Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Great power interventions in the middle East since 1917 : the doomed pursuit of national interest in violation of international law
Author: Terry, Patrick C. R.
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The decision, in 2003, by the United States and the United Kingdom to go to war against Iraq was seen by many as a watershed moment for international law. Operation Iraqi Freedom seemed to herald the ultimate triumph ofthose "realist" critics of international law who had always maintained that powerful states should and did ignore international law when their national interest is at stake. This thesis offers a defence of international law in the face of such criticism. By analysing key Great Power interventions in the Middle East prior to the War on Iraq, it will be shown that international law has always been a minor concern for those leaders who believed their state's national interest would be furthered by intervening in the Middle East. Operation Iraqi Freedom was thus far from being a watershed moment. More importantly, however, the thesis will dispel the notion that international law necessarily conflicts with the national interest of powerful states. A detailed analysis of Great Power interventions in Palestine (1917-1948), at Suez (1956), and in Afghanistan (1979-2011) will demonstrate that in none of these key events did the pursuit of national interest in conscious violation of international law actually benefit the intervenor. Rather, the subsequent "blowback", resulting from these illegal endeavours, was frequently more serious than the danger the intervenor originally sought to combat. Here, too, the Iraq War and its disastrous aftermath seem to have followed the rule, rather than being the exception. The latter conclusion, it will be argued, does allow for some optimism as to the future role of international law. The repeated failure by the Great Powers to obtain their objectives by illegal means evidences that it is not adherence to international law , but rather the conduct of an unrealistic foreign policy in violation of it, that harms a state's national interest. International law, far from being utopian, is grounded in states' past experiences, therefore reflects the realities of international life, and can consequently be a useful guide for a more successful foreign policy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available