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General Topic Areas

Public opinion on Iraqi threat
Propaganda
Pre-war planning
Predictions
Legal justification
Politicization of intelligence
Alleged al-Qaeda ties
Weapons inspections
Pre-9/11 plans for war
The decision to invade
Motives
Internal opposition
Alleged WMDs

Specific cases and issues

Prague Connection
Africa-uranium allegation
Aluminum tubes allegation
Office of Special Plans
Al Zarqawi allegation
Spying on the UN

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations
WMD allegations
Nuclear weapons allegations
Imminent threat allegations
Iraq ties to terrorist 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 351-450 of 663 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

November 2002-March 2003

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 And whatever intelligence has been provided, reports CBS, has turned out to be “circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.”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

November 2002-March 2003

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

November 6, 2002

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

November 8, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 12, 2002

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

November 13, 2002

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

November 13, 2002

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

November 14, 2002

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

November 15, 2002

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

November 16, 2002

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

November 18, 2002

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

November 18, 2002

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

November 20, 2002

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

November 20, 2002

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

November 21-22,2002

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

November 22, 2002

       British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says that another UN resolution will be needed before taking military action against Iraq. Straw tells the BBC, “The most likely course of action, if military action is required—which it is not at the moment—is that we go to the security council, which is where there would be discussion. Our preference has always been for a further resolution for the Security Council, and that would then be put to the House of Commons for further endorsement, just as this original 1441 resolution is being put before the House for endorsement on Monday [Nov. 25].” [BBC, 11/22/02; The International News, 11/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

November 23, 2002

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

November 25, 2002

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

November 25, 2002

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

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

December 2002

       RUPE publishes a special issue in their journal, Aspects of India's Economy, analyzing the true motives behind the United States' plan to invade Iraq. The purpose for this special publication, according to RUPE, is that India (like Pakistan) has been placed within the US geo-strategic agenda for the Asian region. This has been done, among other things, by declaring India to be an important military ally, and by working for a US-India political/military axis against China. RUPE argues that this will heighten the military tension in a region occupied by nuclear powers. Therefore it is necessary to understand the true motives behind the US geo-political agenda, exemplified in the current move against Iraq, before uncritically exposing one's country to such risks. The report concludes that protecting the security of the US dollar is a primary motive behind the US's planned invasion of Iraq. [Research Unit for Political Economy,11/02]
People and organizations involved: Research Unit for Political Economy  Additional Info 
          

December 2002

       Two months after the September 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency report (see September 2002) —which found there was no conclusive evidence Iraq has chemical weapons—another secret document titled, “Iraq's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapon and Missile Program: Progress, Prospects, and Potential Vulnerabilities,” is completed. It also says in very clear terms that there is no solid proof that Iraq has chemical weapons. One passage from the report says, “No reliable information indicates whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or where the country has or will establish its chemical agent production facility.” [US News and World Report, 6/13/03 Sources: Iraq's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapon and Missile Program: Progress, Prospects, and Potential Vulnerabilities]
          

Early December 2002

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

End of December 2002

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

December 2002

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

December 2002-March 2003

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

December 2002

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

December 2002

       CIA Director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin meet in the White House with President George Bush and Bush's top advisors for a “dress rehearsal” ahead of a public presentation alleging that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush is disappointed with Tenet and McLauglin's presentation, which is based on communications intercepts, satellite photos, diagrams and other intelligence. “Nice try,” Woodward's source will later recall Bush saying. “I don't think this quite—it's not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from.” Bush reportedly says to Tenet. “I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD, and this is the best we've got?” Tenet responds, “It's a slam dunk case.” Woodward's book will say that Bush then asked, “George, how confident are you?” To which the intelligence head responded, “Don't worry, it's a slam dunk.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/17/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, John McLaughlin
          

December 2002

       Experts from US national laboratories inform the US Department of Energy that Iraq is producing tubes identical to the Italian-made Medusa 81 rockets, which are of the same dimensions and which are made of the same alloy as the tubes that were intercepted in Jordan in July 2001. [Washington Post, 8/10/03 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence, US administration, and/or UN inspectors]
          

Early December, 2002

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

December 2002

       John Brodman, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for international energy policy, tells the New York Times: “Our dependency on the Persian Gulf could take a slight dip before it goes up. But the basic geological fact of life is that 70 percent of the proven oil reserves are in the Middle East.” [New York Times, 12/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: John Brodman
          

December 2002

       A former senior official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, “If it became known that [Rumsfeld] wanted [the Defense Intelligence Agency] to link the government of Tonga to 9/11, within a few months they would come up with sources who'd do it.” [New Yorker, 12/16/02]
          

December 2, 2002

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

December 2, 2002

       In a speech to the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference in Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney calls Saddam's government an “outlaw regime” and accuses the leader of “harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror,” asserting that his government “has had high-level contacts with al-Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to al-Qaeda terrorists.” [White House, 12/2/02c; Washington Post, 12/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney
          

December 3, 2002

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

December 3, 2002

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

December 3, 2002

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

December 4, 2002

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

December 4, 2002

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

December 5, 2002

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

December 5, 2002

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

December 5, 2002

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says: “The president of the United States and the secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it.” When pressed for details, he adds: “President Bush has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Donald Rumsfeld has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Richard Butler has said they do. The United Nations has said they do. The experts have said they do. Iraq says they don't. You can choose who you want to believe.” [AP, 12/5/03; CBC News, 12/5/2002]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Richard Butler, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

December 6, 2002

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

December 6, 2002

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

December 7, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 7, 2002

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

December 8, 2002

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

December 9, 2002

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

December 10, 2002

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

December 10, 2002

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

December 11, 2002

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

December 12, 2002-December 15, 2002

       An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 81 percent of Americans see “Iraq as a threat to the United States,” 64 percent “think that threat is a substantial one,” and 44 percent “see Iraq as an ‘immediate’ danger.” The poll is conducted among a random national sample of 1,209 adults and the results have a 3 percent error margin. [ABC News, 12/17/2002]
          

December 12, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

December 13, 2002

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

December 16, 2002

       The New York Times reports that the Defense Department “is considering issuing a secret directive to the American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policy makers in friendly and neutral countries” in order to stem the tide of anti-Americanism. The Pentagon has considered several tactics it may employ to improve America's image abroad. For example, the Times explains that the Pentagon “might pay journalists to write stories favorable to American policies,” or hire “outside contractors without obvious ties to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of American policies.” Another idea would be to set “up schools with secret American financing to teach a moderate Islamic position laced with sympathetic depictions of how the religion is practiced in America.” Several official sources interviewed by the Times opposed the plans. One military officer tells the newspaper: “We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn't mean we should.” Retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair, a former commander of American forces in the Pacific, says that it probably wouldn't be very effective. “Running ops against your allies doesn't work very well.... I've seen it tried a few times, and it generally is not very effective,” he says. [New York Times, 12/16/2002 Sources: Unnamed senior Pentagon and administration officials] The White House defends the program. “The president has the expectation that any program that is created in his administration will be based on facts, and that's what he would expect to be carried out in any program that is created in any entity of the government,” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says. [New York Times, 12/17/2002]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Dennis C. Blair
          

December 19, 2002

       A senior British security source suggests to the London Independent that US officials are “talking up” the evidence they say they have against Iraq. “We know [of] material which is unaccounted for,” says the source. “But we have not got a definite site, a grid reference, where we can say Saddam is hiding it. If the US administration does indeed have that kind of specifics, it has not been passed on to us. The main problem is known to us all. After all, it was Paul Wolfowitz the hawkish deputy US Defense Secretary who said, ‘Iraq isn't a country where we've had human intelligence for years.’ ” [Independent, 12/20/02 Sources: Unnamed senior source]
          

December 19, 2002

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

December 19, 2002

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

December 19, 2002

       The State Department publishes a fact sheet titled, “Illustrative Examples of Omissions From the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council,” which states that in its December 2003 declaration to the UN, Iraq “ignores [its] efforts to procure uranium from Niger.” [US Department of State, 12/19/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Associated Press, 7/14/03] But at this time, there is no evidence that Iraq had in fact sought to obtain uranium from Niger. Prior to the fact sheet's publication, the CIA had warned the State Department about this and recommended that the phrase be removed—advice the State Department chose to ignore. [Associated Press, 6/12/03 Sources: Unnamed US Intelligence Officials]
          

December 20-21, 2002

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

December 20, 2002

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

December 22, 2002

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

December 24, 2002

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

December 28, 2002

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

Late December, 2002

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

December 30, 2002

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

December 31, 2002

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

January 2003

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

Mid-February 2003

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

Early 2003

       The US Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] concludes early in 2003 that the intelligence being provided by dissidents supplied by the Iraqi National Congress is of little value. The New York Times reports that an internal DIA study has found that “dissidents invented or exaggerated their credentials as people with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its suspected unconventional weapons program.” [New York Times, 9/29/03; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Unnamed US officials] Unnamed officials interviewed by the Times say the defectors have been considered by the Defense Intelligence Agency to be dubious sources from the start. It is believed that the dissidents' motivation for talking has been money and their opposition to Saddam Hussein. The Times' sources say “they would not speculate on whether the defectors had knowingly provided false information and, if so, what their motivation might have been.” [New York Times, 9/29/03; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Unnamed US officials] The document reveals that more than $1 million was paid to Chalabi's group for information about Saddam Hussein's alleged banned weapons programs. [New York Times, 9/29/03; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Unnamed US officials]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi National Congress (INC)
          

Mid January 2003

       The British Defense Intelligence Staff Agency (DIS) completes a classified study which concludes that Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden's earlier attempts to collaborate had “foundered” due to ideological differences. The report says: “While there have been contacts between al-Qaeda and the regime in the past, it is assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideology.” Osama bin Laden's objectives, notes the report, are “in ideological conflict with present day Iraq.” The top secret report is sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior members of his government. [Independent, 2/6/03; BBC, 2/5/03 Sources: Unnamed British Intelligence Staff document]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein  Additional Info 
          

Early January 2003

       According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice visits George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush tells her: “We're not winning. Time is not on our side here. Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in The Washington Post, 4/17/2004] When the contents of Woodward's book are reported in mid-April 2004, many people interpret Bush's statement as a decision to go to war. But Rice will deny that that was the case. “... I just want it to be understood: That was not a decision to go to war,” she will say. “The decision to go to war is in March. The president is saying in that conversation, I think the chances are that this is not going to work out any other way. We're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice
          

Mid-January 2003

       In an interview with Time magazine, former US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill says he never saw or heard of any real evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. “In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction,” he explains. “There were allegations and assertions by people.... But I've been around a hell of a long time, and I know the difference between evidence and assertions and illusions or allusions and conclusions that one could draw from a set of assumptions. To me there is a difference between real evidence and everything else. And I never saw anything in the intelligence that I would characterize as real evidence.” [Time, 1/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul O?Neill
          

Mid-December 2003

       The existence of a June 2002 memo—revealing that intelligence from the INC was being sent directly to the offices of Dick Cheney and William Luti—is reported in the December 15 issue of Newsweek magazine, which also reports that Francis Brooke, a DC lobbyist for the INC, admits having supplied Cheney's office with information pertaining to Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's supposed ties to terrorists. [Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Francis Brooke, Memo] Furthermore, he acknowedges that the information provided by the INC was driven by an agenda. “I told them [the INC], as their campaign manager, ‘Go get me a terrorist and some WMD, because that's what the Bush administration is interested in.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Brooke had previously worked for the Rendon Group, “a shadowy CIA-connected public-relations firm.” [Mother Jones, 1/04] However, an unnamed Cheney aid interviewed by the same magazine flatly denies that his boss' office had received raw intelligence on Iraq. [Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Unnamed staff aid of Dick Cheney's office]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney, Francis Brooke, William Luti
          

Mid-February 2003-March 2003

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

January 2003

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

January 2003-March 2003

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

January 2003-March 17, 2003

       The CIA provides Centcom with intelligence for the purpose of planning targets in Iraq. But Centcom sources later tell Newsweek the intelligence was extremely poor. It “was crap,” a Centcom planner later tells Newsweek. Another source tells the magazine that the sites the agency suggests for targeting are for the most part the same ones that were bombed during the First Gulf War. While the CIA has satellite photos of the buildings to be targeted, it turns out they know little about them. “What was inside the structures was another matter,” says the source. “We asked, ‘Well, what agents are in these buildings? Because we need to know.’ And the answer was, ‘We don't know.’ ” [Newsweek, 6/9/03 Sources: Unnamed Centcom planner]
          

After mid-April 2003

       After it becomes apparent that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that could have posed a serious threat to the United States or Britain, people close to the administration begin to acknowledge, through direct and indirect statements, that there were other reasons for invading Iraq, which were not disclosed to the public before the invasion. For example, ABC News reports on April 25, 2003 that “officials .. privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war—a global show of American power and democracy.” According to one official interviewed by ABC, the weapons of mass destruction argument was used for the sole purpose of obtaining legal justification for war from the United Nations and securing support from the American public. The primary reason for the invasion, according to the officials, was that it was believed that the Middle East would produce more terrorists if the US did nothing. Their theory was that “young Arabs, angry about their lives and without hope, would always [be] looking for someone to hate—and that someone would always be Israel and the United States.” According to these ideologues, only regime change and the imposition of a western-styled, pro-Israeli and pro-US government would provide a solution. [ABC News, 4/25/03 Sources: Unnamed US official]
 Additional Info 
          

January 2, 2003

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

January 3, 2003-January 6, 2003

       A poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates among 1,204 adults indicates widespread misperception regarding Iraq. The poll finds that almost 25 percent believe the Bush administration has “publicly released evidence tying Iraq to the planning and funding of the September 11 attacks, and more than 1 in 3 respondents didn't know or refused to answer.” [Knight Ridder, 1/12/2003] 44 percent of those polled believe that “most” or “some” of the September 11 terrorist hijackers were Iraqi citizens and only 17 percent know that none of the hijackers were Iraqis. [Editor and Publisher, 3/26/2003] The margin of error is estimated to be 3 percent. [Knight Ridder, 1/12/2003]
          

January 6, 2003

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

January 7, 2003

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

January 7, 2003

       At a press briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says, “There is no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons.” [AP, 1/7/03b]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 8, 2003

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

January 9, 2003

       The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submits a preliminary report to the UN Security Council on the results of the inspections so far. The report says: “To date, no new information of significance has emerged regarding Iraq's past nuclear program (pre-1991) or with regard to Iraq activities during the period between 1991 and 1998.... [N]o evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities has been detected, although not all of the laboratory results of sample analysis are yet available.” [New York Times, 1/10/03; Reuters, 1/9/03; Independent, 1/10/03; Guardian, 1/10/03 Sources: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) preliminary report to the UN Security Council] It also states that Washington's claim that the tubes were meant for a centrifuge is highly unlikely. In one section of the report, its authors write: “While the matter is still under investigation and further verification is foreseen, the IAEA's analysis to date indicates that the specifications of the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq in 2001 and 2002 appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for it.” [New York Times, 1/10/03; Reuters, 1/9/03; Independent, 1/10/03; Guardian, 1/10/03 Sources: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) preliminary report to the UN Security Council] The IAEA preliminary conclusion on the tubes stems from a visit by inspectors to a metal fabrication factory in Nasser where they had found 13,000 completed rockets, all produced from 7075-T6 aluminum tubes. Iraqi engineers working at the facility explained that they had been seeking more aluminum tubes at the time US authorities intercepted the July 2001 shipment (see July 2001) because their supply was low. The engineers provided additional information which supported the view that the tubes were not meant for use in a gas centrifuge. They told the inspectors that the rigid specifications for the tubes were intended to improve the rocket's accuracy without requiring any major changes to the design. Documents reviewed by the inspectors confirmed the Iraqi engineers' account. It was also explained that the tubes, which were stored outside, were anodized so they would not corrode. Inspectors confirmed this also. [New York Times, 10/3/2004]
          

January 9, 2003

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

January 9, 2003

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

January 9, 2003

       A UN report, titled, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003, observes that tensions over an imminent war in the Middle East are “having a negative impact on global economic growth through the higher price of oil, rising economic uncertainty and the decrease in business and consumer confidence that they have generated,” and that therefore “an escalation of conflict in that area would only have damaging effects.” The report notes that despite the two-year economic slowdown, “stock prices remain[ed] high relative to traditional benchmarks,” suggesting that continued stagnation in the major equity markets could “send the global economy into a tailspin.” [UN, 1/9/03; Associated Press 1/10/03]
          

January 9, 2003

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer asserts during his daily press briefing, “We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” [White House, 1/9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

January 11, 2003

       Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tells reporters during a press conference: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons. There were reports from different member states that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes for enrichment, that they were importing uranium from Africa. Our provisional conclusion is that these tubes were for rockets and not for centrifuges. They deny they have imported any uranium since 1991.” [Time, 1/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

January 11, 2003

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

January 13, 2003

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

January 13, 2003

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he was firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

January 14, 2003

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

January 14, 2003

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

January 14,2003

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

January 14, 2003

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

January 15, 2003

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

January 16, 2003

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

January 16, 2003

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