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Predictions
Pre-war planning
Prague Connection
Al Zarqawi allegation
Spying on the UN
Motives
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Internal opposition
Alleged WMDs
Alleged al-Qaeda ties
The decision to invade
Politicization of intelligence
Aluminum tubes allegation
Weapons inspections
Africa-uranium allegation
Office of Special Plans
Pre-9/11 plans for war

Quotes from senior US officials

Iraq ties to terrorist allegations
Nuclear weapons allegations
Imminent threat allegations
Chemical and biological weapons allegations
WMD allegations
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Complete timeline of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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Showing 201-300 of 558 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

September 4, 2002

       The Washington Post publishes an op-ed piece by James Webb, a former assistant secretary of defense and secretary of the Navy, warning that the neoconservatives' plan to invade Iraq would commit the US to a long term occupation of Iraq. “The issue before us is not simply whether the United States should end the regime of Saddam Hussein, but whether we as a nation are prepared to physically occupy territory in the Middle East for the next 30 to 50 years. Those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade and stay. This reality was the genesis of a rift that goes back to the Gulf War itself, when neoconservatives were vocal in their calls for ‘a MacArthurian regency in Baghdad.’ Their expectation is that the United States would not only change Iraq's regime but also remain as a long-term occupation force in an attempt to reconstruct Iraqi society itself.” [The Washington Post, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: James Webb
          

September 7, 2002

       During a joint press conference with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two leaders make 2 false and misleading statements, which are quickly contested by experts.
Tony Blair states, “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Agency [IAEA] this morning showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons sites to realize that” Saddam is a real threat. [White House, 9/7/02]
But no such report exists. [Washington Times, 9/27/02] What Blair is actually referring to is a set of commercial satellite photographs showing signs of new construction at a site the US had bombed in 1998. [MSNBC 9/7/02; Guardian 9/9/02; Associated Press, 9/10/02] That same day, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the UN agency, says the agency had drawn no conclusion from those photographs. [MSNBC 9/7/02] On September 9, the Guardian of London will report that according to “a well-placed source” the photographs do not support Blair's statement. “You cannot draw any conclusions,” the source explains. “The satellites were only looking at the top of a roof. You cannot tell without inspectors on the ground.” [Guardian, 9/9/02] [Guardian, 9/9/02] The following day, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, will similarly tell reporters: “... satellites don't see through roofs. So we are not drawing conclusions from them. But it would be an important element in where, maybe, we want to go to inspect and monitor.” [Associated Press, 9/10/02; The Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]
Bush asserts, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon,” adding, “I don't know what more evidence we need.” [White House, 9/7/02; Washington Times, 9/27/02]
But Bush's statement is quickly refuted by an MSNBC news report published later that day, which includes an excerpt from the summary of the 1998 IAEA report Bush cited. The summary reads, “[B]ased on all credible information available to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] The text of the actual report, authored by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, reads: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02] When confronted by MSNBC reporters on this point, an unnamed senior White House official states, “What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] Later, when The Washington Times presses Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan for an explanation, he says, “[Bush is] referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away.” But this too is challenged by Mr. Gwozdecky, spokesman for the UN agency, who says that no such report was ever published by the IAEA in 1991. Apparently the President's accusations are based on two news articles that were published more than a decade ago— “a July 16 [2001] story in the London Times by Michael Evans and a July 18 [2001] story in the New York Times by Paul Lewis.” But as The Washington Times notes, “Neither article cites an IAEA report on Iraq's nuclear-weapons program or states that Saddam was only six months away from ‘developing a weapon’ —as claimed by Mr. Bush.” Instead the two news articles reported that at that time, UN inspectors had concluded that Iraq was only six months away from the large-scale production of enriched uranium. But as the 1998 report shows, both 1991 news stories are outdated. [Washington Times, 9/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, Tony Blair, Mohamed ElBaradei, George W. Bush, Mark Gwozdecky
          

September 8, 2002

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice continues to insist Saddam Hussein remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons.“We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.” [CNN, 9/8/2002; US Government Info, 9/8/2002; Telegraph, 9/9/2002; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

September 8, 2002

       Secretary of State Colin Powell responds to a speech former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter made to Iraq's parliament and a cadre of foreign reporters, in which the former weapons inspector had stated: “The truth is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders. Military action against Iraq cannot be justified.” [Associated Press 9/8/02] Ritter had also stated: “The rhetoric of fear that is disseminated by my government and others has not to date been backed up by hard facts to substantiate any allegations that Iraq is today in possession of weapons of mass destruction or has links to terror groups responsible for attacking the United States. Void of such facts, all we have is speculation.” [Newsmax 9/8/02] In response, Powell says on “Fox News Sunday” : “We have facts, not speculation. Scott is certainly entitled to his opinion but I'm afraid that I would not place the security of my nation and the security of our friends in the region on that kind of an assertion by somebody who's not in the intelligence chain any longer... If Scott is right, then why are they keeping the inspectors out? If Scott is right, why don't they say, ‘Anytime, any place, anywhere, bring'em in, everybody come in—we are clean?’ The reason is they are not clean. And we have to find out what they have and what we're going to do about it. And that's why it's been the policy of this government to insist that Iraq be disarmed in accordance with the terms of the relevant UN resolutions.” [Newsmax 9/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

September 8, 2002

       Dick Cheney says on NBC's “Meet the Press” : “We do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment [aluminum tubes] he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.” [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/03]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney
          

September 8, 2002

       When asked if Saddam Hussein presents a “clear and present danger” to the United States, Condoleezza Rice tells Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Late Edition there is [no doubt] that “the danger is gathering momentum.” “We do know that there have been shipments going ... into Iraq ... of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to—high-quality aluminum tools [sic] that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.” [CNN Late Night with Wolf Blitzer, 9/8/2002; New York Times, 7/20/2003; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

September 8, 2002

       Appearing on CNN, Condoleezza Rice states: “There have been shipments of high-quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.... The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons, but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” [Washington Post, 7/16/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

September 8, 2002

       Asked by Wolf Blitzer how close Saddam Hussein has come to developing nuclear weapon capabilities, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims, “We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon.” [CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, 9/8/2002; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

(1:00am) September 8, 2002

       The New York Times publishes a front page story reporting that Iraq has attempted to obtain aluminum tubes which, US intelligence believes, were intended for use in a nuclear weapons program. The article—written by Times reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon—cites unnamed intelligence officials as its sources. “In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium,” reports the newspaper. “The diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq's nuclear program ....” [New York Times, 9/8/2002] Houston G. Wood III, a retired Oak Ridge physicist who had filed a report with the US government more than a year before (see July 2002) concluding that the tubes were not meant for centrifuges, is shocked by the report. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation more than a year later, he will recount his initial reaction: “My first thought was, ‘This must be some new tubes’ , you know. And then...and then when I realized that these were the tubes that I had been looking at a year before, I was just ... I was ... I was just shocked. I couldn't believe that, you know, here we were, saying that these tubes were, you know, the same tubes that I'd come to the conclusion a year before were not valid for centrifuges, and here they're saying they are. So, er ... that was a real surprise.” [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/03]
People and organizations involved: Judith MIller, Houston G. Wood III, Michael Gordon
          

September 9, 2002

       The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London concludes in a report that “Iraq does not possess facilities to produce fissile material in sufficient amounts for nuclear weapons” and that “it would require several years and extensive foreign assistance to build such fissile material production facilities.” [International Institute for Strategic Studies, 9/9/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02; Guardian, 9/10/02; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 9/10/02; BBC, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: International Institute for Strategic Studies
          

September 9, 2002

       Canadian Primer Minister Jean Chretien and US President George Bush meet in Detroit to discuss policy towards Iraq as well as security measures along the US-Canadian border initiated after September 11. Chretien later tells reporters that Bush said that Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism was “not the angle they're exploring now. The angle they're exploring is the production of weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 9/10/02; CNN, 9/10/02 Sources: Jean Chretien]
People and organizations involved: Jean Chretien, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush
          

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 10, 2002

       Condoleezza Rice and George Tenet give a classified briefing to some members of Congress. After the briefing, several Democrats said they are unconvinced that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat to the US. Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi from California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, tells The Washington Post, “I did not hear anything today that was different about [Saddam Hussein's] capabilities,” save a few “embellishments.” Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin from Illinois tells the newspaper: “It would be a severe mistake for us to vote on Iraq with as little information as we have. This would be a rash and hasty decision” adding that he has heard “no groundbreaking news” on Iraq's capabilities. Democrat Robert Menendez, a representative from New Jersey, says he also didn't hear any new evidence. “What was described as new is not new. It was not compelling enough,” he says. “Did I see a clear and present danger to the United States? No.” And an unnamed House Republican leader also seems to believe the case Tenet and Rice presented is weak. He says, “Daschle will want to delay this and he can make a credible case for delay” . [The Washington Post, 9/10/02; CNN, 9/10/02]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Nancy Pelosi, Richard Durbin, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Menendez
          

September 12, 2002

       In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, George Bush says: “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons . . . Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.” [The Age (Australia), 6/7/03]
          

September 12, 2002

       President George Bush tells the UN General Assembly, “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [White House, 9/12/02; PBS, 9/12/02; The Age (Australia), 6/7/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 12, 2002

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

September 12, 2002

       The White House publishes a 26-page government white paper titled, “A Decade of Defiance and Deception,” which seeks to demonstrate that Saddam Hussein represents a serious and imminent threat to the United States and its people. Section 5 of the report deals with “Saddam Hussein's support for international terrorism,” though it makes no attempt to tie the Iraqi leader to al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. It includes a brief list of six points implicating Saddam Hussein in terrorist activities, some dating as far back as the '70s. One of the points criticizes Iraq for its ties to the Mujahadeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), an obscure militant Iranian dissident group whose main office is in Baghdad. The report says: “Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several US military personnel and US civilians.” The paper notes that the US State Department classified MKO as a “foreign terrorist organization” in 1997, “accusing the Baghdad-based group of a long series of bombings, guerilla cross-border raids and targeted assassinations of Iranian leaders.” [White House, 9/12/02; Newsweek, 9/26/2002 Sources: Richard Durbin] The administration is quickly ridiculed for making the claim when, two weeks later, Newsweek reports that MKO's front organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has a small office in the National Press Building in Washington D.C. It is also reported that only two years beforehand this very group had been supported by then-Senator John Ashcroft and more than 200 other members of Congress. On several issues the senator and his colleagues had expressed solidarity with MKO at the behest of their Iranian-American constituencies. [Newsweek, 9/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, John Ashcroft
          

September 13, 2002

       Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic representative from Ohio and outspoken critic of the administration's plan to invade Iraq, says: “There is no imminent threat by Iraq against the United States. Iraq does not have nuclear capabilities that anyone has been able to specifically determine, nor does it have the ability to deliver such a weapon, nor does it have the intent to do so. It could be said by Iraq that they are facing the imminent threat.... Oil is a factor. How much [of a factor] is anybody's guess, but to discount it as a factor is, I think, to be misleading.... It's not a conspiracy theory to bring it in because, after all, it is the second largest oil supply in the world.” [CNS News, 9/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Dennis Kucinich
          

September 15-20, 2002

       In closed sessions, administration officials are asked several times whether they have evidence of an imminent threat from Iraq against US citizens. US Representative Anna Eshoo, later tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the officials acknowledged they had no such evidence. “They said ‘no,’ ” she says, “Not ‘no, but’ or ‘maybe,’ but ‘no.’ I was stunned. Not shocked. Not surprised. Stunned.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20/02 Sources: Anna Eshoo]
People and organizations involved: Anna Eshoo
          

September 15, 2002

       In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lawrence Lindsey says he believes the Bush administration's planned invasion of Iraq could cost between $100 and $200 billion. But he dismisses that such spending would significantly increase interest rates, add much to the federal debt, or cause a recession. Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget subsequently disputes the figure, saying it is “very, very high.” He suggests the total costs would run between $50-$60 billion. [Wall Street Journal, 9/16/02; Reuters, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Lawrence Lindsey, Mitch Daniels
          

September 15, 2002

       In response to Tony Snow's probing on Fox News Sunday as to whether or not President Bush was convinced there were links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, the National Security Advisor is circumspect until she's pressed. “ He clearly has links to terrorism ... —Links to terrorism [that] would include al-Qaeda....” [Fox News, 9/15/2002; CNN, 9/26/2002; Islam OnLine, 9/15/2002; Iraq on the Record database, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

September 16, 2002

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

September 16, 2002

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that President Bush has not decided to go to war. [Associated Press, 9/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

September 16, 2002

       Two days before the CIA is to issue an assessment (see (August 2002)) on Iraq's supposed links to terrorism, Pentagon officials working in the Office of Special Plans give a briefing directly to the White House; Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby; and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley. The briefing says that there were “fundamental problems” with CIA intelligence-gathering methods and includes a detailed breakdown of the alleged April 2001 Prague meeting between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. [Telegraph, 7/11/2004; Newsweek, 7/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Lewis Libby, Stephen Hadley
          

September 17, 2002

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

September 18, 2002

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

September 19, 2002

       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; Times, 9/19/02; Independent, 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]

 Additional Info 
          

September 19, 2002

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

September 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

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

September 20, 2002

       White House and Pentagon officials publicly disclose that the Department of Defense has finished a highly detailed plan for attacking Iraq that was delivered to President Bush's desk in early September by Gen. Tommy R. Franks. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “The President has options now, and he has not made any decisions.” The New York Times interviews senior officials who explain that the plan includes specific details, including the “number of ground troops, combat aircraft and aircraft carrier battle groups that would be needed,” and the “detailed sequencing for the use of air, land, naval and Special Operations forces to attack thousands of Iraqi targets, from air-defense sites to command-and-control headquarters to fielded forces.” Officials also tell the Times that any attack would begin “with a lengthy air campaign led by B-2 bombers armed with 2,000-pound satellite-guided bombs to knock out Iraqi command and control headquarters and air defenses.” The principal goal of the air attacks, they say, “would be to sever most communications from Baghdad and isolate Saddam Hussein from his commanders in the rest of the country.” [New York Times, 9/21/02] The disclosure of this information notably comes only a few days after Iraq has offered to unconditionally admit weapons inspectors (see September 16, 2002).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, Thomas Franks
          

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 21, 2002

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri reads the full text of a statement by Saddam Hussein before the UN secretariat-general. The statement condemns the Bush administration's attempts to provoke a war with Iraq and accuses the administration of working hand in hand with the hardline Zionists in the Israeli government [Text of Letter]
          

September 23, 2002

       Three retired four-star generals testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee and warn Congress that a unilateral strike against Iraq without UN approval might limit aid from allies, create more recruits for al-Qaeda and subvert long-term US diplomatic and economic interests. A fourth general urges the committee to support the use of military force against Iraq. [New York Times, 9/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Naji Sabri, Kofi Annan, Amir Moussa, Wesley Clark  Additional Info 
          

September 23, 2002

       British education secretary Estelle Morris asks during a cabinet meeting what specifically had changed over the last few years—other than George Bush's coming to office—that made military action against Iraq necessary. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Estelle Morris
          

(September 24, 2002)

       Joe Wilson, who had been sent to Niger by the CIA in February 2002 (see Late February 2002) and who had determined that the allegations that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Niger were false, contacts the CIA and advises the agency to inform the British about the intelligence that had been acquired during his mission to Niger. The London Independent later reports, “When he saw ... claims [that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from an African country] in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation.” [Independent, 6/29/03]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

September 24, 2002

       The British government releases an official dossier consisting of multiple allegations that Iraq has and is developing weapons of mass destruction, including a claim that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Africa. It is believed that the claim is based on a 1999 visit to Niger by Iraqi diplomat Wissam al-Zahawie (see February 1999). But according to US intelligence officials, this claim is universally regarded within intelligence circles as unsubstantiated. In fact, prior to the dossier's release, US intelligence warned the British against making this allegation (see Before September 2002). In early February 2003, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency will report that there is no evidence that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger (see June 12, 2003). Defending Britain's decision to include the claim in the September dossier, a British Foreign Office official will explain to the Independent in August 2003: “Niger has two main exports—uranium and chickens. The Iraqi delegation did not go to Niger for chickens.” But Al-Zahawie disputes this. “My only mission was to meet the President of Niger and invite him to visit Iraq,” he tells the Independent. “The invitation and the situation in Iraq resulting from the genocidal UN sanctions were all we talked about. I had no other instructions, and certainly none concerning the purchase of uranium.... I have been cleared by everyone else, including the US and the United Nations. I am surprised to hear there are still question marks over me in Britain. I am willing to cooperate with anyone who wants to see me and find out more.” [Independent, 8/10/03a; New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence sources, Wissam al-Zahawie]
People and organizations involved: Wissam al-Zahawie
          

September 24, 2002

       George Tenet briefs the Senate Intelligence Committee on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq (see October 1, 2002). In his summary of the document, he includes the allegation that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Niger. He mentions that there are some doubts about the reliability of the evidence, but he does not say that the CIA had sent former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson as an envoy to Niger in February (see Late February 2002) and that the former ambassador's conclusion had been that the claims were “bogus.” [The Washington Post, 6/12/03; ABC News, 6/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson, George Tenet
          

September 24, 2002

       The British government releases its now-infamous dossier on Saddam's unconventional weapons capabilities. In the section discussing Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program, the document notes: “[T]here is no definitive intelligence evidence that [the specialized aluminum] is destined for a nuclear program.” [British Government, 9/24/02]
          

September 24, 2002

       Within “two hours and ten minutes” of the British dossier's publication, Iraqi government officials invite British journalists on a tour of the sites named in the document as suspected weapon sites. The journalists are permitted to choose which facilities, of those mentioned in the dossier, they want to visit.
Al-Qa'qa complex - The first site they visit is the al-Qa'qa complex, located 30 miles south of Baghdad, which according to the British government's paper has “been repaired” and is now “operational.” “Of particular concern are elements of the phosgene production plant,” states the dossier, which makes two claims. The first is that the substance, phosgene, is being produced at the facility and can be used “as a chemical agent or as a precursor for nerve agent.” The second claim is that the facility's phosgene production plants had been “dismantled under UNSCOM supervision, but have since been rebuilt.” [British Government, 9/24/2002, pg. 20; Independent 9/25/02]
But both claims are wrong. Director-General Sinan Rasim Said concedes that the plants produce phosgene as a byproduct of centralit, a stabilizer for gunpowder (which is not illegal), but denies that it can be used “as a chemical agent or as a precursor for nerve agent,” as alleged in the British document. He explains to reporters that phosgene can “not be extracted from the manufacturing equipment, let alone be used for making nerve agents.” To support his claims, he says that during the Gulf War, the US had never attempted to destroy the phosgene plants “because they knew we can't make use of it.” Instead they had bombed the boiler room and the storage area, he says. Said also disputes the claim that UNSCOM had attempted to dismantle the facility's phosgene production plants. There was no reason to, he explains, because the plant was not in violation of any laws. He tells reporters that if the British had simply requested the relevant documents from the UN they would have seen that they were wrong. [Independent, 9/25/02; Independent, 9/25/02] Amir al Sa'adi, a senior Iraqi weapons expert, offers his own opinion as to why the facility was referred to in the dossier. He suggests that Blair singled out the plant “because it could produce propellant powder for weapons from pistols to artillery guns for Iraqi air defenses.” [Independent, 9/25/02] UNMOVIC weapons inspectors will visit the site in February 2003 and find nothing. [CNN, 2/3/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
Amariyah Sera - The second site they visit is Amariyah Sera, a facility which the British say UNSCOM inspectors had concluded “was used to store biological agents, seed stocks and conduct biological warfare associated genetic research prior to the Gulf War.” [British Government 9/24/2002, pg. 20; Independent 9/25/02]
It is also claimed by Downing Street that the facility “has now expanded its storage capacity,” implying that the expansion is related to biological weapons. [British Government 9/24/2002, pg. 20; Independent 9/25/02] But the facility's director, Karim Obeid, disputes the dossier's claim that UNSCOM had earlier determined the plant was used for genetic research and storing biological agents. He tells the Independent of London: “They were coming here ever since the Gulf War until they left, and they have never accused us of any of those things in that time. All our work was done with their supervision.” He says the facility is being used “for testing typhoid fever.” Moreover, he adds that he is morally opposed to biological warfare “both as a scientist and a human being.” [Independent, 9/25/02] Obeid also explains that the storage capacity of the facility has been increased, as the dossier states, but that the additional rooms are not being used in a way that violates international law. A reporter from the Independent, who visits the additional rooms, reports that one of the added areas is “a large mostly empty room” which the director says is being used “to store solutions for blood tests, imported from the Melat pharmaceutical company in France,” while a second area is “stacked with empty bottles of various brands of vaccine.” [Independent, 9/25/02] Weapons inspectors will visit the site on December 15, 16, and 22 and find no evidence of biological weapons. [UNMOVIC, 12/15/02; UNMOVIC, 12/16/02; UNMOVIC, 12/22/02; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
People and organizations involved: Karim Obeid, Sinan Rasim Said, Amir Hammudi al-Saadi
          

September 25, 2002

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

September 25, 2002

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

September 25, 2002

       During a White House meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, George Bush makes the claim that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden work together. “The danger is, is that they work in concert,” he says in response to a question from a Reuters reporter. “The danger is, is that al-Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world.” He continues: “I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil and equally as destructive.” [White House, 9/25/03a; Washington Post, 9/26/2002; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 9/25/2002] Later in the day, Bush's comments are downplayed by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who says that Bush did not mean Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are working together, but rather that there is the danger that they could work together. He explains, “Clearly, al-Qaeda is operating inside Iraq. In the shadowy world of terrorism, sometimes there is no precise way to have definitive information until it is too late.” [White House, 9/25/03b; Washington Post, 9/26/2002]
          

September 26, 2002

       Powell tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “The world had to recognize that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat. In fact, that nexus became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is and it will continue to be our overriding concern for some years to come.” [US Department of State, 9/26/02] But Paul Anderson, spokesman for Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells reporters that Graham, who has access to highly classified reports, has seen no evidence that Iraq has ties to al-Qaeda. [USA Today, 9/26/02 Sources: Paul Anderson]
People and organizations involved: Paul Anderson, Bob Graham, Colin Powell
          

September 26, 2002

       During the daily press “gaggle,” Ari Fleischer acknowledges there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks. [White House, 9/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

September 26, 2002

       Rumsfeld claims the US government has “bulletproof” confirmation of ties between Baghdad and al-Qaeda members, including “solid evidence” that al Qaeda maintains a presence in Iraq. The allegation refers to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is the founder of al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan (see Late 2001-May 2002). No evidence ever surfaces to suggest that the group works with al-Qaeda. Rumsfeld's statement is based on intercepted telephone calls in which Al Zarqawi was overheard calling friends or relatives. But Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that according to US intelligence officials, “The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq.” [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/7/02 Sources: Unnamed US Intelligence Officials] Shortly after the Defense Secretary's allegations, an unnamed intelligence official tells the Guardian, “They are not the official guests of the Government,” adding that any members of militant Islamist organizations in the region are still “on the run.” [Guardian, 8/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi  Additional Info 
          

(September 28, 2002-November 8, 2002)

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

September 28, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Additional Info 
          

September 29, 2002

       Jane's Foreign Report reveals that Israeli forces have been operating within Iraq. Citing Israeli sources, it reports that the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit was dispatched into Iraqi sovereign territory “to find and identify places used by, or likely to be used by, Iraqi Scud missile launchers.” The newsletter explains, “Our information is that neither Israel nor the United States have a clue about what, if anything, Saddam Hussein is hiding,” and that “It was this ignorance that persuaded the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to assign the Sayeret Matkal to a job that is sensitive and dangerous.” [Ha'aretz 9/29/02; Jerusalem Post, 9/29/02; USA Today, 11/3/02]
          

September 30, 2002

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

September 30, 2002

       The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that a “heavy ground war” with three months of fighting, followed by a five-year occupation force could cost more than $272 billion. [CNBC, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/1/02]
          

Fall 2002-March 2003

       US officials, advisors, and foreign policy experts suggest that a portion of the cost of the US military operation in Iraq, as well as the post-war reconstruction, could be funded with Iraq's oil wealth. [Congressional Office of Jan Schakowsky, n.d.; Financial Times, 1/16/04; St. Petersburg Times, 4/2/03; White House, 2/18/03]
 Additional Info 
          

Fall 2002

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

Early October 2002

       Grant Aldonas, American undersecretary of commerce, tells a business forum that a war in Iraq “would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers.” [MSNBC, 11/7/02; Guardian, 1/26/03; Christian Science Monitor, 10/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Grant Aldonas
          

October 1, 2002

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

October 2002

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

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?” [White House, 10/1/02; Associated Press, 10/1/2002; Guardian, 10/2/2002] 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.” [White House, 10/1/02; Guardian, 10/2/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Joseph Biden, Richard Lugar
          

Fall 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 1, 2002

       The National Intelligence Council, a board of senior analysts who prepare reports on crucial national security issues, completes a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. The purpose of an NIE is to provide policy-makers with an intelligence assessment that includes all available information on a specific issue so that they can make sound policy decisions. The formal document is supposed to be the result of a collaborative effort of the entire intelligence community and is supposed to be untainted by political interests. The decision to produce the assessment on Iraq followed criticisms that the administration had already decided to invade Iraq without having received—or even called for—an assessment from its multi-billion dollar intelligence apparatus on the supposed threat posed by Iraq. Congress wanted the NIE completed prior to voting on a bill authorizing the President to use force against Iraq and was formally requested by Senator Bob Graham NIEs such as this usually take months to prepare, however this document took a mere three weeks. The person in charge of preparing the document was weapons expert Robert Walpole. According to the Independent of London, Walpole has a track record of tailoring his work to support the preconceived conclusions of his superiors. “In 1998, he had come up with an estimate of the missile capabilities of various rogue states that managed to sound considerably more alarming than a previous CIA estimate issued three years earlier,” the newspaper will report. “On that occasion, he was acting at the behest of a congressional commission anxious to make the case for a missile defense system; the commission chairman was none other than Donald Rumsfeld ....” [Independent, 11/3/03]
Summary of NIE Conclusions - After the document is completed, two different versions will be released. An abridged declassified version is posted on the CIA's website for the public, while the classified version is disseminated within the administration and to Congress (see (8:00pm) October 1, 2002). The two versions portray the threat posed by Saddam Hussein very differently. The classified version of the NIE on Iraq provides a far less alarmist view of the threat allegedly posed by Iraq than that which is presented in the public version of the document. According to US intelligence and congressional sources who read the classified document, the intelligence estimate contains “cautionary language about Iraq's connections with al-Qaeda and warnings about the reliability of conflicting reports by Iraqi defectors and captured al-Qaeda members about the ties.” And notably, the second paragraph of the “key judgment” section states that the estimate lacks “specific information” on Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Though the document does say that Iraq probably has chemical and biological weapons, it also says that US intelligence analysts believe that Saddam Hussein would only launch an attack against the US if he felt a US invasion was inevitable. The intelligence estimate also concludes that Saddam would only provide terrorists with chemical or biological agents for use against the United States as a last resort in order to “exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.” A senior intelligence official will later tell The Washington Post in June 2003: “There has always been an internal argument within the intelligence community about the connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. The NIE had alternative views.” The NIE also concludes that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons. The public version of the report—which is presented to Congress before it votes on a resolution conditionally authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq—contains language that is far less qualified and nuanced than the classified version. [Washington Post, 6/22/03; Agence France Presse, 11/30/03 Sources: US intelligence and congressional sources, Stuart Cohen, INR's alternative view in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq]

Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Africa - The document makes a reference to the allegation that Iraq has sought to procure uranium from Africa. “A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of ‘pure uranium’ (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake. We do not know the status of this arrangement. Reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” But the alternative view—endorsed by the State Department's bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)—says that it is doubtful Iraq sought to procure uranium from Africa. “(T)he claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious,” it reads. [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]

Iraqi attempts to obtain aluminum tubes - The declassified, public version of the NIE states: “Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern. All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs. Based on tubes of the size Iraq is trying to acquire, a few tens of thousands of centrifuges would be capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a couple of weapons per year.” However the classified version of the document presents a more nuanced assessment. In the main text of the document, it says that the Energy Department “agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.” At the bottom of the page, in a lengthy footnote by the State Department's INR, the alternative view states that the agency agrees with the DOE's assessment that the tubes are not meant for use in a gas centrifuge. The footnote reads: “In INR's view Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes is central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, but INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors. INR accepts the judgment of technical experts at the US Department of Energy (DOE) who have concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that they are intended for that purpose. INR considers it far more likely that the tubes are intended for another purpose, most likely the production of artillery rockets. The very large quantities being sought, the way the tubes were tested by the Iraqis, and the atypical lack of attention to operational security in the procurement efforts are among the factors, in addition to the DOE assessment, that lead INR to conclude that the tubes are not intended for use in Iraq's nuclear weapon program.” [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03; USA Today, 7/31/03 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]

Reconstituted nuclear weapons programs - The intelligence estimate says that “most” of the US' six intelligence agencies believe there is “compelling evidence that Saddam [Hussein] is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program.” The classified version of the document includes the dissenting position of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) which states: “The activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons. Iraq may be doing so, but INR considers the available evidence inadequate to support such a judgment. Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons programs, INR is unwilling to ... project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening.” It is later learned that nuclear scientists in the Department of Energy's in-house intelligence office were also opposed to the NIE's conclusion and had wanted to endorse the State's alternative view. However, the person representing the DOE, Thomas Rider, silenced the views of those within his department and inexplicably voted to support the position that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program (see September 2002). The DOE's vote was seen as critical, since the department's assessment was supposed to represent the views of the government's nuclear experts. [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]

Chemical and Biological Weapons - The classified version of the estimate uses cautionary language to conclude that Iraq probably does have chemical and biological weapons. It states: “We judge Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives.” But the document also highlights the belief that it is unlikely that Iraq has any intention to use these against the US. “... Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW [Chemical/Biological Weapons] against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington with a stronger case for making war.” Iraq would probably only use such weapons against the United States if it “feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge.” [Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq]
The last two observations are conspicuously absent from the declassified, public version of the estimate, which reads only, “Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives, including potentially against the US Homeland.” [Knight Ridder, 2/10/04; Washington Post, 2/7/03]
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - The NIE claims that Iraq has unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which can be used to deploy biological and chemical weapons. “Baghdad's UAVs—especially if used for delivery of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents—could threaten Iraq's neighbors, US forces in the Persian Gulf, and the United States if brought close to, or into, the US Homeland.” [Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq]
But this view is not held unanimously among the various intelligence agencies. Significantly, the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center disagrees with this assessment. The Center, which controls most of the American military's UAV fleet, says in a dissenting opinion that there is little evidence that Iraq's drones are related to the country's suspected biological weapons program. Current intelligence suggests that the drones are not capable of carrying much more than a camera and a video recorder. The Air Force believes that Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are for reconnaissance, like its counterparts in the US. The dissenting opinion reads: “... The Director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, US Air Force, does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents. The small size of Iraq's new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance, although CBW delivery is an inherent capability.” [Associated Press, 8/24/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: US Government officials and scientists] This important statement is not included in the public version of the document. [Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq] Bob Boyd, director of the Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency, will tell reporters in August 2003 that his department thought the allegation in the NIE “was a little odd,” noting that Air Force assessments “all along” had said that reconnaissance, not weapons delivery, was the purpose of Iraq's drones. “Everything we discovered strengthened our conviction that the UAVs were to be used for reconnaissance,” he will explain. “What we were thinking was: Why would you purposefully design a vehicle to be an inefficient delivery means? Wouldn't it make more sense that they were purposefully designing it to be a decent reconnaissance UAV?” [Associated Press, 8/24/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03 Sources: Bob Boyd] The NIE's conclusion is apparently also based on accounts from defectors and exiles as well as information suggesting that Iraq is attempting to obtain “commercially available route-planning software,” containing topographic data of the United States. According to the NIE, this data “could facilitate targeting of US sites.” But Air Force analysts were not convinced by the argument, noting that this sort of information could easily be retrieved from the Internet and other highly accessible sources. “We saw nothing sinister about the inclusion of the US maps in route-planning software,” Boyd will tell reporters. [Washington Post, 9/26/03 Sources: Bob Boyd] Analysts at the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency are said to back the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center's position. [Associated Press, 8/24/03 Sources: US Government officials and scientists]
Aftermath - After the completion of the National Intelligence Estimate, the Bush administration will continue to make allegations concerning Iraq's weapons capabilities and ties to terrorism, but will include none of the qualifications and nuances that are present in the classified version of the assessment. After excerpts from the classified version of the NIE are published in the press in July of 2003 (see July 11, 2003) and the public learns that the document's conclusions had actually been much less alarmist than the public version, administration officials will claim that neither Bush, Rice nor other top officials were informed about the alternative views expressed by the DOE, INR, and the Air Force intelligence agency. They will also assert that the dissenting views did not significantly undermine the overall conclusion of the NIE that Iraq was continuing its banned weapons program despite UN resolutions. [Washington Post, 7/19/03; Washington Post, 7/27/03; New York Times, 7/19/03]
But this claim is later disputed in an article by The Washington Post, which reports: “One person who has worked with Rice describes as ‘inconceivable’ the claims that she was not more actively involved. Indeed, subsequent to the July 18 briefing, another senior administration official said Rice had been briefed immediately on the NIE—including the doubts about Iraq's nuclear program—and had ‘skimmed’ the document. The official said that within a couple of weeks, Rice ‘read it all.’ ” [Washington Post, 7/27/03 Sources: two unnamed administration officials] Additionally, senior CIA analyst Stuart Cohen, the acting chairman of the National Intelligence Council at this time, who helped write the document, will tell the Agence France Presse, “Any reader would have had to read only as far as the second paragraph of the Key Judgments to know that as we said, ‘we lacked specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD program.’ ” [Agence France Presse, 11/30/03 Sources: Michael Hayden]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Bob Graham, Bob Boyd, Stuart Cohen, Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

Early October 2002

       Elisabetta Burba, a reporter for the Italian current affairs weekly Panorama, receives a phone call from Rocco Martino, an Italian security consultant. He tells her that he has some documents (see Late 2001) that might interest her. Burba has obtained information from Martino before and she considers him to be a reliable source. [Corriere della Sera, 7/17/03, cited in Talking Points Memo, 10/31/03; Financial Times, 8/2/2004 Sources: Elisabetta Burba] They meet at a bar in Rome and he gives her copies of the documents, totaling some 22 pages, mostly in French, and offers to give her the originals for a sum of ten thousand dollars. Burba tells her source that she needs to verify the authenticity of the documents before her employer will agree to purchase the documents. [Corriere della Sera, date unknown, cited in Talking Points Memo, 10/31/03; New Yorker, 10/20/03; Agence France Presse, 7/19/03; Reuters, 7/19/03 Sources: Elisabetta Burba]
People and organizations involved: Elisabetta Burba
          

(8:00pm) October 1, 2002

       The CIA delivers the classified version of its 90-page National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq (see October 1, 2002) to Congress. It is available for viewing by Congresspersons under tight security in the offices of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Congress asks the CIA for a declassified version so that the members have something they can refer to during their debates on the Iraq war resolution. [Washington Post, 6/22/2003; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 281]
          

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 Mr. 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]

          

October 2, 2002

       In a congressional closed-door hearing, Senator Levin asks a senior intelligence witness: “If (Saddam) didn't feel threatened, did not feel threatened, is it likely that he would initiate an attack using a weapon of mass destruction?” The intelligence witness responds that under those circumstances “the likelihood ... would be low.” But the probability of Saddam using such weapons would increase, the witness explains, if the US initiates an attack. [Congressional Record, 10/7/02, Page S10154; CBC News 11/1/02 Sources: Letter from CIA Director George Tenet to Bob Graham]
People and organizations involved: Carl Levin  Additional Info 
          

October 3, 2002

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

October 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 4, 2002

       The CIA releases a 25-page declassified version of its October 1 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and posts it on the agency's website for public viewing. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 281; Washington Post, 6/22/2003] But the public version presents a very different assessment of the threat posed by Iraq than the original document (see October 1, 2002).
          

October 5, 2002

       The CIA sends a four-page memo to Bush administration officials, including Bush's deputy national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, and the chief speechwriter, Michael Gerson, expressing doubt over claims that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium from Niger. On page 3 of the memo, the CIA says that the amount of uranium alleged to have been sought by Iraq is in “dispute.” Furthermore, notes the CIA, it is not even clear that the uranium could “be acquired from the source.” The agency also mentions that Iraq already had a supply of uranium. [The Washington Post, 7/23/03] Stephen Hadley will later claim in July 2003 that he did not brief Condoleezza Rice on the memo. [The Washington Post, 7/27/03]
People and organizations involved: Michael Gerson, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley
          

October 6, 2002

       The CIA sends a second memo in two days, warning the White House that there is little evidence behind the Africa-uranium claim. The memo also notes that the alleged purchase “was not particularly significant.” The memo's recipients include National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley. [The Washington Post, 7/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice
          

October 7, 2002 or before

       CIA Director George Tenet argues “personally to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley,” that the Africa-uranium claim should not be included in Bush's October 7 speech because the allegation is based on only one source. [The Washington Post, 7/13/2003; The Washington Post, 7/23/03] As a result of Tenet's warning as well as warnings in two CIA memos dated October 5 (see October 5, 2002) and October 6 (see October 6, 2002), a passage referring to the Africa-uranium claim is removed from the draft of Bush's October 7 speech (see October 7, 2002). The original text included the following: “The [Iraqi] regime has been caught attempting to purchase substantial amounts of uranium oxide from sources in Africa.” [The Washington Post, 8/8/03] Interestingly, the Africa-uranium claim will be included in Bush's January 28 State of the Union address, despite no new intelligence (see January 28, 2003).
People and organizations involved: George Tenet  Additional Info 
          

October 7, 2002

       In a response letter to Senator Bob Graham of the Senate Intelligence Committee, CIA Director George Tenet says that US Intelligence's “understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al- Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information ... received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.” [Congressional Record, 10/7/02, Page S10154; CBC News 11/1/02 Sources: Letter from CIA Director George Tenet to Bob Graham]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Bob Graham
          

October 7, 2002

       In a televised speech, Bush presents the administration's case that Saddam Hussein's regime is a threat to the security of the nation. The speech is widely criticized for including false and exaggerated statements.
Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons - Bush claims that a shipment of 3,000 aluminum tubes to Iraq, which were intercepted in Jordan by US authorities in July of 2001 (see July 2001), had been destined for use in a uranium enrichment program. But by this time numerous experts and government scientists have already warned the administration against making this allegation. [White House, 10/7/02]
Three weeks before Bush's speech, The Washington Post ran a story on the aluminum tubes. The article summarized a study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), disputing the administration's claim that the tubes were to be used for gas centrifuges. The report was authored by the institute's president and founder, David Albright, a respected nuclear physicist, who had investigated Iraq's nuclear weapons program after the First Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team and who has spoken before Congress on numerous occasions. In his study, he concluded that Iraq's attempts to import the tubes “are not evidence that Iraq is in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons” and “do not provide evidence that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant or when such a plant could be operational.” [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03; Washington Post, 9/19/02; Guardian, 10/9/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] Soon after the speech, David Albright tells The Guardian newspaper that there is still no evidence to substantiate that interpretation. As one unnamed specialist at the US Department of Energy explains to the newspaper, “I would just say there is not much support for that [nuclear] theory around here.” [Guardian 10/9/02] The Washington Post article also reported that government experts on nuclear technology who disagreed with the White House view had told Mr. Albright that the administration expected them to remain silent. [Washington Post 9/19/02; Independent 9/22/02] Houston G. Wood III, a retired Oak Ridge physicist considered to be “among the most eminent living experts” on gas centrifuges reviewed the tube question in August 2001 (see July 2002) and concluded at that time that it was very unlikely that the tubes had been imported to be used for centrifuges in a uranium enrichment program. He later tells The Washington Post in mid-2003 that “it would have been extremely difficult to make these tubes into centrifuges,” adding that it stretched “the imagination to come up with a way.” He also says that other centrifuge experts whom he knew shared his assessment of the tubes. [Washington Post, 8/10/03 Sources: Houston G. Wood III] In addition to the several outside experts who criticized the tubes allegation, analysts within the US intelligence community also doubted the claim. Less than a week before Bush's speech, the Energy Department and the State Department's intelligence branch, the INR, had appended a statement to a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq disputing the theory (see October 1, 2002). [National Intelligence Estimate, 10/2002 Sources: David Albright]
Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue in 1998 - Bush says that US intelligence has information that Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue after inspectors left in 1998. “Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites,” Bush charges. “That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.” [White House, 10/7/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02]
But Bush's “high-ranking” source turns out to be Khidir Kamza, who is considered by many to be an unreliable source. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security where Hamza worked as an analyst from 1997 to 1999, says that after Hamza defected “he went off the edge” and “started saying irresponsible things.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] And General Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law who was in charge of the dictator's former weapons program but who defected in 1995, told UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors, as well as US and British intelligence, that Khidhir Hamza was “a professional liar.” “He worked with us, but he was useless and always looking for promotions,” Kamel had explained. “He consulted with me but could not deliver anything. . . . He was even interrogated by a team before he left and was allowed to go.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: UNSCOM report, S/1998/332, April 16, 1998]
Iraq is developing drones that could deploy chemical and biological weapons - The President claims that Iraq is developing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which “could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.” He goes so far as to say, “We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” [White House, 10/7/02; Guardian, 10/9/02]
But this claim comes shortly after US intelligence agencies completed a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, in which Air Force intelligence had disputed the drone allegation (see October 1, 2002). Bush's drone allegation is quickly derided by experts and other sources. The Guardian of London reports two days later that according to US military experts, “Iraq had been converting eastern European trainer jets, known as L-29s, into drones, but ... that with a maximum range of a few hundred miles they were no threat to targets in the US.” [Guardian, 10/9/02 Sources: Unnamed military experts] And the San Francisco Chronicle will cite experts who say that “slow-moving unmanned aerial vehicles would likely be shot down as soon as they crossed Iraq's borders” because “Iraqi airspace is closely monitored by US and British planes and radar systems” . The report will also note, “It's also unclear how the vehicles would reach the US mainland—the nearest point is Maine, almost 5, 500 miles away—without being intercepted.” [San Francisco Chronicle 10/12/02 Sources: Unnamed experts] Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will say he believes the drone allegation is unrealistic. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he says, “As a guesstimate, Iraq's present holdings of delivery systems and chemical and biological weapons seem most likely to be so limited in technology and operational lethality that they do not constrain US freedom of action or do much to intimidate Iraq's neighbors.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02 Sources: Anthony Cordesman] These criticisms of Bush's claim are validated after the US invasion of Iraq. Two US government scientists involved in the post-invasion hunt for weapons of mass destruction will tell the Associated Press in August 2003 that they inspected the drones and concluded that they were never a threat to the US. “We just looked at the UAVs and said, ‘There's nothing here. There's no room to put anything in here,’ ” one of the scientists will say. “The US scientists, weapons experts who spoke on condition of anonymity, reached their conclusions after studying the small aircraft and interviewing Iraqi missile experts, system designers and Gen. Ibrahim Hussein Ismail, the Iraqi head of the military facility where the UAVs were designed,” the Associated Press will explain in its report. [Associated Press, 8/24/03 Sources: Unnamed US government scientists]
Saddam Hussein could give terrorists weapons of mass destruction - Bush asserts, “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.” [White House, 10/7/02]
But not only have numerous experts and inside sources disputed this theory (see July 2002-March 19, 2003), US intelligence's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq—completed just one week before—concluded that this is an unlikely scenario (see October 1, 2002). “Baghdad, for now, appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States,” the document clearly stated. “Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12/03]
Iraq rebuilding facilities associated with production of biological and chemical weapons - Bush claims that surveillance photos indicate that Iraq “is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02]
On the following day, photos are published on the White House website showing that Iraq had repaired three sites damaged by US bombs—the Al Furat Manufacturing Facility, the Nassr Engineering Establishment Manufacturing Facility, and Fallujah II. [White House, 10/8/02] But no evidence is provided by the White House demonstrating that these sites have resumed activities related to the production of weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi authorities will give reporters a tour of the facilities on October 10 (see October 10, 2002).
Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases - Bush alleges that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda operatives “in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” [White House, 10/7/02]
The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim had not yet been substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2003). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/2004; The New York Times, 7/31/2004 Sources: Unnamed administration official] And earlier in the month, US intelligence services had concluded in their National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that this allegation could not be confirmed. [Newsday, 10/10/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02; Washington Post, 6/22/03; CNN, 9/26/02]
A very senior al-Qaeda leader received medical treatment in Baghdad - Bush claims: “Some al-Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.” The allegation refers to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is the founder of al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. No evidence ever surfaces to suggest that the group works with al-Qaeda. The allegation is partly based on intercepted telephone calls in which Al Zarqawi was overheard calling friends or relatives (see Late 2001-May 2002). But Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that according to US intelligence officials, “The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq.” [White House, 10/7/02; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/7/02 Sources: Umnamed US intelligence officials]

People and organizations involved: Houston G. Wood III, George W. Bush, David Albright, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi  Additional Info 
          

Before October 7, 2002

       During the trial of suspected terrorist Shadi Abdallah, it is learned that Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian Muslim militant accused by the Bush administration of having ties to Osama bin Laden, is actually the founder of another Islamist group, al-Tawhid, which works “in opposition” to al-Qaeda (see Mid-1990s). The aim of the group is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. Abdallah recounts one instance where Zarqawi vetoed a proposal to share charity funds collected in Germany with al-Qaeda. According to Abdallah, Al Zarqawi's organization had also “competed” with al-Qaeda for new recruits. [Newsweek, 6/25/03; Independent, 2/6/03] Details of the trial are passed on to US intelligence. Nonetheless, Bush will claim in a televised speech on October 7, 2002 (see October 7, 2002) that a “very senior al-Qaeda leader ... received medical treatment in Baghdad this year,” a reference to Al Zarqawi. And Colin Powell will similarly state on February 5, 2003 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) that “Iraq is harboring the network of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants.” Both statements are made even though “US intelligence already had concluded that Zarqawi was not an al-Qaeda member ....” [Washington Post, 6/22/03; BBC, 2/5/03; US Department of State, 2/5/02 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence sources]
People and organizations involved: Shadi Abdallah, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi  Additional Info 
          

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, Lord Peter Goldsmith, Harriet Harman
          

October 7, 2002

       President George W. Bush says in a televised speech from Cincinnati's Museum Center: “The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions—its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.” [White House, 10/7/02] Later on in the speech he adds: “We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas ... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 8-9, 2002

       One day after receiving the Niger documents (see Early October 2002), Elisabetta Burba meets with her editors and expresses her concern that the documents might be fakes. She notes that the amount of uranium specified in the documents—500 tons—is very large. Moreover, the letters do not include details on how the uranium would be delivered. She proposes that she travel to Niger to determine the document's authenticity. [Corriere della Sera, 7/19/03, cited in Talking Points Memo, 10/31/03; Associated Press, 7/20/03 Sources: Elisabetta Burba] But Burba is instructed by the magazine's editor-in-chief, Carolo Rossella, who is “known for his ties to the Berlusconi government,” to hand them over to the American embassy in Rome for verification. [Corriere della Sera, 7/19/03, cited in Talking Points Memo, 10/31/03; New Yorker, 10/20/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03 Sources: Elisabetta Burba]
People and organizations involved: Elisabetta Burba, Carlo Rossella
          

October 8 and 11, 2002

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

October 9, 2002

       David Albright, a physicist who had investigated Iraq's nuclear weapons program following the 1991 Persian Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team, concludes in a study that Iraq's attempt to import the tubes was not “evidence that Iraq [was] in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons” or that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant. His assessment is based on several factors, including the fact that the tubes are made of an aluminum alloy that is ill-suited for welding. He notes that Iraq had used maraging steel and carbon fiber in its earlier attempts to make centrifuges. Albright also challenges the CIA's contention the tubes' anodized coating is an indication that they are meant to be used as rotors in a gas centrifuge. The nuclear physicist notes that the fact that the tubes are anodized actually supports the theory that they were meant to be used in rockets, not a centrifuge. He cites another expert who contended that an “anodized layer on the inside of the tube ... can result in hampering the operation of the centrifuge.” [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03 Sources: David Albright] Though Albright is critical of the charges being made by the Bush administration against Iraq, concerning nuclear weapons, he is no Saddam sympathizer. He believes that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and advocates a tough stance towards his regime. [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04] His report is widely dispersed and is reported in detail before its publication by The Washington Post on September 19, 2002, as well as by several other newspapers. [Washington Post, 9/19/02; Guardian, 10/9/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02]
People and organizations involved: David Albright
          

After October 9, 2002

       Elisabetta Burba travels to Niger to investigate the documents (see Late 2001) she received a few day earlier (see Early October 2002). In Niger, she quickly becomes convinced that the documents are not authentic. Seymour Hersh will later report: “She visited mines and the ports that any exports would pass through, spoke to European businessmen and officials informed about Niger's uranium industry, and found no trace of a sale. She also learned that the transport company and the bank mentioned in the papers were too small and too ill-equipped to handle such a transaction.” With all evidence indicating that the papers are bogus, Burba abandons the story. [New Yorker, 10/20/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Associated Press, 7/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Elisabetta Burba
          

October 9, 2002

       During his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that oil is a motivating factor behind the drive for war with Iraq. He says, “It is not a factor. This is about preserving the peace and saving the lives of Americans.” [MSNBC, 11/7/02; White House, 10/9/02; New York Daily News, 10/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

October 9-16, 2002

       Italian Panorama journalist Elisabetta Burba goes to the US Embassy in Rome and gives US officials copies of the Niger documents (see Late 2001) that she had obtained two days before (see Early October 2002). [New Yorker, 10/20/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Associated Press, 7/20/03; Agence France Presse, 7/19/03] The documents are then sent to Washington and distributed to the various intelligence agencies. The precise details are unclear, however, due to contradicting accounts.
In Rome - According to a senior US State Department official interviewed by the Agence France-Presse in July 2003, the documents are first vetted by “all the relevant agencies” in Rome before being sent to Washington. “[T]hey were immediately shared with all the appropriate agencies,” the sources will explain. “The embassy shared them with all the relevant agencies at post, and they were then shared again when they got back to Washington.” [Agence France Presse, 9/19/03; Mercury, 9/19/03 Sources: Unnamed US State Department official]
But an unnamed former CIA official will tell Seymour Hersh that the papers were not looked at in Rome. “The Embassy was alerted that the papers were coming and it passed them directly to Washington without even vetting them inside the Embassy.” [New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: Unnamed former CIA official]
In Washington - After the documents arrive in Washington, they are reviewed by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) and within days its analysts conclude that the papers might be fakes. On October 16, the INR distributes the documents to the CIA and several other US intelligence agencies with the caveat that the documents are of “dubious authenticity.” [The Washington Post, 7/20/03]
Vince Cannistraro, former chief of counter-terrorism operations and analysis, will tell Seymour Hersh that the CIA did not immediately recognize that the documents were forged. [New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: Vince Cannistraro] However, other sources will claim that like the INR, the CIA quickly saw that the documents were not authentic. A senior Central Intelligence Agency official will tell Knut Royce of Newsday that the CIA “had serious questions about [the claims] from day one.” The agency “had accounts of them [the letters] and that was close enough. We didn't take it that seriously to begin with. ... We didn't put a lot of stock in these reports from Niger. We didn't rush around to get the actual documents.” [Newsday, 7/11/03 Sources: Unnamed Senior CIA official] Likewise, a US intelligence official will tell the New York Times that CIA officials were always suspicious of the Niger documents. [New York Times 3/23/03] And Hersh's anonymous CIA source also says the papers were quickly assessed as fakes. “Everybody knew at every step of the way that they were false—until they got to the Pentagon, where they were believed.” [The Washington Post, 7/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Vince Cannistraro, Elisabetta Burba  Additional Info 
          

October 10, 2002

       Iraqi Minister Abdul Tawab Mullah Hawaish, who is in charge of Iraq's weapons programs, invites reporters and members of the Bush administration to visit two of the alleged WMD sites, Furat and Nasser al-Azim, to which Bush had referred in his October 7 speech (see October 7, 2002). Hawaish says, “The American administration are invited to inspect these sites. As I am responsible for the Iraqi weapons programs, I confirm here that we have no weapons of mass destruction and we have no intention to produce them.... I am saying here and now that we do not have weapons of mass destruction and we do not have programs to develop them.” [BBC, 10/10/02; Reuters, 10/10/02] But the White House rejects the offer. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “This is not up to Iraq, this is up to the UN.” [BBC, 10/10/2002] Reporters, however, accept the offer and tour the Nasser State Establishment, a facility that Iraq claims produces goods for civilian use as well as components for conventional weapons. [Reuters, 10/10/2002]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Tawab Mullah Hawaish
          

October 10, 2002

       In a speech during Middle East Institute's annual conference, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, presents an extensive argument against the Bush administration's plans for invading Iraq. He makes several points. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]
In order for the planned military operation against Iraq to be successful it must have international support. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

In order to ensure a quick war, the US must use overwhelming force. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

Civilian casualties, collateral damage, and destruction of the infrastructure must be kept to a minimum. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

Israeli involvement would create massive instability. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

The invasion must not provoke a reaction from the Arab Street. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

The transition to a post-Saddam Iraq will not be easy. He explains: “If we think there is a fast solution to changing the governance of Iraq, then we don't understand history, the nature of the country, the divisions, or the underneath-suppressed passions that could rise up. God help us if we think this transition will occur easily.” [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

The burden of the war and post-war reconstruction must be shared. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

It will not be possible to simply impose a democracy on Iraq. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

Terrorism cannot be defeated by military means alone. He asks several questions that are rarely asked in public: “Why are young people flocking to these causes? Could the issues be political, economic and social? Could disenfranchisement or oppression be what drives them rather than the religious fanaticism that may be the core element to only a few? How do we cooperate to fix these problems? How do we help a part of the world that's trying to come to grips with modernity?” [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

He questions whether an invasion is even necessary, instead suggesting that there are numerous other issues to deal with of higher priority. [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

Finally, he says that violence and war are not the solution. “Like those generals who were far greater than I am, I don't think that violence and war is the solution. There are times when you reluctantly, as a last resort, have to go to war. But as a general that has seen war, ... I will tell you that in my time, I never saw anything come out of fighting that was worth the fight.” [Middle East Institute, 10/10/02]

People and organizations involved: Anthony Zinni
          

October 10, 2002

       The House votes 296 to 133 in favor of HR Res. 114 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]
          

October 11, 2002

       Senators vote 77 to 23 in favor of SJ Res. 46 at 1:15am 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: Robert C. Byrd, Mark Dayton, Barbara Boxer, Richard Durbin, Carl Levin
          

October 15, 2002

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

October 17, 2002

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

October 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]
          

Before October 19, 2002

       Nuclear scientists working for the government who disagree with the administration's claim that the tubes were meant for a centrifuge program are instructed “to remain silent.” [Washington Post, 9/19/02; Guardian, 10/9/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02 Sources: David Albright]
          

October 20, 2002

       While in Prague to attend to a Trilateral Commission meeting, Richard Perle is told “in person ... that the BIS now doubts that any such meeting between Atta and al-Ani in fact took place.” And an unnamed source with ties to the BIS tells UPI: “Quite simply, we think the source for this story may have invented the meeting that he reported. We can find no corroborative evidence for the meeting and the source has real credibility problems.” [United Press International, 10/20/03 Sources: Unnamed source close to the BIS]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Richard Perle, Mohammed Atta
          

October 20, 2002

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

October 21, 2002

       Two articles by reporter James Risen on the “Prague Connection” are published in the New York Times. One article reveals that early in 2002 (see Early 2002, probably May or later), Czech president Vaclav Havel had informed Washington that there was no evidence to substantiate claims that 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta had met with Iraqi diplomat Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani in Prague in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). The article also reveals that analysts in the Czech intelligence service had been furious with the Prime Minister for stovepiping unsubstantiated reports straight to Washington, before they had had the opportunity to investigate further. [New York Times, 10/21/02] Risen's other article explains how rivalry within the BIS and problematic relations with Britain's MI6 had resulted in reporters receiving misinformation from sources with grievances and conflicting agendas. [New York Times, 10/21/02] His two articles seemingly put to rest the “Prague Connection” theory, though a November 2003 article in Slate by Edward Jay Epstein will note that many questions remain unanswered. [Slate, 11/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Vaclav Havel, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohammed Atta
          

October 21, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Caste´┐Żeda, 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. Caste´┐▒eda, Vicente Fox
          

October 30, 2002

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that the US intends to control Iraq's oil reserves. He claims, “The only interest the United States has in the region is furthering the cause of peace and stability ... not his country's ability to generate oil.” Asked if the US would take over Iraq's oil fields in the event of a US invasion of Iraq, Fleischer explains, “No. The purpose of any plan the United States has is to make certain that Saddam Hussein complies with all UN resolutions.” Asked if the US would administer Iraq's oil fields after an invasion he said, “I think that it's impossible for anybody to speculate about anything and everything that could possibly happen under any military scenario. And I wouldn't even try to start guessing what the military may or may not do.” [MSNBC, 11/7/02; White House, 10/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

October 30, 2002

       When asked about claims that Iraq has ties to al-Qaeda, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw responds: “It could well be the case that there were links, active links, between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime before Sept. 11. What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of that. And the answer is: I haven't.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

November 2002-March 2003

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

November 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]
          
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