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As George W. Bush’s administration seeks a UN resolution threatening”consequences” for Iraqi non-cooperation with toughened weapons inspections, US-led military intervention to remove Saddam Hussein’s regime appears to be a likely denouement to the crisis. While Bush claims that “America speaks with one voice” on the urgent need to topple Hussein, demonstrations across the country show that much of the US public has not accepted the administration’s case for war. 

Does Saddam Hussein’s regime pose a “mortal threat” to the US and Iraq’s neighbors? How have sanctions imposed after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait affected ordinary Iraqis? How has the Iraqi regime stayed in power despite its defeat in the Gulf war and a decade of sanctions? Has the US attempted to end the 12-year confrontation between Iraq and the UN through peaceful diplomacy? What drives the Bush administration’s policy of “regime change”? 

In a concise primer published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), Sarah Graham-Brown, author of Sanctioning Saddam (1999), and Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, offer answers to the major questions swirling around the Iraq crisis of 2002.

How to cite this article:

"Behind the Drive to War in Iraq: A Backgrounder on the Crisis," Middle East Report Online, August 04, 2019.

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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