military power, view the UN as a cheap and convenient institution to constrain US power. For both France and Russia the UN Security Council is viewed as a necessary forum to demonstrate their world relevance. The fact that neither nation is truly a first rate power and that the world geopolitical power hierarchy has changed dramatically since 1945 does little to bolster confidence in the efficacy of the UN structure. If France is accorded a seat at the UNSC then so too should Germany, India and Japan. The Iraqi crisis and Gulf War II is a clear example of UN failing and the vital need for UNO reform. Without reform the UNO will be ignored by sovereign states, especially in the realm of security and national defense.

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