The Gulf War 1990-91 in international and English law

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By what authority did the coalition use to wage war against Iraq? Many critics in the early stages of the war asked this question which was soon answered. Once Congress backed President Bush, competent authority was fulfilled because the ruling body, representing the American nation, provided the authority to wage war against another sovereign country. But opponents still argued that proper authority does not reside in the country that simply agrees as a whole to fight. If the competent authority that authorized the Gulf War was the American Congress, then the United States could be accused of aggression or intervention. But there was a higher power. As much as the world would like to believe that the Gulf War was the United States against Iraq, that was not the case. While it is true that America was the leader during the crisis, the entire coalition effort was sanctioned by the United Nations. This body of leaders, an international assembly of representatives, provided the competent authority to wage war against Iraq. Any more justification than that, if possible, would be hard to come by. Regardless, there was more.

02/08/1990 · Persian Gulf War: Persian Gulf War, international conflict (1990–91) triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

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Aggression On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army crossed two lines. The first line was the border separating the two sovereign countries of Iraq and Kuwait. Internationally recognized as a legitimate state since 1961, Kuwait was overrun by the large Iraqi military. The second line was the biggest qualifier for a just war against Iraq: Aggression. Using the legalist paradigm, Walzer views aggression as the largest, if only, justification for war. In performing this act of aggression, Iraq unleashed the floodgates of war which Walzer describes as the crime of war (Walzer 1977). Because of Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, the international coalition was morally forced to wage war.

As stated earlier, the conduct of combatants in war is a separate issue than the justification for the war. The coalition and Iraq were on different sides of both issues. The coalition was justified in fighting the Gulf War and Iraq's actions broke the tenants of just war. During the fighting, coalition forces adhered to just-war rules as well as international laws. On the other hand, Iraq broke most of the rules set down by the just-war theory.