. The following detailed report will probably make no difference to the hardened skeptic. But for those who want to know the facts, it provides much information that may or may not be readily available to the average citizen. Such a report really sheds light on the hypocracy of liberals in Congress who voted to strike Iraq, and subsequently questioned the rationale for doing so (e.g., the uranium flap, etc.).
. "With the workable design and most of the needed components for a nuclear weapon already tested, Iraq is in the final stages of its program to enrich enough uranium for the final component needed in the nuclear core." --Khidir Hamza, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who defected to the US, speaking before the US Senate in July 2002
. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction are no secret. They are documented, in detail, but United Nations weapons inspections, the memoirs they produced, the stream of defectors, the bi-annual CIA briefing to US congress, independent think tanks and evidence given to Capitol Hill committees.
. The Scotsman's dossier is a compilation of the evidence released so far. It uses all the above sources -- including reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times, regarded as CIA leaks, which have made the most impact in the US.
. The result paints picture of a dictator who has been bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction and has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal his efforts so far. All the evidence points towards Saddam developing chemical weapons and that he already may have enough, as the Australian government's dossier suggests, "to theoretically obliterate the entire global population."
. But it stops short of a smoking gun. No one, in either London or Washington, has incontrovertible proof that Saddam is developing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The evidence simply proves that he has the means and the inclination.
. The next decision is whether this amounts to a case for war.
. 1. Iraq's Nuclear Programme
. "Saddam is doing everything he can do without special [nuclear] material, and [he is] betting on acquiring the material outside Iraq. There are places they can go and find it on sale. And when that happens, they'll be able to surprise the world with a finished weapon" -- David Kay, leader of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection missions to Iraq.
. Iraq now has all the elements of a workable nuclear weapon, except the fissile material needed to fuel it, according to defectors. With Iraq's trade links now reopening, and 7,000 nuclear engineers employed, it is feared that this final stage will not take for long.
. Before UN inspectors left Iraq, the following had been ascertained:
*Iraq had developed a blueprint for a nuclear bomb. It is a sphere measuring 32 to 35 inches in diameter, with 32 detonators. It would weigh less than a tonne and would fit on a Scud missile.
*Iraq has already tested a nuclear bomb dummy, with a non-nuclear core.
*Iraq was running 30 nuclear research and production facilities. It had laboratory-scale plutonium separation programme and was also working on a radiological weapon, which scatters nuclear material without an explosion.
Sep 1990: After the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq launches a "dash for the bomb", hoping to complete construction within a year.
Aug 1995: Saddam's son-in-law, Lt General Hussain Kamil, defected to the US. He had been placed in charge of the WMD programme and provided substantial evidence.
Aug 1995: Faced with this, Iraq then admitted to starting its attempts at a fast-track nuclear programme, which involved diverting nuclear fuel from power stations to the weapons laboratories May 1998: Iraq ordered six "lithotripter" machines, saying they would be used to treat kidney stones. Each machine contains a high-precision electronic switch which triggers atomic bombs. It ordered six extra switches.
May 2000: The IAEA2 discovered and destroyed an Iraqi nuclear centrifuge, designed to enrich uranium, which had been stored in Jordan.
Sep 2000: Saddam publicly calls for his "nuclear mujahedin" to "defeat the enemy."
Dec 2001: A former Iraqi nuclear scientist, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, who has defected to the US, gives an interview to the New York Times from a safe destination in Bangkok. His evidence is described as "plausible" by Richard Butler, an Australian former head of UN Iraq inspections. Mr Saeed said that, since the weapons inspectors left in December 1998:
*Iraq has reactivated 300 secret weapons laboratories since the withdrawal of UN weapons inspectors
*Nuclear production and storage facilities are being hidden to the rear of government companies and private villas in residential areas.
*Weapons are being stored underground in what are made to look like water wells, lined with lead-filled concrete.
*Several empty facilities have been prepared, so projects can be on the move and withstand the bombing of one facility.
*Saddam's nuclear programme was augmented with material from Leycochem, a German construction company, which had arrived for under UN-approved schemes but was secretly used to develop his weapons programme.
Feb 2002: George Tenet, CIA director, tells US Congress that Saddam "never abandoned his nuclear weapons programme. Iraq retains a significant number of nuclear scientists, program documentation and probably some dual-use manufacturing."
Mar 2002: August Hanning, head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Services, tells the New Yorker magazine that "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb within three years."
July 2002: Khidir Hamza, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who defected to the US, gives extensive evidence to US Congress. He says:
*"With the workable design and most of the needed components for a nuclear weapon already tested," he said, "Iraq is in the final stages of its programme to enrich enough uranium for the final component needed in the nuclear core."
*German intelligence, with whom he has been in contact, believes Iraq now has "ten tonnes of uranium and one tonne of low-level uranium" -- enough to make three bombs by 2005.
*"The Iraqi economy is basically on a war footing," he concluded. "If Saddam manages to break into the nuclear club, he will become the undisputed leader of the Arabs."
July 2002: Saddam tells Iraqi state television that allegations of an Iraqi weapons programme are "almost a joke."
Sep 2002: Tony Blair releases his dossier on Saddam, saying that "there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The two countries in question are rumoured to be Chad and Libya.
. 2. Iraq's Biological & Chemical Weapons
. "Iraq is still building and expanding an infrastructure capable of producing weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad is expanding its civilian chemical industry in a way that could be quickly diverted into chemical weapon production." --George Tenet, CIA director, Feb 2002
. Iraq's skill at hiding its weapons factories is demonstrated by the fact that the United Nations took four years of inspections to find out about his biological warfare programme. When it was discovered, the scale of its development was overwhelming. UNSCOM went on to find evidence of 38,500 chemical and biological munitions and 690 tonnes of chemical agents.
. The anthrax found in US letters in late 2001 is not understood to come from Iraq. It was the Ames strain, discovered in Iowa in 1980, and is more likely to have come from within the US.
. Potency of Iraq's confirmed chemical and biological arsenal
. Aflatoxin: Iraq studied how to induce liver cancer using aflatoxin. It has no direct military value as cancer, once contracted, takes years to develop.
. Anthrax: One ounce in an air conditioning system in a sports stadium could infect 70,000 in an hour.
. Botulinum: One of the most poisonous substances known. A paralysis poison, and a fatal dose can be 70 billionths of a gram. It is estimated that 80 per cent of those who inhale it will die within three days.
. Clostridium: A bacteria which can cause gas gangrene. It can result in acute lung distress, leaking blood vessels, breakdown of red blood cells and liver damage.
. VX: A nerve agent, so advanced that a few drops against the skin can kill.
. NB: Iraqi opposition groups claim Saddam has far more biological weapons including cholera, mycotoxins, Ricin, shigella, rotavirus and smallpox.
*Iraq is understood to have stockpiled 550 mustard gas bombs. It told UNSCOM it destroyed them, but provided no evidence. UNSCOM dismissed this claim.
*In February 1998, UNSCOM tests on shells taken from Iraq produced in 1996 found 96 per cent pure mustard gas. This proved that the mustard gas had been freshly produced.
*Iraq initially told the UN that it had not attempted to produce VX.
*By 1995, UNSCOM had produced enough circumstantial evidence to force Iraq into admitting 3.9 tonnes of it. None was ever accounted for.
*UN inspectors found documents suggesting that Iraq had imported 810 tonnes of chemicals needed to make VX. The UN vouched for the destruction of 191 tonnes, but no more. This leaves 619 tonnes of precursor chemicals unaccounted for.
*The Australian Government's 1997 report argues that Saddam is in possession of enough chemicals to make "200 tonnes of VX -- which could theoretically obliterate the entire global population." *In November 1998, UNSCOM said that some unearthed missile warheads, tested in a US Army Lab, contained traces of VX.
*Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress, says his informants support fears that Saddam's VX stockpiles is substantially larger than the 3.9 tonnes it admitted to the UN. *Chalabi also says that the VX has been converted to a dry salt for long-term storage.
. Iraq's development of chemical and biological weapons
May 1988: Starts research on aflatoxin at a laboratory in al Salman. Its method was to grow fungus aspergilus in 5.3 quart flasks.
Nov 1989: Develops 16 R-400 aflatoxin bombs and conducts trials in 122mm rockets.
April 1991: Iraq tells UN that it has never had any biological materials, weapons, research or facilities.
Jan 1991: Trials are run to see if crop spraying helicopters can be adapted to carry biological weapons.
Aug 1995: Iraq admits to a biological weapons research programme
July 1995: Iraq admits to have made substantial progress in its biological weapons programme, making just under 30,000 litres of biological agents and filled munitions. This included 19,000 litres of Botulinium, 8,400 liters of antrax and 2,000 liters of aflatoxin and clostridium.
Aug 1995: Iraq admits to having produced 191 biological bombs, of which 25 were missile warheads which had been loaded with anthrax, botulinum and aflatoxin for use in the Gulf war. It says these were unilaterally destroyed, but no evidence is produced. The UN considers these weapons unaccounted for.
Sep 1995: Iraq admits two projects testing the delivery of biological weapons through Mirage F-1 and MiG-21 aircraft.
Jul 1998: Iraq confiscated documents from UNSCOM weapons inspectors documents suggesting that it had 6,000 more bombs left over from its war with Iran than it admitted. It allowed inspectors to make notes, but kept the original document, infuriating the UN and the US. This event triggered what was to become Operation Desert Fox.
Aug 2000: The CIA reports to US Congress that Iraq is converting an Eastern European L-29 trainer jet into an unmanned aircraft, or "drone," which could spread chemical and biological weapons. Work was suspected to be carried out at the Al-Faris factory, where Iraq built drop tanks to deliver weapons before the Gulf War.
Jan 2001: Iraq is reported to have rebuilt two factories in the Falluja complex, which produced chemical and biological weapons before the Gulf War.
Mar 2001: Iraq writes to the United Nations giving notice of its plans to asking to reopen the Daura factory, which had been shut down by UNSCOM in 1996 after it was found to make biological weapons. Iraq said it needed to reopen Daura to produce vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease.
May 2001: Iraq takes over several crop-dusting helicopters from the United Nations, against US protests that they may be used for a biological weapons attack.
Sep 2001: Iranian reports say 20 Iraqi soldiers based in Zaafarniyah region had died and 200 suffered severe breathing problems after taking part in chemical weapons exercise around June 2001.
Apr 2001: August Hanning, head of the BND (German's Federal Intelligence service), gives an interview to a German Sunday newspaper. "New chemical weapons are being developed in Iraq. German companies apparently tried to deliver important components for the production of poison gas to Iraq's Samara plant." This is compatible with Mr Saeed's evidence.
Dec 2001: Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, an Iraqi defector, gives evidence saying that:
. *Biological weapons were being developed at the back of the Saddam Hussein hospital in Baghdad. (This was later corroborated by Khidhir Hamza, another defector, who told US congress that "the computer we used for nuclear weapon design is now located in a hospital at the outskirts of Baghdad.") *Biological and chemical weapons were tested on Kurdish and Shiite prisoners in 1989 and 1992.
Jul 2002: The Washington Post runs a detailed report suggesting that the CIA has found a laboratory called Tahhaddy, or "Challenge", on the west bank of the Tigris river, employing a team of 85 scientists working on a viral strain code-named Blue Nile. Details sound similar to Ebola Virus, a lethal hemorrhagic disease.
Aug 2002: US satellites detect a convoy of 60 trucks at one of main suspected biological weapons factories, called the Taji Cell Protection Plant.
. 3. Iraq's Ballistic Missles
. Iraq started purchasing Soviet Scud missiles in the 1970s. They have a range of 300km but the Iraq military succeeded in doubling this to 600km when it developed the al-Hussein missile. There are 12 countries within this radius: Israel, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain and Quatar.
. UN Security Council resolution 687 required Iraq to destroy all missiles with a range greater than 150km, but left it free to develop missiles whose range falls within its circumference. Washington and London believe this is a loophole which has allowed Saddam to hone his own missile production skills.
. Since the UN weapons left in December 1998, the following remain unaccounted for and are understood to be still in Iraq:
*Nine ballistic missiles
*Two of the 45 chemical and biological warheads Iraq claimed to have destroyed in 1991.
*Two of the 819 Soviet-supplied Scud missiles.
*150 tonnes of missile production materials
*Iraq's stockpile of 300 tonnes of liquid missile fuel
*50 conventional Scud warheads
*30 Iraqi-made warheads
*Up to 20 al-Hussein missiles.
*7 Iraqi-made missiles
Dec 1995: Jordan reports seizing 115 Russian-made missile guidance components which it said were bound for Iraq.
Jan 1996: UNSCOM finds prohibited missile guidance gyroscopes, suitable for a 2,000-mile range missile. The discovery was made in the Tigris river.
May 2000: Richard Butler, former UNSCOM chairman, says that Iraq has developed two permitted-range missiles, the Ababil-100 and the al-Samoud, with a range of 600km.
Dec 2000: Iraq's al-Aqsa military parade. It displays its three short-range missiles: the al-Samoud (a liquidfuelled, scaled-down Scud), the al-Fath and the al-Raad. Jet fighters and helicopter gunships are also on show.
Jan 2002: The National Intelligence Estimate, an annual US publication, said that Iraq could make a missile which could reach the US by 2015. It says a more immediate threat is posed by North Korea.
May 2002: The US presents to the United Nations evidence that Iraq's al-Samoud missiles can reaching further than the 150km UN limit.
. 4. Iraq's War Record
Sept 1980: Iraq invaded Iran, starting an eight-year war where it deployed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
Feb 1988: Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish refugees from their home villages in the so-called "Anfal" campaign, killing between 50,000 and 180,000 Kurds
Mar 1988: Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish rebels in Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects which affect the town today.
Aug 1990: Iraq began a seven-month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, some 620 of whom still remain unaccounted for.
Apr 1993: Iraq orchestrated a failed attempt to assassinate President George Bush during his visit to Kuwait.
*Of the 17 outstanding cases for Saudi Arabia nationals, all remain unresolved.
*Iraq admitted to detaining 126 Kuwaitis, but said no more about their fate.
*The following military arsenal are still missing from Kuwait:
- Eight Mirage F-1 aircraft
- 245 Russian-made fighting vehicles
- 90 M113 armoured personnel carriers
- One Hawk battery
- 3,750 Tow anti-tank missiles
- 675 Russian surface-to-air missile batteries.
. 5. Iraq's Support for Terrorism
Iraq is formally listed as one of the US' state sponsors of terrorism. However, neither the FBI or the CIA have been able to link Saddam or any Iraqi to the events of 11 September. Attempts to draw a link between the two have produced the following results.
. *Defecting intelligence officers have reported seeing non-Iraqi fundamentalists being trained at Salman Pak, an Iraqi intelligence camp 20 miles south of Baghdad.
*is conducting hijacking training, even for non-Iraqis, at an area called Salman Pak. This contains the fuselage of an old Tupolev 154 airliner. It was witnessed by Charles Duelfer, former deputy director of UNSCOM, who said the Iraqis claimed it was for counter-terrorist training. The UN, he said, "automatically took out the word 'counter'"
*Iraq had harboured the Abu Nidal organisation, prior to the terrorist's reported suicide in August 2002. It provides training, logistical assistance and financial aid from the Iraqi state.
*Iraq is still harbouring the Palestinian Liberation Front of Abu Abbas
*In April 2002, Iraq doubled the bounty offered to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, to $50,000 from $25,000.
. Links Between Saddam and al-Qaeda
*Osama bin Laden is said to have been a frequent visitor to the Iraqi embassy in Khartoum while he was living in the Sudanese capital.
*In Dec 1998, Osama bin Laden reported to have met Farouk Hijazi, Iraqi's ambassador to Turkey and an intelligence officer. Hijazi was suddenly recalled from Ankara after the 11 September attacks.
*In Apr 2001, Mohammed Atta, the lead 11 September hijacker, is said to have met Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi agent, in Prague, according to Czech intelligence.
*In March 2002, The New Yorker magazine runs an extensive article on Iraq's links to al-Qaeda. Its allegations included:
- Al-Qaeda are relocating from Afghanistan to Northern Iraq.
- Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group which targets Kurdish rebels, was set up jointly between Saddam and al Qaeda
- Saddam Hussein entertained a senior leader of al Qaeda in Baghdad in 1992
- a number of al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan have been secretly brought into territory controlled by Ansar al-Islam
- Iraqi intelligence agents smuggled conventional weapons, and possibly even chemical and biological weapons, into Afghanistan.
*In September 2002, George Bush tells the United Nations that "al-Qaeda terrorists who escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq."
. 6. Breaking Free from the Shackles: Iraq's Trade Recovery
. The UN policy of containment was dependent on Iraq having its economic power curtailed by sanctions. However, this framework is rapidly disintegrating as other countries show increasing sympathy towards Iraq.
. In May 2002, the US General Accounting Office said that, in 2001, Iraq earned $2.2 billion in illicit trade, $1.5billion of it through illicit exports and $700 million in surcharges. In September 2002, Tony Blair said this is $3.0 billion.
*In his evidence to US Congress, Khidir Hamza, a defector, said that "Iraq is using corporations in India and other countries to import the needed equipment for its [nuclear] programmes, then channel them through countries like Malaysia for shipment to Iraq."
*Turkey now makes $400 million a year by taxing energy products smuggled from northern Iraq.
Nov 1998: The Iraq-Syria oil pipeline reopens. The Syrians use Iraq's oil, then export more of their own. This illicit operation earns Baghdad $800 million a year.
Apr 2001: Tapes are released showing that Leonid Kuckma, president of the Ukraine, agreeing to sell the "Kolchuga" anti-aircraft radar to Iraq in July 2000. Tape was released by his former bodyguard, who defected to the UN and testified in a court in California. He died in a car crash in March 2002.
Jan 2001: Turkey, which says UN sanctions have cost it $35 billion, returns an ambassador to Iraq.
Feb 2001: Iraq expands its Russian and Belarus embassies, appointing a senior military officer to head a new unit in Moscow.
Jan 2002: Iraq's Foreign Minister visits Iran
Jan 2002: Saudi Arabia reopens its border with Iraq under the UN's oil-for-food programme
Mar 2002: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq take steps to reconcile at the Arab League Summit in Jordan.
Apr 2002: The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain both reopen embassies in Baghdad, leaving Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as the only two Arab states with no diplomatic links to Iraq.
. 7. The Legalities of Unilateral Military Action
. The US believes that Iraq is in violation of its ceasefire agreements, and is now vulnerable to the same military attack authorised in 1990.
. Internal US law
. On 3 Feb 1998, Clinton officials, preparing for what was to become Desert Fox, said the authority from military action was drawn from the joint resolution passed by Congress on the eve of the Gulf War. This resolution, named PL102-1, has no expiry date. It was argued that, as far as the Congress is concerned, this provides US administration with the authority to use force against Iraq.
. United Nations law
. The US also argues that any future attack on Iraq will be legal under international law, under the following UN Resolutions:
*Resolution 678 (29 Nov 1990) authorising military action after the invasion of Kuwait
*Resolution 687 (3 Apr 1991) making a ceasefire dependent on a number of conditions, including the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.
. The US's interpretation is, however, opposed by every member of the UN Security Council with the exception of the UK.
. 8. Events in the Current Crisis
3 Mar 1991: Ceasefire agreed on Persian Gulf War, or Operation Desert Storm. Coalition forces sign the Safwan accords.
3 Apr 1991: UN passes Resolution 687, ordering the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
15 Aug 1991: UN passes Resolution 715, the first "resolution-to-enforce-the-resolution", ordering Iraq to facilitate "unfettered access" to weapons inspectors.
11 Oct 1991: UN passes Resolution 715, setting up a long-term monitoring programme.
17 Jun 1993: UN says Iraq is in "material breach" of its obligations.
20 Mar 1996: UNSCOM reports Iraqi resistance, violating the "unfettered access" agreement.
12 Jun 1996: UN passes Resolution 1060, demanding Iraqi co-operation. It was not forthcoming.
21 Jun 1996: UN passes Resolution 1115, threatening Iraqi officials with travel restrictions if they do not comply.
28 Sep 1997: Iraq bans UNCOM from investigating biological weapon site as the suspected building was in a "presidential site" which was immune from inspections.
23 Oct 1997: After more than a year of Iraqi interference, the UN suspends sanctions reviews until April 98.
29 Oct 1997: Iraq bans Americans in UNSCOM from making any inspections, giving US personnel a week to leave. "In other words," Mr Butler recalled later, "Iraq now claimed the right to approve or disapprove of members of the UNSCOM team"
2 Nov 1997 A UNSCOM aircraft lands at Habbaniyah airfied with two American inspectors -- defying the Iraqi stipulation. They are, however, forbidden from leaving the aircraft.
12 Nov 1997: UN Security Council passes Resolution 1137, condemning Iraq's attempt to ban Americans from UNSCOM. It imposes travel restrictions. This punishment did not affect Iraqi resolve.
13 Nov 1997: Iraq expels Americans working for UNSCOM
15 Nov 1997: UNSCOM pulls out of Iraq in protest at its expulsion of the Americans. It will prove to be the first of three evacuations under Butler. US House of Representatives passes motion backing unilateral US military action against Iraq, but only as a last resort.
14 Feb 1998: Robin Cook, then UK Foreign Secretary, first uses the phrase "doing nothing is not an option" with Iraq. This was to become UK government's position until August 2002.
23 Feb 1998: Kofi Annan agrees to back down, and offers a compromise. Weapons inspectors back in, but agree restricted access to eight "Presidential sites" in Iraq -- seen to be areas of privacy for Saddam. Scott Ritter, UNSCOM's then chief weapons inspector, later compares this to the appeasement of Hitler: "The deal was a sham, and UNSCOM knew it… we gave serious thought of attending [Annan's] welcome back party holding black umbrellas as a reminder of Neville Chamberlain's return from Munich in 1938."
2 Mar 1998: UN Security Council seeks to bolster compromise by passing a unanimous resolution (1154) saying that Iraq's failure to comply with UN sanctions will have the "most severe consequences" Runup to Operation Desert Fox
06 July 1998: Iraq seizes from UNSCOM documents suggesting it may have 6,000 more bombs left over from its war with Iran than it had admitted to.
5 Aug 1998: Aziz tells UN Security Council that it has decided to suspend UNSCOM's disarmament work and has banned it from inspecting new facilities. His letter says UNSCOM was "needlessly focused on details of no value" and has "attempted to conjure up crises and provocations which characterised the work of UNSCOM through the last seven years"
14 Aug 1998: US Senate passes a motion declaring Iraq to be in "material breach" of its obligations.
26 Aug 1998: Scott Ritter resigns as UNSCOM chief inspector, saying the UN's attempt to find a "diplomatic" means of dealing with Saddam represented "a surrender to the Iraqi leadership which has succeeded in thwarting the stated will of the United Nations." He later accuses Richard Butler, UNSCOM chairman, of bowing to the will of the US.
9 Sep 1998: UN Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 1194, suspending sanctions reviews. 31 Oct 1998: Iraq bans all remaining UNSCOM activities
5 Nov 1998: UN adopts Resolution 1205, saying Iraq's refusal to co-operate with UNSCOM represents a "flagrant violation" of its obligations. But it was by no means threatening, affirming its "readiness to consider, in a comprehensive review, Iraq's compliance with its obligations under all relevant resolutions" if it starts to play ball again. This was seen as a carrot, not a stick. "Notably absent absent from this was any threat to use force", said Butler later.
10 Nov 1998: US tells UNSCOM that it is evacuating its embassy staff in Middle East, and advised Butler to consider evacuating.
11 Nov 1998: UNSCOM evacuate.
13 Nov 1998: US and British military start to head for the Gulf.
14 Nov 1998: Clinton delays his planned strikes on Iraq by 24 hours, in hope of last minute deal.
14/15 Nov 98: A deal is delivered, as Iraq agrees to rescind its ban on UNSCOM activities. Diffuses crisis.
4 Dec 1998: Iraq prevents UNSCOM 261, a biological team, from carrying out its very first inspection.
5 Dec 1998: UNSCOM chemical weapons inspectors are banned by Iraqi officials from taking photographs -- a violation of the agreement.
9 Dec 1998: Iraq stops UNSCOM 258's inspection of a building connected to the Ba'ath party. 15 Dec 1998: Aziz complains to UN that UNSCOM is carrying out its duty "in an intrusive and provocative manner."
16 Dec 1998: Operation Desert Fox begins. US and UK launch 415 cruise missiles and 200 bombs at 50 Iraqi locations. It was, however, regarded as a flop: Only ten targets were destroyed and 18 severely damaged. US says it killed 1,400 Iraqi troops. Baghdad says 62.
20 Dec 1998: End of Desert Fox, a 72-hour operation. Clinton says more strikes may follow.
17 Dec 1999: UN establishes UNMOVIC.
3 Jan 1999: Saddam declares no-fly zones as "illegal" and says his people will resist them with "bravery and courage". Offers $15,000 bounty to any unit that succeeds in downing an Allied jet.
26 Mar 2001: Iraq complains to UN that allied air strikes have killed 315 and wounded 965 Iraqi civilians.
16 Feb 2001: February 2001 air strikes. US and UK fighters bomb five Iraqi defence instalments. The raid is reported to have had seen limited success.
24 July 2001: Iraqis fire a missile at U2 aircraft; defence sources say it came close to hitting it. 31 July 2001: US defense department reports Iraq's "considerably more aggressive stance in trying to bring down allied aircraft."
27 Aug 2001: Iraqi downs its first US aircraft -- an unmanned USAF RQ1B Predator, or "drone" 11 Sep 2001: A second US "drone" is lost over Iraq.
September 11 attacks. Iraq only Arab country not to send formal condolences to US.
29 Jan 2002: In his state of the union address, George Bush identifies Iraq along with Iran and North Korea as forming an "axis of evil".
1 Jun 2002: President Bush, in a speech to graduating West Point cadets, says the US will "confront regimes that sponsor terror" and that they must "confront the worst threats before they emerge." This is seen as introducing a doctrine of pre-emption.
6 Jun 2002: Dick Cheney, US vice president, develops the pre-emption theme in a speech saying that Saddam is a dictator who is pursuing "deadly capabilities" and such a regime "must never be allowed to threat America with weapons of mass destruction."
17 Jun 2002: The Washington Post reports that President Bush has signed an order directing the CIA to overthrow Saddam using covert operations. This is not disputed by the White House.
5 Jul 2002: A round of weapons inspectors talks end in Vienna, with no conclusion.
12 Sep 2002: Bush addresses United Nations, and says that "If Saddam wishes peace," he will agree to five demands -- not just the readmission of weapons inspectors. These are:
*Release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown
*End all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program
*Cease persecution of its civilian population
*Immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it
*Immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material
16 Sep 2002: Saddam makes a midnight offer to re-admit weapons inspectors, without conditions. It is dismissed by the US and UK as a trick.
17 Sep 2002: The White House releases its dossier on Iraq, entitled "A decade of deception and defiance."
27 Sep 2002: Tony Blair releases the British government's dossier, entitled: "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction." Tells House of Commons his aim is "disarmament" -- contrasting from the "regime change" demanded in the US.
© 2003 Scotsman.com
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