1.1.1 BACKGROUNG TO THE STUDY
The United Nations (U.N) is an international organization that was established just right after
the Second world war where by the Allied forces defeated the Axis powers. The UN as it is
generally called was established to bring a new beginning and shape to global politics after the
ruins of the second world war . One must also put into account that the United Nations is
established based on the mantle of the failed League Of Nations established after the first world
war put failed to achieve it aims and objectives of establishment which led to the break out of
the Second world war. The name “United Nation” was devised by United state former President
Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the “Declaration by United Nations” of 1st January
1942 , during the Second world war when representatives of the 26 nations pledged their
government to continue fighting together against Axis Power. The UN charter was drawn up by
the representatives of the 50 countries at the conference on International Organization which met
in San Francisco from 25th April to 26 June, this was in connection to the proposal drawn up in
the United states at Dumbarton Oaks in August -October 1944 by China , Soviet Union , United
Kingdom and the United states. All theses became official and generally accepted by 24th
October 1945 when all the concerned states had ratified the UN charter (The American Forum
For Global Education (2010)). With the initial member state of 51 (Poland which was not present
at the first signing stage was later allowed to sign making it 51) ,the UN has grown over the
years from 51 to 189 member state as at 2001. The UN is accompanied by some structures which
see to the carrying out of it activities across the globe ; the general assembly which is equally
represented by all member states with equal vote , the secretariat headed by the UN general
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secretary :” the UN secretariat has matured into a competent international bureaucracy much
larger and more complex than anticipated in 1945; the secretary-general once considered to be an
administrator has become major world leader”( Jean E. Kranso; 2001), the UN economic and
social council called ECOSOC in charge of the special institutions and agencies and deals with
the economic and social issues that arises around the globe , the dormant Trusteeship council
which was essential in the fight for global independent from colonial rule, also is the
international court of justice to maintain checks and balances to all UN resolutions and our main
concern the Security Council which is one of the most powerful council of the UN and in the
world. The United Nation is aimed at ” the mission to maintain world peace , develop good
relations between countries, promote cooperation in solving the world’s problems and encourage
a respect for human rights” (Student Handout : Background On The United Nations). With this
mission statement the UN has achieved the aim of 191 member state as of recent days .The UN
has its headquarters in New York , United States whereby the territory is considered an
international territory with separate flag and entity. The official language of the UN are Arabic ,
Chinese, English , French ,Russian and Spanish.( Student Handout : Background On The United
1.1.2 THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL.
This opens the way into the UN Security council which is a powerful branch of the UN body.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is a principal organ of the UN. As stated in the
UN charter of article 24; member states have conferred the primary responsibility of maintaining
international peace and security to the Security Council. This is done on the belief that the body
is adequate or equipped enough to carry out its resolution on its behalf. All members states of the
United Nations have agreed to accept and carry out decision and policies made by the Security
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Council as stated in Article 25 of the UN charter. In relation to this other organs of the UN can
only make recommendations to the government except the General Assembly but on the other
hand the UNSC is the only organ powerful enough to issue resolution that is binding on all
members. Some of its objectives of the United Nations security council are the recommendation
of peaceful means to the agreement of peace negotiation; appointment of special representative
or ask the General-Secretary to appoint special representative and set some principles; among
others is the issuing of ceasefire; sending troops for peace keeping missions also accompanied
with these is the recommendation to the General Assembly and it Secretary -General the
admission of new members and with the help of the Assembly the appointment of personnel’s to
the International Court of Justice (ICJ)( Sahar Okhovat ; 2011). The UNSC has 15 member states
out of which 5 are permanent members given veto power; although it should be taken into
account that the UN initially had 11 member as at it creation. “The charter has proven to be a
flexible instrument only amended three times to enlarge the Security Council from its original
11 members to 15”.( Student Handout ; Background on the United Nations)
The 5 permanent members with veto powers are the; The Peoples’ Republic of China , France,
Russia, United Kingdom and United States, all other 10 non-permanent members are elected by
the General Assembly of Majority vote with a two years tenure. The non-permanent members
are elected from all the regions to accommodate equal representation.( Sahar, Okhovat; 2011)
The presidency of the United Nations Security Council is rotated among members equally in
alphabetical order of appointment whereby the position is held for one month. The president is
given some responsibility of being the spokes man of the council among other things . “Article
27 of the charter gives the Security Council affirmative member agreement of 9 out of 15 and
decisions on substantive matters are made by affirmative votes of the 9 members including that
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of the permanent members. This is the clause that gives the permanent FIVE (i.e. USA , United
Kingdom, Russia, France and China ) their Veto power”. This has caused a great outcry that the
UNSC is an undemocratic unit of the United Nations whereby non-permanent members are left
with little or no power but just the ability to follow the Veto decisions of the BIG 5 i.e. the
permanent members. Accordingly , this has caused a major test in military ability of both the
UNSC and the erring members or nation who see the resolutions issued as undemocratic or most
time absurd. According to Robert Hill (former Australian ambassador to the United Nations) ”
Security Council is a club and P5 is a club within a club”.(Transcript of Interview with Robert
Hill , June 2011)
But overall the United Nations Security Council has made some major achievements is some
areas of the World in the maintenance of international peace and security. Some of its
Resolutions has brought Peace and Order to war torn zones or political unrest or racial
discrimination across the Globe. Some of this crisis is the Apartheid regime in South Africa ,
Political Unrest in the middle east, Genocide events in some part of Africa like Rwanda and
Sierra Leone and the like . It has also help in the war against Terrorism most especially in the
Middle -Eastern region . The UNSC has also helped weak state to gain forceful independence
and also the evacuation of unlawful annexation or occupation of sovereign territories which
brings us to the IRAQ-KUWAIT gulf crisis of 1990-1991 where the United Nation Security
council made some major Resolution to effectively evacuate Iraq from the territories of Kuwait.
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1.1.3 THE IRAQ-KUWAIT CRISIS (1990-1991)
The Gulf War which took place from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991 between IRAQ and
KUWAIT can majorly be attributed to the Economic and Political issues that featured in the
Government of some middle-eastern countries. A very good example is the case of Iraq under the
presidency of Saddam Hussein who felt Kuwait was siphoning its own natural resources (Crude
Oil) as to regard of the claim by Hussein that this Oil was coming from the Ar-Rumaylah which
was a shared border territory between Iraq and Kuwait. Hussein also went further with accusing
Kuwait of allying themselves with the western powers so as to bring downfall to his regime in
Iraq. Before all these came into light Iraq was already in another crisis with Iran which was also
a Political as much as Economic crisis. A cease fire was established between Iraq and Iran by
the UN Security Council in 1988 with the vision of tabling their matter and having a neutral
discussion or negotiation. Later on during the mid-1990 precisely August, Hussein saw no use
for the negotiation and tried to go against any act of negotiating. However almost two weeks
later Hussein gave a speech accusing Kuwait of siphoning Oil and alliance with the Western
powers. He also insisted ” that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia should cancel out the $30 billion of
Iraq’s foreign debt and accused them of conspiring to keep Oil prices low in an effort to pander
to Western Oil buying Nations”.( www.history.com/topics/persian-gulf-war/Iraq-Kuwait)
Subsequently, Hussein gave an order to his army to invade and annex Kuwait claiming that it
initially a part of the Iraq territories and that Iraq had the right to invade and annex. With the
series of event and negotiation that occurred from August 1990-Februray 1991 , the UN Security
Council was called to help so also was NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization) called to
intervene on behalf of Kuwait. The UN Security Council as early as August 3, 1990 called for
the immediate withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait. The UN Security Council made many
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resolution starting from the beginning year of the war to the end . Some of it was the declaration
on November 29 , 1990 whereby the UNSC authorized the use of “all necessary means” against
Iraq”.(www.history.com/topics/persian-gulf-war/Iraq-Kuwait). Also there series of resolution
declared by the UNSC, these are UN RES 687,688 &689 all issued concurrently from on April
3rd , 5th and 9th 1991.( S/RES/688 (1991) 5 April 1991). All these were done to bring about a
peaceful co-existence between Iraq and Kuwait and prevent future crisis.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As established above the outbreak of the Gulf war can be attributed to the Economic and
Political issues that plagued the Middle-Eastern countries. With a view on this one must be able
to really differentiate what essential issues forced Hussein hand to invade and annex Kuwait and
Why he was successful in His yarn for power in the middle-east. Another issue that should be
looked at is the mind set or the behavioral analysis or psychology of the then Iraq President –
Saddam Hussein who felt the invasion of Kuwait would be supported by fellow Middle-eastern
In a critical analysis of the Economic issue it can be seen that Hussein was very wary and afraid
of the Economic development of Kuwait who is just a very small faction in comparison to Iraq.
A general overview of the landscape and territories of Kuwait show that its only small state
compared to Iraq, on the other hand Iraq was a big state in the middle-east and among the Arab
states. With this in mind it was unthinkable for a big country like Iraq to depend on Kuwait for
Crude Oil and as far as owing $30 billion to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.(
www.History.com/topics/persian-gulf-war/Iraq-Kuwait). From this it could be seen that Hussein
was frustrated at being at the mercy of Kuwait in terms of Economy and being Economically
inferior to a small state like Kuwait.
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On another level which is that of the Political level, Hussein was a paranoid human being
surrounded or neighbor to allies of the Western country most especially United State of America
(USA) was had a strong ties with Saudi Arabia who is a strong ally of the Kuwait Government.
Hussein accused them of partnering up with the Western Powers to steal Crude Oil among the
rest of accusation. Many believe this made him ; Hussein break off peace negotiation organized
by the President of Egypt Mubarak just two hours into negotiation with his mind set on War (
Modern Conflicts: Iraq – Kuwait ;1990-1991).This made him immediately order the invasion of
Kuwait on the 2nd of August 1990.
A psychological appraisal should also be done in the analysis of the behavior of the Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein. Due to the fact that he was a paranoid man and a very insecure
person he saw the Kuwait allegiance to the Western Power as a plot to remove him from power
and topple his Government. In his own wary mind he also believed that the rest of the Arab State
were strongly behind him but this was wrong because 21 member of the Arab league condemned
Iraqis’ act of aggression. This made the King of Saudi Arabia turn to USA and NATO and the
United Nation Security Council for help. After the UNSC called for Iraq’s withdrawal from
Kuwait on 3rd of August 1990 , King Fahd of Saudi Arabia met with the U.S secretary of
Defense Richard Chenny to request for military assistance.(www.History.com/topics/persiangulf-war/Iraq-Kuwait).
Overall it can be established that the Gulf War crisis came about due to the Political and
Economical fears of Hussein and also bearing in mind his Psychological instability.
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1.3 OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH
The purpose of writing this topic shall be vied or analyzed through the eyes or lane of these
research objectives. These are ;
1) To examine the role the United Nation Security Council played in the resolution of the Gulf
war crisis of 1990-1991
2) To critically analyze the effectiveness of the UNSC resolutions on the Iraq-Kuwait war and
how it helped to an end to the war
3) To examine the challenges that hindered the effectiveness of the UNSC resolution on the
aftermath of the war ( Iraq-Kuwait 1990-1991).
4) To examine the remote and immediate causes of the war and how it affected the national and
regional balance of power in the Middle-East.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research question will serve as a backbone or a guideline in the critical analysis of all the
features involved or encountered during the carrying out or establishment of facts
1) What role did the United Nation Security Council play in the resolution of the Gulf War?
2) How effective was the UNSC resolution on the Gulf War crisis?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
These are guidelines which would help in the adequate analysis and critical understanding of all
the essential features of the Gulf war in relations to the Research Objectives.
1) The United Nations Security Council played major role in the Gulf war crisis.
2) The UNSC resolutions on the Iraq-Kuwait crisis was effective in the resolution of the crisis.
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3) Economic and Political issues lead to the outbreak of the war.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would be of great relevance to both academic and the international relations
practitioners. The study seeks to establish how effective was the United Nation Security Council
resolution of the Gulf War Crisis. This serves as a core feature to the success of this research.
Moving on from this , this study would help to show readers and analyst of international
political events on the various analysis and procedures embarked on by the UNSC , in the
various resolutions such as RES 688 , 687 , 689 . 6
These resolution are the weight at which the
UNSC put on Iraq in order for them to redraw from Kuwait. Furthermore the study will help
understand why such resolutions were taken and just how effective the resolutions were to the
stop of the War. In all this study will be able to center a pace at which further academic research
and analysis of international political events ( crisis and conflicts) can to viewed from the
perspective of the United Nations Security Council.
Another major significance of the study is to establish the causes and major triggers of the Gulf
war and how it affected the lives of both warring state citizens and also the external bodies like
the other Arab states and the Western countries. From the study will analyze how these features
came together to cause the outbreak of the War.
Overall all these feature will be brought together to establish the causes of the War and also try
to show just how significant is the UNSC in the resolution of the Gulf war in the analysis of
future academic endeavor of global events .
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1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY.
The scope of this study will be restricted to the period of crisis between Iraq and Kuwait from
2nd August, 1990 – 28th February, 1991. It will be limited to just how the resolution took a toll
in the middle-east and how it helped to curtail the powers of Iraq and stop a stop to the ambitious
ideas of Hussein in the region.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
The limitation that would be encountered would majorly come down to the aspect of gathering
enough and adequate information. Due to the fact that such research carried out here in Nigeria
would mean one will employ the use to qualitative research which would mean one might not get
first hand information. This will be because one will not be able to issue out questionnaire and
interviews will be difficult to carry out cause little or no one might have a real life experience of
the Gulf war, it relationship with the UNSC and how it was physically seen. But might just be
the knowledge of the educational background which might already be altered. Also access to Iraq
files during the reign of Hussein might to impossible to get cause Hussein was a Dictator and
might had order for the destruction of such files and death of the people that knew about its
existence to cover his acts.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research is organized into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction to the study,
and it entails a background of the study, where some historical facts about United Nations and it
Security Council as well as the Gulf War are explored. Following this is the statement of
problems which the topic tries to point out as the problem with the research topic, the objectives
of the study are the goals which the researcher is set out to get, the research question is the set
out question which the researcher has used to successfully carry out its research and it also serves
as a guideline, the research hypothesis is drawn from the research question as a solution to or
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cause for any intended act, the significance of this study is to point out how important is the
UNSC resolution is to Gulf War Crisis . The scope and limitation is all about the range which the
research will go and what it cannot do, the organization of the study is to show how the work
was done and definition of terms is to simply specify on the words used in this work
Chapter two concerns the review of literature; and this consists of a thorough examination of
existing studies so as to get the necessary background for my study as well as to ascertain the
gap in extant literature which my study tries to fill. The subsequent section, chapter three entails
the methodology employed for the gathering of data, and this really concerns the secondary
source of data collection; while the fourth chapter concerns the observation and contribution to
study. Really, this is about the analysis of the data for the study by the researcher. while chapter
five deals with the conclusion that is the summary of the whole research and the researchers
recommendation will be included.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
In all context, it can be defined as a battle , fight or struggle for something important especially
for a prolong period. In the context of this study it means the struggle for political and economic
b) peace and security: Peace means the normal ,non-warring conditions of a nation or group of
nations . It can also mean the a state of mutual harmony between people or group of people.
On the other hand security means freedom from danger or risk. In the context of the study , it
means the ability of a state to protect and maintain the economic , cultural and political safety of
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The American Forum For Global Education (2010) “Issues In Global Education; Origin &
structure of United Nations” pp 2 .
Jean E. Kranso (2001) ” The Founding Of The United Nations-International Cooperation As An
Evolutionary Process” pp 36.
Student Handout : Background On The United Nations.
Sahar Okhovat (2011) “The United Nations Security Council: Its Veto Power and Its Reform. pp
Transcript of Interview with Robert Hill , June 2011.
S/RES/688 (1991) 5 April 1991
University of Massachusetts Amherst ; Political Economy Research Institute ” Modern Conflicts:
Iraq – Kuwait (1990-1991)
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