America's determination to topple Saddam Hussein has intensified the debate over enforcement of UN resolutions, reviving claims they are selectively targeted to reflect the political interests of the major powers.
Opponents of UN sanctions against Baghdad allege that Israel has been permitted to defy resolutions for the past 30 years ordering it to quit the West Bank and Gaza, while Iraq's non-compliance has been punished by repeated bombings and a rigorously enforced trade embargo.
President Bush's speech to the UN general assembly in New York today recognises mounting international pressure for a fresh resolution against Iraq before any military action is taken.
His critics are unlikely to be persuaded. "The US has consistently employed a double standard when it comes to UN resolutions and international law," maintains Voice in the Wilderness, the campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq. "For decades the US has vetoed UN resolutions condemning Israel's occupation of Arab territories."