JEAIL > Volume 15(1); 2022 > Regional Focus & Controversies
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2022

Rethinking Twenty Years of American Unilateralism in the Middle East: A Critical Evaluation of the War on Terror

Eric Yong Joong Lee
Dongguk University College of Law / YIJUN Institute of International Law
30, Pildong-ro 1-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620 Korea.

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original workZuraini Ab Hamid & Mohd Hisham Mohd Kamal is properly cited.

The War on Terror launched by the US against Islamic terrorist groups persisted through the Bush-Obama-Trump administrations for nearly 20 years before President Biden completely withdrew the US forces from Afghanistan by the end of August 2021. These military interventions are noticeable examples of American unilateralism in the Middle East. The War on Terror has been severely criticized by the global community as military actions without just cause and lacking grounds under international law. This research aims to critically evaluate the War on Terror in terms of legal and political theories of war now that twenty years of American unilateralism in the Middle East is over. In this article, the author examines other underlying reasons for, and the outcomes of, the war against terrorist groups. He will also suggest peaceful means to fundamentally resolve the Middle East conflict with a view to preventing war in other world regions.

Keywords : The War on Terror, 9/11, Just War Theory, American Unilateralism, Middle East, Terrorism, US Middle East Policy

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