On August 2, 1990, the whole world witnessed an unprecedented event in modern history, the unprovoked invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi armed forces. The invasion itself was historic in the sense that in this day and age it was still possible for one militarily powerful Asian Arab State to invade and overrun its relatively weaker sister State and to proceed to declare its annexation without fear of adverse reactions from the international community. That the Iraqi leaders miscalculated United States reactions and subsequent world-wide repercussions no one could today gainsay. Nor indeed could anybody deny Iraq's overestimation of its own military might. But what actually transpired went well beyond Iraq's nightmare. The series of continuing counter-measures in the form of corrective, punitive and remedial sanctions, adopted by the Security Council of the United Nations from the earliest stage of hostilities until today could not have been foreseen by any nation, Iraq included.
In attempting an analytical exploration of the legal aspects the operations taken under the authority of the Security Council and the inevitable peace-making process, it would appear highly practical and useful to take into account the resurgence in this "Decade of International Law" of a new "International Legal Order" curiously resembling the new "World Legal Order" as envisaged by the framers of the San Francisco Charter in 1945, whose dreams were shared by many. We have come a long way since.
43 Austrian J. Publ, Intl. Law 1 (1992).