A History of the Iraqi Crisis: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991-2003 | Wilson Center
5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

A History of the Iraqi Crisis: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991-2003

Please note: this event was rescheduled from December 10th, 2013 after cancellation due to severe weather. 

Please join us at the Wilson Center for a discussion on Frédéric Bozo's new book,  A History of the Iraqi Crisis: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991-2003 (Historie secrète de la crise irakienne: La France, leq Etats-Unis et l'Irak 1991-2003)

In March 2003, the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq to put an end to the regime of Saddam Hussein, their bête noire since the 1991 Gulf War. The war was launched without a UN mandate and based on the erroneous claim that Iraq retained WMD, following a diplomatic crisis that peaked in the weeks leading up to it. France, under President Jacques Chirac and Foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, spectacularly opposed the U.S. and the UK, leading a global coalition against the war that also included Germany and Russia.

Based on exclusive French archival sources and numerous interviews with former officials in both countries, Frédéric Bozo retraces the history of the international crisis that culminated in the 2003 Iraqi conflict. His book shows how and why the Iraqi crisis led to a confrontation between the two oldest allies of the West of an intensity unprecedented since the time of General de Gaulle, and to deep divisions within Europe, the Atlantic Alliance, and the international community as a whole. The Franco-American narrative provides a unique prism through which the U.S. road to war can be better understood. 

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Samuel Wells and John Prados.

If you have questions regarding the event, feel free to contact Evan Pikulski at 202-691-4166, or by email at Evan.Pikulski@wilsoncenter.org

Frédéric Bozo is currently professor at the Sorbonne (University of Paris III, Department of European Studies). He was previously professor at the University of Nantes (1998-2005) and associate professor at the University of Marne-la-Vallée (1994-1998). From 1988 to 2006 he was an associate researcher at IFRI, the Paris-based French institute for international relations.

Born in 1963, Frédéric Bozo was educated at the Ecole normale supérieure, at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris and at Harvard University. He received his doctorate from the University of Paris X - Nanterre (1993) and his Habilitation from the Sorbonne - Paris III (1997). He was a senior fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo in 2002 and in 2007.

His focus is on French foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations and Cold War history. His book publications include: Mitterrand, the End of the Cold War, and German Unification (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009, first published in French by Odile Jacob, 2005); Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the United States and the Atlantic Alliance (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001, first published in French by Plon, 1996). He also co-edited Europe and the End of the Cold War: A Reappraisal (London: Routledge, 2008, with M.-P. Rey, N. Piers Ludlow & L. Nuti) and he published a book of interviews with Stanley Hoffmann, Gulliver Unbound: America’s Imperial Temptation and the War in Iraq (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). Other books published in French include: La Politique étrangère de la France depuis 1945 (Paris : La Découverte, 1997); and La France et l’OTAN. De la guerre froide au nouvel ordre européen (Paris : Masson, 1991). He has published articles in Cold War History, Contemporary European History, Diplomatic History, Politique étrangère, and Survival. He also has a chapter in the recently published Cambridge History of the Cold War (Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, eds).

During academic year 2010-2011, he served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, working on a book project on the 2002-3 transatlantic crisis over Iraq. The book appeared in French in 2013 under the title: Histoire secrète de la crise irakienne. La France, les Etats-Unis et l’irak, 1991-2003 (Perrin).


  • Frédéric Bozo

    Public Policy Scholar
    Professor, Department of European Studies, the Sorbonne, University of Paris III
  • Samuel Wells

    Cold War Fellow
    Former Deputy and Associate Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center; Former Director of the West European Studies Program, the Woodrow Wilson Center
  • John Prados

    Senior Fellow and Project Director, National Security Archive, The George Washington University.