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A Third World Approach to Debating the Legality of the Iraq War

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The international law discipline engaged in vigorous debate over the legality of the 2003 Iraq invasion. However, once the furor over the invasion died down, and attention turned to management of the ongoing reality of Coalition occupation of Iraq, the legality debate risked seeming redundant. While the mainstream debate answers questions as to whether the invasion was legal, its usefulness is limited if it does not answer other important legal questions. What role has international law played in the Iraq invasion and its aftermath? What role will the invasion play in the evolution of international law? Taking a Third World approach to the Iraq invasion can help better answer these questions and shed light on legal aspects of the war that were ignored or obscured by the mainstream debate. The first and larger part of this paper will discuss some of these issues. The latter part of this paper will consider the potential limits of Third World approaches as a critical methodology.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate, Australian National University;, Email:


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