In This Review

The International Struggle Over Iraq: Politics in the UN Security Council 1980-2005
The International Struggle Over Iraq: Politics in the UN Security Council 1980-2005
By David M. Malone
Oxford University Press, 2006, 424 pp

The diplomatic stalemate over Iraq at the UN Security Council in 2003 will stand as an indelible moment of the post-Cold War era. This book, by a Canadian scholar-diplomat and UN insider, provides an illuminating account of the 25 years of tangled Security Council involvement with Iraq, culminating in the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein without council mandate in 2003. It is a fascinating portrait of the changing and often conflicting uses of the Security Council by the major powers, played out against a backdrop of shifting security threats, geopolitical realities, and U.S. foreign policy ambitions. Malone argues that the success of the Security Council's mandated expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 transformed the UN's role in peace operations and foreshadowed its expanding role in internal conflicts and humanitarian emergencies. He is also particularly good at capturing the limits of the Security Council's "regulatory approach" to disarmament, embodied in the Iraqi sanctions and inspection regime. This book is essential reading for those who want to use the lessons of the Security Council's tumultuous encounter with Iraq to guide UN reform.