Cold War Peacemaker: Brokering Peace in the Iran–Iraq War
This chapter discusses the first phase of UN involvement in Iraq, in which it acted as a Cold War Peacemaker and peacekeeper, using its neutral position eventually to broker a settlement between Iran and Iraq in 1987-88. It focuses on several critical moments during the Iran-Iraq war, the significance of which was overlooked at the time. First, the Security Council’s inadequate, indeed misguided, reaction to Iraq’s attack on Iran in 1980 that contributed to Saddam Hussein’s contempt for the UN. The UN’s involvement over the next decade provides a catalog of the measures available to it as a peace-broker in the Cold War years. A new phase is introduced, in which, with Cold War tensions subsiding, the P-5 working together could be more creative (and quietly assertive) than previously. A new era in P-5 relations and in the capacity of the UN to address hitherto intractable conflicts had dawned.
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