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Iraq Report: March 20, 2003

20 March 2003, Volume 6, Number 11

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BUSH GIVES IRAQI PRESIDENT 48 HOURS TO LEAVE OR FACE 'MILITARY CONFLICT.' U.S. President George W. Bush, in a 17 March speech from the White House, gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay 48 hours to leave Iraq or face a U.S.-led strike to remove the Hussein regime from power, according to a White House transcript of the speech ( Bush said that the Iraqi regime has "aided, trained, and harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al-Qaeda," and that there is a danger that if the Iraqi regime is left in power it might someday provide weapons of mass destruction to these terrorists. "The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security," Bush said, citing UN Security Council Resolutions 678 (1990) and 687 (1991), which authorize the use of force in Iraq. Bush said a refusal by Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq "will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing." Bush also warned Iraqi military personnel of the consequences of following the regime's orders during a conflict, saying: "Do not destroy oil wells...[and] do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished." He added that the U.S. military "will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

U.S. PRESIDENT: 'MOMENT OF TRUTH' FOR IRAQ. U.S. President George W. Bush told a press conference in the Azores, Portugal, on 16 March that the next day will be "a moment of truth for the world," according to the text version of the press conference available on the White House website ( Bush said states "must demonstrate [their] commitment to peace and supporting the immediate and unconditional disarmament of [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein." Asked whether 17 March marked the last date for a resolution on Iraq to be voted on at the UN, Bush replied, "That's what I'm saying." However, Bush did not confirm whether the United States, Britain, and Spain would actually seek UN Security Council approval for a use of force in Iraq. He did state, though, that "should military force [be] required, we'll quickly seek new Security Council resolutions to encourage broad participation in the process of helping the Iraqi people to build a free Iraq."

Bush was joined at the 16 March press conference by his counterparts British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose-Manuel Durao-Barroso. Blair told reporters that it is no longer constructive to "go back [to the Security Council] for endless discussion," stating: "Now, we have provided the right diplomatic way through this, which is to lay down a clear ultimatum to Saddam: Cooperate or face disarmament by force. And that is entirely within the logic, the letter, the spirit of [Resolution] 1441." Blair later added, "I think it is so important that even now, at this late stage we try to get the United Nations to be the root of resolving this." Referring again to Resolution 1441, Blair said: "Now is the moment when we decide whether we meant it and it was [Hussein's] final opportunity to disarm...or whether, alternatively, we're simply going to drag out the diplomatic process forever. And that's why I say it's the point of decision." Meanwhile, Aznar said, "I can assure all of you that we've made...enormous efforts, and we're going to continue making these efforts in order to reach an agreement, to reach a solution." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

U.S. SAYS 45 STATES HAVE JOINED 'COALITION OF THE WILLING.' U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on 18 March that 30 states have joined the "coalition of the willing" against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, AP reported the same day. "We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations who publicly said they could be included in such a listing," Powell said, "and there are 15 other nations, for one reason or another, who do not wish to be publicly named but will be supporting the coalition." It is unclear whether any Arab states are supporting the U.S. position. There are none, however, on the list read by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher during an 18 March daily briefing (see, who listed the coalition states as: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

U.K. PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT DECISION TO HELP DISARM IRAQI REGIME. The British Parliament voted to support a decision by Prime Minister Blair to participate in a U.S.-led coalition to disarm the Iraqi regime, BBC News reported on 19 March. Debate on the vote, authorizing the use of "all means necessary" to disarm Hussein, extended late into the evening of 18 March, with 412 members voting in favor and 149 members voting against. "It is now time for all of us in Parliament and in the country to come together and show the support our armed forces deserve," a spokesman for Blair said after the vote. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

FRANCE 'CANNOT ACCEPT' ULTIMATUM. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said on 17 March that France will not accept a UN resolution that calls for the use of force in Iraq, Reuters reported the same day. "France cannot accept the resolution that is on the table in New York...which poses an ultimatum and which envisages an automatic use of force," Reuters quoted de Villepin as telling Europe 1 radio on 17 March. De Villepin also voiced dismay at allegations of a link between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda organization, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Bush's latest statements on the existence of such a link, made during a press conference in Terceira, in the Azores, on 16 March. "There is no link today proving the link between Al-Qaeda and Iraq," de Villepin said. French President Jacques Chirac said on 16 March that France would be willing to accept a timetable of 30 days for Iraqi disarmament, AP reported on 17 March. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

AUSTRALIA COMMITS TROOPS TO AID U.S. EFFORT IN IRAQ. Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced on 18 March that his country has committed troops to aid a possible U.S.-led strike against Iraq, Reuters reported. "This decision was taken at a cabinet meeting this morning following a further telephone discussion between myself and President Bush," Howard said. He added that the decision was "in the medium- and longer-term interest of the country." Australia has 2,000 elite SAS troops, jetfighters, and warships already in the Persian Gulf, according to Reuters. The troops would fight under Australian command, Howard noted. Australia has also expelled five Iraqi diplomats and their dependents, the news agency reported. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the expulsion will "contribute to the security of Australia and Australian forces fighting in Iraq." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQ DIVIDES COUNTRY INTO FOUR MILITARY COMMANDS. The Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) issued a decree on 15 March stating that, henceforth, Iraq is to be divided into four military command regions, Iraq Satellite Channel Television reported the same day. According to the decree, each military commander will report directly to President Hussein. The northern region includes the "administrative borders of the governorates of Ninawa, Al-Ta'mim, Dahuk, Arbil, and Al-Sulaymaniyah" and is now under the command of Staff General Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of the RCC, and deputy commander in chief of the armed forces, the decree stated. The southern region includes the administrative borders of the governorates of Basra, Dhi Qar, and Maysan, and is commanded by Staff General Ali Hasan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who was commander during Iraq's chemical attack on Halabjah, which occurred 15 years ago yesterday, and killed thousands of Kurds. The "Central Euphrates" region is under the command of Mizban Khadr Hadi, a member of the Iraq Command and the RCC, and includes the governorates of Karbala, Al-Najaf, Al-Qadisiyah, and Al-Muthanna. The "Central Region" is under the command of Qusay Hussein, a son of the Iraqi president, and includes the governorates of Baghdad, Salah Al-Din, Al-Anbar, Babil, and Wasit. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQ ISSUES INVITATION TO UNMOVIC, IAEA TO VISIT IRAQ. An adviser to Iraqi President Hussein, Amr Al-Sa'di, sent a letter to UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix and IAEA Director-General Muhammad al-Baradei on 15 March inviting them to meet with Iraqi officials in Baghdad "at the earliest date" to discuss disarmament issues, Iraq Satellite Channel Television reported the same day. Issues proposed for discussion include possible methods for speeding up joint cooperation between Iraq and UNMOVIC/IAEA inspectors, particularly regarding the verification of outstanding issues. Al-Sa'di sent a second letter to Blix on 15 March "in which he appended an 82-page report containing the results of analysis of the [nerve gas] VX remnants in the soil" taken from the destruction site at Al-Muthanna, where Iraq claims to have destroyed its quantities of VX in 1991, Iraq Television reported on 16 March. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PRESIDENT MEETS ARMED-FORCES COMMANDERS. President Hussein met with military commanders from the armed forces, Defense Minister General Sultan Hashim Ahmad, and Hussein's son, Qusay, Iraq Television reported on 16 March. During the meeting, Hussein discussed the British draft compromise submitted to the Security Council on 12 March, stating, "The inspectors came and did not find anything. One of the reasons why [the United States and the United Kingdom] talk about the aggression, prepare for it, and perhaps will carry it out is to hide from the public the big lie in saying that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." "Give [Iraq] a deadline and give us supplies to produce for you the type of weapons you want and then we will ask you to come and destroy them," the Iraqi leader suggested, adding, "International politics has become a game." Hussein later took on a threatening tone, stating, "When [the enemy] starts a large-scale battle, he should realize that the battle will open wherever there is sky, land, and water throughout the entire globe." Hussein added that Iraqi troops will fight U.S.-led coalition forces with "daggers, swords, and clubs if the other weapons are not available." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

ARAB LEAGUE REJECTS IRAQ WAR. Horsham Yusif, Arab League information adviser to Secretary-General Amr Musa, said on 18 March that the league rejects President Bush's ultimatum ordering Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq, ITAR-TASS reported. "The Arab League regrets the statement made by the U.S. president, and rejects it," Yusif said. Meanwhile, there were conflicting reports in the international media early on 18 March about whether or not Amr Musa was en route to Iraq to meet with Iraqi officials. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

KUWAITI MILITARY UNITS TO OCCUPY DMZ. Colonel Yusif al-Mulla, spokesman for the Kuwaiti Defense Ministry, said on 17 March that Kuwaiti security units will occupy the Kuwaiti portion of the Iraq-Kuwait demilitarized zone (DMZ) following the pullout of UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) personnel, KUNA reported the same day. The troop deployment is an effort to protect Kuwait's borders, al-Mulla said. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PRESIDENT SAYS IRAQ 'HAD' WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. President Hussein on 17 March denied that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction (WMD) but alluded to Iraq's possession of such weapons in the past during a meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib bin Yahya, Iraq Television reported the same day. "Collecting weapons is not our hobby. We had these weapons for purposes of self-defense when we were at war with Iran for eight years," Hussein said, adding, "The Zionist entity [Israel] had threatened us, and it is still threatening us." The Iraqi president went on to say, "I reiterate here that we do not have weapons of mass destruction and that we are cooperating with the inspectors and will continue this cooperation." During the meeting, Hussein also said that 7 1/2 years of inspections in Iraq -- in an apparent reference to UNSCOM inspections, which ended in 1998 -- had not led to the discovery of any banned weapons or activities. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS U.S. 'FAILED TO PEDDLE AGGRESSIVE, COLONIALIST RESOLUTION.' Naji Sabri reacted to a decision by the U.S., Britain, and Spain to withdraw their resolution from the UN Security Council on 17 March saying, "The U.S. administration of evil has utterly failed to peddle its aggressive, colonialist war resolution," Iraq Television reported the same day. "World rejection of the resolution is not only represented by the Security Council's rejection of the colonialist American-British draft resolution of war, but also by the entire international community's rejection of the American colonialist war policy against Iraq," Sabri added that the UN withdrawal from Iraq shows that it "is clearly following the U.S. and British hostile line that violates the international mechanisms, the UN Charter, and the UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER SAYS IRAQI PRESIDENT WILL STAY. Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Sa'id al-Sahhaf said President Hussein will not meet a U.S. demand to leave Iraq, Al-Jazeera reported on 17 March. Asked whether Hussein would depart, Al-Sahhaf told Al-Jazeera: "Curse them. I tell you, and this is for the record -- let all the Arab citizens in all parts of the Arab homeland record this -- that the criminal Bush and the despicable [British Prime Minister] Blair will go. Many warmongers will go. Leader Saddam Hussein will continue to be steadfast like a domineering mountain." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

ANNAN PULLS UN PERSONNEL OUT OF IRAQ. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has heeded U.S. advice to withdraw UN inspectors, humanitarian workers, and UNIKOM personnel from Iraq, the UN News Center ( reported on 17 March. UN weapons inspectors and humanitarian workers based inside Iraq withdrew on 18 March, Reuters reported. The personnel were flown from Baghdad to Cyprus, where the UN has a field office. Commenting on the withdrawal, UNMOVIC/International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Hiro Ueki said, "It is unfortunate, but we have to leave," adding, "There is a sense of sadness the job we came to complete was not completed." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

JORDAN RESTRICTS ENTRY OF IRAQIS. Jordan has limited the entry of Iraqis into the Hashemite Kingdom, permitting only those with residence permits or those traveling to third countries across the Iraqi-Jordanian border, "The Jordan Times" reported on 19 March. An unnamed security official told the Amman-based daily that he received instructions not to allow Iraqi citizens to cross the border, except under those two conditions, adding, "We have seen only foreign diplomats working in Baghdad and Jordanian students from different Iraqi cities crossing the borders these two days." Meanwhile, Jordan is constructing two refugee camps near Al-Ruwayshid, 80 kilometers west of the Jordanian-Iraqi border, to accommodate Iraqi refugees. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PARLIAMENT HOLDS EMERGENCY SESSION. The Iraqi National Assembly met in an emergency session on 19 March to discuss the ultimatum issued by U.S. President George W. Bush that President Hussein and his sons leave Iraq or face a U.S.-led strike, Al-Jazeera reported. National Assembly speaker Sa'dun Hammadi opened the session by stating, "What the U.S. administration is doing, and what its president announced recently, call for consternation and denunciation," adding, "Saddam Hussein is the leader of Iraq. He is the sincere son of the people." Hammadi went on to say that Iraq rejects the U.S. ultimatum, insisting: "We reject and denounce it, and we are all standing together behind our leader, and we're ready to defend our land. The fate of the invaders is the same -- failure and the curse of history," Reuters reported. Assembly Deputy Khalid Abd al-Aziz Salim addressed Bush in a speech to the assembly, saying: "You have not learned from your predecessors. You should step down and let the world live in peace or the consequences will be grave and the whole of America will carry your guilt and expose it to the unexpected." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT BLAMES IRAQI REGIME. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in a 19 March speech to his country, criticized the Iraqi regime for putting the region in peril, Reuters reported. "I hope that the Iraqi government recognizes the dangerous situation it has put itself and us in, and that the international powers recognize the dangerous consequences of any military action on security and stability of the Middle East countries as a whole," Mubarak said. Mubarak said the current crisis is the result of the 1991 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the "absence of any true Iraqi effort to deal with the crisis of confidence which came about as a result of this aggression and its effects." Mubarak added that Iraq could have done more over the last 12 years to rebuild the trust of its neighbors and the international community. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IS SAUDI ARABIA ENCOURAGING HUSSEIN EXILE? A Saudi diplomat reportedly said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is encouraging Iraqi President Hussein to seek exile, Reuters reported on 19 March. "The kingdom, and other parties, are exerting maximum effort to prevent a devastating war, and they have proposed the idea of exile for Saddam and securing a safe haven for him and his family," the source told Reuters. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal was asked if the kingdom would offer asylum to Hussein in an interview published in "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" on 9 March. Al-Faysal said his country has done "enough" in granting asylum to former Ugandan President Idi Amin and former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and that it would not take in Hussein. Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz presented a speech by Saudi King Fahd bin Abd al-Aziz on 18 March, Saudi Press Agency reported the same day. The speech notes that the kingdom will "in no way whatsoever" participate in a war against Iraq. King Fahd also stressed that his kingdom expects "the war to come to a conclusion once UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which concerns scrapping Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, is implemented." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

By Kathleen Ridolfo
2 March 1991 The United Nations (UN) Security Council adopts Resolution 686, ordering a cessation of hostilities.

3 March 1991 Iraq agrees to accept Resolution 686.

3 April 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 687, detailing the terms of the cease-fire and introducing UN inspections to disarm Iraq from weapons of mass destruction.

5 April 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 688, condemning the oppression of the Iraqi civilian population and calling on Iraq to allow international humanitarian organizations access to all parts of Iraq.

6 April 1991 Iraq accepts the terms of Resolution 687.

The United States, United Kingdom, and France begin enforcement of the northern no-fly zone, above the 36th parallel.

19 April 1991 The UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) is established to enforce the terms of Resolution 687.

15 May 1991 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) enters Iraq to begin nuclear inspections.

20 May 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 692, establishing the UN Compensation Commission in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 687.

9 June 1991 UNSCOM begins chemical inspections.

17 June 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 699, approving a plan submitted by the UN secretary-general on 17 May 1991 to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

17 June 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 700, approving the guidelines to facilitate full international implementation of the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 687.

30 June 1991 UNSCOM begins missile inspections.

2 August 1991 UNSCOM begins biological inspections.

11 August 1991 UNSCOM begins reconnaissance flights over Iraq.

15 August 1991 UN Security Council adopts Resolution 705, stating that Iraq's Gulf War compensation should not exceed 30 percent of the annual value of Iraqi oil exports.

15 August 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 706, authorizing a six-month export of Iraqi petroleum products to pay for humanitarian supplies. Iraq does not accept the resolution.

15 August 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 707, condemning Iraq for violating UN Security Council Resolution 687 and demanding that Iraq cease its nuclear activities, provide full disclosure of its weapons of mass destruction programs, and allow UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas."

16 August 1991 Iraq states its objection to UN Security Council Resolutions 705 and 707.

19 September 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 712, regarding Iraq's petroleum exports as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 706. Iraq does not accept Resolution 712.

11 October 1991 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 715, approving a system of ongoing monitoring to verify Iraqi compliance and ordering UNSCOM to carry out its responsibilities as outlined in Resolutions 687, 699, and 707, as well as the plan submitted by the UN secretary-general.

26 August 1992 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 773, regarding the demarcation of the land boundary between Iraq and Kuwait.

27 August 1992 The southern no-fly zone is established by coalition forces below the 32nd parallel.

2 October 1992 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 778, mandating that Iraqi oil export proceeds be held in a UN-administered escrow account.

5 February 1993 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 806, granting the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) the power to take direct action to prevent or rectify violations in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

27 May 1993 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 833, demanding that Iraq and Kuwait respect the inviolability of the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border established by the UN.

26 November 1993 Iraq accepts UN Security Council Resolution 715.

4 March 1994 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 899, stating that Iraqi citizens are entitled to compensation for a loss of assets resulting from the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border.

15 October 1994 UN Security Council adopts Resolution 949, condemning Iraq's deployment of forces toward the Kuwait border.

20 October 1994 Coalition forces establish a no-drive zone in southern Iraq, south of the 32nd parallel.

10 November 1994 Iraq recognizes the boundaries of the Iraq-Kuwait border as demarcated by the UN.

14 April 1995 UN Security Council adopts Resolution 986, recommending the "Oil-for-Food" formula as "a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people."

15 April 1995 Iraq rejects UN Security Council Resolution 986.

27 March 1996 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1051, setting an export-monitoring mechanism and review for dual-use goods.

20 May 1996 Iraq agrees to accept UN Security Council Resolution 986.

12 June 1996 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1060, deeming Iraq in violation of Resolutions 687, 707, and 715 for denying UNSCOM inspectors full access to sites.

3 September 1996 Coalition forces expand the southern no-fly zone to the 33rd parallel.

4 June 1997 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1111, declaring that "the provisions of Resolution 986, except those contained in paragraphs 4, 11, and 12, shall remain in force for another period of 180 days."

21 June 1997 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1115, stating Iraq is in "clear and flagrant violations" of resolutions regarding access to sites.

23 October 1997 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1134, condemning Iraq's continued noncompliance and threatening to impose a travel ban on Iraqi officials.

12 November 1997 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1137, imposing a travel ban on Iraqi officials and members of the Iraqi armed forces who contributed to Iraq's noncompliance of UNSCOM inspections.

20 February 1998 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1153, expanding Iraq's oil sales to $5.2 billion.

2 March 1998 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1154, commending the efforts of the secretary-general to "secure commitments from the government of Iraq on compliance."

19 June 1998 The UN Security Council approves Resolution 1175, authorizing the allocation of $300 million for Iraq to purchase "the necessary parts and equipment to enable Iraq to increase the export of petroleum and petroleum products."

9 September 1998 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1194, condemning Iraq's decision of 5 August to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, and suspending reviews of sanctions until cooperation is resumed.

31 October 1998 Iraq ends all cooperation with UNSCOM.

5 November 1998 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1205, demanding that Iraq resume cooperation with UNSCOM.

14 November 1998 Iraq permits UNSCOM to return to Iraq.

15 December 1998 UNSCOM reports to the UN Security Council that it is unable to perform its mandate and withdraws its inspectors.

4 October 1999 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1266, allowing a modification of the set amount for Iraqi oil sales.

17 December 1999 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1284, stating that the Security Council will not lift sanctions due to Iraq's failure to fully implement relevant council resolutions; establishing the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to replace UNSCOM; and eliminating the cap on Iraqi oil exports. Iraq does not accept Resolution 1284.

27 January 2000 Hans Blix is appointed the executive chairman of UNMOVIC.

31 March 2000 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1293, allocating $600 million for Iraq's purchase of oil-related spare parts.

7 April 2000 Blix submits an organizational plan to the UN Security Council.

13 April 2000 The UN Security Council approves the organizational plan for UNMOVIC.

8 June 2000 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1302, extending the "oil for food" program for a further 180-day period beginning on 9 June 2000. Since Resolution 1302, the Security Council has continued to renew the program.

1 December 2000 Iraq temporarily halts oil exports in reaction to a UN refusal to grant it control over certain oil reserves.

8 April 2001 Iraq suspends oil production.

18 April 2001 Iraqi officials meet with the UN to discuss restarting weapons inspections. The talks continued on 1 May.

1 June 2001 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1352, revising economic sanctions in order to facilitate the flow of civilian goods into Iraq.

14 May 2002 UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1409, including a revised Goods Review List for Iraqi imports.

17 September 2002 Iraq agrees to allow UN inspectors to return to Iraq.

8 November 2002 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1441, establishing an enhanced inspection regime for Iraq's disarmament, to be carried out by UNMOVIC and the IAEA.

13 November 2002 Iraq accepts Resolution 1441.

18 November 2002 The heads of UNMOVIC and IAEA visit Baghdad for technical talks.

27 November 2002 UNMOVIC and the IAEA begin inspections in Iraq.

7 December 2002 Iraq presents the UN with a 12,000-page declaration of its weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein issues an official apology to Kuwait for Iraq's 1990 invasion of the country.

9 December 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush issues a presidential order providing "up to $92 million in defense articles from the [U.S.] Department of Defense, defense services from the Department of Defense, and military education and training" for Iraqi opposition groups.

19 December 2002 The UN Security Council meets to discuss the Iraqi declaration. IAEA chief Muhammad al-Baradei says during the meeting, "We still need much more cooperation from Iraq in terms of substance, in terms of providing evidence to exonerate itself that it is clean from weapons of mass destruction."

30 December 2002 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1454, tightening restrictions on Iraqi imports of antibiotics and communications.

9 January 2003 UNMOVIC and the IAEA brief the UN Security Council, stating that the Iraqi declaration is incomplete. Blix cites as examples Iraq's failure to account for weapons known to exist as a result of previous UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspections and its failure to provide the names of known Iraqi scientists to the UN. In addition, Blix argues that the Iraqi declaration does not account for, among other things, imports of missile engines, stocks of VX gas, and ingredients for the production of missile fuel and chemical bombs.

16 January 2003 UN weapons inspectors uncover 12 empty 122-millimeter chemical warheads at the Ukhaidar Ammunition Stores, located 70 kilometers south of Karbala.

27 January 2003 UNMOVIC and the IAEA give a 60-day-after briefing on inspections in Iraq, as required under Resolution 1441. Al-Baradei tells the UN Security Council that his agency's inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq has restarted its nuclear program, but he adds that inspectors need "a few months" to provide "credible assurance" that Iraq has no such program. Blix says that Iraq is providing cooperation on issues of "process," such as access to sites, but that it has not clarified outstanding issues regarding weapons of mass destruction. Also, the European Union foreign ministers adopt a common position on Iraq in Brussels.

30 January 2003 Iraqi presidential adviser Amr Al-Sa'di invites Blix and al-Baradei to Iraq to discuss "a series of issues related to consolidating cooperation and transparency [between Iraq and] UNMOVIC and the IAEA."

5 February 2003 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presents Washington's evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and terrorism links to the UN Security Council.

8-9 February 2003 Iraq, during a meeting with UNMOVIC and the IAEA, hands over several papers concerning anthrax, growth material, and the nerve agent VX, but UNMOVIC chief Blix later tells the council (14 February) that these papers do not include any "new evidence."

14 February 2003 UNMOVIC and the IAEA brief the UN Security Council. UNMOVIC chief Blix tells the council that some progress has been made with Iraq since the council briefing on 27 January, but that more cooperation was needed. Blix further informs the council that experts from UN member states have determined that the Al-Sumud 2 missile is capable of exceeding 150 kilometers -- the maximum range allowed by the UN -- and is thus a proscribed weapon under UN Security Council Resolution 687, from 1991. Blix also notes that UNMOVIC has begun the process of destroying some 50 liters of mustard gas at the Al-Muthanna site. Al-Baradei tells the council that IAEA inspections have entered the "investigative phase," meaning that inspectors are beginning to focus on Iraq's activities in the nuclear field since 1998. Still under investigation, among other things, is the issue of whether Iraq's import of high-strength aluminum tubes were intended to be used for uranium enrichment as well as Iraq's use of 32 tons of HMX.

17 February 2003 The European Union issues a joint declaration calling on Iraq to fulfill its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and to disarm peacefully.

21 February 2003 UNMOVIC chief Blix sends a letter to Iraqi presidential adviser Lieutenant General Amr al-Sa'di demanding that Iraq destroy its stockpiled Al-Sumud 2 missiles.

24 February 2003 The United States, United Kingdom, and Spain present to the UN Security Council a draft resolution on Iraqi disarmament, stating that "Iraq has submitted a declaration pursuant to its Resolution 1441 (2002) containing false statements and omissions and has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution." The draft resolution also states that "Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441 (2002)."

Also on 24 February, France, Germany, and Russia present a memorandum to the UN Security Council calling for increased weapons inspections. The memorandum states that, "[w]hile suspicions remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction or capabilities in this field," and that "inspections have just reached their full pace; they are functioning without hindrance; they have already produced results."

27 February 2003 Iraq agrees "in principle" to comply with UN demands to destroy its stockpile of Al-Sumud 2 missiles.

6 March 2003 UNMOVIC releases a 173-page working document titled, "Unresolved Disarmament Issues: Iraq's Proscribed Weapons Programs."

7 March 2003 UNMOVIC and the IAEA present an oral version of the 12th Quarterly Report on Inspections in Iraq. The written report was submitted by UNMOVIC on 28 February. Al-Baradei tells the council that inspections continue to move forward and concludes that, "[a]fter three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq." According to Blix, "It is obvious that, while the numerous initiatives which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as 'active', or even 'proactive', these initiatives three or four months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute 'immediate' cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance."

12 March 2003 British Prime Minister Tony Blair presents to the UN Security Council six new conditions which, if met, would allow Iraq to avoid a U.S.-led strike.

15 March 2003 The adviser to President Saddam Hussein, Amr al-Sa'di, sends a letter to UNMOVIC chief Blix and IAEA Director-General al-Baradei, inviting them to meet with Iraqi officials in Baghdad "at the earliest date" to discuss disarmament issues.

Also on 15 March, Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) issues a decree stating that Iraq is to be divided into four military command regions.

16 March 2003 U.S. advises the UN to pull its inspectors out of Iraq. U.S. President George W. Bush -- following a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose-Manuel Durao-Barroso -- tells a press conference in the Azores, Portugal, that 17 March will be "a moment of truth for the world."

17 March 2003 British Ambassador to the UN Jeremy Greenstock tells reporters at the UN that "the co-sponsors [of the U.S., U.K. and Spanish draft resolution] will not pursue a vote on the draft resolution. The co-sponsors reserve their right to take their own steps to secure the disarmament of Iraq."

19 March 2003 President George W. Bush addresses the American people at 10:15 p.m. to announce the beginning of a "broad and concerted campaign" to disarm Iraq, called Operation Iraqi Freedom.