Blog Archive - 2002

An Analysis of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441


as Adopted on November 8, 2002

The Security Council, Recalling all its previous relevantresolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678(1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999,and all the relevant statements of its President,

PhyllisBennis, fellow at the Institute for PolicyStudies and author of the newbook Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11thCrisis:”According to Secretary of State Colin Powell, ‘if Iraq violates thisresolution and fails to comply, then the Council has to take into immediateconsideration what should be done about that, while the United States and otherlike-minded nations might take a judgment about what we might do about it if theCouncil chooses not to act.’ In other words, if the Council decision does notmatch what the Bush administration has unilaterally decided, Washington willimplement its own decision regardless. This represents a thoroughlyinstrumentalized view of the United Nations that its relevance and authority aredefined by and limited to its proximity to Washington’s positions.”

DenisHalliday, a former UN Assistant SecretaryGeneral who headed of the UN’s food-for-oil program in Iraq: “Have we reallybought the fiction, the Washington propaganda, that Iraq is a threat? We allknow — the issue is oil, oil and more oil. And U.S. control thereof. The newresolution of the UN Security Council is a charade, a device to obscure.Nevertheless it is transparent enough that one can point out the trip wires,hoops and hurdles (combined with dangerous ambiguity) placed so that Iraq mustinevitably fail to avoid material breach. Then the Bush war can begin nicelycovered in UN respectability — although of course it has already begun, whatwith the 12 years of deadly embargo, the no-fly zone bombings and now placementof army, navy and air force resources on the ground in the Gulf, Kuwait, etc. Justas in the U.S. military preparations in advance of the 1990 Kuwait invasion, theU.S. is again in training and ready to go — having set up Baghdad yet again.The resolution is little more than a sop to other member states and a responseto the domestic pressures that took Bush to the General Assembly in Septemberwhen he outrageously threatened the entire membership. Pressure on Baghdad tocomply will not prevent war — only intense pressure on the Bush regime might.To pretend this resolution represents progress, or is hopeful, or a move in theright direction strikes me as naive and dangerous.”

James Paul, executive director of the Global PolicyForum which monitors global policy-making at the UnitedNations, is the author of a series of papersincluding “Iraq: the Struggle forOil”:”This resolution takes a hard-line approach that will almost certainly leadto war. Thirteen members of the Security Council were opposed to this resolutionor deeply skeptical, but Washington used intense pressure and eventually bentthem to its will. The U.S. used hardball diplomacy of the type deployed to gainthe first Gulf War resolution in 1990. The Secretary of State at that time,James Baker, later described in his autobiography how he lined up votes forresolution 678: ‘I met personally with all my Security Council counterpartsin an intricate process of cajoling, extracting, threatening, and occasionallybuying votes. Such are the politics of diplomacy.'” [For other recent quotes from Paul,,]

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at theUniversity of Illinois College of Law: “In 1990, France, the Soviet Unionand China all sold Iraq out at the Security Council…. Russia can be bought bygetting admitted to the WTO and being given a free hand on Georgia and Chechnya,as well as having its oil interests guaranteed in Iraq. China wants an end toproposed high-tech U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan. France wants its oil interestsin Iraq protected, as well as its sphere of influence in Francophone Africarespected. The serious bargaining has yet to begin. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan playsthe role of Pontius Pilate. Remember that under the UNCharter, the UN SecretaryGeneral is not supposed to be an errand boy for the Permanent 5. And yet he is.The bottom line here is that the Bush Jr. administration originally sought andhas now failed to obtain the same language from the UN Security Council thatthe Bush Sr. administration obtained in resolution 679 (1990), authorizing UNMember States ‘to use all necessary means’ to expel Iraq from Kuwait. So aunilateral attack by the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraqwithout further authorization from the Security Council would still remainillegal and therefore constitute aggression. In recognition of this fact,British government officials are already reportedly fearful of prosecution bythe International Criminal Court. And the Bush Jr. administration is doingeverything humanly possible to sabotage the ICC in order to avoid any prospectof ICC prosecution of high-level U.S. government officials over a war againstIraq. Lawyers call this ‘consciousness of guilt.'”

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