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MUN Backgrounder
Security Council - Iraq

Iraq and its people are rich in cultures, violence, and conflict. The early 20th century Middle East was controlled by Great Britain and had much European influence in the political spectrum. Britain ceded the lands back to the people in 1914. The method by which land was divided was, on most levels, arbitrary. Many country borders were drawn, dividing and joining groups of people. Iraq was set up around the ancient city of Babylon . It contains two main groups of warring factions. The north holds a group of people called the Kurds, whom most middle-eastern countries persecute. The Shiites and Sunnis are Muslim factions in the south warring both against each other and against the Kurds. Arabs—those who speak the language Arabic—make up 75% of the population. In 1918, the remaining British military support left. Few relevant events occurred for the next 40 years. 1958 brought about political change; a violent military coup removed the current leaders—the King, the Crown Prince, and the Prime Minister—and replaced them with their own general, Karim Kassem. This government lasted, quasi-democratically, until Saddam Hussein, the Vice-President, militarily ousted the President, took power, and set up a new style of government in 1978.

Saddam Hussein acted controversially since he took power in 1978 until his overthrow in March of 2003. To maintain his power, it is believed that he killed over 400 members of the Iraqi national congress and other political leaders. In 1981, Iraq re-ignited a long-standing dispute with the Iran . War between the Iraqis and the Iranians lasted for a number of years. The United States and Britain supported the Iraqis, giving weapons and monetary assistance. Soon after a cease-fire was negotiated between the warring countries in 1988, Saddam Hussein continued aggressions in his own territory. Hussein tested chemical and biological weapons upon the Kurdish groups in the north of Iraq during the 1980's. In 1990, Iraq renewed a long-standing border dispute with Kuwait . Kuwait is a country with large oil reserves, but more importantly, an access port to the Persian Gulf . Iraq is a landlocked country, and has to pipeline out, or negotiate with Kuwait to sell its oil. It claimed that Kuwait had taken too much of the shared oil reserves in the border area. Due to Iraqi threats and actions against Israel , the United States built defensive and offensive forces, and struck major military sites in Iraq . In addition to protecting its allies and economic interests, the United States hoped to halt any Iraqi buildup of weapons of mass destruction. These events are known as the Gulf War.

Following the Gulf War, the United Nations attempted to prevent Iraq from gaining a weapons stockpile to enable a strike upon its own people or another country. United Nations Security Council placed economic sanctions upon Iraq .

Resolution 687, April 3, 1991 , did the following:

  • Called for Iraq to "unconditionally accept" the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless "under international supervision" of all "chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities";
  • Demanded Iraq to "unconditionally agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material" or any research, development or manufacturing facilities;
  • Demanded Iraq to "unconditionally accept" the destruction, removal or rendering harmless "under international supervision" of all "ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers and related major parts and repair and production facilities";
  • Ordered Iraq not to "use, develop, construct or acquire" any weapons of mass destruction and to reaffirm its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
  • Created the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) to verify the elimination of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs and mandated that the International Atomic Energy Agency verify elimination of Iraq's nuclear weapons program;
  • Called for Iraq to declare fully its weapons of mass destruction programs and not to commit or support terrorism or allow terrorist organizations to operate in the country;
  • Ordered Iraq to cooperate in accounting for missing and dead Kuwaitis and others and return Kuwaiti property seized during the Persian Gulf War.

Resolution 688, two days later, did the following:

  • Condemned the repression of Iraqi civilians, "the consequences of which threaten international peace and security";
  • Demanded Iraq immediately end repression of its civilians and allow international humanitarian groups immediate access to those in need.

The need for weapons inspectors became evident to the Security Council; and on August 15th, 1991 , the Council passed Resolution 707, allowing weapons inspectors to search the country for weapons of mass destruction.

Tensions in the beginning of the 21 st century grew again between the global community and Iraq . A heated debate over whether or not Saddam Hussein was in violation of Security Council resolutions limiting his country's abilities to build a weapons stockpile. The United States appealed to the United Nations and demonstrated a case justifying to them that Iraq was in violation of the Resolutoins. The UN did not agree.

United States and British forces on March 19 th , 2003 , led a “decapitation” attack against Saddam Hussein and his regime. The coalition forces both struck Baghdad from the air and invaded the country with a fast sweep from the south. US and British forces entered Iraq 's capital, Baghdad on April 5 th . Saddam Hussein was declared by the US to no longer be in power as of April 11 th . Daily advancements were made by coalition forces throughout the month of April, as coalition forces sacked the country and moved north and west to secure the entirety of Iraq in pursuit of finding Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush on May 1 declared the combat in Iraq to be over from an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, however, the battle for Iraq is not complete.

The coalition's ability to restore order and services have been abated due to attacks by Saddam loyalists, widespread acts of sabotage, Shia militancy, and clashes between civilians and coalition troops. Heated debate is occurring over the setup and control over the new Iraqi government. A makeshift government is being established as the “governing council” in conjunction with the local council system. Debated internationally, correct representation of the Iraqi people in the new government has been called into question. Iraq 's chief industry, crude oil, is also in need of reinforcing infrastructure in order to give Iraq an economic independence. Currently, contracts for rebuilding Iraq and its economic ability have mostly been given to US corporations.

George Bush on September 23 rd addressed the UN General Assembly. He defended the war in Iraq , declaring that the Middle East is now more secure. Mr. Bush also requested assistance from the UN and its members for rebuilding Iraq helping to pay some of the bill for the war. The Security Council has debated a number of resolutions covering Iraq 's self governance ability and how Iraq should be rebuilt.

This is a very quickly volatile and dynamic topic covering a breadth of controversy. The situation in Iraq will change greatly until the meeting of our Model United Nations in November. It is imperative that all members of the Model Security Council keep VERY up to date as to provide for the most current debate. Also, all members should find as much information as possible regarding their country's own interests in the nation of Iraq , it's relativity in the Middle East , and how your country might be affected by proposed solutions. I recommend a number of publications and sources to keep up to date until the conference.

The Economist – and published weekly in print

The Financial Times also published in print, but kinda hard to find in MT

BBC for a western perspective.

The UN itself to keep up to date on activity

The CIA World Factbook for all country stats

The New York Times

The International Herald Tribune

CNN very general knowledge about current events


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