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The Christian Science Monitor March 20, 2003

Timeline: The road to war in Iraq

Compiled by Seth Stern

1990 Aug. 2 - Iraq invades Kuwait. The UN Security Council calls for a full withdrawal.

1990 Aug. 6 - UN imposes economic sanctions on Iraq.

1990 Nov. 29 - UN orders Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991.

1991 Jan. 17 - The Gulf War starts as coalition forces begin bombing Iraq.

1991 Feb. 24 - Ground invasion of Iraq and Kuwait commences. Kuwait is liberated three days later.

1991 Mar. 3 - Iraq accepts the cease-fire. The primary cease-fire resolution requires Iraq to end its programs for weapons-of-mass-destruction (WMD), recognize Kuwait, account for missing Kuwaitis, return Kuwaiti property, and end support for international terrorism.

1991 Mid-March/early April - Iraq suppresses Shiite uprisings in the south and Kurdish uprisings in the north, creating a humanitarian disaster on the borders with Turkey and Iran.

1991 April 7 - The US and coalition partners establish the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

1991 April 8 - A plan for the establishment of a UN haven in northern Iraq for Kurds is approved by the European Union. The US orders Iraq to end military action in this area.

1991 April - Working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) is established to ensure Iraq is free of WMD.

1992 August 26 - A no-fly zone is established in southern Iraq and patrolled by British, French and US aircraft.

1993 June 27 - US forces fire Cruise missiles at an Iraqi intelligence building in Baghdad, in response to the attempted assassination of former President George Bush in Kuwait in April.

1995 April 14 - The UN allows the partial resumption of Iraq's oil exports to buy food and medicine as part of an "oil for food" program.

1996 March-June - UN inspection teams are denied access to militarily sensitive areas.

1996 June - A CIA-backed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein is foiled. Participants are executed.

1997 Oct. 29 - Iraq demands that Americans on the UN inspection team leave; they go but return on Nov. 20.

1998 Jan 13-22 - Iraq withdraws cooperation with UN inspectors, claiming some are British and American spies.
Feb. 23 - Iraq promises UN inspectors unrestricted access.
Oct. 31 - Iraq ends cooperation with UNSCOM.
Nov. 14 - Iraq allows inspections to resume.
Dec. 16 - UN inspection teams are withdrawn, after concluding that Iraq is not cooperating fully.
Dec. 16-19 - US and Britain launch a bombing campaign "Operation Desert Fox," to destroy suspected WMD.
Dec. 17 - UN creates the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to replace UNSCOM. Iraq rejects the new body.

2000 August - Baghdad Airport reopened, resulting in a stream of flights by countries and organizations to campaign against sanctions.
October - Commercial air links reestablished between Iraq and Russia, Ireland, and the Middle East.
November - Iraq rejects new weapons-inspections proposals.

2001 Free-trade zone agreements set up with neighboring countries. Rail link with Turkey reopened in May.
February - Britain and US planes launch raids to try and disable Iraq's air defense network.

2002 Jan. 30 - President Bush says Iraq is part of an "axis of evil" during his State of the Union address.
May - UN overhauls the prohibited-goods list, creating "smart sanctions" which focus on military and dual-use equipment.
Aug. 2 - In a letter to the UN secretary-general, Iraq invites Hans Blix to Iraq for talks on remaining disarmament issues.
Sept. 12 - President Bush, addressing the UN General Assembly, challenges the UN to confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq - or stand aside as the United States and likeminded nations act.
Sept. 16 - Iraq says it will allow international weapons inspectors to return "without conditions."
Sept. 30 - UN and Iraq discuss terms for weapons inspections. But talks leave eight presidential compounds off limits, and US seeks authorization for a use of force if Iraq fails to comply with inspections.
Oct. 10 - Congress adopts joint resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq.
Oct. 16 - Iraq renews offer to UN weapons inspectors after "referendum" gives Saddam Hussein another seven-year term as president with 100 percent of the vote.
Nov. 8 - UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1441, which outlines an enhanced inspection regime for Iraq's disarmament to be conducted by the IAEA.
Nov. 18 - UN weapons inspectors return to Baghdad.
Dec. 7 - Iraq provides UN weapons inspectors with 12,000 pages of information comprising a "complete declaration" of the regime's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. Iraq states in the declaration that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Dec. 19 - UNMOVIC Chairman Hans Blix tells UNSC members that the declaration "is essentially a reorganized version" of information Iraq provided UNSCOM in 1997.

2003 Jan. 12 - The Turkish government gives US military planners permission to examine ports and airstrips to see what upgrades are needed for a war against Iraq.
Jan. 16 - In their first significant discovery, UN weapons inspectors find 12 warheads designed to carry chemical weapons. The inspectors suggest the warheads were not accounted for in Iraq's 12,000-page report.
Jan. 16 - Weapons-inspections chiefs report to the Security Council that, while Iraq has provided access to facilities, concerns remain regarding undeclared material, inability to interview Iraqi scientists, inability to deploy aerial surveillance during inspections, and harassment of inspectors.
Jan. 28 - Bush says Saddam Hussein "is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving," during his State of the Union address to Congress. "He has shown utter contempt for the United Nations and the opinion of the world," Bush says.
Feb 5 - Colin Powell uses satellite photos and audiotapes of intercepts in a bid to win over international opinion during a UN security council presentation.
Mar. 1 - UNMOVIC orders Iraq to destroy all its illegally imported Al Samoud 2 missiles and 380 rocket engines.
Mar. 1 -The Turkish parliament denies US military forces access to bases in that country.
Mar. 5 - France, Germany, and Russia release a joint declaration stating they will "not allow" a resolution authorizing military action to pass the UN Security Council.
Mar. 7 - The US, Britain, and Spain introduce a revised UN resolution that gives Iraq a Mar. 17 deadline to rid itself of WMD.
Mar. 16 - The leaders of the US, Britain, Spain, and Portugal meet on the Azores, issuing a one-day deadline for diplomacy. They warn war could start immediately
Mar. 17 - The US and Britain withdraw their draft Security Council resolution and advise weapons inspectors to evacuate Iraq. During a televised address, President Bush issues an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq within 48 hours during a televised address

Sources: US State Department, GlobalSecurity.org, The Guardian, and the BBC


Copyright 2003, The Christian Science Publishing Society