Abstract: This paper explores Iraqi signaling after the 1991 Gulf War. The conventional wisdom argues that Iraq sent mixed signals to the outside world due to Saddam’s desire to balance deterrence and compliance with Security Council resolutions. Drawing on Iraqi primary sources, I explore how Iraqi officials debated their options, crafted signals, and how they interpreted the reception of these signals in the outside world. I argue that Iraqi regime was more rational, but also more dysfunctional, than previous work suggests.
Speaker bio: Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. She has previously been a Junior Faculty Fellow at CISAC, Stanford University, and a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University. She received her doctoral degree from London School of Economics in 2009, which received the Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize from BISA in 2010. She recently published Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons (Cornell University Press, 2016), which was reviewed in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Affairs, HDiplo, Babylon, and Internasjonal Politikk. Her work has been published in International Security, The Middle East Journal, the New York Times (online), International Herald Tribune, Monkey Cage and War on the Rocks.