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Complete timeline of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: Pre-war planning for post-Saddam Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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February 1, 2001

       The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Again, the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. One of the memos discussed during the meeting is titled, “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.” It reportedly discusses the need for troops in a post-Saddam occupation, war crimes tribunals, and how to divvy up Iraq's oil wealth. [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] In attendance is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who speaks in favor of removing Saddam Hussein. It would “demonstrate what US policy is all about,” he says, and contribute to the transformation of the Middle East. According to Paul O'Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country's economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’ ” [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] Other people, in addition to O'Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O?Neill, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice
          

2002-2003

       The Bush administration develops plans for post-war Iraq. But the process is plagued with infighting between a small, highly secretive group of planners in the Pentagon and experts at the CIA and State Department who are involved with the “Future of Iraq Project” (see April 2002-March 2003). The two opposing groups disagree on a wide range of topics, but it is the Pentagon group which exerts the strongest influence on the White House's plans (see Fall 2002) for administering post-Saddam Iraq. One State Department official complains to The Washington Post in October 2002 “that the Pentagon is seeking to dominate every aspect of Iraq's postwar reconstruction.” The group of Pentagon planners includes several noted neoconservatives who work in, or in association with, the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002) and the Near East/South Asia bureau. The planners have close ties to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), two think tanks with a shared vision of reshaping the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East in favor of US and Israeli interests. The Pentagon planning group “had a visionary strategy that it hoped would transform Iraq into an ally of Israel, remove a potential threat to the Persian Gulf oil trade and encircle Iran with US friends and allies,” Knight Ridder Newspapers will later observe. The group's objectives put it at odds with planners at the CIA and State Department whose approach and objectives are much more prudent. The Pentagon unit works independently of the CIA and State Department and pays little attention to the work of those two agencies. Critics complain that the group is working in virtual secrecy and evading the scrutiny and oversight of others involved in the post-war planning process by confining their inter-agency communications to discussions with their neoconservative colleagues working in other parts of the government. The Pentagon planners even have a direct line to the office of Dick Cheney where their fellow neoconservative, Lewis Libby, is working. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03; Washington Post, 4/2/03; Associated Press, 11/12/02] In the fall of 2002, the various groups involved in planning for post-war Iraq send their recommendations to the White House's Executive Steering Committee, which reviews their work and then passes on its own recommendations to the cabinet heads (see Fall 2002). According to a July 2003 report by Knight Ridder Newspapers, the ultimate responsibility for deciding the administration's post-war transition plans lay with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
The Office of Special Plans -

The civilian planners at the Pentagon believe that the UN should exert no influence over the structure, make-up, or policy of the interim Iraqi post-Saddam government. They seek to limit the UN's role to humanitarian and reconstruction projects, and possibly security. The State Department, however, believes that the US will not be able to do it alone and that UN participation in post-Saddam Iraq will be essential. [Observer, 4/6/03; Los Angeles Times, 4/2/03]

The Pentagon group wants to install Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi exile leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), as leader of post-Saddam Iraq. [American Prospect, 5/1/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03 Sources: Richard Perle]
The group thinks that the Iraqis will welcome Chalabi, who claims he has a secret network inside and outside the Ba'ath government which will quickly fill in the power vacuum to restore order to the country. Chalabi is a notorious figure who is considered untrustworthy by the State Department and CIA and who has a history of financial misdealings. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] But the Pentagon is said to be enamored with Chalabi “because he [advocates] normal diplomatic relations with Israel” which they believe will “‘ [take] off the board’ one of the only remaining major Arab threats to Israeli security.” Another geopolitical benefit to installing Chalabi is that he can help the US contain “the influence of Iran's radical Islamic leaders in the region, because he would ... [provide] bases in Iraq for US troops,” which would “complete Iran's encirclement by American military forces around the Persian Gulf and US friends in Russia and Central Asia.” [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official] Danielle Pletka, vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, with close ties to the Pentagon's planning group, tells Robert Dreyfuss of American Prospect Magazine that the State Department's perception of Chalabi is wrong. “The [Defense Department] is running post-Saddam Iraq,” said Pletka, almost shouting. “The people at the State Department don't know what they are talking about! Who the hell are they? ... the simple fact is, the president is comfortable with people who are comfortable with the INC.” [American Prospect, 5/1/03]
The Pentagon's planning unit believes that the Iraqis will welcome US troops as liberators and that any militant resistance will be short-lived. They do not develop a contingency plan for persistent civil unrest. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
However the State Department's “Future of Iraq” planning project is more prudent, noting that Iraqis will likely be weary of US designs on their country. [New York Times, 10/19/03]
The Pentagon planners believe that Iraq's oil reserves—estimated to contain some 112 billion barrels of oil—should be used to help fund the reconstruction of Iraq. They also advocate a plan that would give the US more control over Iraq's oil. “[The Pentagon] hawks have long argued that US control of Iraq's oil would help deliver a second objective,” reports the Observer. “That is the destruction of OPEC, the oil producers' cartel, which they argue is ‘evil’—that is, incompatible with American interests.” The State Department, however, believes such aggressive policies will surely infuriate Iraqis and give credence to suspicions that the invasion is motivated by oil interests. One critic of the plan says “that only a puppet Iraqi government would acquiesce to US supervision of the oil fields and that one so slavish to US interests risks becoming untenable with Iraqis.” [Observer, 11/3/02; Insight, 12/28/02]

People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, American Enterprise Institute, Danielle Pletka, Project for the New American Century  Additional Info 
          

April 2002-March 2003

       The US State Department begins the “Future of Iraq” project aimed at developing plans for post-Saddam Iraq. The project eventually evolves into the collaborative effort of some seventeen working groups involving more than 200 exiled Iraqi opposition figures and professionals including jurists, academics, engineers, scientists and technical experts. These groups meet on numerous occasions over the next eight to ten months, preparing plans to address a wide range of issues. The seventeen working groups include: Public Health and Humanitarian Needs; Water, Agriculture and the Environment; Public Finance and Accounts; Transitional Justice; Economy and Infrastructure; Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, and Migration Policy; Foreign and National Security Policy; Defense Institutions and Policy; Civil Society Capacity-Building; Public and Media Outreach; Economic and Infrastructure; Local Government; Anti-Corruption Measures; Oil and Energy; Education; Free Media; and Democratic Principles. [US State Department, 4/23/03; US News, 11/25/03; New York Times, 10/19/03; Washington Times, 6/5/02; United States Mission to the European Union, 10/4/02; United States Mission to the European Union, 10/11/02; Assyrian International News Agency, 10/31/02; US Department of State, 10/11/02; Washington File, 12/16/02; Washington File, 12/16/02; US Department of State, 12/19/02; Washington File, 1/23/02; Free Press, 2/10/03; Washington File, 2/12/03; US Department of State, 2/3/03]
Problems and setbacks - The project suffers from a serious lack of interest and funds. In July, the Guardian reports, “Deep in the bowels of the US State Department, not far from the cafeteria, there is a small office identified only by a handwritten sign on the door reading: ‘The Future of Iraq Project.’ .... [T]he understaffed and underfunded Future of Iraq Project has been spending more effort struggling with other government departments than plotting Saddam's downfall.” [Guardian 7/10/02]

Achievements - The $5 million project ultimately produces 13 volumes of reports consisting of some 2,000 pages of what is described as varying quality. The New York Times will later report: “A review of the work shows a wide range of quality and industriousness.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]
The newspaper cites several examples:
“... the transitional justice working group, made up of Iraqi judges, law professors and legal experts, ... met four times and drafted more than 600 pages of proposed reforms in the Iraqi criminal code, civil code, nationality laws and military procedure.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The group studying defense policy and institutions expected problems if the Iraqi Army was disbanded quickly.... The working group recommended that jobs be found for demobilized troops to avoid having them turn against allied forces ...” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The democratic principles working group wrestled with myriad complicated issues from reinvigorating a dormant political system to forming special tribunals for trying war criminals to laying out principles of a new Iraqi bill of rights.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The transparency and anticorruption working group warned that ‘actions regarding anticorruption must start immediately; it cannot wait until the legal, legislative and executive systems are reformed.’” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The economy and infrastructure working group warned of the deep investments needed to repair Iraq's water, electrical and sewage systems.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The free media working group noted the potential to use Iraq's television and radio capabilities to promote the goals of a post-Hussein Iraq ....” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

Impact of the project's work - After the US and British invasion of Iraq, Knight Ridder will report, “Virtually none of the ‘Future of Iraq’ project's work was used.” [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
It was “ignored by Pentagon officials,” the New York Times will also observe. [New York Times, 10/19/03] Iraq expert and former CIA analyst Judith Yaphe, who is one of the American experts involved in the “Future of Iraq” project, will tell American Prospect magazine in May 2003: “[The Office of the Secretary of Defense] has no interest in what I do.” She will also complain about how the Defense Department prevented the State Department from getting involved in the post-war administration of Iraq. “They've brought in their own stable of people from AEI [American Enterprise Institute], and the people at the State Department who worked with the Iraqi exiles are being kept from Garner,” she will explain. [American Prospect, 5/1/03] One of those people is Tom Warrick, the “Future of Iraq” project director. When retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the first US administrator in Iraq, requests that Warrick join his staff, Pentagon civilians veto the appointment. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03; New York Times, 10/19/03] Other sources will also say that the Pentagon purposefully ignored the work of the “Future of Iraq” project. Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who retires from the Pentagon's Near East/South Asia bureau on July 1, will tell Knight Ridder Newspapers that she and her colleagues were instructed by Pentagon officials in the Office of Special Plans to ignore the State Department's concerns and views. “We almost disemboweled State,” Kwiatkowski will recall. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] After the fall of Saddam Hussein, critics will say that several of the post-war problems encountered could have been avoided had the Pentagon considered the warnings and recommendations of the “Future of Iraq” project. [New York Times, 10/19/03; American Prospect, 5/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Tom Warrick, Jay Garner, Karen Kwiatkowski, Judith Yaphe
          

August 1, 2002

       A panel of experts on Iraq warns the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that administering Iraq after the toppling of Saddam's government will be expensive and difficult. The panel says that “there are no obvious successors to Saddam Hussein and that the Bush administration should be prepared to help install and protect a pro-American government if it decides to topple him—a proposition, they added, that would be long and expensive,” the New York Times reports. “Nearly all the experts argued that setting up a stable, pro-Western government in Baghdad would require a huge infusion of aid and a long-term commitment of American troops to maintain peace.” [New York Times, 8/2/02] Phebe Marr, a professor from the National Defense University who has written prolifically on Iraq, tells the panel, “If the US is going to take the responsibility for removing the current leadership, it should assume that it cannot get the results it wants on the cheap.” Scott Feil, a retired Army colonel who studies postwar reconstruction programs, says that 75,000 troops will be needed in Iraq to stabilize the country after Saddam is removed from power. He estimates that such a deployment will cost in excess of $16 billion per year. After the first 12 months, the colonel says that the force could be reduced in number, possibly to as low as 5,000, though this military presence would have to be maintained for at least another five years. In contrast, Caspar W. Weinberger, the secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan argues that the United States will not need to undertake a major effort in rebuilding Iraq. [New York Times, 8/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Scott Feil, Caspar Weinberger, Phebe Marr
          

August 13, 2002

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his advisors for a meeting. Describing the meeting, the New York Times reports three days later that they “have decided that they should focus international discussion on how Iraq would be governed after Mr. Hussein—not only in an effort to assure a democracy but as a way to outflank administration hawks and slow the rush to war, which many in the department oppose.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Colin Powell
          

August 15, 2002

       The Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthhammer, speaking on “Inside Washington” in a discussion with fellow Post columnist Charlie King and Post military reporter Thomas Ricks, argues in favor of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. At one point, moderator Gordan Petersons asks what the US should do after deposing Saddam. Krauthhammer responds: “We don't speak about exit strategies; this is not Bosnia, or Haiti, or the Balkans. This is very important, everybody understands it, we are not going to run away. We are going to get there, and we are going to stay. We are going to try to make a reasonably civil society, reasonably pro-American, a good influence on the neighbors, and disarmed. That's a large undertaking, and I think we are absolutely [unintelligible] everybody who is supporting the war or the invasion is in favor of staying and doing the job.” When Thomas Ricks notes that Krauthhammer's proposal would involve nine of the US Army's ten active-duty divisions, he counters, “That assumption is entirely unwarranted. I think we will be accepted as liberators, as we were in Afghanistan.” He also shoots down a comment from Peterson referring to the cost of invading Iraq. “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world, it's got huge reserves, which have been suppressed because of Iraq's actions, and Saddam's. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful,” Krauthhammer explains. [WUSATV, 8/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Charles Krauthhammer
          

September 25, 2002

       In a paper titled, “The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq,” which is a part of the study, A Future of a Post-Saddam Iraq: A Blueprint for American Involvement, Ariel Cohen and Gerald P. O"Driscoll, argue for the complete neoliberalization of Iraq's trade relations and for the privatization of Iraq's industries. The document says that poverty in Iraq is a result of Saddam Hussein's mismanagement, namely Saddam's decision to nationalize certain industries; Iraq's war with Iran; the invasion of Kuwait; and Saddam's refusal to comply with the requirements for the suspension of UN sanctions. The paper's proposal for jumpstarting Iraq's economy focuses on privatization of Iraq's industries and several other neoliberal reforms. To complement this, the authors recommend using the “media and the educational system to explain the benefits of privatization and the changes to come in order to ensure broad public support.” The costs of reconstruction, they suggest, could be paid for with funds generated from the sale of Iraq's oil. “Iraq's vast oil reserves are more than ample to provide the funds needed to rebuild and boost economic growth,” the report says. [Heritage Foundation, 9/25/02; Observer, 11/3/02 Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Ariel Cohen, Gerald P. O'Driscoll  Additional Info 
          

October 2002

       Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC) meets with the executives of “three US oil multinationals to negotiate the carve-up of Iraq's massive oil reserves post-Saddam.” Also in attendance are “leading oilmen, exiled Iraqis and lawyers.” The meeting, titled, “Invading Iraq: dangers and opportunities for the energy sector,” meets “behind the closed doors of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.” Several weeks after the meeting one delegate will tell the Guardian that the whole day could have been summarized with: “Who gets the oil?” The meeting is confirmed by INC spokesman Zaab Sethna. [Observer, 11/3/02; Guardian, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi
          

Fall 2002

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Fortune magazine, “If you [worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from Afghanistan ... Iraq has oil. They have financial resources.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

Fall 2002

       The Bush White House establishes a “high-level, interagency task force” charged with the task of “coordinating all Iraq war planning efforts and postwar initiatives.” The task force is headed by the Deputies Committee, which is made up of the “No. 2 officials at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, State Department, CIA, National Security Council, and vice president's office.” The committee's job is to review the work of other groups who have been involved in the planning of post-war Iraq, and provide recommendations to Bush's top advisors. The committee presumably draws on the work of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (OSP) (see 2002-2003) (see September 2002), Elliot Abrams' group (see November 2002-December 2002) (see December 2002) and the State Department's “Future of Iraq” project (see April 2002-March 2003). Later accounts make clear that Abrams' and the OSP's recommendations have much more influence. The Deputies Committee usually meets in the White House situation room. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice keeps President Bush updated on the progress of the task force's work. In November, US News reports that a consensus is forming “at the highest levels of the Bush administration over how to run the country after Saddam and his regime are history.” [US News, 11/25/03; Reuters, 11/25/03; Financial Times, 11/4/2002 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
Some Conclusions of the Deputies Committee, as reported by US News and World Report -

The US should not create a provisional government or a government in exile. “We are not going to be in the business of choosing” who should lead Iraq, a senior official tells US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official]

The invasion of Iraq will likely be followed by a lengthy occupation. This conclusion is passed on to Bush. “I have been with the president when he has been briefed about the need to have US forces there for an extended period of time,” a senior administration official will later tell US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior administration official]

During the first phase of the occupation, Iraq will be ruled by the military, probably a US general. The primary objective during this phase will be maintaining security and preventing the emergence of hostilities between the Shiites and Sunnis. Pentagon officials involved in planning this stage are reported to have reviewed the archived plans for the occupation of Germany and Japan. The second phase of the occupation will involve some sort of international civilian administration, with a diminished US military presence, and Iraqis will be given a larger role in the government. In the last phase, a constitution will be drafted, transferring power to a representative, multiethnic Iraqi government that commits to being free of weapons of mass destruction. [US News 11/25/03]

Revenue generated from the sale of Iraq's oil will be used for the cost of reconstruction and for conducting humanitarian operations. Hardliners however want the funds to pay for the military costs of the invasion as well. [US News 11/25/03]

No firm decisions are made about the what role, if any, Iraqi exiles affiliated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) will play in post-Saddam Iraq. Pentagon hardliners and some top officials in the White House favor giving them a prominent role, while the CIA and State Department adamantly oppose their inclusion, arguing that the exiles cannot be trusted. [US News 11/25/03]

Iraqis will not necessarily treat the invading American soldiers as “liberators.” Many Iraqis harbor a deep resentment against the US for the decades-long sanction policy. [US News, 11/25/03]

People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Ahmed Chalabi, George W. Bush
          

November 2002-December 2002

       Elliot Abrams leads one of a dozen administration working groups charged with drafting post-invasion plans. Involved in his group are adamant neoconservatives Joe Collins, a deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon, and Robin Cleveland, a former aide to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. His working group is supposed to draft plans for rapid humanitarian planning. But critics in the State Department complain that it involves itself in the issue of post-Saddam politics and economic reconstruction. Abrams' group is backed by Paul Wolfowitz and the vice president's office. An ally of Secretary of State Colin Powell tells Inter Press Service, “This is a case of stealthy micromanagement by the Wolfowitz hawks—they use what bureaucratic vehicles are available to make their imprint on policy.” Additionally the group is very secretive. It refuses “to brief not only top State Department officials but also aides of Gen. Tommy Franks, the commanding officer of the US Central Command [CENTCOM], about what it is doing.” Instead it “stovepipes” its work to its contacts in the White House. Sources in the State Department and CIA believe that one of the group's apparent aims is reducing the influence of the State Department, CIA and the United Nations in post-Saddam Iraq. These critics also question “why a convicted felon [Abrams], pardoned or not, is being allowed to help shape policy.” Within the Pentagon, there is also resentment of Abrams' group. An unnamed Pentagon source says General Tommy Franks is being “left out of the loop.” A Defense official says, “CENTCOM is for the most part unaware of what Abrams is doing, but friction is developing and the military end of the equation feels that they are being mislead.” [Insight, 11/26/02; Insight, 12/9/02 Sources: Unnamed US State Department Officials]
People and organizations involved: American Enterprise Institute, Elliott Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, Joe Collins
          

December 2002

       Elliott Abrams, a special assistant to President George W. Bush on the National Security Council [NSC] is appointed to senior director for Near East and North African affairs within the NSC. Neoconservatives working at the Pentagon's Near East South Asia (NESA) desk worked hard to get Abrams appointed. “The day he got (the appointment), they were whooping and hollering, ‘We got him in, we got him in,’” Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, tells Inter Press Service. Abrams, a controversial figure with close ties to Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, had been convicted of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, though he was later pardoned by George W. Bush's father. [Insight, 12/9/02; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Karen Kwiatkowski
          

December 2002

       Elliott Abrams drafts a proposal, in which he argues that the United States should take de facto control of Iraqi oil fields. The proposal is not well-received by moderates in the Bush administration who question the legality of the proposal, and who argue “that only a puppet Iraqi government would acquiesce to US supervision of the oil fields and that one so slavish to US interests risks becoming untenable with Iraqis,” reports Insight Magazine. Such a move would also lend credence to suspicions that the invasion is motivated by oil interests, the critics add. [Insight, 12/28/02 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration officials] A similar recommendation was made in a paper published by the Heritage Foundation in late September (see September 25, 2002). [Heritage Foundation, 9/25/02; Observer, 11/3/02 Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Elliott Abrams
          

December 13, 2002

       Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz receives a draft report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment which, according to a source interviewed by Newsday, recommends that “the cost of the occupation, the cost for the military administration and providing for a provisional administration, all of that would come out of Iraqi oil.” The report was commissioned by Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon's influential director of Net Assessment. [Newsday, 1/10/03] This contradicts a report titled, Potential Costs of a War with Iraq and Its Post War Occupation, which is published by the Center two months later on February 25, 2003. It notes that “given the enormity of Iraq's reconstruction requirements and the size of its foreign debt, if the Bush Administration's goal is to turn Iraq into a stable, pro-US democracy, it would probably prove counterproductive to use Iraqi oil revenues to reimburse DoD for its costs.” [Potential Costs of a War with Iraq and Its Post War Occupation, 2/5/03]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Marshall, Paul Wolfowitz
          

December 20-21, 2002

       The Oil and Energy Working Group, one of 17 such groups working under the US State Department's “Future of Iraq” project (see April 2002-March 2003), meets to discuss plans for the oil industry in a post-Saddam Iraq. People who are likely members of this group include Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, Sharif Ali Bin al Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress; recently defected personnel from Iraq's Ministry of Petroleum; the former Iraqi head of military intelligence; Sheikh Yamani, the former Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia; and unnamed representatives from the US Energy Department. The responsibilities of this working group include: (1) developing plans for restoring the petroleum sector in order to increase oil exports to partially pay for a possible US military occupation government. (2) reconsidering Iraq's continued membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and “whether it should be allowed to produce as much as possible or be limited by an OPEC quota.” (3) “consider[ing] whether to honor contracts made between the Hussein government and foreign oil companies, including the US $3.5 billion project to be carried out by Russian interests to redevelop Iraq's oilfields.” [Oil and Gas International, 10/30/2002; Observer, 11/3/02; US Department of State, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Sheikh Yamani, Ahmed Chalabi
          

January 2003

       The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance is created by the Pentagon to direct the post-war administration of Iraq. Its head, retired army general Jay Garner, reports to Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the US Central Command. The Office is later renamed the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). David Kay, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and a former UN weapons inspector, had initially been selected to head the office, but he declined the invitation. Associates of Kay tell the New York Times that Kay felt the new agency seemed relatively uninterested in the task of promoting democracy. [New York Times, 2/23/03; New York Times, 4/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Jay Garner, David Kay
          

January 2003

       President George W. Bush meets with Iraqi exiles. According to a former senior White House official, after the meeting, Bush decides that the exiles will not be put in power in post-Saddam Iraq. “The future of this country ... is not going to be charted by people who sat out the sonofabitch (Saddam) in London or Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Bush is said to have stated. This effectively kills the Pentagon's plan to create an Iraqi-government-in-exile which was to include the Ahmed Chalabi, the president of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, George W. Bush
          

February 5, 2003

       The US Department of Defense wires Turkey a 10-page document containing answers to a list of 51 questions that had been given to the US ambassador in Ankara by the Turkish government. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who saw the list, will later recall: “The questions addressed things like after-war security arrangements, refugees, border control, stability in the Kurdish north, and occupation plans. But every third answer was either ‘To be determined’ or ‘We're working on that’ or ‘This scenario is unlikely.’ At one point, an answer included the ‘fact’ that the United States military would physically secure the geographic border of Iraq.” Commenting on this last answer, Kwiatkowski notes, “Curious, I checked the length of the physical border of Iraq. Then I checked out the length of our own border with Mexico. Given our exceptional success in securing our own desert borders, I found this statement interesting.” [American Conservative, 12/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Karen Kwiatkowski
          

February 18, 2003

       Ari Fleischer says during his daily press briefing: “Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction [sic].” [White House, 2/18/03; Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

Before March 2003

       The US trains between seven and eight hundred Iraqi exiles at the Taszar military base in Hungary. At the base, dubbed “Camp Freedom,” the exiles, or “Free Iraqi Forces” (FIF), are taught both survival skills and support functions. Most of those trained are believed to be supporters of INC president Ahmed Chalabi. [BBC, 4/1/03; AP, 4/1/03; Reuters, 4/7/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi
          

March 27, 2003

       Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, tells the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Iraq's oil wealth will help fund post-war reconstruction. “There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people,” he says. “On a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years.” [St. Petersburg Times, 4/2/03; Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz
          

March 27, 2003

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says during a Senate hearing, “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 27, 2003

       Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage tells the House Committee on Appropriations during a hearing on a supplemental war regulation: “This is not Afghanistan ... When we approach the question of Iraq, we realize here is a country which has a resource. And it's obvious, it's oil. And it can bring in and does bring in a certain amount of revenue each year ... $10, $15, even $18 billion ... this is not a broke country.” [Congressional Office of Jan Schakowsky, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage
          


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