In March 2003, the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq to put an end to the regime of Saddam Hussein. The war was launched without a United Nations mandate and was based on the erroneous claim that Iraq had retained weapons of mass destruction. France, under President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, spectacularly opposed the United States and British invasion, leading a global coalition against the war that also included Germany and Russia. The diplomatic crisis leading up to the war shook both French and American perceptions of each other and revealed cracks in the transatlantic relationship that had been building since the end of the Cold War.
Based on exclusive French archival sources and numerous interviews with former officials in both France and the United States, A History of the Iraq Crisis retraces the international exchange that culminated in the 2003 Iraq conflict. It shows how and why the Iraq crisis led to a confrontation between two longtime allies unprecedented since the time of Charles de Gaulle, and it exposes the deep and ongoing divisions within Europe, the Atlantic alliance, and the international community as a whole. The Franco-American narrative offers a unique prism through which the American road to war can be better understood.