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Key Events

Key events related to DSM (56)

General Topic Areas

Alleged al-Qaeda ties (83)
Politicization of intelligence (80)
Pre-9/11 plans for war (34)
Weapons inspections (122)
Alleged WMDs (99)
The decision to invade (104)
Internal opposition (29)
Motives (53)
Pre-war planning (30)
Predictions (19)
Legal justification
Propaganda (23)
Public opinion on Iraqi threat (13)
Diversion of Resources to Iraq (8)
Pre-war attacks against Iraq (18)

Specific Allegations

Aluminum tubes allegation (59)
Office of Special Plans (24)
Africa-uranium allegation (95)
Prague Connection (24)
Al Zarqawi allegation (10)
Poisons And Gases (5)
Drones (4)
Biological weapons trailers (18)

Specific cases and issues

Spying on the UN (8)
Outing of Jose Bustani (13)
Powells Speech to UN (13)
Chalabi and the INC (63)

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations (23)
Imminent threat allegations (5)
Iraq ties to terrorist allegations (15)
Nuclear weapons allegations (29)
WMD allegations (9)
Democracy rhetoric (33)
Decision to Invade quotes (16)
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Events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq: US attempts to secure authority to invade Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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February 15, 1848

       In a letter to his law partner, William H. Herndon, Abraham Lincoln disagrees with Herndon's argument for preemptive war. “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion ... and you allow him to make war at pleasure. ... The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.” [Sources: Letter from Abraham Lincoln to William H. Herndon, 2/15/1848]
People and organizations involved: Abraham Lincoln
          

August 2, 1990

       The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 660 condemning Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and demanding that Iraq “withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its forces to the positions in which they were located on 1 August 1990.” [Sources: UN Resolution 660]
People and organizations involved: United Nations Security Council
          

August 2, 1990

       The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 678 authorizing “Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait ... to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area.” [Sources: UN Resolution 678]
People and organizations involved: United Nations Security Council
          

December 16, 1998

       UNSCOM executive chairman Richard Butler orders the withdrawal of weapons inspectors from Iraq accusing the Iraqis of not cooperating. His actions follow a phone conversation with Peter Burleigh, the American representative to the United Nations [New York Times, 12/18/1998] , basically warning Butler that the US intends to strike Iraq. In his book, Saddam Defiant, Butler will recall: “I received a telephone call from US Ambassador Peter Burleigh inviting me for a private conversation at the US mission... Burleigh informed me that on instructions from Washington it would be ‘prudent to take measures to ensure the safety and security of UNSCOM staff presently in Iraq.’... I told him that I would act on this advice and remove my staff from Iraq.” Butler's order to withdraw is made without the permission of the UN Security Council. [Butler, 2000, pp 224; Znet, 7/6/2004] Years later, the American press and government will say that on this day Saddam Hussein “kicked out” inspectors. [Extra!, 10/2002]
People and organizations involved: Peter Burleigh, International Atomic Energy Agency, Richard Butler, United Nations Special Commission
          

October 28, 2001

       The White House repeats its warning to the UN that the US will act if the UN fails to pass a stronger resolution. George Bush says: “Either the UN will do its duty to disarm Saddam Hussein. Or Saddam Hussein will disarm himself. In either case, if they refuse to act ... the US will lead a coalition and disarm Saddam Hussein.” And Ari Fleischer, the White House Press Secretary says, “The United Nations has debated this long enough. The time has come for people to raise their hands and cast their vote.” [Independent, 10/29/02]
          

2002-2003

       In explaining the Bush administration's policy on Iraq, top US officials waver between “disarmament” and “regime change.”
 Additional Info 
          

January 13, 2002

       US and British warplanes strike at least five targets in southern Iraq. The strikes—described by the Washington Post as the “heaviest ... in at least a year” —target an air defense command site at Tallil, 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, and four repeater stations in southeastern Iraq. According to Iraqi sources, civilian targets in the southern city of Basra are also hit. The Iraqis say that six people are injured as a result of the attacks. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003]
          

February 12, 2002

       Secretary of State Colin Powell tells the Senate Budget Committee: “With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.” [CNN, 2/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

March 2002

       A British Foreign Office memo concludes that a proposal to increase the number of US and British aerial attacks on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zone in order to “put pressure on the regime” would violate international law. The memo is later distributed to several high officials as an appendix to a July 21 Cabinet Office briefing paper (see July 21, 2002) meant to prepare officials ahead of a meeting on July 23 (see July 23, 2002). The memo also disputes the United States' contention that the bombings are meant to enforce compliance with UN resolutions 688 and 687, which ordered Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction. “This view is not consistent with resolution 687, which does not deal with the repression of the Iraqi civilian population, or with resolution 688, which was not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and does not contain any provision for enforcement,” it says. [London Times, 6/19/05]
People and organizations involved: British Foreign Office
          

March 14, 2002

       Sir David Manning, the British prime minister's foreign policy adviser, meets with President George Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice. In a summary of the meeting written for Tony Blair, Manning says: “We spent a long time at dinner on Iraq. It is clear that Bush is grateful for your support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a parliament, and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. And you would not budge on your insistence that, if we pursued regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result. Failure was not an option.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2005; Daily Telegraph, 3/21/05; Guardian, 4/21/05 Sources: Memo from David Manning to Tony Blair, 3/14/2002] Manning reports that the “big questions” have not been thoroughly considered by the US president. Bush, he notes, “has yet to find the answers ... [about] how to persuade international opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified” and how to deal with “what happens on the morning after.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Memo from David Manning to Tony Blair, 3/14/2002] With regard to the problem of international opinion, Manning says he suggested to Rice that “[r]enewed refusal by Saddam to accept unfettered inspections would be a powerful argument” in convincing others to support an invasion. [Guardian, 4/21/05; Daily Telegraph, 3/21/05; Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, David Manning
          

March 17, 2002

       British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer attends lunch with Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush administration officials in Washington and assures them that the British would support the use of military force against Iraq. Meyer informs Sir David Manning, Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser, in a memo the following day: “On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with Condi Rice last week. We backed regime change, but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option. It would be a tough sell for us domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in Europe. The US could go it alone if it wanted to. But if it wanted to act with partners, there had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam. I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN SCRs [Security Council Resolutions] and the critical importance of the MEPP [Middle East Peace Process] as an integral part of the anti-Saddam strategy.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2005; BBC, 4/29/05; Guardian, 4/21/05 Sources: Memo from Christopher Meyer to David Manning, 3/18/2002]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Christopher Meyer, Paul Wolfowitz, David Manning
          

May 5, 2002

       Appearing on ABC's “This Week,” Colin Powell says, “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [BBC, 12/19/02; US Department of State, 5/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

July 21, 2002

       The British Cabinet Office issues an eight-page briefing note to prepare officials for an upcoming meeting (see July 23, 2002) on Britain's role in the United States' confrontation with Iraq. The paper, titled “Conditions for Military Action,” addresses a number of issues including US invasion and post-war planning, legal justification for the use of military force, and what the US and British hope to achieve through “regime change.” [London Times, 5/2/05; Newsweek, 6/15/2005 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]
British support for use of military force against Iraq - The briefing summarizes the main points of Prime Minister Tony Blair's April meeting (see April 6-7, 2002) with President Bush, recalling that Blair pledged British support for “military action to bring about regime change” as long as “certain conditions” were met. Blair told Bush that the US and Britain would have to first develop a strategy to build a coalition and “shape public opinion.” Additionally, Britain would prefer that all “options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors [are] exhausted” and that the Israel-Palestine crisis be quiescent before going to war against Iraq. [Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US objectives in Iraq - The briefing paper reports that US military planners see the removal of Saddam Hussein as the primary objective, to be “followed by [the] elimination of Iraqi WMD [weapons of mass destruction].” The briefing notes that within the British government there are doubts that “regime change,” by itself, would be sufficient to gain control over any WMD present in Iraq. [Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

Creating conditions necessary for legal justification - Noting that “US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community,” the briefing paper makes it clear that the British government believes “[r]egime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law.” Because Blair told Bush in April that the British would support military action against Iraq, it will be necessary develop a realistic political strategy that would involve, among other things, working with the US to create “the conditions necessary to justify government military action.” It is suggested in the briefing note that an Iraqi refusal to cooperate with weapons inspections could help create such conditions. Saddam Hussein would “likely” agree to admit inspectors and allow them to operate freely during the first six months of inspections when UNMOVIC is in the process of establishing a monitoring and verification system. After this point, the briefing notes, Hussein would probably begin limiting cooperating with inspectors. This would likely not occur until January 2003. Another alternative—one that would provide a legal basis for “regime change” much sooner—is that “an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject ... and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Daily Telegraph, 5/4/05; Guardian, 5/2/05; London Times, 5/2/05 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US invasion plan - According to the briefing paper, US military planners seem to favor an invasion plan that would provide a “running start” to the ground invasion. It would consist of “[a]ir strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq [that] would lead initially to small-scale land operations.” It would likely begin around November 2002 “with no overt military build-up,” followed by the ground invasion that could commence as early as January 2003. The other option under consideration is the “generated start” plan, which would involve a longer build-up. [London Times, 5/2/05 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US post-war plan - The briefing paper notes that US “military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace” —but with “little thought” to issues such as “the aftermath and how to shape it.” It predicts that a “post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.” The Pentagon's plans “are virtually silent on this point,” the document notes, warning of the possibility that “Washington could look to [the British] to share a disproportionate share of the burden.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, George W. Bush
          

July 23, 2002

       Top British officials attend a meeting to discuss the UK's potential role in the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting, transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British intelligence service, MI6, says that during his last visit to Washington he noticed a “perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” Furthermore, he states, Bush's National Security Council indicated it “had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.” He also noted that there “was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” [Salon (op-ed), 5/6/05; Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05 Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Foreign Minister Jack Straw appears to agree with Dearlove's assessment, saying that it seems clear that President Bush has already decided on using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. But Straw notes that the Bush administration's case against Saddam was “thin.” The Iraqi leader “was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran,” the minutes say, summarizing his remarks. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] There is no indication in the minutes that anyone present at the meeting disputed Dearlove's or Straw's observations. [Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Furthermore, the account provided by the intelligence official and Straw are corroborated by a former senior US official who is later interviewed by Knight Ridder. It is “an absolutely accurate description of what transpired,” the official will say. [Knight Ridder, 5/2/05] Straw proposes that the next step would be to “work up an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors,” which “would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] Britain's attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, warns that “the desire for regime change [is] not a legal base for military action,” the minutes say. But Blair says that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] Finally, the officials agree that the British government “should continue to work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action” but “not ignore the legal issues.” [Guardian, 5/2/05] The minutes do not provide any indication that officials discussed how war might be avoided. [Salon, 6/10/2005] The minutes of this meetings will be revealed by the British Sunday Times three years later (see May 1, 2005). Commonly referred to as the “Downing Street Memo,” the minutes will re-spark the controversy over politicized intelligence.
People and organizations involved: Michael Boyce, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Alastair Campbell, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Dearlove, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Tony Blair  Additional Info 
          

August 5, 2002

       US military planners decide that the operation to depose Saddam Hussein will begin with an air offensive—under the guise of enforcing the so-called “no-fly” zone —and Special Forces operations aimed at weakening Iraqi air defenses. This will begin without any formal declaration or authorization from the UN. Meanwhile the US and British will build up forces in Kuwait in preparation for a full-scale ground invasion. [London Times, 5/29/2005] The tonnage of ordnance dropped on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones will increase dramatically over the next few months (see August 1-31, 2002) (see September 1-30, 2002) (see October 1-31, 2002).
          

August 15, 2002

       Kenneth Adelman, a former Reagan official with close ties to senior Bush aides, “It'll be a piece of cake to get public support. The American people will be 90 percent for it. Almost nobody in Congress will object, and the allies will pipe down.” [The Washington Post, 8/18/02]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Kenneth Adelman
          

August 27, 2002

       Speaking to US Marines of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says: “Leadership in the right direction finds followers and supporters.... It's less important to have unanimity than it is making the right decision and doing the right thing, even though at the outset it may seem lonesome.” [US Department of Defense, 8/27/03; Associated Press, 8/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

Before September 2002

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld orders commanders to focus US and British aerial strikes in Iraq on the country's air defense communications centers, command buildings, and fiber-optic links, in order to degrade Iraq's air defense network. [Washington Post, 12/12/2002; Washington Post, 1/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 2002

       James Woolsey tells the Washington Post: “It's pretty straightforward. France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them..... If they throw in their lot with Saddam, it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraqi government to work with them.” [The Washington Post, 9/15/02]
People and organizations involved: James Woolsey  Additional Info 
          

September 3, 2002

       President Bush invites a group of skeptical Congressional leaders to the White House to solicit their support for action against Iraq. [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 4, 2002 or September 5, 2002

       The Bush administration invites two dozen senators from both parties to the Pentagon to discuss Iraqi policy with Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George J. Tenet. [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

September 4, 2002 or September 5, 2002

       Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director George Tenet meet with senators Trent Lott (R-Miss), Tom Daschle (S-SD), Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), and Richard Gephardt (D-Mo) and, in the words of Cheney, “share the most sensitive information [on Iraq's alleged WMDs] with them.” [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Trent Lott, Richard Gephardt, Dennis Hastert, Tom Daschle, George Tenet
          

September 10, 2002

       In an appearance on Good Morning America with Charlie Gibson, Rumsfeld dismisses the notion that the administration needs to disclose evidence about Iraq's banned weapons to the public before going to war. Gibson asks: “One of the sentinel moments of my life was when John Kennedy went on television and showed satellite photos of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil. Isn't it going to take and do you have that kind of direct evidence?”In response, Rumsfeld states: “You know, the idea of direct evidence is not like a court of law under Article 3 of our Constitution where your goal is to punish somebody for doing something wrong. That really isn't the case here. This is self defense, and the United States task is to see that we don't allow an event to happen that then one has to punish someone.” Gibson then follows with another question: “But you can't go to war without American public support and I'm asking don't you need that kind of direct evidence? Or do you have it, to get the American public support or to get a coalition?” Rumsfeld replies: “The evidence is certainly there. The President has to decide what precisely he believes is the best approach. And one thing he'd say is, the one course of action that's not acceptable is doing nothing.” [Financial Times, 9/11/02; US Department of Defense, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

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, US Congress
          

September 19, 2002

       A group of nineteen House Democrats form a coalition against war in Iraq and draft a resolution advocating multilateral diplomacy. [Washington Times, 9/20/02] Representative Barbara Lee of California sponsors a resolution advocating that “the United States ... work through the United Nations to seek to resolve the matter of ensuring that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction, through mechanisms such as the resumption of weapons inspections, negotiation, enquiry, mediation, regional arrangements, and other peaceful means.” The resolution has twenty-six co-sponsors. [H. Con. Res 473]
People and organizations involved: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors  Additional Info 
          

September 19, 2002

       The White House delivers a draft of a strongly worded resolution to Congress authorizing the president to use “all appropriate means” against Iraq. The 20-paragraph draft includes provisions that would allow Bush to ignore the UN and “use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce” the UN's Security Council resolutions, “defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region.” According to the Associated Press, “Three senior White House aides familiar with the draft said it would give Bush maximum flexibility to confront the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, including an explicit OK to use military force.” Although numerous congresspersons complain that the proposed wording of the resolution would provide Bush with a blank check to use military force anywhere in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, several senators—Democrats and Republicans alike—say that an amended version of the resolution would likely pass. [Associated Press, 9/19/02b; Independent, 9/19/02; Times, 9/19/02 Sources: Proposed Resolution to give Bush authority to use military force against Iraq]
The draft lists several allegations against Iraq, depicting the country as an imminent threat against the US and its citizens. It states that Iraq continues to “possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations, thereby continuing to threaten the national security interests of the United States and international peace and security.” It also claims that Iraq “continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations,” including members of al-Qaeda. [Sources: Proposed Resolution to give Bush authority to use military force against Iraq]

The proposed resolution asserts that the use of military force against Iraq would constitute self-defense. It reads, “Whereas the United States has the inherent right, as acknowledged in the United Nations Charter, to use force in order to defend itself.” [Sources: Proposed Resolution to give Bush authority to use military force against Iraq]

The draft calls on Congress to authorize the president to use military force against Iraq. “The President is authorized to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolutions referenced above, defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region.” [Sources: Proposed Resolution to give Bush authority to use military force against Iraq]

People and organizations involved: US Congress, Bush administration  Additional Info 
          

September 20, 2002

       The White House submits its “National Security Strategy” to Congress. The 33-page document makes it clear that the ultimate objective of its national security policy is to “dissuade future military competition.” The US must therefore “build and maintain our defenses beyond challenge,” it says. “Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States.” The use of military force will not be reserved solely for defense. There may be situations where the US should take preemptive action, it asserts. “To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.” [London Times, 9/21/02] The NSS also states, “We will take the actions necessary to ensure that our efforts to meet our global security commitments and protect Americans are not impaired by the potential for investigations, inquiry, or prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept.” [Sources: National Security Strategy of the United States of America]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Bush administration
          

September 20, 2002

       The Bush administration makes it clear that it will prevent the UN inspectors from going to Iraq under the terms of the current UN resolution. Powell tells the House International Relations Committee, “If somebody tried to move the team in now [before a UN resolution authorizing the use of force is passed], we would find ways to thwart that.” [BBC, 9/20/02; Telegraph, 9/21/02; CNN, 9/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

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. [New York Times, 10/2/02; Guardian, 10/3/02 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, 10/2/02; New York Times, 9/28/02 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). [Times, 9/18/02; BBC, 10/1/02; New York Times, 10/2/02 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; Sydney Morning Herald, 9/30/02; Reuters, 9/29/02]

 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]
          

October 1, 2002

       Senators Richard Lugar and Joseph Biden circulate an alternative to Bush's draft congressional resolution, which the two senators explain, “helps the president attract strong bipartisan support in Congress.” Their proposed resolution focuses on the use of force against Iraq as opposed to the entire region and specifies that the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would be the reason for using military force. Bush rejects the suggested alternative outright, complaining, “I don't want to get a resolution which ties my hands,” instead insisting that Congress pass a resolution that “sends a clear signal that this country is determined to disarm Iraq and thereby bring peace to the world.” Bush says, “My question is, what's changed [since the Congressional resolution passed in 1998]? Why would Congress want to weaken a resolution?” [Guardian, 10/2/2002; Associated Press, 10/1/2002; White House, 10/1/02] Saddam, he continues, is “more of a threat four years later” and “[a]ll of us recognize that the military option is not the first choice, but disarming this man is, because he represents a true threat to the United States.” [Guardian, 10/2/2002; White House, 10/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard Lugar, Joseph Biden, George W. Bush, US Congress
          

October 2, 2002

       The House and Senate draft a joint resolution authorizing the president to use military force against Iraq. The House bill is sponsored by Democrat Richard Gephardt, who meets with the president in the morning to discuss the compromise bill. Bush concedes on a few of Gephardt's requests. The resulting joint resolutions—HJ Res. 114 in the House and SJ Res. 46, in the Senate—give substantially more to President Bush than the other proposals that are under consideration such as the Biden-Lugar initiative and Barbara Lee's HR 473. Gephardt's resolution angers many fellow democrats. [New York Times, 10/3/02 Sources: S.J. Res. 46]
The document alleges, among other things, that Iraq is harboring al-Qaeda operatives, is actively seeking and preparing to use weapons of mass destruction, had gassed its own people, had attempted to assassinate the president's father, and was in violation of past UN resolutions. [Sources: S.J. Res. 46]

The document authorizes the president to use military force to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and ... enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.” [Sources: S.J. Res. 46]

The document requires that the president, within 48 hours of exercising the use of military force, provide Congress with an explanation as to why diplomacy was insufficient to protect the United States or enforce United Nations resolutions. The resolution also requires the president to report to Congress every 60 days during the entire duration of the conflict. [Sources: S.J. Res. 46]

People and organizations involved: US Congress
          

October 3, 2002

       Senator Robert Byrd speaks strongly against the Bush administration's drive towards war with Iraq during a debate over Senate Joint Resolution 46. [Byrd, 10/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Robert C. Byrd
          

October 7, 2002

       British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith, Solicitor-General Harriet Harman and the Financial Times warn British Prime Minister Tony Blair that if his government pursues “a war against Iraq, Britain could be hauled before the International Court of Justice.” [IC Coventry, 10/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Peter Goldsmith, Harriet Harman
          

Before October 10, 2002

       As a group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress are discussing the proposed bill to authorize the use of force against Iraq (see October 2, 2002), President Bush walks in and says: “Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you.” When a senator attempts to ask him a question, Bush snaps back, “Look, I'm not going to debate it with you.” [Time Magazine, 9/6/2004; The New York Times Magazine, 10/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 10, 2002

       The House votes 296 to 133 in favor of HR Res. 114 authorizing the president to use military force against Iraq, in spite of significant opposition from their constituencies. Commenting on the passing of the resolution, The Washington Post reports: “Yesterday's debate often lacked the passion and unpredictability of the 1991 affair, when members sat late into the night listening attentively to a war of words. By contrast, the House chamber was largely empty most of yesterday: the arguments familiar, the outcome certain, the conclusion anticlimactic.” [Washington Post, 10/11/02]
People and organizations involved: US Congress
          

1:15 a.m. October 11, 2002

       Senators vote 77 to 23 in favor of SJ Res. 46 (see October 2, 2002) authorizing the president to use military force against Iraq, despite significant opposition from their constituencies. [Washington Post, 10/11/02 Sources: S.J. Res. 46] Dissident Democrats Senators Carl Levin, Richard Durbin, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, and Mark Dayton attempt to come up with an alternative, SJ Res. 45, but discussion on it is postponed indefinitely by a 75 to 25 vote. [Sources: S.J. Res. 45]
Sen. Carl Levin. SJ Res. 45 with amendments 4858-62 (rejected) - “To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces, pursuant to a new resolution of the United Nations Security Council, to destroy, remove, or render harmless Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons-usable material, long-range ballistic missiles, and related facilities, and for other purposes.” [Sources: S.J. Res. 45 with amendments 4858-62]

Sen. Richard Durbin. SJ Res. 45 with amendments 4865 (rejected) - To amend the authorization for the use of the Armed Forces to cover an imminent threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction rather than the continuing threat posed by Iraq.

Sen. Barbara Boxer. SJ Res. 45 with amendments 4866-67 (not voted on) - “In families with minor children where both parents serve on active duty in the Armed Forces or where both parents are members of the National Guard or Reserves, the Secretary of Defense shall make every effort to ensure that not more than one of the parents is deployed in combat.”

Sen. Robert Byrd. SJ Res. 45 with amendments 4868 (rejected) - To provide statutory construction that constitutional authorities remain unaffected and that no additional grant of authority is made to the president not directly related to the existing threat posed by Iraq. [Sources: S.J. Res. 45 with amendments 4868-69]

Sen. Robert Byrd. SJ Res. 45 with amendments 4869 (rejected) - To provide a termination date for the authorization of the use of the Armed Forces of the United States, together with procedures for the extension of such date unless Congress disapproves the extension. [Sources: S.J. Res. 45 with amendments 4868-69]

Sen. Mark Dayton. S.J. Res. 45 with amendments 4870 (rejected) - Allows the president to prepare for the deployment—not use—of the US Armed Forces. If he determines that the use of force is necessary to protect the US from an imminent threat posed by Iraq, he may request a declaration of war to be voted upon by Congress. [Sources: S.J. Res. 45 with amendments 4870]

People and organizations involved: Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, US Congress, Richard Durbin, Mark Dayton, Robert C. Byrd
          

October 16, 2002

       President Bush signs the congressional resolution (see October 2, 2002) authorizing him to use military force against Iraq. “I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary,” he says shortly before signing the document. “Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action.” He says he has “carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us” and that he will only send troops “as a last resort.” [White House, 10/16/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 18, 2002

       The US and Britain announce that they will act without UN approval if the UN fails to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw warns that the US and Britain will take military action against Iraq with or without UN approval. He says, “We reserve the right to act within international law in respect of the use of force which may or may not be covered by a new resolution. It is entirely appropriate for America, as for us, to reserve their position if the United Nations does not meet its responsibilities.” [BBC, 10/18/02a; BBC, 10/18/2002b] Additionally, the State Department announces that President Bush has the authority to use military force against Iraq in order to disarm it, even if the United Nations fails to back such an action. [Associated Press, 10/19/2002]
          

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, 10/21/02b; Associated Press, 10/21/02] 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.” [CNN, 10/22/02; New York Times, 10/23/02; Telegraph, 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; Washington Post, 10/22/02; Telegraph, 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, 10/21/02b; Associated Press, 10/21/02 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. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Economist, 10/23/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b 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. [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02 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. [ABC News, 10/23/02; Economist, 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]

Reactions - 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: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq, Richard A. Boucher, Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

October 22, 2002

       Russia formally rejects the revised draft. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov states, “The American draft resolution ... does not answer the criteria which the Russian side laid out earlier and which it confirms today.” [Reuters, 10/22/02 Sources: Igor Ivanov]
People and organizations involved: Igor Ivanov
          

October 25, 2002

       Russia offers an alternative draft resolution to the US-British version, which drops Washington's toughest inspection terms and threat of “consequences” if Iraq refuses to comply. Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Gennadi M. Gatilov, criticizes the US-favored resolution, calling it “anti-Iraqi and aimed at possible military action against Iraq in case of any omissions or misunderstandings.” [Washington Post, 10/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Gennadi M. Gatilov
          

October 26, 2002

       France circulates an alternative draft resolution to the US-British version that drops the assertion that Iraq is “in material breach” of Resolution 687 and changes the order of some paragraphs to provide a different emphasis. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin tells reporters: “There is still work to be done, progress to be made and we have said so to our American friends for weeks.... If there is no breakthrough, we shall obviously officially submit our own document.” [Washington Post, 10/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Dominique de Villepin
          

October 27, 2002

       President Bush attends a summit conference in Mexico and fails to secure a pledge of support from Mexican President Vicente Fox for the US-British draft resolution. President Vicente Fox says, “What we need to accomplish is a resolution that is satisfactory to all the parties there in the United Nations. We are listening and talking and we want to search for and do everything possible for a strong resolution.” [Times, 10/28/02] Mexican officials reportedly make “it clear that Mexico is siding with France in the debate at the United Nations.” Mexico's foreign minister, Jorge G. Casteneda, says, “What we want is a resolution that is approved by all 15 or 14 members of the Security Council. We think that's more important for the United States' cause.” [New York Times, 10/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Jorge G. Casteneda, Vicente Fox
          

November 1, 2002

       The US announces that Ireland and Mauritius will vote in favor of the revised version of the US-British draft resolution, thus giving the US and Britain the required majority to pass their resolution. “We're done,” announces one US official. “We are confident that we have a majority, and we are looking to end the diplomatic process next week.” France and Russia, meanwhile standby their criticisms of the resolution. [Baltimore Sun, 11/2/2002]
          

November 2002-March 2003

       The Bush administration disagrees with the United Nations and other member states over what precisely should qualify as a “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441. The UN and other nations believe that only serious violations should count. The US, however, takes the position that any violation, no matter how small, should be considered a material breach and thus sufficient cause for using military force against Iraq. The difference in opinion is acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who says, “The US does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have” to justify the use of military force. He also says, “I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something.” President Bush, reflecting the stance of his hawkish advisors, says the Security Council should have “zero tolerance,” implying that even minor infractions could be considered a “material breach.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney contend that the delay of, or omissions and inaccuracies in, Iraq's early December declaration would constitute a breach. And Iraq is warned to this effect. During a dinner meeting on November 18, Hans Blix reminds a close aide to Saddam Hussein that a failure to meet the deadline would be considered by the United States to be a “material breach.” [Independent, 11/20/02; Observer, 12/8/02; US Department of State 11/21/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kofi Annan
          

November 2002-March 2003

       Top US officials and policy advisors make repeated statements warning that the US is ready to unilaterally invade Iraq if the UN fails to back the use of military force.
 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 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. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 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.” [The Washington Post, 12/12/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 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. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; 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. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; 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, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Reuters, 11/15/02; Washington Post, 11/16/02 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. [Guardian, 11/7/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02 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, Andrew Card, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

November 13, 2002

       Bush reiterates the White Houses' interpretation of UN Resolution 1441: “I have told the United Nations we'll be glad to consult with them, but the resolution does not prevent us from doing what needs to be done, which is to hold Saddam Hussein into account. We hope that he disarms, we hope that he will listen to the world.” [White House, 11/13/02; Associated Press, 11/13/02b]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 14, 2002

       Colin Powell hints that the US might view Iraqi attempts to shoot down coalition aircraft in the so-called “no-fly” zone as a breach of UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). “If they [Iraqis] were to take hostile acts against the United States or United Kingdom aircraft patrolling in the northern and (southern) no-fly zone, then I think we would have to look at that with great seriousness if they continue to do that,” he says after a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham in Ottawa. [Associated Press, 11/14/02; The Washington Post, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

November 15, 2002

       US and British warplanes attack a radar installation in southern Iraq near Al Najaf about 85 miles southeast of Baghdad at around 2:50 EST after Iraqi air defenses fired on “coalition” aircraft that were patrolling the southern “no-fly” zone. This is the first such incident to have occurred after the passing of UN resolution 1441. The US- and British- imposed “no-fly” zones have never been recognized by the UN and the two countries' jurisdiction over the zones has no legal basis. Iraq has consistently regarded this “patrolling” as a violation of its airspace and as a threat to its security. US and British warplanes have attacked Iraqi targets more than forty times during the 2002. After the attacks, the Bush administration claims that Iraq's action was a violation of UN Resolution 1441. [Associated Press, 11/15/02; United Press International, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; Washington Post, 11/16/02; Washington Post, 11/17/02]
          

November 18, 2002

       US and British warplanes attack sites northeast of Mosul after Iraqi defense forces fire anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones. In a separate incident, warplanes attack two Iraqi air defense communications facilities and one air defense radar site in southern Iraq in Wassit and Dhi Oar after “Iraqi air defenses fired multiple surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft.” [Reuters, 11/19/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02; Scotsman, 11/19/02; New York Times, 11/19/2002] According to Iraqi authorities, four Iraqi civilians were wounded as a result of the attacks in southern Iraq. [Associated Press, 11/20/02] White House spokesperson Scott McClellan says in a press briefing, “The United States believes that firing upon our aircraft in the no-fly zone, or British aircraft, is a violation—it is a material breach.” [White House, 11/18/02; New York Times, 11/19/02] And Donald Rumsfeld, who is in Chile, says: “I do find it unacceptable that Iraq fires. It is for the president of the United States and the UN Security Council to make judgments about their view of Iraq's behavior over a period of time.” [CNN, 11/23/02; Telegraph, 11/19/02; New York Times, 11/19/02] This is the second time the US has bombed Iraq since the passing of UN resolution 1441. The US will conduct at least 22 more aerial attacks on Iraq before the March 19, 2003 invasion. [Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace] UN officials disagree with Washington's assessment. Secretary-General Kofi Annan states, “Let me say that I don't think that the council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council.” [Reuters, 11/19/02; Reuters, 11/19/02; Peoples Weekly World News, 11/23/02; Independent, 11/20/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02] Responding to Annan's remarks, Rumsfeld argues, “I don't know that he (Annan) necessarily reflects the UN, the center of gravity of the Security Council, on any particular issue at any particular time.... Whenever resolutions are passed, they tend to be compromises, and there tend to be calculated ambiguities written into them to gain votes. So it does not come as a surprise to me.... The United Nations sat there for years with 16 resolutions being violated. So, just as we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of Saddam Hussein, we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of the United Nations.” [US Department of Defense, 11/19/02; CNN, 11/19/02] No comments supporting the US position are made by the British. [Telegraph, 11/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan  Additional Info 
          

November 20, 2002

       On the eve of a 2-day NATO summit in Prague, Czech Republic, President Bush says in an address to the Prague Atlantic Student Summit: “Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, he will have entered his final stage with a lie. And deception this time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the severest of consequences. America's goal, the world's goal, is more than the return of inspectors to Iraq. Our goal is to secure the peace through the comprehensive and verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Voluntary or by force, that goal will be achieved.” [White House, 11/20/02; New York Times, 11/21/02]
          

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 21-22,2002

       A NATO summit is convened in Prague to welcome the Eastern European states of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who will become members of the alliance in 2004. These seven countries, along with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, release a statement, which says, “NATO allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UN [Resolution] 1441.” The statement also says, “[W]e are prepared to contribute to an international coalition to enforce its provisions and the disarmament of Iraq.” Bruce Jackson, a former US Defense Department official who heads a Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, helps draft the statement. France also releases a statement, which is a bit less confrontational. A French official explains to the London Telegraph that the Eastern states' statement was “his [Bush's] own interpretation [of UN Resolution 1441] and we do not share it. On December 8, we will take note of what Iraq says it has ... and we will see if its behavior is consistent with its statement.” Germany remains opposed to the use of military force. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer tells reporters, “We are against military action. We don't support military action. We want the possibility not to become the reality.” [Agence France Press, 11/20/02; Telegraph, 11/22/2002; New York Times, 11/22/2002] On the night of November 21, in an interview with Dan Rather of CBS news, Powell also makes the US position clear. He says, “If the [December 8] declaration is patently false and everybody can see it. If he does not let the inspectors do their job, then the president is fully ready to take the necessary step, which is military force.” [US Department of State, 11/21/02] Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is also in town for the summit. Before he leaves Prague to meet with Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda in Slovakia, he says he will not believe Iraq if its declaration claims Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. [Associated Press, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Bruce Jackson, Colin Powell, Joschka Fischer
          

December 2002

       US military officials admit that they recently used an incident of Iraqi fire on jets in the northern “no-fly” zone to justify an attack against targets in southern Iraq. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003]
          

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 
          

December 4, 2002

       During a question and answer period following President Bush's signing of the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, the president is asked about the weapon inspectors' progress in Iraq and if he believes “the signs are not encouraging that they're doing their job.” Bush responds: “This isn't about inspectors. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein will disarm. Will he disarm in the name of peace.” He also condemns Iraq's shooting of US and British planes that have been patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones over northern and southern Iraq (see June 2002-March 2003) and contends that these actions demonstrate that Saddam does not intend to comply with UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). Bush also implies that no decision has been made to use military force against Iraq. “The best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm,” he insists. “It's up to him to make his decision.” [White House, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

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.” [Washington Post, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02; Ireland Online, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02b] 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. [The Strait Times, 12/20/02; CNN, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: John Negroponte, Hans Blix, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

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; Reuters, 12/31/01; New Zealand Herald, 1/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan
          

(January 2003)

       US military officials insist that US and British aerial attacks against targets in Iraq are being conducted only in response to Iraqis firing on planes patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones. The increased number of aerial strikes (see June 2002-March 2003) is a response, they say, to Iraq's increased hostility toward US and British jets, not preparation for a ground attack as some critics have suggested. “The Iraqi regime has increased its attacks on the coalition, so the coalition has increased its efforts to protect its pilots,” Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the US Central Command in Tampa, says. “Every coalition action is in direct response to Iraqi hostile acts against our pilots, or the regime's attempts to materially improve its military infrastructure south of the 33rd parallel.” But according to the Washington Post, these officials have also “acknowledge[d] that military planners are taking full advantage of the opportunity to target Iraq's integrated air defense network for destruction in a systemic fashion that will ease the way for US air and ground forces if President Bush decides war is the only option for disarming Iraq.” Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute who has ties to defense contractors and the Pentagon, says the attacks on Iraq's southern air defenses will allow the US military “to send in almost anything it wants—bombers, fighters, and helicopters with Special Operations Forces” when the official invasion begins. It will also make it safer for the slow-moving C-17 transports to move troops inside Iraq. Similarly, retired Air Force Col. John Warden, who helped plan the US air campaign against Iraq in 1991, explains, “Anything that would need to be knocked out that is knocked out now saves some sorties once the war starts.” The attacks, he notes, have “some obvious value in the event of a war.” Anthony H. Cordesman, a former defense official at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also disputes the notion that the increased US air attacks are purely retaliatory. “You enforce containment when you carry out these strikes, and you deter Iraq from any kind of military adventure,” he explains. “And when you conduct these strikes, you are preparing part of the battleground for a war.” [Washington Post, 1/15/2003]
          

January 2003-March 2003

       Officials in the Bush administration debate whether or not they will seek a second UN resolution prior to invading Iraq. The debate centers on the issue of whether or not France and “other reluctant allies” will give in to US demands. The New York Times reports on January 17 that officials plan “to confront France, Germany and other skeptics of military action against Iraq by demanding that they agree publicly that Iraq had defied the United Nations Security Council.” Some officials believe that these nations can eventually be won over using a variety of incentives, including promises of contracts in post-Saddam Iraq. Other officials, however, believe that France will never submit to the US request, and are of the opinion that the US should “not bother to seek a second resolution condemning Iraq and authorizing the use of force.” [New York Times, 1/23/03 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration officials] Though the existence of this debate is a matter of the public record by mid-January, what is not known at this time is that some of those involved are probably obtaining their information from a “dirty-tricks” surveillance campaign that the intelligence services of the US, Britain, and possibly Australian, are conducting on the UN delegates of other UN Security Council members states (see January 31, 2003).
          

January 8, 2003

       Britain urges the Bush administration to hold off its planned invasion of Iraq. A senior Whitehall source tells the Telegraph of London, “The Prime Minister has made it clear that, unless there is a smoking gun, the inspectors have to be given time to keep searching.” Britain's softening on its position towards Iraq is attributed to the acknowledgement among its ministers and senior officials that there is no legal case for using military action against Iraq. [Telegraph, 1/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior Whitehall source]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair
          

January 9, 2003

       US officials and advisors reject British suggestions—revealed the previous day—that the war be put off (see January 8, 2003). Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, says that the Bush administration is under no obligation to abandon its war plans on account of opposition from the UN Security Council. He says, “I'm assuming that we will not get a consensus on the Security Council but it may be possible to get it.... It would be a great mistake to become dependent on it and take the view that we can't act separately.... That would be an abrogation of the president's responsibility.... If there's no change in Saddam's attitude I think there'll be a reluctance to continue this without a clear indication that our patience will be rewarded by a UN Security Council consensus.... A consensus would be a useful thing and I think we'd be willing to wait a little longer to get it but not a long time.... We might be acting without a resolution from the UN authorizing it but I think the administration can make a strong case that Saddam's defiance of a variety of resolutions passed previously could be understood to justify military action.” [Telegraph, 1/10/03] And John Negroponte, the American Ambassador to the UN, also dismisses widespread objections to US aggression, asserting that any instances of Iraqi non-cooperation will “constitute further material breach,” regardless of what the UN ultimately decides. [Washington Post, 1/10/03; The Times, 1/10/03; Reuters, 1/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Perle, John Negroponte
          

January 19, 2003

       Top Bush administration officials appear to suggest that war can be avoided if Saddam Hussein steps down. Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC's “This Week” says, “I ... personally would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country, and I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war.” He also says that if Saddam goes into exile he might be granted immunity from prosecution for war crimes. Similarly, Colin Powell says on CNN, “I think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off, and this whole situation would be resolved, if Saddam Hussein ... his sons and the top leadership of the regime would leave.” [New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; ABC, 1/19/03; CNN, 1/20/03; CNN, 1/19/03; Agence France Presse, 1/19/03] It is not clear, however, if Rumsfeld and Powell's comments are sincere, or if they are just trying to appear as though they are providing Saddam Hussein with an alternative to military confrontation. Their comments are seemingly contradicted by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice who says on NBC's “Meet the Press” , “I ... think that it is unlikely that this man is going to come down in any other way than to be forced.” [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75993,00.html; New York Times, 1/20/03b]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell
          

January 27, 2003

       President Bush receives a letter signed by more than 120 members of the House of Representatives urging him “to use the opportunity provided in the upcoming State of the Union Address to offer assurances both to the American people and the international community that the United States remains committed to the diplomatic approach and comprehensive inspections process agreed to in the UN Security Council.” The letter is written by Representatives Sherrod Brown and Ron Kind. In it they argue that Bush should “sufficiently weigh future decisions regarding Iraq on the assessment given by UNMOVIC/IAEA, including additional inspection time and resources as appropriate.” The letter emphasizes: “Your commitment to working through the UN Security Council and your vocal support for Resolution 1441 are critical to UNMOVIC/IAEA's eventual success.” The anti-war organization, moveon.org, plays a large role in influencing the representatives' decision to sign the letter. The group had helped coordinate hundreds of visits by concerned citizens to the offices of their congresspersons demanding that they sign the letter. [The Nation, 1/27/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Sherrod Brown, Ron Kind, Move-On [.org]
          

Late January 2003

       British officials order translators and analysts working at the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to cooperate with a US surveillance operation (see January 31, 2003), which is targeting diplomats from the “swing nations” on the Security Council—Chile, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan. China, too, is likely a target of the mission. The espionage operation is “designed to help smooth the way for a second UN resolution authorizing war in Iraq.” [The Observer, 2/8/04 Sources: Unnamed sources close to the intelligence services] The surveillance campaign is likely known to the director-general of GCHQ, David Pepper, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, “who has overall responsibility for GCHQ.” [The Observer, 2/8/04] The operation reportedly causes “significant disquiet in the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic.” [The Observer, 2/8/04]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw, David Pepper
          

January 31, 2003

       Frank Koza, chief of staff in the “Regional Targets” division of the US National Security Agency (NSA), which “spies on countries that are viewed as strategically important for United States interests,” emails a memo to senior NSA officials and the intelligence officials of certain unspecified foreign governments. The memo calls for the surveillance of the New York City homes and offices of UN delegates from countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan. According to The Observer, the memo suggests that the surveillance operation should include the “interception of ... [their] home and office telephones and the emails....” The memo discusses the need to learn how the member states would vote on future resolutions submitted to the UN Security Council by the US and Britain. It refers to the importance of learning and understanding the “policies,” “negotiating positions,” “alliances” and “dependencies” —the “whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises.” Intelligence resulting from the surveillance would be used for the United States' “QRC,” or Quick Response Capability, “against” the key delegations. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, London Observer reporter Martin Bright, who helps expose the operation, will say that he believes the US motive for extending surveillance to the homes of UN delegates might have been to obtain incriminating personal information— “information which could be used against those delegates.” The spy operation is requested by US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Other Bush administration officials, however, reportedly oppose the operation because of fears that its discovery could result in serious consequences. According to Professor John Quigley of Ohio University, “While the bugging of foreign diplomats at the UN is permissible under the US Foreign Intelligence Services Act, it is a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” US intelligence experts interviewed by The Observer say that an operation like this would have been known to Donald Rumsfeld, CIA director George Tenet and NSA Chief General Michael Hayden. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03; The Observer, 3/2/03; The Observer, 3/9/03 Sources: January 31, 2003 NSA Memo]
People and organizations involved: Michael Hayden, Condoleezza Rice, Frank Koza, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet  Additional Info 
          

February 2003-March 2003

       The British join the US (see Mid-February 2003-March 2003) in a campaign to pressure UN Security Council members to commit to voting in favor of a second UN resolution. “[E]normous pressure was brought to bear,” British cabinet member Claire Short will later tell the BBC, who cites as an example the efforts of Valerie Amos. According to Short, Amos “went round Africa with people from our intelligence services trying to press them” to support a second resolution. “I had to make sure that we didn't promise a misuse of aid in a way that would be illegal,” she added. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3489372.stm Sources: Valerie Anne Amos, Claire Short]
People and organizations involved: Claire Short, Valerie Anne Amos
          

February 3-4, 2003

       The Independent reports on February 3 that according to security sources in London, Colin Powell will attempt to link Iraq to al-Qaeda in his February 5 presentation to the UN. But the sources say that intelligence analysts in both Washington and London do not believe such links exist. [Independent, 2/3/03 Sources: Unnamed British intelligence sources] This is followed by a report the next day in the London Telegraph, reporting that the Bush administration's insistence of a link between al-Zarqawi, Ansar al-Islam, and Saddam Hussein “has infuriated many within the United States intelligence community.” The report cites one unnamed US intelligence source who says, “The intelligence is practically non-existent,” and explains that the claim is largely based on information provided by Kurdish groups, which are enemies of Ansar al-Islam. “It is impossible to support the bald conclusions being made by the White House and the Pentagon given the poor quantity and quality of the intelligence available. There is uproar within the intelligence community on all of these points, but the Bush White House has quashed dissent.” [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03 Sources: Unnamed US and British intelligence sources] The Telegraph predicts that “if Mr. Powell tries to prove the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the whole thing could fall apart,” explaining that the veto-wielding Security Council members, “France, Russia, and China ... all have powerful intelligence services and their own material on al-Qaeda and they will know better than to accept the flimsy evidence of a spurious link with Baghdad.” [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein, Colin Powell
          

February 3, 2003

       Colin Powell says that his upcoming presentation to the UN will include “no smoking gun.” Rather it will be “a straightforward and compelling demonstration that Saddam is concealing evidence of weapons of mass destruction, while preserving the weapons,” he says. [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

February 5, 2003

       The Australian Senate passes a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister John Howard and his conservative Liberal/National coalition for deploying troops to the Persian Gulf to support America's anticipated invasion against Iraq. “The prime minister has made a unilateral decision and sent 2,000 of our defense personnel off to a war undeclared in the northern hemisphere without any cogent explanation of his actions,” argues the Labor Party's leader in the Senate, John Faulkner. Seventy-six percent of Australians oppose a US-led invasion of Iraq. Fifty-seven percent say they would support one only if it has UN backing. [BBC, 2/5/03]
People and organizations involved: John Faulkner
          

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; Bamford, 2004, pp 371-2] 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. [Washington Post, 2/6/03d; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03]

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). [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03; Independent, 2/3/03] 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, 2004). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/04; The New York Times, 7/31/04 Sources: Unnamed administration official] Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, will later say that neither he nor Powell ever received “any dissent with respect to those lines � indeed the entire section that now we know came from [al-Libi].” [Newsweek, 11/10/2005] 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. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b Sources: Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior US State Department 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.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03]
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?” [Washington Post, 2/6/03; The White House, 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. [Washington Post, 2/6/03h; The White House, 2/6/03; 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; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03; Times, 2/6/03; The White House, 2/6/03]
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, 2/9/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03] 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 20, 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. [Washington Post 2/5/03d; Reuters, 2/8/02; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03]
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. [Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] 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 “Curveball,” 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. [Newsweek, 4/19/04; Newsweek, 7/19/04; Knight Ridder, 3/28/04; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03; Knight Ridder, 4/4/04 Sources: Unnamed Pentagon analyst, Unnamed current and former US intelligence officials, 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). [Blix, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 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.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03f; The White House, 2/6/03]
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 February 3, 2003) (see January 11, 2003) (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (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 (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see September 23, 2002) (see December 2002). [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Powell also fails to say 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 After 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, just two days before, Powell was explicitly 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 (see February 3, 2003). [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.” [New York Times, 2/6/03b; New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03]

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; Daily 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.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03; BBC, 2/17/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
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.” [Washington Post, 2/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Raymond Zilinskas, Faleh Hassan, Hans Blix, Iraqi National Congress, Colin Powell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein  Additional Info 
          

February 12, 2003

       A BBC poll finds that 90 percent of Britain's oppose British participation in a war against Iraq without a UN resolution and 45 percent oppose an invasion of Iraq under any conditions. [BBC, 2/12/02]
          

February 20, 2003

       Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the US and Britain are pressuring inspectors “to discontinue their operations in Iraq ... or to pressure them into coming up with assessments that would justify the use of force.” [Associated Press, 2/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Igor Ivanov
          

February 22 or 23, 2003

       President Bush telephones Mexican President Vicente Fox to discuss Mexico's stance on Iraq. Shortly after the phone call, the Mexican government issues a 2-page policy directive backing Bush's policy on Iraq. It states that its position is that Iraq must disarm immediately and makes no mention of the weapons inspections. “Nothing is more urgent, no time can be lost in achieving this objective,” it says. The last point of the directive notes the importance of Mexico's relationship with the United States and the need to have a policy based on Mexico's national interests. “We know that this issue is of critical importance to the United States and to the Bush administration,” the directive also says. [Associated Press, 2/26/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Vicente Fox
          

February 24, 2003

       The United States, Britain and Spain submit a draft to the UN Security Council for a second resolution declaring Iraq in “further material breach” of previous UN resolutions. The draft claims that the declaration Iraq submitted to the UN Security Council on December 7, 2002 (see December 7, 2002) contained “false statements and omissions” and that Iraq “has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of” UN Resolution 1441. Meanwhile France, Russia and Germany field an alternative plan aimed at achieving peaceful disarmament with more rigorous inspections over a period of five months. China expresses support for the alternative plan despite efforts by Powell to convince its government to support the more aggressive proposal. [Fox News, 2/24/03 Sources: US/UK/Spain Draft Resolution, February 24, 2003] At this point, it seems that only Bulgaria will support the American-British-Spanish resolution. Eleven of the fifteen council members have indicated that they favor allowing the inspectors to continue their work. Fox News suggests that the US may be able to convince some countries—like Angola, Guinea and Cameroon—to support the resolution since “there is the possibility that supporting the resolution may reap financial benefits from the United States.” [Fox News, 2/24/03]
          

February 28, 2003

       US special envoy to Latin America Otto Reich meets with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos of Santiago to discuss Chile's position on the US-British-Spanish UN draft resolution declaring Iraq in further material breach of past UN resolutions. Prior to the meeting, Chile had been openly against the passing of another resolution. But after Reich's visit, the president says that force should be used against Iraq if it does not comply with the UN, but “by a broad coalition of countries.” [The Washington Post, 3/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo Lagos, Otto Juan Reich
          

March 2003

       Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a British Foreign Office lawyer, resigns in protest of the decision to invade Iraq without UN authorization. Wilmshurst was one of the lawyers who wrote a March 2002 legal advice (see March 2002) concluding that intensifying aerial attacks on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zone in order to put pressure on Iraq's government would be a violation of international law. [London Times, 6/19/05]
People and organizations involved: Elizabeth Wilmshurst
          

March 2003

       Diplomats from 6 UN Security Council member-states secretly meet one night to write an alternative resolution to the US-British-Spanish draft (see February 24, 2003). The compromise resolution would give UN weapons inspectors additional time to complete their work. But the next morning, a US diplomat contacts the Mexicans and tells them not to proceed with the alternative draft. Former Mexican Ambassador to the UN Aguilar Zinser will tell the Associated Press almost a year later: “Only the people in that room knew what that document said. Early the next morning, I received a call from a US diplomat saying the United States found that text totally unacceptable.” [The Observer, 2/15/04; Associated Press, 2/12/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] “'When they [the US] found out, they said, ‘You should know that we don't like the idea and we don't like you to promote it.’ ” Zinser will also tell The Observer. [The Observer, 2/15/04] Aguilar Zinser believes that US knowledge of the secret initiative meant that the meeting had been under surveillance. “It was very obvious to the countries involved in the discussion on Iraq that we were being observed and that our communications were probably being tapped,” Aguilar Zinser will later explain to the Associated Press. “The information was being gathered to benefit the United States.” [Associated Press, 2/12/04; The Observer, 2/15/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] Chile will make similar claims, saying that its UN mission telephones were under surveillance. [Associated Press, 2/12/04]
People and organizations involved: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser
          

March 4, 2003

       Powell tells Russia's ORT television station, “We would prefer not to have a war. Nobody wants war.” [US Department of State, 3/4/03]
          

March 6, 2003

       During a televised national press conference, President Bush states that the US will call for a vote in the UN Security Council, regardless of the anticipated vote. A reporter asks, “[T]he Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren't sure you have the vote?” Bush responds: “No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.” But 11 days later, Bush will announce that the US will not call for a vote, saying, “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.” The decision is made not to seek a second resolution when it becomes apparent that it would not pass. [White House, 3/6/03; CNN, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 7, 2003

       UN diplomats debate the text of an amendment to the American-British-Spanish draft resolution that will give Iraq a March 17 deadline to disarm. The amendment, submitted by the British, demands that Iraq demonstrate “full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations.” Notably, the resolution does not provide any specific means for the UN to measure Iraqi compliance, thus requiring that any judgment concerning Iraq's level of cooperation be arbitrary. [Guardian, 3/8/03; CNN, 3/7/02] A diplomat tells CNN, that he has “a better chance of getting a date with Julia Roberts than Iraq has of complying in 10 days.” [CNN, 3/7/02] There is significant opposition to the text of this draft and a diplomat tells CNN that the resolution will likely be defeated by a landslide. France, Russia, and China believe that the inspections should be given more time. France's Foreign minister says he will veto the resolution. “We cannot accept an ultimatum as long as the inspectors are reporting cooperation,” he says, adding: “That would mean war. By imposing a deadline of a few days, would we be reduced to seeking a pretext for war? France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force.” [Guardian, 3/8/03; CNN, 3/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Dominique de Villepin
          

March 17, 2003

       In a televised address to the nation, shortly before the US officially begins its invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush justifies the need to use military force. He asserts that the US has “pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war,” but that Iraq “has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament.” He maintains that Iraq “continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” and “has aided, trained, and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda.” “Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed,” he insists. Bush then gives Saddam Hussein an ultimatum, warning the Iraqi leader that if he and his sons do not leave Iraq within 48 hours, the US will use military force to topple his government. The choice is his, Bush says. “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” He assures Iraqis that the US will liberate them and bring them democracy and warns Iraq's military not to destroy its country's oil wells or obey orders to deploy weapons of mass destruction. [US President, 3/17/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 17, 2003

       British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith issues a statement that the use of force against Iraq would be legal, citing three UN resolutions. But a month earlier, Goldsmith warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair that an invasion could be illegal without a second UN resolution. [Associated Press, 2/28/04; BBC, 2/29/04; Sunday Herald, 2/29/04; Independent, 2/29/04] It is later revealed that his change in opinion was a result of pressure from top British officials after senior British military officers had warned Downing Street that they would not participate in the war unless they were certain that neither they nor their men could eventually be tried for war crimes. [The Observer, 2/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Peter Goldsmith
          

March 18, 2003

       Bush sends a letter to Congress justifying the invasion of Iraq. First, he has determined that further diplomacy will not protect the US. Second, he is “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” [White House, 3/18/03] This mimics language from a bill passed by Congress in October 2002 (see 1:15 a.m. October 11, 2002), which granted Bush the power to declare war against Iraq if a link with the 9/11 attacks is shown and several other conditions are met. [White House, 10/2/02] But there is no evidence linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, a simple fact that even Bush has acknowledged (see January 31, 2003).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Congress
          

March 19, 2003

       The US begins its official invasion of Iraq. The attack begins with an attempted “decapitation attack” aimed at killing Saddam Hussein and other top Iraqi officials that fails. [CNN, 3/20/2003 (B); CNN, 3/20/03] Other countries, known collectively as the “coalition of the willing,” lend various degrees of support to the invasion. The group includes Britain, Australia, Poland, and several second- and third- world countries that had been pressured by the US to support the invasion. [BBC, 3/18/03]
          

March 25, 2003

       Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo pass a resolution declaring the war on Iraq to be a “violation of the United Nations Charter (see 1942) ” and a “threat to world peace.” They demand an unconditional withdrawal of US and British forces from Iraq. The resolution is adopted unanimously by the 22-member League except for key US ally Kuwait. [BBC, 3/25/03] The Bush administration has repeatedly claimed that one of the reasons for invading Iraq was because Saddam Hussein's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to its neighbors (see January 10, 2001) (see February 24, 2001) (see August 15, 2002) (see 9:00 a.m. September 8, 2002).
          

Mid-February 2003-March 2003

       The Bush administration quietly sends US diplomats to meet with the top officials of several UN Security Council member states in an attempt to influence their vote on any future resolutions on Iraq. A US diplomat tells the Associated Press, “The order from the White House was to use ‘all diplomatic means necessary,’ and that really means everything.”
Mexico - Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Kim Holmes, the assistant secretary of state for international organizations, are sent to Mexico City, where they encounter stiff resistance. The American diplomats reportedly warn Mexican officials, “Any country that doesn't go along with us will be paying a very heavy price.” Henry Kissinger also makes a trip to Mexico warning its officials that the Bush administration would be “very unhappy” if Mexico opposes the US at the UN. Towards the end of the month, US Ambassador Tony Garza says that Congress might attempt to punish Mexico economically if it fails to support the US position at the UN. [The Washington Post, 3/1/03; Associated Press, 2/24/03 Sources: Unnamed Mexican diplomat]
A Mexican diplomat describes the pressure as “very intense” and adds that “the warnings are real” and having an impact on Mexican President Vincent Fox. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar also visits Mexico, but fails to get its support for a second resolution. [Associated Press, 2/24/03 Sources: Unnamed Mexican diplomat] Mexico proves to be one of the most difficult countries to win over to the US side because there is “little the Bush administration [can] use to scare or entice Mexico now since it does not receive US aid and the one thing it had wanted most—legalizing the status of undocumented Mexicans in the United States—was taken off the table more than one year ago.” Additionally, the Mexican congress, its news media, and 75% of the Mexican population are strongly opposed to an invasion of Iraq. Even more threatening to US hopes for a second resolution is a pact between Mexico and Chile. The two governments agreed that each will abstain if the US, Britain, France, Russia and China fail to come to an agreement. Commenting on the deal, a Chilean diplomat tells the Associated Press, “We're just not going to be used or bought off by either side.” But James R. Jones, a former US ambassador to Mexico, predicts that Fox will likely capitulate to Mexican business interests, which are dependent on a close relationship with the US. “If Mexico is not going to be good neighbors politically, it's going to hurt them economically,” he says. [The Washington Post, 3/1/03; Associated Press, 2/26/03; Associated Press, 2/24/03]
Angola, Guinea and Cameroon - On February 24, US Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner meets with Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda. Speaking of Angola's relationship with the US, Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins tells the Associated Press, “For a long time now, we have been asking for help to rebuild our country after years of war,” and adds, “No one is tying the request to support on Iraq but it is all happening at the same time.” A US diplomat tells the news service, “In Africa, the message is simple: time is running out and we think they should support us.” [Associated Press, 2/24/03]
A major issue for Guinea and Cameroon is the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives African exporters preferential access to American markets. The act stipulates that beneficiaries must not “engage in activities that undermine US national security or foreign policy interests.” Angola is not currently eligible for the benefits provided under AGOA because of political corruption and its poor human rights record. But the US is considering overlooking these abuses in exchange for supporting its policy on Iraq. [Times, 3/8/03]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Walter Kansteiner, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Marc Grossman, Jose Maria Aznar, Kim Holmes, Henry A. Kissinger, James R. Jones
          

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]
          

August 18, 2003

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directs his undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Stephen Cambone, to send Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to Iraq to review the US military prison system in Iraq and make suggestions on how the prisons can be used to obtain “actionable intelligence” from detainees. Cambone passes the order on to his deputy Lt. Gen. William Boykin who meets with Miller to plan the trip. [Washington Post, 5/21/2004; Newsweek, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, William Boykin, Stephen A. Cambone, Geoffrey D. Miller
          

November 19, 2003

       Prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, speaking at an event organized by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, says of the invasion of Iraq: “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.” According to Perle, who is a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, “international law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone.” [Guardian, 11/20/2003]
People and organizations involved: Richard Perle
          

December 2003

       The Mexican government sends a series of diplomatic letters to British Foreign Minister Jack Straw asking the minister if the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on UN Security Council member states prior to the US-British invasion of Iraq. [Reuters, 2/14/04; The Observer, 2/15/04] To date, no response has been received. Nor has the British Foreign Office responded to inquiries from the press.
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

March 25, 2005

       In a memo to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw advises the prime minister on his upcoming visit to Crawford, Texas (see April 6-7, 2002), where he is to discuss Britain's role in the US confrontation with Iraq. Straw says that they “have a long way to go to convince” their colleagues in the Labor Party that military action against Iraq is necessary. He notes that “in the documents so far presented, it has been hard to glean whether the threat from Iraq is so significantly different from that of Iran and North Korea as to justify military action.” He points out that “there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with [Osama bin Laden] and al-Qaeda” and that “the threat from Iraq has not worsened as a result of September 11.” Another issue that needs to be resolved, according to Straw, concerns establishing a legal basis for military action. “I believe that a demand for the unfettered readmission of weapons inspectors is essential, in terms of public explanation, and in terms of legal sanction for any subsequent military action.” The “big question,” Straw notes, which seems “to be a larger hole in this than anything,” is that the Bush administration has not “satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. Iraq has had no history of democracy so no one has this habit or experience.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Memo Jack Straw to Tony Blair, 3/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Jack Straw
          

June 18, 2005

       Lord William Goodhart, vice-president of the International Commission of Jurists and a world authority on international law, says that the United States' and Britain's intensified bombing of Iraq's “no-fly” zones before the invasion was illegal if it was meant to put pressure on Iraq's government. The two countries have cited UN Resolution 688 to justify the patrolling of the “no-fly” zones, but Goodhart explains that the resolution was not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter dealing with all matters authorizing military force, and therefore does not provide any legal basis for the use of military force. “Putting pressure on Iraq is not something that would be a lawful activity,” he says. [London Times, 6/19/05]
People and organizations involved: William Goodhart
          


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