Publication details for Prof John WilliamsWilliams,John & Roach, Tim (2006). 'Security, Territorial Borders and British Iraq Policy: Buying a Blair Way to Heaven?'. Geopolitics 11(1): 1-23.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1465-0045, 1557-3028
- DOI: 10.1080/14650040500524038
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
This paper looks at the development of British government policy towards Iraq in the run up to and during the war of 2003 with particular focus on the territorial borders of Iraq. The paper argues that, in contrast to what we might expect from the perspective of classical geopolitics, the issue of the location of Iraq's borders was largely taken for granted by the UK government. The territorial integrity of Iraq was repeatedly asserted by British ministers, including the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. However, the paper suggests that this disguises an important and potentially significant challenge to the role that territorial borders played in the Iraq crisis and conflict, and this is connected to wider changes in thinking about territorial borders in international politics that have characterised the Labour government's foreign policy thinking. This challenge sees territorial borders' significance more in terms of the nature of the regime they help to delimit than the geopolitical significance of their location. Also, the respect to be given to those borders is significantly influenced by the willingness and ability of that regime to contribute to dominant political and politico-economic agendas, including democracy, human rights, counter-terrorism and economic liberalisation. It is argued that policy towards Iraq demonstrates effectively this distinctive approach developed by the UK government, and points to weaknesses as well as strengths of adopting such a position on one of the most important institutions of the international system.