A team monitors the destruction of chemical weapons. Credit: UN Photo.

Between two wars

By Rolf Ekéus, July 21, 2021


A team monitors the destruction of chemical weapons. Credit: UN Photo.

The Iraq war in 2003 was a political and humanitarian calamity. It was a disaster for its instigators, the United States and the United Kingdom, and for its target, the Saddam regime, as well as for the Iraq that emerged after the war. More than 100,000 Iraqis died as a result, either in the war or directly in its aftermath. In the political vacuum that followed Saddam’s removal, the terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged in Iraq and Syria with catastrophic consequences. Iran and its leaders profited politically and economically from the consequences of the war, and established a military presence over large portions of Iraq and Syria after actively engaging in the struggle against ISIL.

The roots of the 2003 war run deep. In the United Nations Security Council, the United States justified its military intervention on the basis that Iraq had not fulfilled its obligations under Security Council Resolution 687 to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. That resolution was the formal ceasefire agreement reached in 1991 between Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait, and the international coalition for the liberation of Kuwait, led by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

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