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Complete timeline of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: 2002-2003 UN weapons inspections

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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Showing 1-100 of 113 events (use filters to narrow search):    next 100

December 17, 1999

       With the passing of UN Resolution 1284, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) is created to assist in the disarming of Iraq. The new body replaces the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). UNMOVIC is deliberately designed to prevent infiltration by spies of the UN Security Council member states, specifically the US and Britain. This had been a problem with its predecessor, UNSCOM. The UN diminishes the role of Americans in the new commission by abolishing the powerful office of deputy chairman, which had always been held by an American, and by appointing non-Americans to important positions. In the new inspections body, “The highest-ranking American in the agency now has a relatively lowly job, in charge of the training division.” A Chinese official holds the senior “activity evaluation” position and a Russian official is in charge of “liaising with foreign governments and companies.” Another reform is that the inspectors will use commercial satellite companies, instead of US spy satellites, to monitor Iraq's activities. [The Times, 9/18/02]
          

January 2002

       Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz orders the CIA to conduct an investigation of Hans Blix, chairman of the new UN weapons inspection team (UNMOVIC) that will go to Iraq if Saddam Hussein agrees to re-admit the weapons inspectors. Wolfowitz feels that past investigations of Saddam's declared nuclear power plants under the authority of Hans Blix were not sufficiently aggressive. The CIA reports back in late January that Blix conducted his past investigations “fully within the parameters he could operate” as chief of the agency. There are two opposing accounts of how Wolfowitz responds to the report's conclusion. According to an anonymous former State Department official, Wolfowitz “hit the ceiling” upon learning the results because it did not provide a pretext for undermining Blix and UNMOVIC. However an administration official disputes this, claiming that he “did not angrily respond.” [The Washington Post 4/15/02; Guardian 4/23/02; Independent 5/10/02 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Unnamed former State Department official] The Washington Post notes, “[T]he request for a CIA investigation underscored the degree of concern by Wolfowitz and his civilian colleagues in the Pentagon that new inspections—or protracted negotiations over them—could torpedo their plans for military action to remove Hussein from power” and ultimately lead to the suspension of sanctions. [The Washington Post 4/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Hans Blix
          

Mid-January 2002

       Referring to the weapons inspectors upcoming January 27 report (see January 27, 2003), Colin Powell says in an interview with Saturday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “We believe that at the end of the month it will be convincingly proven that Iraq is not cooperating.” [BBC, 1/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

Mid-January 2002

       By this time, more than 300 different inspections have been conducted in Iraq by the UN weapons inspection teams, which report no instances of Iraqi attempts to impede their access to the alleged weapons sites. [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] The London Independent quotes one diplomat, who says, “Realistically, it is not going to be easy to see in the next two months that we will be able to say that Iraq is not cooperating.” [Independent 1/8/03] Inspectors also say that there are no signs that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. An Associated Press report cites several specific cases of alleged weapons sites that the inspection teams—after repeated visits—have determined are not involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction. “UN arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by US and British intelligence agencies as major ‘facilities of concern,’ and reported no signs of revived weapons building.” [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] And International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Weapons Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei tells reporters: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons” (see January 11, 2003). [Time, 1/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

Mid-January 2002

       After more than two months and more than 350 inspections, the UN teams have failed to find the arsenal of banned weapons the US and Britain claim Iraq has. Nor are there any signs of programs to build such weapons. The London Observer reports that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors are convinced Iraq does not have a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. “IAEA officials and intelligence sources admit it is extremely unlikely that Iraq has nuclear weapons squirreled away,” The Observer reports, explaining that “... the IAEA [had] revealed that analysis of samples taken by UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq ... showed no evidence of prohibited nuclear activity.” [Observer, 1/26/03; The Washington Post, 12/27/03; Los Angeles Times, 1/26/03]
          

Late February 2002

       An unnamed UN official tells The Washington Post that Iraq's level of cooperation is improving. “[F]or example,” the Iraqis have been “frantically digging in an area where it claims biological weapons were destroyed,” the UN official explains. [The Washington Post, 3/1/03 Sources: Unnamed UN official]
          

Late February 2002

       Chief UN Inspector Hans Blix prepares a list of disarmament tasks that Iraq needs to complete in order prove its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction. According to UN Resolution 1284, the completion of these tasks would make Iraq eligible for the suspension of sanctions. [The Washington Post, 3/01/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

August 7, 2002

       Speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Cheney states, “Many of us, I think, are skeptical that simply returning the inspectors will solve the problem. A debate with [Mr Hussein] over inspectors simply, I think, would be an effort by him to obfuscate, delay and avoid having to live up to the accords that he signed up to at the end of the Gulf war.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02] In the speech, he also tells his audience that Saddam “sits on top of 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves. He has enormous wealth being generated by that,” adding, “And left to his own devices, it's the judgment of many of us that in the not too distant future he will acquire nuclear weapons.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney
          

September 1, 2002

       In an interview with the BBC, Powell states that he favors the return of UN inspectors as a necessary “first step” in dealing with Iraq. He says: “Iraq has been in violation of these many UN resolutions for most of the last 11 or so years. So as a first step, let's see what the inspectors find, send them back in, why are they being kept out.” Regarding the decision of whether or not the use of military action would be required, he says: “The world has to be presented with the information, with the intelligence that is available. A debate is needed within the international community so that everybody can make a judgment about this.” [Independent, 9/2/03] His comments directly contradict statements made by Vice President Dick Cheney in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on August 7 (see August 7, 2002), and another speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 26 (see August 26, 2002). Interestingly, it also comes one day after Scott McClellan, the White House deputy press secretary, told reporters, “The view of the administration is united and one in the same. We are singing from the same songbook.” [CNN, 8/30/02] But commentators are concluding otherwise, which spurs another statement from Washington, this one from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who the next day tells reporters as they accompany him on Air Force One: “There is no difference in position between Cheney, Powell, and President Bush. It's much ado about no difference.” [CNN, 9/03/02]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, Ari Fleischer, Colin Powell
          

September 12, 2002

       In an address to the UN General Assembly, US President George Bush announces that the US “will work with the UN Security Council.” [White House, 9/12/2002; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 16, 2002

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad's willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). [Associated Press, 9/16/02a; Independent, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/17/02 Sources: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors] Iraq's letter is effectively an agreement to December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. [New York Times, 9/18/02] Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein's decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that Bush's speech also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad's decision. [UN, 9/16/02] UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” [BBC, 9/17/02] The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. [Associated Press, 9/16/02; White House, 9/16/2002] And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We've made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq's offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before. . . . We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Independent, 9/17/02; Agence France Presse, 9/19/02] Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285] Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. [BBC, 9/17/03] Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It's important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel ... It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” [Independent, 9/17/02; BBC, 9/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Hans Blix, Saddam Hussein, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan, Naji Sabri, Dan Bartlett, Amir Moussa  Additional Info 
          

September 17, 2002

       The White House releases a detailed timeline depicting past Iraqi attempts to obstruct United Nations efforts, including Saddam's repeated refusals to provide inspectors access to sites they wanted to visit. [White House, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/18/02]
 Additional Info 
          

September 18, 2002

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warns the House Armed Services Committee of the serious and imminent threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the West. He says: “No terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein.” He adds: “What has not changed is Iraq's drive to acquire those weapons of mass destruction, and the fact that every approach that the United Nations has taken to stop Iraq's drive has failed. This is a critical moment for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It is a test unfortunately the world's free nations have failed before in recent history with unfortunate consequences.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02; Telegraph, 9/19/02; Agence France Presse, 9/19/02] The Secretary of Defense also says that Congress must authorize the President to use military force against Iraq before the Security Council votes on the issue. “Delaying a vote in the Congress would send a message that the US may be unprepared to take a stand, just as we are asking the international community to take a stand and as we are cautioning the Iraqi regime to consider its options,” argues Rumsfeld, adding, “Our job today—the President's, the Congress' and the United Nations'—is to ... anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen and to make the right decision as to whether or not it's appropriate for this country to take action.... The goal is not inspections, the goal is disarmament.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02; Associated Press, 9/19/02] He also tries to discredit Iraq's September 16 (see September 16, 2002) offer to admit UN inspectors without conditions. He says: “There's no doubt in my mind but that the inspection program that currently is on the books wouldn't work because it's so much weaker than the earlier one. The more inspectors that are in there, the less likely something is going to happen. The longer nothing happens, the more advanced their weapons programs go along.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 19, 2002

       Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri tells the UN: “I hereby declare before you that Iraq is totally clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Our country is ready to receive any scientific experts, accompanied by politicians you choose to represent any one of your countries, to tell us which places and scientific and industrial installations they would wish to see.” [New York Times, 9/20/02] The Iraq minister also states that in pursuing its aggressive policy towards Iraq, the US is “acting on behalf of Zionism which has been killing the heroic people of Palestine, destroying their property, murdering their children,” adding that Washington intends to “control Middle East oil.” His words draw the applause of several UN diplomats. [Independent, 9/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Naji Sabri
          

September 19, 2002

       UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Security Council that he intends to position an advance weapons inspection team in Iraq by October 15. He explains: “We will select some sites that we think are interesting to go to in the early phases, so it's not like it takes two months before we can send any guys out there in the field. It will be much earlier than that.” [BBC, 9/20/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

September 25, 2002

       US Congressmen David Bonior and Jim McDermott head for Baghdad with the intention of convincing Iraq to admit the weapons inspectors unfettered access. The day before, Bonior explained: “We want to avoid war, and we will make our case as strong as we can to not only the Iraqi leadership, but the leadership here in this country—that this war is not necessary. [War] will destabilize, we believe, many parts of the world. It will result in much loss of life, and to the extent that we can raise our concerns and have them heard, we're anxious to do so.” CNN reported, “While in Iraq, the congressmen will also visit hospitals, food distribution sites and other similar locations to assess the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi citizens.” [CNN, 9/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Jim McDermott, Lloyd Doggett
          

September 28, 2002

       The US and Britain present a jointly drafted UN resolution to Russia, China, and France that goes “far beyond anything previously agreed to by America's partners on the UN Security Council.” The draft resolution seeks to authorize the use of military action against Iraq in the event that Saddam's regime fails to comply with the new demands outlined in the draft resolution. The draft, which is not immediately made public, is reportedly three and a half single-space typed pages. [New York Times, 9/28/02; Telegraph, 9/29/02]
In its opening paragraph, the draft resolution summarizes how Iraq is in violation of numerous past United Nations resolutions. [New York Times, 9/28/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

The draft resolution proposes giving Iraq seven days “to accept the resolution and declare all of its programs of weapons of mass destruction, and a further 23 days to open up the sites concerned and provide all documents to support the declaration.” [New York Times, 9/28/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

Weapons inspectors would operate out of bases inside Iraq, where they would be under the protection of UN troops. UN military forces or those of a “member state” (presumably the US or Britain), would enforce “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones along the roads on the way to and around alleged weapons sites to be visited by the inspectors. This would discourage Iraqis from removing anything before inspections. “Diplomats at the UN said there was no doubt that US troops would play a leading role in any such enforcement, allowing the Pentagon to deploy forces inside Iraq even before hostilities got under way,” reports The Guardian. [Guardian, 10/3/02; New York Times, 10/2/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution, Unnamed UN Diplomats]

The US-British draft resolution includes provisions that would demand that Iraq permit the free and unrestricted landing of aircraft, including unmanned spy planes. [Guardian, 10/3/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

The UN inspections teams would be authorized to remove anyone it wishes to a location outside out of Iraq, along with his or her family, for interrogation. The stated reason for this would be to remove the person's fear of possible Iraqi government reprisals. [Guardian, 10/3/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

The draft resolution would override the provisions of UN Resolution 1154, requiring inspectors to notify Iraqi authorities prior to inspecting presidential sites and to perform the inspections in the presence of Iraqi diplomats. That provision applies to eight such sites in Iraq, spanning about 11.5 square miles. [New York Times, 9/28/02; Associated Press, 9/30/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

The document stipulates that errors in a “currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects” of its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction or “failure by Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully” would constitute “a further material breach ... that authorizes member states to use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in the area,” which the New York Times notes is “a diplomatic euphemism for American and British military action to remove Mr. Hussein from power.” As one US official explains to the Times, “If we find anything in what they give us that is not true, that is the trigger. If they delay, obstruct or lie about anything they disclosed, then this will trigger action.” [New York Times, 9/28/02; New York Times, 10/2/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]
The BBC reports that Russia, China, and France suspect “that the ultimatum is really designed to be turned down, leaving the way open for military operations during the December to February period.” [BBC, 9/30/02]
The draft resolution would also allow the permanent members of the UN Security Council to place their own nationals on the inspection teams. This is significant because the current inspections team, UNMOVIC, currently does not have any US officials in high positions. The reason for this is because the last UN inspections team, UNSCOM, had been sabotaged by US spies (see December 17, 1999). [New York Times, 10/2/02; BBC, 10/1/02; Times, 9/18/02 Sources: US and British Draft UN Resolution]

Reaction - Iraq is infuriated by the draft resolution and calls it “unacceptable.” Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan states, “The position on the inspectors has been decided and any new measure intended to harm Iraq is unacceptable.” French President Jacques Chirac immediately expresses his opposition to the US-proposed draft resolution and seeks to form a coalition to prevent its passing. He explains that France favors the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq absent of any ultimatums because of “the seriousness of the decisions to be taken and the consequences.” He meets with Chinese premier Zhu Rongji and calls Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. Russia is also upset with the proposed draft resolution. “In its current form, this resolution cannot be implemented by its very nature,” a source tells Reuters. [Telegraph, 9/29/02; New York Times, 9/28/02; Reuters, 9/29/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 9/30/02]

 Additional Info 
          

(September 28, 2002-November 8, 2002)

       During negotiations with the French over the wording of UN Resolution 1441, the US reportedly attempts to deceive the French with amateurish tricks. Vanity Fair magazine reports in April 2004: “According to a French diplomat, the US attempted various amateurish maneuvers. For example, they would have the French look at certain paragraphs that spoke to the issue of an automatic trigger; the French would insist on deletions, which the US would appear to accept; then the deletion would pop-up elsewhere in the text. ‘We didn't like it in paragraph four,’ a French diplomat says, recalling the mind numbing dialogue. ‘We don't like it in paragraph two, either.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 286-88 Sources: Unnamed French diplomat]
          

September 30, 2002

       Iraqi and UN officials meet together with weapons inspectors to begin a two-day discussion on the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq. “The Iraqis are being positive and businesslike and they are coming with a desire to reach an agreement,” says Muhammad ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mr. ElBaradei co-hosts the discussion with Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector. This effort to reach an agreement is independent to, and in conflict with, the US and British plan to introduce a tougher UN resolution that would allow for the inspections to be backed by the threat of military force. Notes the Times of London, “Such an agreement could be bad news for the United States and Britain by further complicating their efforts to win UN approval for a tough new resolution explicitly threatening military action if Iraq does impede the inspectors.” [Times, 10/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix
          

October 1, 2002

       After a two-day meeting, UN and Iraqi officials agree to resume weapons inspections according to the terms that have been outlined in previous UN resolutions. “Iraq and the United Nations agreed today that inspectors would be given unfettered access to a range of sites, including sensitive areas like the Defense Ministry and the headquarters of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard,” reports the New York Times. Iraq agrees to “technical details covering transport, communications, security and accommodation for UN inspectors, except for flights by UN aircraft into the no-fly zones” and agree “to allow UN inspectors to open regional offices in Basra, the southern capital, and Mosul in the north,” reports the Times of London. UN Resolution 1154, which requires inspectors to warn Iraq before inspecting presidential sites and to conduct such inspections in the company of Iraqi diplomats, is not revoked as the Bush administration has insisted. The Iraqis also provide the UN with monitoring reports for suspect sites and items, covering the period between June 1998 and July 2002, as has been requested. Amir Al Sadi, the head of the Iraqi negotiation team, tells reporters, “We expect the advance party to arrive in Baghdad in about two weeks.” [Associated Press, 10/1/02; New York Times, 10/1/02; New York Times, 10/02/02; Times, 10/2/03]
 Additional Info 
          

October 3, 2002

       The US and Britain continue to demand that weapons inspectors not return to Iraq until after a stronger resolution—one that authorizes the use of force—is agreed upon by the National Security Council. Bush threatens to lead a coalition against Iraq if the UN Security Council fails to back him. During an address in Washington to Hispanic leaders, Bush says: “My intent, of course, is for the United Nations to do its job. I think it'll make it easier for us to keep the peace.... My intent is to put together a vast coalition of countries who understand the threat of Saddam Hussein. The military option is my last choice, not my first. It's my last choice.... The choice is up to the United Nations to show its resolve. The choice is up to Saddam Hussein to fulfill its word—his word. And if neither of them acts, the United States, in deliberate fashion, will lead a coalition to take away the world's worst weapons from one of the world's worst leaders.” [White House, 10/3/02; Reuters, 10/3/2002b] But Russia, France, and China maintain their opposition to the US-British draft resolution which would pave the way for using military force against Iraq. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov strongly disagrees that a tougher resolution is needed. And France remains insistent that any further resolutions against Iraq should be broken into two parts—one defining the terms of inspections, and a second outlining the consequences if Iraq does not comply. [Reuters, 10/3/2002b]
People and organizations involved: Richard Gephardt, George W. Bush, Alexander Saltanov, Robert C. Byrd
          

October 8 and 11, 2002

       Chief UN inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, send a letter to the Iraqi government which lists conclusions they had drawn from the October 1 meeting with Iraqi arms officials (see October 1, 2002). The letter asks that Iraqi officials respond with a letter confirming these conclusions. But the inspectors' letter actually includes additional conditions not discussed during the October 1 meeting, “among them were the right of inspectors to conduct interviews and choose ‘the mode and location’ for them as well as the possibility of flying U-2 spy planes over Iraq.” [Reuters, 10/12/02] Iraqi officials respond to the request on October 11 with a letter signed by Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam Hussein. The letter agrees only to the conditions that were agreed upon during the October 1 meeting. [New York Times, 10/12/2002; Reuters, 10/12/02 Sources: Iraqi letter to UN, Oct. 10, 2002] The Bush administration seizes on the Iraqi response, calling it another example of Iraq evasion. “We are not surprised that once again the Iraqis want to delay and deceive. ... We've had 16 resolutions and 11 years of playing this game, and it's time the Security Council takes action,” says Richard Grenell, spokesman for US Ambassador John Negroponte. [New York Times, 10/12/2002; Reuters, 10/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Mohamed ElBaradei
          

October 15, 2002

       Hans Blix announces that he will wait for a decision on the proposed new UN resolution being pushed by the US and Britain prior to leading the inspection team to Iraq. The New York Times reports, “The chief of the United Nations weapons inspectors appealed to Iraq today to agree to arrangements for new inspections but said his weapons teams would only return to Iraq after the Security Council adopts a resolution giving them a new mandate.” [New York Times, 10/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

October 17, 2002

       Opposition in the UN Security Council against the US-British-proposed draft remains strong in spite of US arm-twisting. France, China and Russia—who are all permanent members of the UN Security Council and who have veto power—remain steadfast in their opposition to the wording of the US-British draft resolution. [BBC, 10/16/2002; BBC, 10/17/2002] Additionally, a debate held among members of the UN General Assembly reveals significant resentment over the US and British position. [BBC, 10/17/2002]
          

October 20, 2002

       Iraq releases a statement saying that the weapons inspectors' failure to show up in Iraq on October 19 was “a breach of the agreement reached between Iraq and the United Nations secretary general on September 16.” [Associated Press, 10/20/02]
          

October 21, 2002

       US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte provides the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a revision of the UN draft resolution. [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Telegraph, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq] The Bush administration makes it clear that it expects the UN Security Council to vote on this draft of the resolution soon and signals that US officials are losing their patience with other member states. At the daily White House press briefing, Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “It's coming down to the end. The United Nations does not have forever.” Similarly, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher, states, “We're also making clear it is time to wrap this up.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b] George Bush will say the following day: “The UN can't make its mind up. If Saddam won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace. [The United Nations] must resolve itself to be something more than the League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than a debating society, must resolve itself to keep international peace.” Summing up US feelings, an unnamed official tells the New York Times that the administration's message to the other permanent members is, “You're either with us or against us.” [Telegraph, 10/22/02; New York Times, 10/23/02; CNN, 10/22/02]
The revision drops the words “all necessary means,” stipulating in its place that Iraq's failure to abide by the new resolution would result in “serious consequences.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02; Washington Post, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]

The revision does not require that UN inspectors be accompanied by armed guards, a requirement in the earlier draft which many current and former UN inspectors opposed. [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]

A provision in the previous draft requiring that member states help the UN enforce “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones around the inspection sites remains in the draft resolution, but in brackets, suggesting that the US and Britain are willing to negotiate on this point. [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02; Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]

The revision does not require that the five permanent members of the Security Council be permitted to appoint their own officials to the inspection teams. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]

The revision stipulates that Iraq must declare its weapons of mass destruction within 30 days of the resolution's passing, after which the weapons inspectors would have another 45 days to commence its work on disarmament. If Iraq does not meet the deadline, its failure to do so will be considered a “material breach” of the resolution. [Economist, 10/23/02; ABC News, 10/23/02 Sources: John Negroponte]

The revised draft still contains phrases that set a hair trigger for the implementation of “serious consequences.” The revision stipulates that further “false statements and omissions” by Iraq would amount to “a further material breach.” [Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
In spite of the revision, the oppositional stances of France, Russia, Mexico, and China remain unchanged. Bulgaria, Colombia, Norway, Singapore show some support for the revision. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Times, 10/28/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq, Richard A. Boucher  Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003

       The Bush administration fails to cooperate with the UN inspection regime in Iraq. Inspectors complain that Washington is refusing to provide them with the intelligence they need to do their work. What intelligence they do offer the inspectors, is usually of extremely poor quality. Administration officials deny they are refusing to provide the inspectors with needed intelligence. CBS reports on January 18, 2003: “UN arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of US intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases.... The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous US leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.... UN sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.” And whatever intelligence has been provided, reports CBS, has turned out to be “circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.” [CBS News, 2/20/03]
 Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003

       Bush administration officials claim that the conclusion that needs to be drawn from reports by the UN weapons inspectors is whether or not Iraq is cooperating.
 Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003

       The Bush administration and the United Nations disagree over how intrusive the inspections should be. The US wants the inspectors to be as aggressive as possible by visiting sensitive sites and demanding interviews with Iraqi scientists without the presence of minders. Hans Blix, on the other hand, advocates a more measured approach to achieving disarmament. He says that inspection team recruits should be “firm” with their Iraqi counterparts but never “angry and aggressive.” One of his aides tells The Washington Post in late November 2002: “We're not going to do in-your-face inspections. He [Blix] wants effective inspections. It's not our job to provoke, harm or humiliate.” The inspectors argue that it makes no sense—nor is logistically feasible—to begin the inspections process with intrusive inspections of Iraq's most sensitive sites. One UN official explains to The Washington Post, “If you only have 11 people, you cannot go to a big new site, but you can go check on a known monitoring site.” The Independent reports that inspectors “believe it would not only be counterproductive, but could damage the prospect of ascertaining whether President Saddam does indeed possess an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] In December, Washington calls for an increase in the UN inspectors' staff so that the UN's two agencies can conduct multiple simultaneous inspections each day. On December 4, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “We want to make certain that they [the inspections] are aggressive enough to be able to ascertain the facts in the face of an adversary who in the past did everything in his power to hide the facts.” [BBC, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Hans Blix
          

November 2002-March 2003

       The Bush administration disagrees with UN inspectors and the governments of other Security Council member states on how much time inspectors will need to complete their work. The Bush administration, eager to begin its planned invasion of Iraq before the end of March, opposes suggestions by inspectors that the process will require a year or more. Military planners are concerned that beginning an invasion after March could cause some of the heaviest fighting to occur during Iraq's blistering hot summer. The Washington Times reports: “US military planners are facing the prospect that weapons inspections in Iraq will drag on for months, pushing the Pentagon's timetable for action from the ideal weather of February to the blistering days of midsummer.... War designers see February as the best time to fight and have considered troop deployments around that date. A February campaign would capitalize on optimum weather in the desert region. A February date also would allow three months for the administration to complete a final war plan, line up support from allies, and deploy and alert the necessary combat units.” [The Washington Times, 11/29/02]
 Additional Info 
          

November 6, 2002

       The Bush administration presents the UN Security Council with a third draft for a tougher UN resolution aimed at “disarming” Saddam Hussein's regime. In one section the word “or” is replaced with “and,” and in another the phrase “restore international peace and security” is changed to “secure international peace and security.” France will agree to the new draft on November 7 and the resolution will be passed by the council unanimously on November 8 (see November 8, 2002) with only slight modifications. [CNN, 11/8/02]
          

November 8, 2002

       The UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favor of UN Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq is required to readmit UN weapons inspectors under tougher terms than required by previous UN resolutions. The resolution does not give the US authority to use force against Iraq. The resolution makes it very clear that only the UN Security Council has the right to take punitive action against Iraq in the event of noncompliance. [United Nations, 11/8/02; Zunes, 11/14/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] After the resolution is passed, top Bush administration officials make public statements threatening to use military force against Iraq if Saddam's regime does not comply with the resolution. George Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card, and Ari Fleischer make statements asserting that the resolution does not prevent the US from using force.
A provision that would have authorized UN member states to use “all necessary means” to disarm Iraq is relocated to the preamble of the resolution where it presumably has no practical significance. [New York Times, 11/6/02]

A provision requiring that security guards accompany the inspectors is removed. [New York Times, 11/6/02]

The resolution requires Iraq to provide the UN with the names of all its weapons experts. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]

The resolution states that weapons inspectors will be authorized to remove Iraqi scientists, as well as their families, from Iraq in order to interview them. An official later tells The Washington Post that the power to interview Iraqi scientists was “the most significant authority contained in the resolution” and “the one thing that is most likely to produce overt Iraqi opposition.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]

The resolution overturns provisions of the previous Resolution 1154 that required UN inspectors to notify Baghdad before inspecting Saddam Hussein's presidential sites. Resolution 1154 had also required that inspections of those sensitive sites occur in the presence of diplomats. The new resolution demands that Iraq allow the inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to any sites chosen by the inspectors. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; CNN, 11/8/02]
Unnamed diplomats and US officials tell USA Today that the US may attempt to claim that Iraq is engaged in a pattern of defiance and deceit if it hinders the inspectors in any way. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
The resolution include a provision calling for “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones in the areas surrounding suspected weapons sites to prevent the Iraqis from removing evidence prior to or during inspections. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]

The final resolution includes statements stipulating that an Iraqi failure to comply with the terms of the resolution, including “false statements or omissions” in the weapons declaration it is required to submit, will “constitute a further material breach” of its obligations. Additional wording included in the same provision explains that any breach of the resolution will “be reported to the Council for assessment.” Also, towards the end of the resolution, it states that the chief weapons inspector should “report immediately to the Council any interference” by Iraq so that the Council can “convene immediately to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all the relevant council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; CNN, 11/8/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]

Paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that Iraq “shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” The US contends that this applies to the US- and British- patrolling of the “no-fly” zones that the two countries imposed shortly after the Gulf War. The “patrolling,” which has never been officially sanctioned by the UN and which is not recognized by Iraq, often includes aerial attacks on Iraqi sovereign territory. Iraq consistently fires on the attacking jets in self-defense. Other UN Security Council members explicitly oppose this interpretation of the resolution before its passage. [Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Washington Post, 11/16/02; Reuters, 11/15/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]

The resolution gives Iraq seven days to announce whether or not it will comply with the resolution, and 30 days (December 8) to declare its chemical, biological, and nuclear-related capabilities—even those that are unrelated to weapons programs. 10 days after Iraq's acceptance of the terms, inspectors will send an advanced team to Baghdad, but will have a total of 45 days to begin the actual work. The inspection team will be required to provide the UN Security Council with a report 60 days (January 27) after the commencement of its work. [Associated Press, 11/16/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
Diplomats and US officials speaking off the record tell USA Today that the declaration due on December 8 represents a hidden trigger, explaining that any omissions will be considered a material breach and sufficient justification for war. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
Syria requested that the resolution include a provision stating that Iraq's compliance with the terms would result in the lifting of sanctions. This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]

Syria requested that the resolution declare the entire Middle East a “nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zone.” This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]

France did not want the resolution to include any wording that might authorize the use of force. Instead it argued that the resolution should include only terms for tougher inspections. In the event of Iraqi noncompliance with the terms, France argued, a separate resolution should be agreed upon to decide what further action would be necessary. France lost its argument, and the new resolution includes a warning to Iraq “that it will face serious consequences” in the event of its failure to comply with the terms of the resolution. [Guardian, 11/7/02]

People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card  Additional Info 
          

November 12, 2002

       The Iraqi parliament votes unanimously to reject UN Resolution 1441. But since the parliament has no real authority, the final decision is left to Saddam Hussein, who has another three days to respond to the UN. [BBC, 11/12/2002; New York Times, 11/12/2002]
          

November 13, 2002

       Iraqi Ambassador to the UN Mohammed Al-Douri delivers a 9-page letter from Baghdad to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's office agreeing to comply with UN Resolution 1441—without conditions. According to the ambassador, “The letter says that Iraq accepts the resolution, and accepts the return of inspectors. There are no conditions, no reservations. We explained in the letter the whole Iraqi position saying that Iraq ... has not and will not have any mass destruction weapons, so we are not worried about the inspectors when they will be back.” [Associated Press, 11/13/02; Associated Press, 11/13/02b; Times, 11/14/2002]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Al-Douri
          

November 16, 2002

       Hans Blix says he cannot guarantee that there will be no spies on his team. “People have asked me, ‘Can you be absolutely sure we will have no spies in any of the member states?’ and I said, ‘No, I don't think either the KGB or the CIA can give that absolute assurance.’ ” He adds that if he discovers any spies, he will dismiss them from the team. [Independent, 11/17/02] The concern stems from the fact that the previous inspection regime, UNSCOM, had been infiltrated by US and British spies. While much of the intelligence obtained was used to increase the effectiveness of the inspections, some of it was used to serve other interests. For example, some of the intelligence was “used to help identify and target Hussein's suspected hide-outs when US and British bombers launched the Desert Fox airstrikes in December 1998.” And some intelligence was even sent to Israel. [Los Angeles Times, 6/19/02; Financial Times, 7/29/02; The Times of London, 9/18/02; Reuters, 10/3/02; Los Angeles Times, 10/23/02 Sources: Scott Ritter, Rolf Ekeus, Ake Sellstrom]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

November 18, 2002

       A team of 26 UN inspectors arrive in Baghdad. On the tarmac of Saddam Hussein International Airport, UNMOVIC Weapons Inspection Chief Hans Blix tells reporters, “We have come here for one single reason and that is because the world wants to have assurances that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The situation is tense at the moment, but there is a new opportunity and we are here to provide inspection which is credible... We hope we can all take that opportunity together.... There is a new opportunity and we hope that opportunity will be well-utilized so that we can get out of sanctions. And in the long term, we will have a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.” Hans Blix and Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei then head to Baghdad where they meet with Iraqi Gen. Amir al-Saadi and Hussam Mohammed Amin, the head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate. [New York Times, 11/19/2002; Guardian, 11/29/02; CNN, 11/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix, Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Hussam Mohammad Amin
          

November 20, 2002

       Richard Perle, a member of the Defense Policy Board, attends a meeting on global security with members of the British Parliament. At one point he argues that the weapons inspection team might be unable to find Saddam's arsenal of banned weapons because they are so well hidden. According to the London Mirror, he then states that the US would “attack Iraq even if UN inspectors fail to find weapons.” [Mirror, 11/21/02] Peter Kilfoyle, a former defense minister and Labour backbencher, tells the Mirror: “America is duping the world into believing it supports these inspections. President Bush intends to go to war even if inspectors find nothing. This make a mockery of the whole process and exposes America's real determination to bomb Iraq.” [Mirror, 11/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Peter Kilfoyle, Richard Perle
          

November 23, 2002

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri complains in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the US intends to use UN Resolution 1441 as a pretext to use military force against Iraq. In the letter, he analyzes several paragraphs in the UN resolution, demonstrating how they are based on assumptions and how the US plans to use some of the key provisions as a pretext for invading Iraq. [CTV News, 11/25/2002 Sources: November 23, 2002 Iraqi letter to UN]
People and organizations involved: Naji Sabri
          

November 25, 2002

       Iraq informs the Council that it might not be able to provide the UN with a complete declaration of its past and present civilian and military chemical, biological and nuclear programs as required by UN Resolution 1441 by the December 8 deadline. Hans Blix is sympathetic and the Russian UN ambassador suggests that the deadline should be extended. Iraqi officials also indicate they are not sure what exactly they are expected to include. According to The Washington Post, “Iraqi officials told Blix that they were uncertain whether the Security Council's terms required that they declare every single item produced in its commercial chemical industry, citing plastic slippers as an example.” Hans Blix indicates that he is also unsure. John D. Negroponte, the US ambassador to the United Nations, argues that no extension should be granted. [Washington Post, 11/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Sergei Lavrov, Hans Blix, John Negroponte
          

November 25, 2002

       18 international arms monitors, including 12 inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and 8 from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, arrive in Baghdad with their cargo of high-tech sensors, computers and other gear. [Associated Press, 11/25/2002; New York Times, 11/25/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002]
Make-up of Inspection Team -
The complete roster of UN inspectors expected to participate in the inspections includes some 300 chemists, biologists, missile and ordnance experts and other specialists of UNMOVIC, as well as a few dozen engineers and physicists from the IAEA. Hans Blix of UNMOVIC will head the effort to search for chemical and biological weapons and Jacques Baute of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency will lead the team seeking to determine if Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [Associated Press, 11/25/2002]
Purpose of Inspections -
The stated purpose of the inspections, according to the UN resolution, is to bring “to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council.” [Sources: UN Resolution 1441] However, since the passing of the resolution the Bush administration has maintained that the purpose of inspections is much broader. For instance, US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld will claim in January that inspectors are not to act as “discoverers” trying to locate things. Rather the purpose of the inspections, according to Rumsfeld, is to determine whether Iraq is cooperating. [BBC, 1/22/03]
Methods - The inspectors will “revisit the previously monitored sites to check if the equipment installed [by the previous weapons inspectors] is still functional,” explains a UN spokesperson. “It will take some time to do that work. We can't rule out other activities, but it's quite likely we will start with that.” Inspectors also says that they will not immediately conduct “intrusive” inspections into Iraq's more sensitive areas. As an aide to Hans Blix explains to The Washington Post, “We're not going to do in-your-face inspections. He [Blix] wants effective inspections. It's not our job to provoke, harm or humiliate.” The inspections teams will also investigate new sites that the US and Britain allege are involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction. Inspectors will have the option to interview Iraqi scientists without the presence of Iraqi officials. The interviews may be conducted outside of Iraq. [The Washington Post, 11/23/02]

People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Donald Rumsfeld, Jacques Bautes
          

Early December 2002

       The White House orders the CIA, the department of defense, and the State Department to develop an aggressive plan for UN weapons inspectors that would require Iraqi scientists to appear for questioning. “An intense argument is under way ... on almost all of the details of a protection program,” reports the New York Times. “Some American officials want the United Nations team to be aggressive in identifying scientists and demanding that they leave the country, perhaps without the scientists' permission.” The UN would either issue subpoenas to the scientists or the UN would “lure” the scientists with offers of asylum in another country. If it is decided that subpoenas are to be used, Iraqi scientists would be required to “appear on a certain date and time at a place outside of Iraq ... [and] Baghdad would be held responsible for seeing that they appear,” reports The Washington Post. Officials leak to the press that the Bush administration views the plan as the most likely way to provoke resistance from Baghdad. One official tells The Washington Post that if Iraqis “don't produce those people, I would say that's a demonstration of noncompliance and noncooperation.” The Washington Post reports that the inspections agencies, some allied governments, and UN officials are not pleased with the idea. They warn “that attempts to short-circuit the inspection process with a quickly conceived operation that could involve hundreds of Iraqis and their families could endanger lives while undermining both the inspections themselves and ongoing US intelligence operations in Iraq.” [New York Times, 12/6/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02; Washington Post 12/13/02 Sources: Unnamed US officials] Hans Blix, who strongly disapproves of the recommendation, argues that the United Nations cannot abduct people against their will. “Do you really think any Iraqis are going to go for it?” he asks. “I mean how big is a family, do you take just the wife and children and parents? What about the extended family—the cousins? Do you leave them behind? And what if we're stopped on the way to the airport?” [Guardian, 12/7/02] The next day he reaffirms his position, saying, “We are in nobody's pocket. ... We are not going to abduct anybody and we are not serving as a defection agency.” [The Times of London, 12/7/02; New York Times, 12/7/02; United Press International, 12/6/02] His view is “backed by most of the United Nations hierarchy and the State Department in Washington,” reports the New York Times. The Times quotes one US official, who disagrees with the idea. “Taking someone against their will is contrary to the whole United Nations concept,” the source says. “You'd fracture the UN consensus.” [New York Times, 12/6/02; Guardian, 12/7/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02 Sources: Unnamed US official] Iraqi General Amir Saadi argues that the proposal is problematic under international law and expresses concern that Hans Blix would be pressured into providing a copy of Iraq's list of scientists to US intelligence. “This is a confidential list,” he says. “Will he make it public? Will he give it to other countries?” [The Washington Post, 12/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Hans Blix
          

End of December 2002

       After examining more than 200 sites, UN weapons inspectors say that despite unfettered access to all Iraqi facilities, they have found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or any programs aimed at developing such weapons. Several of the suspected weapons sites have been visited multiple times. Inspectors say that they have exhausted the leads provided by US intelligence and complain that Washington resists requests to provide them with more information. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: “UN spokesmen in Baghdad admit they have largely exhausted their list of possible weapons sites and must make repeat visits to stay busy. They have asked the United States to provide intelligence to help identify new sites. Although the Bush administration recently said it would share some secrets with the United Nations, it appears to have turned over little so far.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/30/02; Agence France Presse, 12/30/02; Los Angeles Times, 12/31/01; BBC, 12/31/01; Independent, 1/1/03; New Zealand Herald, 1/1/03; Guardian, 1/3/02] And an unnamed weapons inspector tells the Los Angeles Times: “We haven't found an iota of concealed material yet. Even private facilities which are not part of their state-run military industrial complex open up for us—like magic. ... We can't look for something which we don't know about. If the United States wants us to find something, they should open their intelligence file and share it with us so that we know where to go for it. .... By being silent, we may create the false illusion that we did uncover something. ... But I must say that if we were to publish a report now, we would have zilch to put in it.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/31/01; BBC, 12/31/01; Independent, 1/1/03; New Zealand Herald, 1/1/03; Guardian, 1/3/02] The London Observer will report in early January, “Some of the inspectors are understood to be convinced that their mission has become a ‘set-up job’ and America will attack Iraq regardless of what they find.” [Observer, 1/5/02]
          

December 2002-March 2003

       Critics argue that the Bush administration is attempting to use the inspections as a means of provoking resistance from Iraq so that Washington can claim it is in “further material breach.” The US would then cite this breach as justification for taking military action against Iraq. Critics also say that the administration's agenda conflicts with the aims of the inspectors and that the US is undermining the inspectors' work.
 Additional Info 
          

Early December, 2002

       The Bush administration attempts to delay a vote for the second time in nine days on a UN resolution extending Iraq's authority to sell oil for the next six months. John D. Negroponte, the US ambassador to the United Nations, argues that the resolution should add approximately 40 additional items to a list of items requiring UN approval prior to import. [Washington Post, 12/4/02a; BBC 12/4/02]
          

December 2, 2002

       Bush administration officials launch what appears to be a concerted effort to discredit the inspections after press reports indicate that inspections are going well and that Iraq is cooperating. The Washington Post reports, “In speeches in London, Washington and Denver, Bush, Vice President Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sought to increase pressure on Hussein in advance of a Sunday deadline for the Iraqi leader to declare his inventory of weapons and missiles.” The paper adds, “The coordinated speeches ... seemed designed to preempt any positive sign from the UN inspection teams about Iraqi compliance and to set the stage for an early confrontation with Hussein.” [Washington Post, 12/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

December 3, 2002

       Iraq reiterates its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction in the country, foreshadowing the content of its formal declaration, which is due in five days. Responding to the statement, US Secretary of Defense says, “Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” And Bush says, “He [Saddam Hussein] says he won't have weapons of mass destruction; he's got them.” [BBC, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 3, 2002

       One day after Bush asserts that signs of Iraqi cooperation are so far “not encouraging,” UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Associated Press, “I think we have started in the manner we expected and we have not had any impediments in the visits of plants.” By this date, notes the Associated Press, “UN inspectors have reported unimpeded access and Iraqi cooperation” in “more than a dozen field missions.” [AP, 12/3/02; Guardian, 12/11/02; Fox News, 12/3/02; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/3/02] Similarly, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says, “It's only been a week and obviously the cooperation seems to be good, but this is not a one-week wonder. They have to sustain the cooperation and the effort and perform.” [Associated Press, 12/3/02; Washington Post, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Hans Blix
          

December 3, 2002

       In a news briefing, Donald Rumsfeld says, “You can't expect people to go into a country that is just enormous, with all that real estate and all that underground facilities and all of these people monitoring everything—everything anyone is doing—and expect them to engage in a discovery process and turn up something somebody is determined for them not to turn up. If you go back and look at the history of inspections in Iraq, the reality is that things have been found not by discovery, but through defectors ... and you get the kind of information that means the game is up.” [US Department of Defense, 12/3/02; Washington Times, 12/4/02]
          

December 4, 2002

       The White House calls for more aggressive inspections. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “We want to make certain that they [the inspections] are aggressive enough to be able to ascertain the facts in the face of an adversary who in the past did everything in his power to hide the facts.” The White House recommends increasing the UN inspectors' staff so that the two agencies can conduct multiple simultaneous inspections each day. [BBC, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

December 4, 2002

       During the bill signing of the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, Bush says of Saddam Hussein: “One of my concerns is that in the past he has shot at our airplanes. Anybody who shoots at US airplanes or British airplanes is not somebody who looks like he's interested in complying with disarmament.” He also chastises Saddam's questioning US motives (see November 23, 2002). “He wrote letters, stinging rebukes, to what the UN did. He was very critical of the US and Britain. It didn't appear to be somebody that was that anxious to comply, but we've just started the process.” [White House, 12/4/02; CNN, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 5, 2002

       Saddam Hussein announces that he will continue to permit intrusive inspections. Two days before, inspectors had arrived unannounced at Saddam's Sajoud palace and were given unfettered access to the site. Saddam says he hopes such visits will disprove US allegations that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. [Washington Post, 12/6/02]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein
          

December 5, 2002

       Demetrius Perricos, the Greek head of the team searching Iraq for chemical and biological weapons, criticizes Washington's efforts to influence the inspections. He says: “The people who sent us here are the international community, the United Nations. We're not serving the US. We're not serving the UK. We're not serving any individual nation.” He also questions why the Bush administration is refusing to share its intelligence with the inspectors. He explains: “What we're getting and what President Bush may be getting is very different, to put it mildly.” [Times of London, 12/6/02]
People and organizations involved: Demetrius Perricos
          

December 6, 2002

       The UN Security Council decides that it will not release Iraq's declaration to any of the member states, once it is received. “UN experts would first scrutinize the document—expected to run to several thousand pages—to check that sensitive information is not made public,” explains the Times of London, adding, “That could take weeks.” [The Times of London, 12/7/02; New York Times, 12/7/02]
          

December 6, 2002

       UNMOVIC weapons inspection leader Hans Blix calls on the US to share its secret intelligence with inspectors. “Of course we would like to have as much information from any member state as to evidence they may have on weapons of mass destruction, and, in particular, sites,” he says. “Because we are inspectors, we can go to sites. They may be listening to what's going on and they may have lots of other sources of information. But we can go to the sites legitimately and legally.” Notes the New York Times: “On one hand, administration officials are pressing him to work faster and send out more inspectors to more places to undermine Baghdad's ability to conceal any hidden programs. At the same time, Washington has been holding back its intelligence, waiting to see what Iraq will say in its declaration.” [New York Times, 12/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

December 7, 2002

       Iraq submits its declaration of military and civilian chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities to the UN one day early. It consists of 12 cd-roms and 43 spiral-bound volumes containing a total of 11,807 pages. General Hussam Amin, the officer in charge of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate, tells reporters a few hours before the declaration is formally submitted: “We declared that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction. I reiterate Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. This declaration has some activities that are dual-use.” Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi, a senior adviser to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, says the next day that Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear program may have been close to developing a nuclear bomb, but denies that Baghdad continued the program. Meanwhile, the Bush administration remains furious over the Security Councils' previous day ruling that no member state—including the US—will be permitted access to the report until after “sensitive information about weapons manufacture had been removed.” White House officials say they were “blind-sided” by the decision. [Telegraph, 12/8/02; Observer, 12/8/02; New York Times, 12/8/02; Associated Press, 12/9/02b]
Iraq's nuclear program - Roughly 2,100 pages of the declaration include information on Iraq's former nuclear programs, including details on the sites and companies that were involved. [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; BBC, 12/10/02]

Iraq's chemical programs - It contains “several thousand pages,” beginning with a summary of Iraq's former chemical weapons program, specifically “research and development activities, the production of chemical agents, relations with companies and a terminated radiation bomb project.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b]

The biological declaration - This section is much shorter than the sections dealing with Iraq's nuclear and chemical programs. It includes “information on military institutions connected with the former biological weapons program, activities at the foot-and-mouth facility and a list of supporting documents.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b]

The ballistic missile declaration - This is the shortest section of Iraq's declaration totaling about 1,200 pages. It consists of a chronological summary of the country's ballistic missile program. [Associated Press, 12/9/02b]

Iraq's suppliers of chemical and biological agent precursors - Iraq's declaration includes the names of 150 foreign companies, several of which are from the US, Britain, Germany and France. Germany allowed eighty companies to supply Iraq with materials that could be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction since 1975, while the US allowed 24 of its own businesses. Also included in the list are ten French businesses and several Swiss and Chinese companies. “From about 1975 onwards, these companies are shown to have supplied entire complexes, building elements, basic materials and technical know-how for Saddam Hussein's program to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction,” the Independent explains. “They also supplied rockets and complete conventional weapons systems.” [Independent, 12/18/02; Reuters, 12/10/02; BBC, 12/10/02; New York Times, 12/12/02; Newsday, 12/13/02; Reuters, 12/10/02; Washington Post, 12/11/02b; Los Angeles Times, 12/15/02]

People and organizations involved: Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Hussam Mohammad Amin
          

December 7, 2002

       Demetrius Perricos, Greek head of an inspections team that searched for chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, makes it clear that the inspection teams are not tools of the US and Britain. He says: “This time we have the most advanced equipment available, and the new UN resolution means that we will not be camping somewhere, but knocking on doors. The Iraqis know that, and they also know that a ‘material breach’ may lead to war. I think we shall get to the truth, and it is, of course, desirable that there is no war.... The people who sent us here are the international community and the UN. We are not serving the US and we are not serving the UK. The Iraqis would like us to be very light, the US would like us to be extremely severe. We think we are doing a proper job.” [Independent, 12/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Demetrius Perricos
          

December 8, 2002

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell successfully pressures the UN Security Council's president, Colombian ambassador to the United Nations Alfonso Valdivieso, to override the Council's December 6 decision (see December 6, 2002) that no country be permitted access to an unabridged copy of Iraq's declaration. “The United States had initially accepted the argument Friday but then changed its mind over the weekend, holding consultations between capitals,” reports the Associated Press. “Eventually US officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the UN halls, he did.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; New York Times 12/21/02] The Council president normally makes decisions only when there is a consensus of all 15 members. Notably, the US had promised Colombia a substantial increase in military aid less than a week beforehand. [New York Times, 12/10/02] Under the new “decision,” only those countries with “the expertise to assess the risk of proliferation and other sensitive information” will be permitted to access the documents. The only countries that are considered qualified according to this criteria are the five permanent members. The other 10 council members, including Syria, will only be allowed to view the declaration after translation, analysis and censorship of “sensitive material.” Syria and Norway are infuriated by the move. [Associated Press, 12/9/02; Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02] The photocopying of the documents will be done exclusively by the US. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will later acknowledge that the job should have been delegated to a less partial party. [Times of London, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Kofi Annan, Alfonso Valdivieso  Additional Info 
          

December 9, 2002

       Disagreeing with statements made by US officials, Russia's Foreign Ministry says, “Iraq's timely submission of its declaration, parallel to its continued cooperation with the international weapons inspectors, confirms its commitment to act in compliance with Resolution 1441.” [AP, 12/8/02]
          

December 10, 2002

       The Guardian of London reports that according to unnamed sources in New York and London, “The US and Britain lack ‘killer’ intelligence that will prove conclusively that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” The article quotes one source as saying, “If we had intelligence that there is a piece of weaponry at this map reference, we would tell the inspectors and they would be there like a shot.” [Guardian, 12/10/02 Sources: Unnamed US and British officials]
          

December 10, 2002

       Hans Blix completes an initial review of Iraq's December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002) and tells the UN Security Council that he will brief them as early as December 16. He says he plans to meet with representatives of the United States and the four other permanent members to decide what portions of the declaration need to be censored before being distributed to the other Security Council member states. Certain documents will be censored in order to prevent the details of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs from falling into the wrong hands and being used as a virtual “cookbook” to build weapons of mass destruction. “He proposed that the most sensitive information should be purged from the text by inspectors, to ensure that it did not leak. To do otherwise would breach international treaties on weapons proliferation,” reports the London Telegraph. The US will play the dominant role in deciding what parts of the declaration need to be blacked out. The Washington Post reports, “Bush administration officials indicated today that they would tell Blix before the end of the week what elements of the report should remain confidential.” Blix recommends censoring sections dealing with designs for the production of nuclear weapons, plans for converting short-range missiles into long-range rockets, and a list of foreign companies that supplied Iraq with materials for its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. [The Washington Post, 12/11/02b; Telegraph, 12/8/02 Sources: Unnamed UN Security Council diplomats]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

December 11, 2002

       US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton meet with UN Security Council representatives to argue the Bush administration's case for tightening sanctions on Iraq. Several of the 38 changes that are favored by the Bush administration are aimed at preventing Iraq from acquiring new military equipment ? equipment that might be used in an attempt to defend itself in the event of a US and British invasion. Among such items are jammers to block satellite-positioning systems, ultra-wide-band radios and broadcast equipment. The US also wants to extend the import restrictions to several medicines that could be used as antidotes to chemical weapons agents, including atropine, pralidoxime and sodium nitrite. [New York Times, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: John R. Bolton
          

December 12, 2002

       The Bush administration claims that Iraq's December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002) was incomplete. [New York Times, 12/13/02]
It does not explain what happened to the 550 shells filled with mustard gas that the UNSCOM inspectors were never able to account for. [New York Times, 12/13/02; New York Times, 12/23/02]

It does not explain what happened to the 157 bombs filled with biological agents that the UNSCOM inspectors were never able to account for. [New York Times, 12/13/02; New York Times, 12/23/02; Washington Post, 12/19/02]

It does not explain “why Iraq was seeking to buy uranium in Africa in recent years, as well as high-technology materials that the United States and Britain have said were destined for a program to enrich uranium.” [New York Times, 12/13/02; New York Times, 12/23/02]

It does not explain what happened to the 3,000 tons of chemical precursors and 360 tons of actual chemical warfare agents that the UNSCOM inspectors were never able to account for. [BBC, 12/19/02; Washington Post, 12/19/02; New York Times, 12/23/02]

It failed to provide evidence for Iraq's claim that It had destroyed 1.5 tons of VX nerve gas. The 1999 UNSCOM report had stated, “According to Iraq, 1.5 tons of VX were discarded unilaterally by dumping on the ground. Traces of one VX-degradation product and a chemical known as a VX-stabilizer were found in the samples taken from the VX dump sites. A quantified assessment is not possible.” [BBC, 12/19/02]
Gen. Amir Saadi will explain that the VX gas was indeed accounted for in the December 7 declaration. He says that Iraq had unsuccessfully attempted in April 1990 to produce VX but that the material had degraded quickly and, as a result, the experiment was abandoned. “No production was achieved; no VX was produced,” he says. [New York Times, 12/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Amir Hammudi al-Saadi
          

December 19, 2002

       The non-permanent members of the UN Security Council receive the edited version of Iraq's December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002). Almost 8,500 pages of the original 12,000 supplied by Baghdad are removed or blacked out, including sections on the designs for the production of nuclear weapons, plans for converting short-range missiles into long-range rockets, and a list of foreign countries and companies that provided Iraq with the materials used in Iraq's former chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. The reason offered by UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix for removing the names of the suppliers is that if he “were to give the names publicly, then they would never get another foreign supplier to give them any information.” Some of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council are upset by the extensive editing of the documents. “How are we to judge this on such short notice, and with so many black lines running through it?” asks one annoyed envoy. [The Strait Times, 12/20/02; Washington Post, 12/19/02; Sunday Herald, 12/22/02; Newsday, 12/13/02; New York Times, 12/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

December 19, 2002

       Secretary of State Colin Powell and US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte say that the Bush administration considers Iraq to be in “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441, citing deliberate omissions and falsehoods in Iraq's 12,000 page December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002). Powell calls the declaration “a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions,” adding that it “totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements.” He says the omissions “constitute another material breach.” [Associated Press, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02b; Ireland Online, 12/19/02; Washington Post, 12/19/02] But the administration's conclusion is made before the Arabic sections of the declaration have even been translated. Blix says that there are 500 or 600 pages that still need to be translated and that it is too early to provide a complete assessment. He adds that the Bush administration's statements about a “material breach” are baseless allegations. [CNN, 12/19/02; The Strait Times, 12/20/02]
People and organizations involved: John Negroponte, Colin Powell, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

December 20, 2002

       UNMOVIC chief weapons inspector Hans Blix criticizes the US and British governments for failing to provide inspectors with the intelligence they need to locate Iraq's alleged arsenal of banned weapons. Blix states, “If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff.” When asked if he is receiving enough cooperation from Western intelligence agencies, he answers, “Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need.” In response, US and British intelligence claim they will provide UN inspectors with higher quality intelligence. One official tells the New York Times, “We are going to give them one piece of information at a time, given strategically at the right moment.” Another official explains that the reason for this is because, “Based on our historical experience with UNSCOM, they had a very difficult time keeping information from falling into Iraqi hands.” [New, York Times 12/21/2002; Independent, 12/21/02; Independent, 12/22/02 Sources: Unnamed administration officials]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

December 22, 2002

       Iraq announces that it will permit UN inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists without government officials present. At a news conference in Baghdad, Amir al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam, invites the US to send CIA agents into Iraq to lead inspectors to the alleged weapons sites. Gen. Amir Saadi says, “We do not even have any objection if the CIA sent somebody with the inspectors to show them the suspected sites.” [The Washington Post, 12/23/02; NBC News, 12/22/02; New York Times, 12/23/02] The Bush administration dismisses Baghdad's offer as a “stunt.” [Guardian, 12/23/02; USA Today, 12/22/02; Washington Post, 12/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Amir Hammudi al-Saadi
          

December 24, 2002

       UN weapons inspectors interview Sabah Abdel-Nour, a British-trained specialist in materials technology who is working as a professor at Baghdad's University of Technology. He later tells reporters that he answered all of the inspectors' questions, had nothing to hide, and had no reason to leave the country. “I told them everything we know clearly and in detail ... I don't have anything to say outside the country more than what I said here.” It is the first publicly acknowledged interview with an Iraqi scientist. [New York Times 12/25/02b]
People and organizations involved: Sabah Abdel-Nour
          

Late December, 2002

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signs a directive, ordering the deployment of an additional 50,000 reinforcements to the gulf region. The order includes some 4,000 soldiers from the Third Infantry Division, who are specialists in desert warfare. Orders to deploy or prepare for deployment are also given to several naval ships and Air Force squadrons. [New York Times, 1/1/03; Times, 1/2/03] Military “experts” tell the Guardian of London that given the amount of resources that have so far been allocated in preparation for invading Iraq, it is very unlikely that war can be avoided. An unnamed source from the neoconservative Project for a New American Century tells the newspaper, “It's very hard for a country to mobilize for war, and not to go for war without a very serious reason. If you signal to the world that you're serious, and you don't do anything, then you're saying you're not a serious country.” [Guardian, 12/31/01 Sources: Unnamed source from the Project for a New American Century]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 28, 2002

       Iraq provides the United Nations with the names of more than 400 scientists who are involved in Iraq's weapons programs. One of the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 is that Iraq must supply the names of all of its weapons experts (see November 8, 2002). [BBC, 12/28/02; Agence France Press, 12/29/02]
          

December 30, 2002

       The UN Security Council approves some of the US' and Britain's suggestions for tightening sanctions on Iraq. Among the items added to the list of banned and restricted goods are certain types of communications equipment, speed boats, heavy trucks, and antibiotics. The US, assisted by its British ally, argued that the items could be used for military purposes. Critics note that the restrictions would further harm Iraq's economy and its healthcare infrastructure. [Associated Press, 12/30/02; MSNBC, 1/2/03]
          

December 31, 2002

       United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in an interview with Israel's Army Radio that Saddam's government is cooperating with UN weapons inspectors and that he sees no reason for the use of force against Iraq. “Iraq is cooperating and they [inspectors] are able to do their work in an unimpeded manner and therefore I don't see an argument for a military action now,” the secretary-general says. “They may give an interim report before the [January] 27 [deadline] and I really do not see any basis for an action until then, particularly as they are able to carry out their work in an unimpeded manner.” The Independent of London call his remarks “a blunt warning to Britain and the United States that they will need clear evidence of clandestine weapons programs in Iraq to win support from other nations for any military campaign against Saddam Hussein this winter.” [BBC, 12/31/01; Deutsche Welle, 1/1/03; Independent, 1/1/03; New Zealand Herald, 1/1/03; Reuters, 12/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan
          

Mid-February 2003

       Washington considers a plan to convince dovish Security Council members of the need to use military force against Iraq. Unnamed administration officials tell the New York Times that Washington intends to test the willingness of Iraq to disarm by imposing new demands. Under the administration's plan, Iraq would be required to (1) permit overflights by American, European and Russian surveillance aircraft; (2) allow weapons inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists without the presence of government “minders” ; and (3) destroy all the equipment associated with its Al Samoud II missile program. At the same time these new demands are made, Washington would present a draft for a second resolution to the United Nations which would declare Iraq in violation of past UN resolutions and promise “serious consequences” if Iraq does not mend its ways. Then if Iraq fails to meet the new demands, the Bush administration hopes that Security Council doves would support the new resolution. [New York Times, 2/16/03 Sources: Unnamed administration officials]
          

January 2, 2003

       UN inspection teams have so far completed 237 visits to suspected weapons sites since the inspections began 5 weeks ago. Lt. Gen. Hussam Muhammad Amin, the chief Iraqi liaison to the UN inspectors, says: “The inspectors did not find any prohibited activities nor any prohibited items in those 230 sites visited up until now. .. All those activities proved that the Iraqi declarations are credible and the American allegations and claims are baseless.... The American administration is trying to create some pretexts to attack Iraq, to exercise their aggression against Iraq.” [New York Times, 1/3/03; The Washington Post, 1/2/03; MSNBC, 1/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Hussam Mohammad Amin
          

January 6, 2003

       Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei says that his inspections teams have yet to find a “smoking gun.” “I think we need still a few months before we can reach that conclusion,” he says. “We haven't seen a smoking gun, but we still have a lot of work to do before we come to the conclusion that Iraq is clean.” [Associated Press, 1/7/03; CNN, 1/6/03; Telegraph, 1/8/03; Toronto Star, 1/7/03; Scotsman, 1/7/03] Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman, adds that it is “too early to draw sweeping or final conclusions.” She also says that laboratory tests of air and earth samples have also provided inspectors with “nothing significant” that would lead them “to draw conclusions that they have been building a nuclear program.” [Associated Press, 1/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Melissa Fleming
          

January 7, 2003

       Developing nations, led by South Africa, demand that the UN weapons inspectors' January 27 report be presented in public rather than during a closed-door meeting. In a letter to the UN Security Council, South Africa's ambassador Dumisani Kumalo says that the entire UN membership would benefit from “receiving a first-hand account of this important report.” [Reuters, 1/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Dumisani Kumalo
          

January 9, 2003

       UNMOVIC inspectors say they have yet to uncover evidence indicating that Iraq has resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. After providing the UN Security Council with a summary of the inspectors' findings, Hans Blix tells reporters in New York, “We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] But Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, insists that the absence of evidence is of little concern, asserting, “The problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke. We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” And John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN, accuses Iraq of “legalistic” cooperation, claiming that it needs to act proactively. He also says, “There is still no evidence that Iraq has fundamentally changed its approach from one of deceit to a genuine attempt to be forthcoming.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] Colin Powell also seems undaunted by Blix's remarks. “The lack of a smoking gun does not mean that there's not one there,” he says, “If the international community sees that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating in a way that would not allow you to determine the truth of the matter, then he is in violation of the UN resolution [1441]...You don't really have to have a smoking gun.” [News24, 1/10/03] Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, echoes views from Washington, asserting that the “passive cooperation of Iraq has been good in terms of access and other procedural issues,” and adds, “But proactive cooperation has not been forthcoming—the kind of cooperation needed to clear up the remaining questions in the inspectors' minds.” [Guardian, 1/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Jeremy Greenstock, John Negroponte, Hans Blix, Ari Fleischer, Colin Powell
          

January 9, 2003

       The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submits a preliminary report to the UN Security Council on the results of the inspections so far. The report says: “To date, no new information of significance has emerged regarding Iraq's past nuclear program (pre-1991) or with regard to Iraq activities during the period between 1991 and 1998.... [N]o evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities has been detected, although not all of the laboratory results of sample analysis are yet available.” [New York Times, 1/10/03; Reuters, 1/9/03; Independent, 1/10/03; Guardian, 1/10/03 Sources: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) preliminary report to the UN Security Council] It also states that Washington's claim that the tubes were meant for a centrifuge is highly unlikely. In one section of the report, its authors write: “While the matter is still under investigation and further verification is foreseen, the IAEA's analysis to date indicates that the specifications of the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq in 2001 and 2002 appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for it.” [New York Times, 1/10/03; Reuters, 1/9/03; Independent, 1/10/03; Guardian, 1/10/03 Sources: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) preliminary report to the UN Security Council]
          

January 11, 2003

       Following press reports that the Bush administration has begun supplying inspectors with intelligence, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei tells reporters that the inspection teams need “more actionable information” and that the US is still refusing to provide “specific intelligence about where to go and where to inspect.” He adds that “the inspections process will intensify to allow the inspections to speedup” if the Bush administration cooperates with inspectors. He also suggests that he does not think Iraq has a nuclear weapons program. He says: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons.” [Time, 1/12/03; Montreal Gazette, 1/11/03; Sun-Herald, 1/12/03; The Washington Post, 1/12/03] Richard A. Boucher, a spokesperson for the State Department, contests ElBaradei's contention that inspectors have been given little to go on, saying, “I can certainly say that they're getting the best we've got, and that we are sharing information with the inspectors that they can use, and based on their ability to use it.” [The Washington Post, 1/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Boucher, Mohamed ElBaradei  Additional Info 
          

January 13, 2003

       Both Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei say they need several more months before they can determine whether or not Saddam Hussein still has an illegal weapons program. ElBaradei says the inspectors “still need a few months to achieve our mission,” but adds that Baghdad must supply more documents to verify its claim that Iraq no longer is developing weapons of mass destruction. ElBaradei also hints at his concern that the US might end the inspections by invading the country. He says, “It could be that one day they will say, ‘Move aside boys, we are coming in.’ ” [Associated Press, 11/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix
          

January 14,2003

       British Foreign Minister Jack Straw tells the BBC that prior to using force against Iraq, there should be a second Security Council resolution. He also says that there should be “a substantive vote in the House of Commons before action takes place.” [New York Times, 1/15/03b]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

January 14, 2003

       Before his meeting with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, Bush tells reporters that he does not support an extension for the inspections. “I am sick and tired of games and deception, and that is my view on timetables,” he says. “The United Nations has spoken with one voice. He's been given 11 years to disarm, and we have given him one last chance.” [New York Times, 1/15/03b; Washington Post, 1/15/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 14, 2003

       UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expresses optimism that the Iraq conflict could be resolved peacefully. In stark contrast to Bush's statements, Annan says that Saddam's level of cooperation has improved since the UNSCOM inspections of the late nineties and therefore there is reason to hope that war can be avoided. He also states very clearly that it is premature to discuss whether or not the use of military force will be needed. “I am both optimistic and hopeful that if we handle the situation right, and the pressure on the Iraqi leadership is maintained and the inspectors continue to work as aggressively as they are doing, we may be able to disarm Iraq peacefully,” he says. [New York Times, 1/15/03a; Washington Post, 1/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan
          

January 14, 2003

       A disagreement arises among UN Security Council members over the weapons inspections schedule. UN Resolution 1441 specifies that after 60 days, the inspectors must report to the Council on the progress of inspections. But the resolution provides no instructions for how the inspections are to proceed after this date. The resolution also fails to explain what is to happen if no weapons of mass destruction are found. Hans Blix believes that after the 60 day report—due January 27—his team should revert to the terms contained within 1999 UN Resolution 1284. According to the provisions of this agreement, an additional report would be due in late March, which would contain a list of disarmament requirements that Iraq would have to satisfy prior to the lifting of sanctions. “The 1999 resolution spells out steps, which, in theory, could lead to a suspension of sanctions as early as July,” reports Reuters. Bush administration officials strongly disagree with Hans Blix's approach, fearing that it would subvert US plans to provoke a military confrontation with Iraq. The Washington Post reports, “[Blix's] plan risks undermining the administration's strategy to ratchet up the pressure for a decision on whether to go to war later this month and it raises the prospect that Security Council members, including some US allies, would use it as an excuse to put off a decision until March, at the earliest.” Other countries—including France, Britain, Russia, France, China and Syria—see no problem with the timetable being advocated by Hans Blix. “The Council's resolutions shouldn't be flouted, they should be respected,” says Fayssal Mekdad, Syria's deputy UN ambassador. [Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03; Washington Post, 1/16/03; New York Times, 1/16/03; Reuters, 1/16/03 Sources: UN Resolution 1284]
People and organizations involved: Fayssal Mekdad, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

January 15, 2003

       US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice flies to New York City to meet with Hans Blix. She attempts to discourage him from his plans to revert to the provisions of UN Resolution 1284 after his January 27 report to the UN Security Council—the last update required by UN Resolution 1441. She also attempts to persuade him to press ahead with plans to aggressively interview Iraqi scientists. [Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03; New York Times, 1/16/03] At a Council luncheon, US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte attempts to convince delegates of the other member states that the inspections timetable should not be based on the 1999 resolution. But they disagree, seeing no reason to ignore the process outlined in Resolution 1284. A few days later, the London Observer reports, “US officials have made it clear that they will try to foil further reports and say that an accumulation of evidence of military activity in Iraq will be enough for Saddam to be in material breach of the orders to Saddam to disarm.” [Reuters, 1/16/03b; New York Times, 1/17/03; Observer, 1/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, John Negroponte, Condoleezza Rice
          

January 16, 2003

       Conducting its first raid of a private home, that of Faleh Hassan, a specialist in laser equipment who was once associated with Iraq's nuclear program, UN inspectors discover 3,000 documents containing information that some initial reports say is related to Iraq's former nuclear weapons program. [Observer, 1/20/03; Telegraph, 1/18/03; BBC, 1/19/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03; IAEA, 1/27/03; New York Times, 1/28/03] Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is bothered by the discovery, saying, “We haven't received these original documents before and that's precisely the point we have been emphasizing, Iraq should be pro-active. We shouldn't have to find these on our own. Why should these documents be in a private home? Why are they not giving them to us?” [New York Times, 1/20/03; Agence France Presse, 1/20/03] But Hassan denies that the documents are related to Iraq's former nuclear weapons program. He later explains to reporters: “The inspectors put their hands on personal documents which have nothing to do with the former [nuclear] program. We did research on laser isotopic separation, and in 1988 we reached the conclusion that this technology was very difficult given our infrastructure, so the decision was taken to abandon that approach.” He adds that he is ready to go through the documents with ElBaradei, “page by page, line by line and even word by word to prove that everything they found is in alignment with what we declared in 1991.” [BBC, 1/19/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03] After the discovery of the documents, Hassan accompanies inspectors to a field where they inspect what appears to be a man-made mound. The field is part of a farm Hassan sold in 1996. While at the farm, a female American inspector offers to arrange a trip outside of Iraq for him and his wife, so his wife can undergo treatment for kidney stones, diabetes and high blood pressure. The Iraqi scientist is angered by the offer and later refers to the woman's tactics as “mafia-like behavior.” Recalling the incident he will also tell reporters, “We would rather live as beggars in our country than live as kings abroad,” also saying, “Never, never will I leave my country.” [Observer, 1/20/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03; BBC, 1/18/03] Hassan then goes with inspectors to a hotel in Baghdad where he spends most of the night arguing over whether he will be permitted to keep copies of the documents. [Observer, 1/20/03] Three weeks later in the inspectors' February 14 update to the UN Security Council (see February 14, 2003), ElBaradei will say: “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Faleh Hassan, Mohamed ElBaradei
          

January 16, 2003

       UN weapons inspectors discover a cache of 12 warheads designed to carry chemical warfare agents in the Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area located about 80 miles [120km] south of Baghdad. News of the discovery is announced immediately. According to officials, the warheads were not included in Iraq's December 7 declaration to the UN (see December 7, 2002). [Washington Post, 1/16/03; Reuters, 1/17/03; Reuters, 1/17/03b; New York Times, 1/17/03; New York Times, 1/18/03; Press Trust of India, 1/18/03] The warheads—meant for 120 mm rockets with a range of 11-22 miles—are in perfect condition. Though they seem to be configured for Sarin gas, they are empty and have no trace of chemical weapons. [New York Times, 1/17/03; Newsday, 1/18/03; Washington Post, 1/16/03; Washington Post, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/31/2003; Reuters, 1/29/03; Reuters, 1/17/03; Reuters, 1/17/03b] Iraqi officials call their failure to include information about this cache in Iraq's December 7 declaration an oversight and promise to check if they have any other old warheads in storage. General Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq's weapons-monitoring directorate and the chief liaison to UN inspectors, says the warheads were imported in 1986 and therefore are too old to be of any use. “These are 122 mm rockets with an empty warhead. There are no chemical or biological agents or weapons of mass destruction,” he explains. “These rockets are expired ... they were in closed wooden boxes ... that we had forgotten about,” he adds. “It doesn't represent anything. It's not dangerous.” He refers to the discovery as a mere “storm in a teacup.” [Washington Post, 1/16/03; Associated Press, 1/19/02; Independent 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; Washington Post, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/17/03; Reuters, 1/17/03; Reuters, 1/17/03b] The Bush administration considers the discovery significant. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says: “The President views this as troubling and serious.... What the world wants to know is if Saddam Hussein has disarmed. Possession of chemical warheads is not a good indication that the man has disarmed.” Ari disputes the notion that empty warheads do not represent a threat. “Putting chemical weapons into a chemical warhead is done at the last minute,” he notes. However officials from other countries seem to disagree. A French diplomat tells reporters, “I have only one thing to say—empty.” [New York Times, 1/17/03] The inspectors feel that the discovery is “evidence that their search was beginning to yield results and should be given more time to work,” reports the New York Times. [New York Times, 1/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Hussam Mohammad Amin, Ari Fleischer  Additional Info 
          

January 16, 2003

       State Department spokesman Richard Boucher warns that Washington will not wait for the inspections to end before taking military action. Boucher states, “There's no point in continuing forever, going on, if Iraq is not cooperating.” [Associated Press, 1/16/03; Telegraph, 1/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Boucher
          

January 17-19, 2003

       Citing inspectors' discovery of 12 empty “warheads” (see January 16, 2003) and documents related to a failed nuclear program's attempt at laser enrichment of uranium (see Early October 2002), critics of the Bush administration's planned invasion argue that the inspections are working and that they should continue under the terms of 1999 UN Resolution 1284. They contend that if Iraq still possesses illegal weapons that it can be peacefully and effectively disarmed by the inspections process, thus making the argument for war moot. But the Bush administration argues instead that the inspection process has demonstrated that Saddam Hussein is not willing to disarm. This debate occurs as weapons inspectors are preparing their January 27 (see January 27, 2003) update on inspections, as required by UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). Washington is hoping that the report will demonstrate that Iraq is not cooperating, so that they can use it to justify using military force against Iraq. [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/19/03; US Department of State, 1/19/03; Associated Press, 1/15/03; New York Times, 1/17/03] The New York Times reports that according to unnamed US officials, “[I]n spite of the wish by Blix and his colleague Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to continue the inspection process, the United States would move quickly to force an early conclusion by the Security Council.” [New York Times, 1/20/02 Sources: Unnamed US officials]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

January 19, 2003

       During a meeting with foreign ministers from 13 of the 15 Security Council member states, US Secretary of State Colin Powell encounters strong resistance to the Bush administration's view that the inspections are not working and that Iraq is not cooperating. Russia, China, France and Germany all express their satisfaction with how the inspections are proceeding and say that their preference is that the inspectors be permitted to continue their work. Only Britain appears willing to provide support for Washington's position, reiterating the American stance that Saddam is running out of time. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is the most vocal in his opposition to the Bush administration's attempt to rationalize the need for war. In an interview, he says the UN should remain “on the path of cooperation” and that France will never “associate [itself] with military intervention ... not supported by the international community.” He adds,"We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution.' Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also disagrees with the Bush administration's insistence that military force will be needed, explaining: “Terrorism is far from being crushed. We must be careful not to take unilateral steps that might threaten the unity of the entire [anti-]terrorism coalition. In this context we are strictly in favor of a political settlement of the situation revolving around Iraq.” Germany's Joschka Fischer similarly states: “Iraq has complied fully with all relevant resolutions and cooperated very closely with the UN team on the ground. We think things are moving in the right direction, based on the efforts of the inspection team, and [they] should have all the time which is needed.” The Bush administration remains unconvinced by these arguments. Powell tells reporters: “We cannot fail to take the action that may be necessary because we are afraid of what others might do. We cannot be shocked into impotence because we are afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us.” [Washington Post 1/20/03; New York Times 1/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Joschka Fischer, Igor Ivanov, Dominique de Villepin
          

January 19, 2003

       Iraq reports to Hans Blix that they have discovered four additional empty 122mm warheads of the same type discovered by inspectors on January 16 (see January 16, 2003). [Associated Press, 1/19/03; Associated Press, 1/19/02; Independent, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; Washington Post, 1/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

January 20-21, 2003

       Bush and his advisors respond to statements made the previous day by Russian, French, Chinese, and German ministers expressing satisfaction with the weapons inspection process. Bush says: “He's not disarming. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying, he is deceiving, he is asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. ... It's clear to me now that he is not disarming. And, surely, our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely we have learned how this man deceives and delays. ... This business about more time—how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? As I said, this looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it.” US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also refutes the notion that Saddam is cooperating with inspectors. “Our other options are just about exhausted at this point,” he asserts “This regime has very little time left to undo the legacy of 12 years. There is no sign, there is not one sign that the regime has any intent to comply fully.” [White House, 1/21/03; Washington Post, 1/21/03; Washington Post, 1/22/03b; New York Times 1/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage, George W. Bush
          

January 22, 2003

       During a joint press conference, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announce that they intend to work together to oppose the Bush administration's plan to invade Iraq. Schroeder says to a crowd of hundreds of French and German students in Berlin, “We are both of the opinion... that one can never accept it when it is said that war is unavoidable.” [BBC, 1/22/03; BBC, 1/23/03] Back in Washington, a reporter asks Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld if he thinks the actions of France and Germany would leave the United States without European support. To this Rumsfeld, responds: “Now, you're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east.... Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem.... But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They're not with France and Germany on this, they're with the United States.” [Department of Defense, 1/22/03; BBC, 1/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Gerhard Schroeder, Jacques Chirac, Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 22, 2003

       NATO denies a request from the Bush administration for military aid because many countries feel that neither the weapons inspections nor other means of diplomacy have yet been given an adequate test. The Bush administration wants permission to use NATO AWACS radar planes and Patriot air-defense batteries to protect Turkey, NATO ships in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as NATO personnel for protecting American bases in Europe and possibly the Gulf. [International Herald Tribune, 1/23/03]
          

January 23, 2003

       The New York Times publishes an op-ed piece written by Condoleezza Rice, titled, “Why we know Iraq is Lying,” in which the National Security Council advisor writes that “Iraq has filed a false declaration to the United Nations that amounts to a 12,200-page lie,” [New York Times, 1/23/03] citing among other things, its failure “to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad.” [New York Times, 1/23/03] She says that Iraq has reneged on its commitment to disarm itself of its alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Instead of full cooperation and transparency, Iraq has “a high-level political commitment to maintain and conceal its weapons,” she claims. Iraq is maintaining “institutions whose sole purpose is to thwart the work of the inspectors,” she adds, asserting that the country is not allowing inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted access” to the “facilities and people” involved in its alleged weapons program. [New York Times, 1/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

January 23, 2003

       Unilateralist comments from the Bush administration, especially Rumsfeld's reference to France and Germany as “old Europe,” further antagonize the already tense relationship between the two continents. Following these comments, France, Germany, Russia, and China reiterate their opposition to the Bush administration unilateralist approach. Washington, in turn, responds with veiled threats that countries opposing the war will have little influence in the post-Saddam Iraq. [Times of London, 1/24/03; Reuters, 1/23/03; Washington Post, 1/24/03; BBC, 1/24/03; Irish Examiner, 1/23/03; USA Today, 12/23/03]
          

January 27, 2003

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Chief Weapons Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei present their long-anticipated reports on the progress of weapons inspections to the UN Security Council. Blix's assessment is notably more critical than the IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei. Blix tells the UN Security Council that while the Iraqi government has passively cooperated with the weapons inspectors: “Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance—not even today—of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.” Additionally, Blix reports that it is still too early to determine whether or not Iraq has or is developing weapons of mass destruction, noting that Iraq has still not answered several questions concerning unaccounted-for weapons. [UNMOVIC, 1/27/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; Deutsche Welle, 1/27/03; Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b]
Hans Blix's report -

Iraq has refused to permit overflights by American U2 surveillance planes. Iraq said that it would allow the overflights only if the UN promised to demand an end to the almost daily bombings by US and British war planes in the so-called “no-fly” zones. Iraq worries that if fighter jets and U2 planes are flying over Iraq at the same time, Iraq might inadvertently shoot at the surveillance planes, thinking they are fighter jets. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

Iraq has not provided an adequate declaration of its prior production of nerve agent VX. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

Inspectors have found a “laboratory quantity” of thiodiglycol, a precursor of mustard gas. [New York Times, 1/27/03b]

1,000 tons of chemical agents from the Iraq-Iran War remain unaccounted for. [New York Times, 1/27/03b]

6,500 missing chemical rockets remain unaccounted for. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

Iraq has not provided evidence to substantiate its claim that it destroyed 8,500 liters of anthrax [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

650kg of bacterial growth media remain unaccounted for. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

Iraq has been developing Al Samoud 2 and Al Fatah missiles with a range beyond the 150km limit. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

380 rocket engines were smuggled into Iraq the previous month with chemicals used for missile propellants and control systems. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/31/01]

Iraq had provided the names of only 400 of the estimated 3,500 Iraqi scientists. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]
Iraqi scientists are refusing private interviews with UN inspectors. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]
ElBaradei's report to the UN -

The International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team has failed to uncover any evidence implicating Saddam's regime in the development of nuclear weapons. He tells the Council: “We have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapon program since the elimination of the program in the 1990's. ... No prohibited nuclear activities have been identified during these inspections.” [IAEI, 1/27/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/28/03]

The International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team is close to completing weapons inspections in Iraq. He says: “We should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons program. These few months would be a valuable investment in peace because they could help us avoid war.” He adds: “[T]he presence of international inspectors in Iraq today continues to serve as an effective deterrent to and insurance against the resumption” of secret weapons programs. [IAEI, 1/27/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

The aluminum tubes that Iraq attempted to import were not related to uranium enrichment. ElBaradei states: “IAEA inspectors have inspected the relevant rocket production and storage sites, taken tube samples, interviewed relevant Iraqi personnel, and reviewed procurement contracts and related documents. From our analysis to date it appears that the aluminum tubes would be consistent with the purpose stated by Iraq and, unless modified, would not be suitable for manufacturing centrifuges....” [IAEI, 1/27/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]

The IAEA is investigating concerns that Iraq has attempted to obtain magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge program. “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements’ . Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” [IAEI, 1/27/03]

Response - Responses to the two presentations are predictable. The US and Britain see no hope for Iraqi cooperation and peaceful disarmament, whereas other nations feel Blix and ElBaradei's reports demonstrate that the inspections are working and that the use of military force is not necessary. [New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03; Reuters, 1/27/03]

People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohamed ElBaradei  Additional Info 
          

January 28, 2003

       Powell tells reporters after the UN inspectors' January 27 interim report: “The inspectors have also told us that they have evidence that Iraq has moved or hidden items at sites just prior to inspection visits. That's what the inspectors say, not what Americans say, not what American intelligence says; but we certainly corroborate all of that. But this is information from the inspectors.” [US Secretary of State 1/28/03] But Hans Blix, the chief UNMOVIC weapons inspector, tells the New York Times a few days later that UN weapons inspectors had experienced no such incidents. [New York Times 1/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents the Bush administration's case against Saddam to the UN Security Council, in advance of an expected vote on a second resolution that the US and Britain hope will provide the justification to use military force against Iraq. [The White House, 2/6/03] At the insistence of Powell, CIA Director George Tenet is seated directly behind him to the right. “It was theater, a device to signal to the world that Powell was relying on the CIA to make his case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Vanity Fair magazine will later explain. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] In his speech before the Council, Powell makes the case that Iraq is in further material breach of past UN resolutions, specifically the most recent one, UN Resolution 1441. Sources cited in Powell's presentation include defectors, informants, communication intercepts, procurement records, photographs, and detainees. [The White House, 2/6/03] Most of the allegations made by Powell are later demonstrated to be false. “The defectors and other sources went unidentified,” the Associated Press will later report. “The audiotapes were uncorroborated, as were the photo interpretations. No other supporting documents were presented. Little was independently verifiable.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq's December 7 declaration was inaccurate - Powell contends that Iraq's December 7 declaration was not complete. According to UN Resolution 1441 the document was supposed to be a “currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects” of its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam has not done this, says Powell, who explains that Iraq has yet to provide sufficient evidence that it destroyed its previously declared stock of 8,500 liters of anthrax, as it claimed in the declaration. Furthermore, notes the Secretary of State, UNSCOM inspectors had previously estimated that Iraq possessed the raw materials to produce as much as 25,000 liters of the virus. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03d]

Iraq has ties to al Qaeda - Powell repeats earlier claims that Saddam Hussein's government has ties to al-Qaeda. Powell focuses on the cases of the militant Islamic group Ansar-al-Islam and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, who had received medical treatment in Baghdad during the summer of 2002 (see Late 2001-May 2002). [The White House, 2/6/03]
However, just days before Powell's speech, US and British intelligence officials—speaking on condition of anonymity—told the press that the administration's allegations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda ties were based on information provided by Kurdish groups, who, as enemies of Ansar-al-Islam, should not be considered reliable. Furthermore, these sources unequivocally stated that intelligence analysts on both sides of the Atlantic remained unconvinced of the purported links between Iraq and al-Qaeda (see February 3-4, 2003). [Independent, 2/3/03; Telegraph, 2/4/03] Powell also claims that Iraq provided “chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000.” The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim was not substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2003). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/2004; The New York Times, 7/31/2004 Sources: Unnamed administration official] Senior US officials will admit to the New York Times and Washington Post after the presentation that the administration was not claiming that Saddam Hussein is “exercising operational control” of al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 2/6/03b; Washington Post, 2/7/03 Sources: Unnamed senior US State Department officials, Unnamed senior US officials]
Iraq has missiles capable of flying up to 1,200 kilometers - Describing a photo of the al-Rafah weapons site, Powell says: “As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03]
But according to the Associated Press, “... UN missile experts have reported inspecting al-Rafah at least five times since inspections resumed Nov. 27, have studied the specifications of the new test stand, regularly monitor tests at the installation, and thus far have reported no concerns.” [Associated Press, 2/7/03] Similarly, Reuters quotes Ali Jassem, an Iraqi official, who explains that the large stand referred to in Powell's speech is not yet in operation and that its larger size is due to the fact that it will be testing engines horizontally. [Reuters, 2/7/03; Guardian, 2/15/03] Several days later, Blix will report to the UN that “so far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraqis attempted to hide evidence from inspectors - Powell shows the UN Security Council satellite shots depicting what he claims are chemical weapons bunkers and convoys of Iraqi cargo trucks preparing to transport ballistic missile components from a weapons site just two days before the arrival of inspectors. “We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites,” Powell explains. “We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
But the photos are interpreted differently by others. An unnamed UN official and German UN Inspector Peter Franck say the trucks in the photos are actually fire engines. [Mercury News, 3/18/03; Agence France Presse, 6/6/03] Another series of photos—taken during the spring and summer of 2002—show that Iraqis have removed a layer of topsoil from the al-Musayyib chemical complex. This piece of evidence, combined with information provided by an unnamed source, leads Powell to draw the following conclusion: “The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h] Showing another series of pictures—one taken on November 10 (before inspections) and one taken on December 22—Powell says that a guard station and decontamination truck were removed prior to the arrival of inspectors. Powell does not explain how he knows that the truck in the photograph was a decontamination truck. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
Communication intercepts demonstrate Iraqi attempts to conceal information from inspectors - Powell plays recordings of three conversations intercepted by US Intelligence—one on November 26, another on January 30, and a third, a “few weeks” before. The conversations suggest that the Iraqis were attempting to hide evidence from inspectors. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Times, 2/6/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03]
Senior administration officials concede to The Washington Post that it was not known “what military items were discussed in the intercepts.” [Washington Post, 2/13/03] Some critics argue that the intercepts were presented out of context and open to interpretation. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/9/03] Others note that the conversations were translated from Arabic by US translators and were not analyzed or verified by an independent specialist. [Newsday, 2/6/03]
Biological weapons factories - Colin Powell says that US intelligence has “firsthand descriptions” that Iraq has 18 mobile biological weapons factories mounted on trucks and railroad cars. Information about the mobile weapons labs are based on the testimonies of four sources—a defected Iraqi chemical engineer who claims to have supervised one of these facilities, an Iraqi civil engineer (see December 2001), a source in “a position to know,” and a defected Iraqi major (see February 11, 2002). Powell says that the mobile units are capable of producing enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill several thousand people. He shows computer-generated diagrams and pictures based on the sources' descriptions of the facilities. Colin Powell says that according to the chemical engineer, during the late 1990s, Iraq's biological weapons scientists would often begin the production of pathogens on Thursday nights and complete the process on Fridays in order to evade UNSCOM inspectors whom Iraq believed would not conduct inspections on the Muslim holy day. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Reuters, 2/8/02; Washington Post 2/5/03d]
Responding to the allegation, Iraqi officials will concede that they do in fact have mobile labs, but insist that they are not used for the development of weapons. According to the Iraqis, the mobile labs are used for food analysis for disease outbreaks, mobile field hospitals, a military field bakery, food and medicine refrigeration trucks, a mobile military morgue and mobile ice making trucks. [ABC News, 5/21/03; Guardian, 2/5/03] Iraq's explanation is consistent with earlier assessments of the UN weapons inspectors. Before Powell's presentation, Hans Blix had dismissed suggestions that the Iraqis were using mobile biological weapons labs, reporting that inspections of two alleged mobile labs had turned up nothing. “Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and nothing has been found,” Blix said. And Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, said, “The outline and characteristics of these trucks that we inspected were all consistent with the declared purposes.” [The Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Powell's case is further damaged when it is later learned that one of the sources Powell cited, the Iraqi major, had been earlier judged unreliable by intelligence agents at the Defense Intelligence Agency (see February 11, 2002). In May 2002, the analysts had issued a “fabricator notice” on the informant, noting that he had been “coached by Iraqi National Congress” (see May 2002). But the main source for the claim had been an Iraqi defector known as “Curve Ball,” who turned out to be the brother of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi. The source claimed to be a chemical engineer who had helped design and build the mobile labs. His information was passed to Washington through Germany's intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which had been introduced to the source by the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In passing along the information, the BND noted that there were “various problems with the source.” And only one member of the US intelligence community had actually met with the person—an unnamed Pentagon analyst who determined the man was an alcoholic and of dubious reliability. Yet both the DIA and the CIA validated the information. [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03; Newsweek, 4/19/2004; Knight Ridder, 4/4/2004; Knight Ridder, 3/28/2004; Newsweek, 7/19/2004 Sources: Unnamed current and former US intelligence officials, Unnamed Pentagon analyst, Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior German security official] In addition to the inspectors' assessments and the dubious nature of the sources Powell cited, there are numerous other problems with the mobile factories claim. Raymond Zilinskas, a microbiologist and former UN weapons inspector, argues that significant amounts of pathogens such as anthrax, could not be produced in the short span of time suggested in Powell's speech. “You normally would require 36 to 48 hours just to do the fermentation .... The short processing time seems suspicious to me.” He also says: “The only reason you would have mobile labs is to avoid inspectors, because everything about them is difficult. We know it is possible to build them—the United States developed mobile production plants, including one designed for an airplane—but it's a big hassle. That's why this strikes me as a bit far-fetched.” [Washington Post, 2/5/03d] After the Powell's speech, Blix will say in his March 7 report to the UN that his inspectors found no evidence of mobile weapons labs (see March 7, 2003). [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03]
Iraq is developing unmanned drones capable of deliverying weapons of mass destruction - Powell asserts that Iraq has flight-tested an unmanned drone capable of flying up to 310 miles and is working on a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 745 miles. He plays a video of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet dispersing “simulated anthrax.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03f]
But the Associated Press will later report that the video was made prior to the 1991 Gulf War. Apparently, three of the four spray tanks shown in the film had been destroyed during the 1991 military intervention. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Imported Aluminum tubes were meant for centrifuge - Powell argues that the aluminum tubes which Iraq had attempted to import in July 2001 (see July 2001) were meant to be used in a nuclear weapons program and not for artillery rockets as experts from the US Energy Department, the INR, and the IAEA have been arguing (see Before February 5, 2003) (see January 11, 2003) (see January 27, 2003). To support the administration's case, he cites unusually precise specifications and high tolerances for heat and stress. “It strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds US requirements for comparable rockets,” he says. “Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.” Powell also suggests that because the tubes were “anodized,” it was unlikely that they had been designed for conventional use. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 3/8/03]
Powell does not mention that numerous US nuclear scientists have dismissed this claim (see July 2001 and later) (see July 2002) (see October 9, 2002) (see December 2002). [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Powell also fails to mention that Iraq has rockets identical to the Italian Medusa 81 mm rockets, which are of the same dimensions and made of the same alloy as the 3,000 tubes that were intercepted in July 2001 (see Around January 22, 2003). [Washington Post, 8/10/03] This had been reported just two weeks earlier by the Washington Post. [Washington Post, 1/24/03] Moreover, prior to his presentation, Powell was warned by the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research not to cite the aluminum tubes as evidence that Iraq is pursuing nuclear weapons. The Financial Times of London will later report on July 29, 2003: “The bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the State Department's in-house analysis unit, and nuclear experts at the Department of Energy are understood to have explicitly warned Mr. Powell during the preparation of his speech that the evidence was questionable.” [Financial Times, 7/29/03]
Iraq attempted to acquire magnets for use in a gas centrifuge program - Powell says: “We ... have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines. Both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium. In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas centrifuge program before the Gulf War.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b]
Investigation by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] will demonstrate that the magnets have a dual use. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said a little more than a week before, on January 27, in his report to the Security Council: “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements’ . Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” (see January 27, 2003) [Sources: Letter dated January, 27 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council] On March 7, ElBaradei will provide an additional update: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” (see March 7, 2003) [CNN, 3/7/03]
Iraq attempted to purchase machines to balance centrifuge rotors - Powell states: “Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b]

Powell cites the documents removed from the home of Iraqi scientist Faleh Hassan - Powell cites the documents that had been found on January 16, 2003 by inspectors with the help of US intelligence at the Baghdad home of Faleh Hassan, a nuclear scientist. Powell asserts that the papers are a “dramatic confirmation” that Saddam Hussein is concealing evidence and not cooperating with the inspections. The 3,000 documents contained information relating to the laser enrichment of uranium (see January 16, 2003). [The White House, 2/6/03; Hassan, 1/19/03; Telegraph, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03]
A little more than a week later, in the inspectors' February 14 update to the UN Security Council (see February 14, 2003), ElBaradei will say, “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03; Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq is hiding missiles in the desert - Powell says that according to unidentified sources, the Iraqis have hidden rocket launchers and warheads containing biological weapons in the western desert. He further contends that these caches of weapons are hidden in palm groves and moved to different locations on a weekly basis. [The White House, 2/6/03]
It will later be suggested that this claim was “lifted whole from an Iraqi general's written account of hiding missiles in the 1991 war.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq a few dozen scud missiles - Powell also says that according to unnamed “intelligence sources,” Iraq has a few dozen Scud-type missiles. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction - Secretary of State Colin Powell states unequivocally: “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” Elsewhere in his speech he says: “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [US Department of State, 2/5/03; CNN, 2/5/03]

Reaction - The speech does little to change minds on the Security Council. France, Russia, and China remain opposed to the idea of a new resolution that would pave the way for the US to invade Iraq. These countries say that Powell's speech demonstrates that inspections are working and must be allowed to continue. “Immediately after Powell spoke, the foreign ministers of France, Russia and China—all of which hold veto power—rejected the need for imminent military action and instead said the solution was more inspections,” reports The Washington Post. But governments who have been supportive of the United States' aggressive stance remain firmly behind Washington. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
The press' response to Powell's evidence is also mixed. The Times of London, a relatively conservative daily newspaper, describes Powell's presentation as a “few smudgy satellite photographs, a teaspoon of talcum powder, some Lego-style drawings of sinister trucks and trains, a picture of an American U2 spy plane, several mugshots of Arabic men and a script that required a suspension of mistrust by the world's doves.” [Times, 2/6/03] The Washington Post opinion pages, however, are filled with praises for the speech. [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04] The editorial proclaims that after the presentation, it is “hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.” [The Washington Post, 2/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Raymond Zilinskas, Faleh Hassan, Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix, Colin Powell, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein, Iraqi National Congress (INC)  Additional Info 
          

February 12, 2003

       Democratic Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee accuse CIA Director George J. Tenet of sabotaging the weapons inspections by refusing to supply the inspectors with the intelligence they need to do their work. [Independent 2/14/03] Senator Carl M. Levin tells The Washington Post that according to declassified letters he has obtained from the CIA, dated Jan. 24 and Jan. 28, the agency has not provided inspectors with information about a "large number of sites of significant value." Furthermore, the senator charges, the letters contradict on-the-record statements made by Tenet who on February 11 claimed that the US had provided inspectors with all the information it had concerning "high value and moderate value sites." Commenting on this, he says, “When they've taken the position that inspections are useless, they are bound to fail,” adding, “We have undermined the inspectors since the beginning.” [Washington Post, 2/13/03; Independent 2/14/03] Tenet will later acknowledge to Senator Levin—after the US invasion of Iraq—that his comments were not entirely accurate. [New York Times, 2/21/04]
People and organizations involved: Carl Levin, George Tenet
          
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