Although the United Nations Security Council last week voted sanctions against Iraq, including an international embargo, it has yet to spell out how those sanctions would be enforced in order to induce Iraq to leave Kuwait, which it invaded Aug. 2.
Yesterday, Secretary of State James A. Baker III cited Article 51 of the United Nations charter, which allows a state under attack to ask other states for assistance as part of its self-defense. Baker said that pursuant to Kuwait's request for U.S. help, the United States would begin immediately to "interdict" ships trying to do business with Iraq.
Here is the text of Article 51 of the U.N. Charter:
Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.