8.2-8.6 International Perspectives on the Iraq War

International perspectives on the Iraq war in 2003 were analysed in turn, by examining the dimensions of power in each.

This material consists of links to background information provided in Patterns of Power Edition 2

8.2   The UN Perspective

The decision to invade Iraq would normally have been subject to UN authorisation: as a threat to international security (8.2.1); in the context of human rights violations (8.2.2); and as a matter of international law (8.2.3).  The UN had also imposed global economic sanctions (8.2.4).  The UN processes, though, were complicated by international politics (8.2.5).

8.3   The Perspectives of Some of Iraq’s Neighbours

Iraq’s neighbours were clearly affected by the invasion, and could have been expected to react – notably Iran (8.3.1), Syria (8.3.2) and Turkey (8.3.3); Israel was also relevant (8.3.4).

8.4   The American Perspective

The invasion of Iraq, as seen from America, was analysed in all five dimensions of power: as a military threat (8.4.1), as a decision requiring legal approval (8.4.2), as an issue of economic interest (8.4.3), as a moral mission in accordance with America’s values (8.4.4) and, most of all, as a matter of domestic politics (8.4.5).

8.5   The British Perspective

The British perspective on the decision to invade Iraq was treated as a legal matter (8.5.1), as a moral mission in accordance with British values (8.5.2), as a question of economic interest (8.5.3), as support for an important military ally (8.5.4) and, primarily, as a political decision that had to be approved by Parliament (8.5.5).

8.6   The Perspective of the Iraqi People

A regime change in Iraq could only have resulted in peace if it were acceptable to the Iraqi people.  They had reasons to be dissatisfied with Saddam Hussein (8.6.1), but there were internal moral influences that could have been brought to bear (8.6.2), and there were political options other than regime change (8.6.3).  Their perspective on being invaded was also clearly relevant (8.6.4).


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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/82-86.htm.