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[casi] Contextualizing the New Draft Resolution (Nathaniel Hurd)

Author: Nathaniel Hurd, NGO Consultant on UN Iraq Policy
Topic: US/UK/Spain Draft Security Council Resolution
Date: 25 February 2003

Below find a series of potential American, British, Spanish and other
official arguments in support of their Security Council Resolution (SCR)
draft and their related SCR and UN Charter misinterpretations.  Below this
series, find a series of alternative arguments that address the anticipated
official ones.  The alternative arguments primarily draw from Nathaniel
Hurd, "Security Council Resolution 1441 and the Potential Use of Force
Against Iraq", 6 December 2002,


The UN Charter, along with subsequent Iraq-related SCRs, including SCR 1441,
frame the current US/UK/Spain draft SCR.  Officials from UK Prime Minister
Tony Blair's Government and US President George W. Bush's Administration
continue to ignore the UN Charter and incorrectly insist that SCR 1441
permits the use of force against Iraq.  They argue that SCR 1441 actually
authorizes force, and/or at least fails to prevent the use of it.  As
background, Bush Administration officials (along with previous Presidential
Administrations and US Congresses) have also incorrectly stated that the
1991 Gulf War ceasefire depended on the Government of Iraq (GoI) meeting the
weapons-related obligations detailed in SCR 687 (1991).


Politically, the recent US/UK/Spain draft SCR seems to be an attempt to
reinforce their primary SCR 1441 misinterpretation, perhaps along with a
longstanding US misinterpretation of SCR 687 (1991) and the 1991 Gulf War
ceasefire.  The logic these and their allied governments present to their
respective publics may be as follows:

1. SCR 1441 gives the Government of Iraq (GoI) "a final opportunity to
comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the
Council". (OP 2)

2. SCR 1441 warns the GoI "that it will face serious consequences as a
result of its continued violations of its obligations". (OP 13)

3. SCR 1441's strong language constitutes force authorization.

4. SCR 1441 does not explicitly state that the Council must pass an
additional SCR in order to authorize force against Iraq.  Therefore, member
States are free to use force against Iraq, especially if they conclude that
the GoI has failed to comply with SCR 1441.

5. The US/UK/Spain draft SCR states "Decides that Iraq has failed to take
the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441 (2002)". (OP 1)
Therefore, the Council as a body has concluded that the GoI has squandered
its "final opportunity".  While member States are free to reach the same
conclusion and act as they see fit, it is important that the world's highest
and most authoritative peace and security body has reached an identical

6. Additionally, the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire depended on the GoI fulfilling
its proscribed weapons obligations.  SCR 1441 and this draft SCR repeat that
the GoI has failed to comply to Council satisfaction.  Therefore, the
Council has decided that the ceasefire is no longer in effect.  Member
States are now free to use force against Iraq to secure compliance with
Council Resolutions and Iraq's ceasefire obligations.


For further elaboration on and sources for the below alternative
conclusions, please see Nathaniel Hurd, "Security Council Resolution 1441
and the Potential Use of Force Against Iraq", 6 December 2002, and

1. President's George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, along
with officials from their respective Administrations, have repeated the same
SCR 687/ceasefire misinterpretation: the ceasefire depended on the GoI
complying with SCR 687 prohibited weapons obligations.  Since the GoI failed
to satisfactorily comply, to Security Council and/or US satisfaction, the
GoI has violated the ceasefire terms and thus the US is free to use force
against Iraq.  Several US Congresses have written this misinterpretation
into law and the sitting Presidents signed it into Public Law.

In fact, Security Council authorization for the use of force against Iraq,
as explicitly granted in SCR 678 (1990), ended when the GoI fulfilled its
one ceasefire obligation (as stated in SCR 687): it notified that
Secretary-General and Security Council that it accepted the provisions of
SCR 687.  Once it notified both designated parties, the ceasefire was in
effect.  A ceasefire is an end to hostilities, not a suspension.
Non-ceasefire obligations, e.g., relating to proscribed weapons, were
separate from ceasefire obligations.  Post-SCR 687, the Council could
subsequently authorize force to compel the GoI to comply with SCRs.  But
this would be a brand new force authorization, as the ceasefire made the SCR
678 force authorization null and void.

2. No SCR subsequent to the ceasefire authorizes the use of force against
Iraq.  SCR 1441 contains strong language, but it does not authorize the use
of force.  It does not "[Authorize] Member use all necessary
means", as SCR 678 authorized.  The US/UK/Spain draft SCR also, notably,
fails to "authorize all necessary means".  On 2 October 2002 the US
informally circulated to other permanent Security Council members a draft
SCR which stated that the Security Council "Decides that false statements or
omissions in the declaration submitted by Iraq to the Council and failure by
Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully in accordance with the
provisions laid in this resolution, shall constitute a further material
breach of Iraq's obligations, and that such breach authorizes member states
to use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in
the area". (OP 10,
Inclusion of the specific phrase "all necessary means" suggests US officials
knew full well what SCR language actually constitutes force authorization.
At the time, Russian and French officials stated they would veto a
resolution containing "all necessary means" (i.e., force authorization).
Subsequent SCR drafts omitted "all necessary means".  Instead, American and
British officials settled for strong language, short of force authorization,
language they would later incorrectly tell their domestic publics authorized

If the American, British and Spanish governments thought they had sufficient
Council member support, and/or the absence of a realistic French and/or
Russian veto, for force authorization, they would have likely included it in
this latest draft SCR.  As the broad support seems absent, and France and
Russia seem likely at this time to veto a resolution with force
authorization, the three draft SCR sponsors seem to instead rely on the
longstanding American and British official SCR 1441 misinterpretation.

3. Iraq has not attacked a member State.

4. A ceasefire is in effect between "Iraq and Kuwait and the Member States
cooperating with Kuwait in accordance with resolution 678 (1990)".  Iraq has
not attacked a member State.  The Security Council has not authorized the
use of force against Iraq.  Under these circumstances, if a member State
attacks Iraq, then it will violate the UN Charter.

Nathaniel Hurd
NGO Consultant on United Nations' Iraq policy
Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389
Fax: 718-504-4224
Residential/Mailing Address:
90 7th Ave.
Apt. #6
Brooklyn, NY  11217

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