In his State of the Union address in January, 1998, President Clinton won thunderous applause for threatening to force Iraq "to comply with the UNSCOM regime and the will of the United Nations." Stopping UN chemical and biological weapons inspectors from "completing their mission," declared the President, defies "the will of the world." In the next three weeks, the White House ordered a massive show of force in the Gulf. Even traditional hawks, however, realized that a bombing mission could undermine American hegemonic interests in the Gulf that are served by a continuation of the sanctions regime.

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Copyright © 1998 Middle East Research and Information Project. This article first appeared in Middle East Report 206 28:1 (1998), 3-6.

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