International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Indeterminacy and Vagueness in UN Resolutions Relating to the Second Gulf War
Giuseppina Scotto di Carlo

This study, which is part of a doctoral project, aims at investigating intentional vagueness in Security Council resolutions, by focussing on the analysis of the resolutions relating to the second Gulf war. Using the qualitative Discourse-Historical approach (Wodak 2000) and quantitative analysis tools (Antconc and Sketch Engine), special attention is given to the historical/political consequences of the vagueness used in that framework and to the study of vague ‘weasel words’ (Mellinkoff 1963), modals, and adjectives contained in the corpus. The hypothesis of intentional vagueness is reinforced through an analysis of the U.S. legislation related to the outbreak of the war, to reveal how the U.S. has interpreted UN legislation and to understand the purposes/ consequences of vague language contained in it. The findings indicate that vagueness in resolutions has triggered the Iraqi conflict instead of diplomatic solutions through an intentional use of some vague linguistic patterns as a political strategy.

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