- Just war and extraterritoriality: the popular geopolitics of the United States' war on Iraq as reflected in newspapers of the Arab World
- Annals of the Association of American Geographers
- Volume | Issue number
- 96 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
As with all wars, the U.S. military invasion of Iraq in 2003 needed to be portrayed as a just war in an attempt to garner support and legitimacy, domestically and internationally. The United States was acting as hegemonic power in the international state-system and, in light of this role, had imperatives and tools in creating the argument for a just war that differed from those used by nonhegemonic states. The United States acted extraterritorially by diffusing a message of moral right. Arab resistance to the war was evident in the construction of the United States and its leadership as immoral, precluding its ability to wage a just war. This article focuses on the Arab response by analyzing the portrayal in Arab newspapers of the imminent war on Iraq. Sixty-five newspapers of the Arabic language (plus the Iraqi news agency), published in seventeen Arab countries, of which four were Iraqi newspapers, were consulted for the purpose of this study. Interpretation of the geopolitical rhetoric within newspaper reports and political cartoons published in Arab newspapers highlights the way that arguments of morality and immorality were connected to understandings of territorial sovereignty and hegemonic extraterritorial influence into territorial sovereign spaces.
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