Case 90-1


US and UN v. Iraq (1990–: Invasion of Kuwait, Impairment of military capability, destabilization)
See also Case 80-2 US v. Iraq (1980–2003: Terrorism; Chemical and Nuclear Weapons)


Chronology of Key Events

July 17, 1990

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein denounces Persian Gulf oil-producing countries that exceed their OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quotas. (Wall Street Journal, 3 August 1990, A4)

July 18, 1990 Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz accuses Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil from disputed Rumaila oil field, claims Kuwait has built military posts on Iraqi land. United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it will cut production to quota level. (Wall Street Journal, 3 August 1990, A4)
July 27, 1990 In response to evidence that Iraq is obtaining materials for its nuclear program, Bush administration imposes export controls on sensitive technologies. (Wall Street
, 10 October 1990, A1)
July 27, 1990 US Congress passes legislation denying benefits of agricultural promotion programs to countries that violate human rights, acquire weapons of mass destruction, support international terrorism, or refuse to abide by the 1925 gas warfare treaty. Bill curtails US agricultural export credits to Iraq valued at $1 billion annually. (Congressional Research Service [CSR], 22 January 1991, 14)
July 30, 1990 Iraqi central bank requests correspondent banks transfer between $100 million and $400 million in assets to Central Bank of Jordan. (Washington Post, 9 November 1990, A35)
August 1, 1990 Saudi-mediated talks between Iraq and Kuwait held at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, collapse when Kuwait refuses Iraq's demands, which include reduction in Kuwaiti oil production, compensation of $2.5 billion for oil produced in disputed territory, forgiveness by Kuwait of about $20 billion in debts accumulated during war with Iran, control of Bubiyan and Warba islands giving Iraq direct access to Persian Gulf for its oil exports. (Financial Times, 2 August 1990, 1; Wall Street Journal, 3 August 1990, A5; Washington Post, 3 August 1990, A27)
August 2, 1990

Iraq invades Kuwait. Invoking International Emergency Economic Powers Act, US President George Bush freezes Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets, bans all trade and financial relations with Iraq. Donations of medical supplies and food for humanitarian purposes are exempt from trade embargo. Iraq freezes payment of US portion ($2.24 billion) of its foreign debt. UK, France freeze billions of dollars in Kuwaiti assets. USSR suspends all deliveries of military equipment to Iraq. UN Security Council Resolution 660 condemns invasion, demands immediate, unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. (Washington Post, 8 March 1990, A25; Office of the White House Press Secretary, 2 August 1990; New York Times, 3 August 1990, A9)

August 3, 1990 Movement of Iraqi troops toward Saudi Arabian border prompts Bush to warn that "integrity of Saudi Arabia" is vital US concern. US and USSR issue joint statement in Moscow condemning Iraq, "... calling upon the rest of the international community to join with us in an international cutoff of all arms supplies to Iraq." With Jordan and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) abstaining, Libya not present, Arab League issues declaration denouncing invasion, calling for immediate troop withdrawal. Gulf Cooperation Council also condemns attack. West Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway freeze Iraqi assets. Iraq says it will withdraw troops from Kuwait within two days.
August 5, 1990 Japan embargoes oil imports from Iraq and Kuwait, halts all exports to the two states, freezes economic aid to Iraq. China joins arms embargo against Iraq. Bush administration allows Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil shipped before invasion to unload, but requires any payment due to be placed in escrow. (Washington Post, 6 August 1990, A13; New York Times, 6 August 1990, A1; Wall Street Journal, 6 August 1990, A9)
August 6, 1990 With Cuba and Yemen abstaining, UN Security Council approves Resolution 661 imposing comprehensive trade and financial sanctions against Iraq, occupied Kuwait. Medical supplies and humanitarian food shipments are excluded from embargo. With no buyers, Iraq closes one pipeline through Turkey, decreases flow through another, reducing its oil exports by at least 40 percent. Several hundred Westerners, including 28 US nationals, are detained in Kuwait, taken to Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Hussein threatens unspecified retaliation if Saudi Arabia increases oil production to help West or shuts down Iraqi pipelines that cross Saudi desert. The UN establishes a standing committee to monitor international sanctions against Iraq. (UNSC Resolution 661, 6 August 1990; New York Times, 7 August 1990, A1; 8 August 1990, A18)
August 7, 1990 Bush orders US military aircraft, troops to Saudi Arabia to defend it against possible Iraqi attack. British, Soviet, French ships join US naval forces already in Gulf area. Turkey freezes Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets, halts transshipment of Iraqi oil. Iraq cuts flow of oil through its other main pipeline, to Saudi Arabia's Red Sea port of Yanbu, by 75 percent. (Washington Post, 8 August 1990, A12; Financial Times, 8 August 1990, 1; New York Times, 8 August 1990, A1)
August 8-9, 1990 Iraq announces annexation of Kuwait. UN Security Council resolution 662 declares annexation "null and void." King Hussein of Jordan says he does not recognize merger, will comply with UN economic sanctions. Iraq seals its borders, barring departure of all foreigners except diplomatic personnel. About 2,500 Americans are trapped in Kuwait, another 500 in Iraq. Iraq's ambassador in Athens says Iraq will use chemical weapons if attacked. (Washington Post, 9 August 1990, A1; UNSC Resolution 662, 9 August 1990)
August 10, 1990 Hussein calls for holy war, urging "Moslem masses" to rise up against US forces in Saudi Arabia and against pro-Western Arab leaders, whom he accuses of blaspheming Islam. At emergency summit in Cairo, Arab leaders vote 12 to 3 to send troops to Saudi Arabia to help defend against possible invasion by Iraqi forces. Libya, PLO join Iraq in opposing resolution; Yemen abstains. Jordan votes to approve resolution "with reservations." Canada, France, Australia send ships to Gulf area. (New York Times, 11 August 1990, A1; Washington Post, 11 August 1990, A1; 12 August 1990, A22)
August 11, 1990 Several thousand Egyptian troops arrive in Saudi Arabia. Morocco, Syria promise to send similar number to join Arab effort. A British man is shot dead while trying to flee across Kuwaiti border into Saudi Arabia. (New York Times, 12 August 1990, A1; Washington Post, 13 August 1990, A1)
August 12, 1990 Following formal Kuwaiti request under Article 51 of UN Charter, which permits any state under attack to seek collective help in its defense, Bush administration adopts policy of "interdiction," including use of force to stop ships attempting to circumvent UN embargo. Hussein says he would withdraw from Kuwait as part of settlement of "all issues of occupation" including Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Syrian pullout from Lebanon. Hussein also proposes pan-Arab force under UN auspices to replace US troops deployed in Saudi Arabia. Hussein asks Iraqis to reduce meat consumption by half, buy less rice, bread, clothes. (Washington Post, 13 August 1990, A1; 13 August 1990, A41; New York Times, 13 August 1990, A8)
August 13, 1990 USSR, France, Canada criticize Bush administration's unilateral policy of interdiction. Bush administration insists sanctions apply to everything except medical supplies; White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater insists, "it's clearly far too early to consider any foodstuffs as being in a humanitarian need category." Pakistan agrees to send troops to join multi-national force defending Saudi Arabia. (Washington Post, 14 August 1990, A1; New York Times, 14 August 1990, A11; Wall Street Journal, 14 August 1990, A7)
August 14, 1990 Bush offers financial assistance to Jordan in return for compliance with UN sanctions, warns that US ships will blockade Jordanian port of Aqaba to prevent transshipment of Iraqi goods. (Washington Post, 15 August 1990, A1; New York Times, 15 August 1990, A1) (See also Case 90-6 US, Saudi Arabia v. Jordan/Yemen [1990-1997: Enforce UN Embargo v. Iraq])
August 15, 1990 Hussein offers peace proposal to Iran that includes resolution of dispute over Shatt al-Arab waterway on Iranian terms, release of all Iranian prisoners of war, withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Iranian territory. (Washington Post, 16 August 1990, A1; Financial Times, 16 August 1990, 1)
August 16, 1990 King Hussein tells Bush that Jordan will enforce UN sanctions, close Red Sea port of Aqaba to goods bound for Iraq. Despite Iraq's peace offer, Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reiterates his demand that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait. (Washington Post, 17 August 1990, A1)
August 18, 1990 Declaring the US-led naval blockade "an act of war," Iraqi government says that foreign nationals, some of whom are being held at military, strategic civilian sites as "shields" against US-led attack, will suffer along with Iraqis from any food, medicine shortages. UN Security Council votes 15 to 0 to demand that Iraq release all detained foreigners. Saudi Arabia calls for OPEC meeting to discuss increasing output but says it will boost oil production by 2 million barrels a day with or without OPEC approval. US Navy fires warning shots across bow of two Iraqi oil tankers. (Washington Post, 19 August 1990, A1; New York Times, 20 August 1990, A1; 17 August 1990, A12)
August 19, 1990 US and UK reject offer from Hussein to release Westerners if US troops withdraw from Saudi Arabia and trade embargo is lifted. UAE and Bahrain allow deployment of Arab and "friendly" (including US) forces on its territory. Following reports that French nationals have been "displaced" from their hotels to unknown locations, France authorizes its ships in Persian Gulf to use force if necessary to ensure compliance with UN sanctions. (Washington Post, 20 August 1990, A1; New York Times, 20 August 1990, A1; Financial Times, 20 August 1990, 3)
August 20, 1990 Reacting to Hussein's statements, Bush for first time describes detained Americans as hostages. Iran says it will abide by UN sanctions despite peace initiative from Iraq. Yemen, which abstained from UN vote on sanctions, agrees to abide by embargo. West German government concludes that its constitution prohibits sending troops to Persian Gulf. (Washington Post, 21 August 1990, A1; IMF Morning Press, 21 August 1990)
August 21, 1990 Nine-member Western European Union decides to expand, coordinate naval enforcement in Persian Gulf. Total of 32 naval vessels, including 8 French, 3 British warships, have been mobilized by European countries; Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain pledge to send ships to enforce embargo. (New York Times, 22 August 1990, A1; Financial Times, 22 August 1990, 2; Washington Post, 22 August 1990, A1)
August 22, 1990 Bush orders activation of about 40,000 military reservists. UN Security Council begins consultation on requests from Jordan and Bulgaria to be compensated for economic hardships caused by UN sanctions on Iraq. Japan pledges economic aid to Egypt, will consider requests from other countries injured by enforcement of UN sanctions; Turkey and Jordan are envisaged to be eligible. With 120,000 refugees already on its territory, Jordan unsuccessfully attempts to close its border to foreigners still fleeing Iraq and Kuwait. Reports from Baghdad indicate panic buying of some commodities, severe shortage of cooking oil, soap, sugar. (Washington Post, 23 August 1990, A1, A35; New York Times, 23 August 1990, A14; Wall Street Journal, 23 August 1990, A3)
August 23, 1990 As Iraq-declared deadline for closing embassies in Kuwait nears, the US and most other Western embassies reduce staffs to minimum, but vow to remain open. (Washington Post, 24 August 1990, A1)
August 24, 1990 Iraqi troops surround US embassy in Kuwait, those of other nations defying Iraq's order to close. (Washington Post, 25 August 1990, A1)
August 25, 1990 UN Security Council approves resolution authorizing countries "deploying maritime forces to the area [to] use such measures commensurate to the specific circumstances as may be halt all inward and outward maritime shipping." Iraq cuts power to US, Japanese, Italian, British embassies, cuts power, water to East German mission. Israel pledges to block exports of Palestinian fruits, vegetables, other items shipped through Jordan to Iraq. (Washington Post, 26 August 1990, A24; New York Times, 27 August 1990, A8)
August 27, 1990 US expels 36 Iraqi embassy personnel, places travel restrictions on remaining officials. Iraq orders its commercial ships to comply with interdictions in Persian Gulf. Israeli report claims Yemen has been airlifting food, other supplies to Iraq, that Jordan has continued military cooperation with Iraq. (Washington Post, 28 August 1990, A1)
August 28, 1990 Iraq declares most of Kuwait to be its 19th province, incorporates disputed Rumaila oil field, Bubiyan and Warba islands into Iraq's Basra province. Hussein says all foreign women, children will be free to leave Iraq, Kuwait. Bush administration proposes to sell $6 billion to $8 billion worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. (Washington Post, 19 August 1990, A1; Washington Post, 2 October 1995, A15)
August 29, 1990 OPEC ratifies increase in production to offset loss from embargo. Bush proposes Economic Action Plan under which wealthy US allies will share cost of US deployment in Gulf, help those countries adversely affected by enforcement of embargo (See table in Observed Economic Statistics). Turkey rejects Iraqi request to allow shipments of "medicine and food for children" saying it will continue to enforce embargo. (Washington Post, 30 August 1990, A1; 1 September 1990, A20)
August 31, 1990 Bush reportedly will seek congressional approval to forgive Egypt's $7.1 billion military debt to US in recognition of its support during Persian Gulf crisis. Administration sends envoy to tell Jordan it cannot expect financial aid unless it publicly states support for embargo and halts shipments, including food, to Iraq. (Washington Post, 1 September 1990, A1)
September 1, 1990 Over 550 American, European, Japanese women, children are allowed to leave Iraq. (Washington Post, 2 September 1990, A1; New York Times, 2 September 1990, A1)
September 2, 1990 Iraq limits consumer purchases of basic foods, calling measure "rationalization of consumption" rather than rationing. Libya says it will not obey UN embargo on food shipments to Iraq. (Washington Post, 3 September 1990, A1; New York Times, 3 September 1990, A1)
September 5, 1990 West Germany says it will not contribute funds to Bush's "burden sharing" plan but will supply planes, ships to transport US troops to region. (Washington Post, 6 September 1990, A1)
September 6, 1990 Saudi Arabia pledges multi-billion dollar package for economic support fund, including in-kind contributions of fuel, transportation, supplies to support American deployment in Gulf, funds for front-line states of Egypt, Jordan, Turkey. India decides to send medical supplies to Iraq; China and Iran reportedly consider sending food and medical supplies to Iraq; Tunisia, Yugoslavia, Romania say they want to send food, medical supplies to their citizens in Kuwait. (Washington Post, 7 September 1990, A1; New York Times, 7 September 1990, A1; Financial Times, 7 September 1990, 7)
September 7, 1990 Bush, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Helsinki, Finland, issue joint declaration condemning invasion, stating that both countries will take unspecified further steps if sanctions fail to force Iraqi withdrawal. Statement says that any humanitarian exemptions of food from UN embargo "must be strictly monitored by appropriate international agencies" rather than by individual countries. (Washington Post, 10 September 1990, A19)
September 9, 1990 Iran and Iraq resume diplomatic ties. Hussein offers free oil to any Third World nation that can collect it; he says this will not violate embargo since oil is free. (Washington Post, 11 September 1990, A1)
September 14, 1990 UN Security Council imposes strict controls on humanitarian food aid to Iraq, Kuwait, says shipments must be channeled through UN or other international agencies. Vote follows Iraq's decision to deny food to hundreds of thousands of Asians in Iraq and Kuwait. Indian vessel is allowed to transport food to Kuwait, where estimated 140,000 Indians are stranded. UK commits 6,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, 120 tanks; Syria pledges to send additional troops; Canada, Italy each pledge squadron of jet fighters. Iraqi soldiers storm French, Canadian, Australian, Belgian embassies in Kuwait City, taking four French hostages. (Washington Post, 15 September 1990, A1; Financial Times, 17 September 1990, 2)
September 15, 1990 France condemns violation of embassies, decides to send 4,000 ground troops backed by tanks, combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia. (Washington Post, 16 September 1990, A1)
September 16, 1990 Egypt announces it will send 15,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia. (Financial Times, 17 September 1990, 2)
September 17, 1990 Saudi Arabia and USSR reestablish diplomatic ties after 52-year break. (Washington Post, 18 September 1990, A2)
September 23, 1990 Hussein threatens to attack Saudi oil fields, other Arab countries, Israel if Iraq is "strangled" by economic embargo. (New York Times, 24 September 1990, A1)
September 25, 1990 With only Cuba opposed, UN Security Council imposes air embargo against Iraq, cutting off all air traffic to and from Iraq and Kuwait. UN members proscribe any aircraft that "would carry any cargo to or from Iraq or Kuwait" from taking off from their territory or using their airspace. Flights carrying food "in humanitarian circumstances" are excluded from embargo. Resolution does not allow planes to be shot down, allows countries to detain Iraqi ships which violate embargo, provides for imposition of trade sanctions against any country that breaks embargo. (New York Times, 26 September 1990, A1; UN Resolution 670, 25 September 1990)
October 7-8, 1990 Egyptian, Syrian commanders of troops in Saudi Arabia reiterate that their troops are there solely for defense of Saudi Arabia, will not engage in any offensive operations. President Rafsanjani warns that Iran would be "absolutely opposed" to settlement in which Kuwait cedes control of Bubiyan and Warba islands to Iraq, saying that Iran "would act within our means to stop it." (Washington Post, 9 October 1990, A12)
October 17-18, 1990 Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Gorbachev's special envoy Yevgeny Primakov say (on consecutive days) that Hussein must not profit from aggression, thus rejecting rumors that agreement would be reached whereby Iraq would withdraw from rest of Kuwait in return for port islands, Rumaila oil field. (Washington Post, 19 October 1990, A28)
November 5, 1990 The Iraq Sanctions Act of 1990 is signed by President Bush. The legislation endorses presidential sanctions imposed under consecutive executive orders and imposes the following additional sanctions: denial of assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act, instructions to US executive directors of multilateral banks to vote against financial assistance to Iraq, denial of export licenses for defense items and services controlled by the Arms Export Control Act, denial of licenses for exports of certain goods controlled under the Export Administration Act, denial of licenses for exports of certain nuclear material, technology and components controlled under the Atomic Energy Act, and denial of Exim-Bank assistance. The legislation sets out specific conditions that must exist in Iraq for the President to waive the additional sanctions. (See Legal Notes) (President's Export Council, Survey of US Unilateral Sanctions, 1997, 8)
November 8, 1990 Bush announces doubling of the size of US combat forces stationed in the Middle East. (Wall Street Journal, 9 November 1990, A3)
November 29, 1990 The UN Security Council approves Resolution 678 authorizing member states to "use all necessary restore international peace and security in the area." The resolution gives Iraq until 15 January 1991 to withdraw from Kuwait. China abstains; only Yemen and Cuba vote against. (Washington Post, 30 November 1990, A1; Oldaker 1996, 1)
November 30, 1990 Bush offers to send Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein at a "mutually convenient time" between December 15 and January 15, and to receive Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in Washington the week of December 10. (Washington Post, 1 December 1990, A1)
December 6, 1990 Saddam orders the release of remaining western hostages. (Christian Science Monitor, 18 October 1991, 4)
December 12, 1990 Hussein agrees to receive Baker, but only on January 12. The US administration insists that "last chance" peace talks take place earlier, in order to allow for a complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait by January 15. (Christian Science Monitor, 18 October 1991, 4)
December 13, 1990 The Washington Post reports that Pentagon planners in charge of logistics in the Gulf believe that maintaining the more than 400,000 troops stationed in the Gulf for up to a year would "be expensive and difficult but clearly manageable." (Washington Post, 13 December 1990, A1)
January 12, 1991 After a long debate, the US Congress passes a resolution authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 12 January 1991, 65)
January 16, 1991 Allied forces launch air strikes against Iraqi military and economic targets. (National Public Radio, 16 January 1991)
February 23, 1991 Allied troops move into Kuwait, southern Iraq, quickly overwhelming Iraqi troops. (National Public Radio, 23 February 1991)
February 28, 1991 Allied forces halt military action against Iraq short of reaching Baghdad, an informal cease-fire goes into effect. (Washington Post, 12 April 1991, A32)
March 2, 1991 UN passes Resolution 686 outlining the requirements for Iraq's compliance with the cease-fire. Iraq agrees to coalition conditions for cease-fire after two-hour negotiations between Iraqi and American military commanders. (UNSC Resolution 686; Washington Post, 14 April 1991, A28)
March 4, 1991 Shiite rebellion breaks out in southern Iraq, but is quickly put down by Iraqi forces. (Washington Post, 14 April 1991, A28)
March 13, 1991 Kurdish rebel commanders announce that they have seized 75 percent of northern Iraq. (Washington Post, 14 April 1991, A28)
April 3, 1991 UN Security Council approves Resolution 687 establishing a permanent cease-fire in Iraq and setting conditions for lifting of sanctions (e.g. total ban on exports to Iraq of arms, weapons of mass destruction and related technology, personnel and material, See Legal Notes). Saying it "has no choice," Iraq accepts the resolution on April 6; the Security Council formally announces that the cease-fire is in effect on April 11. (Washington Post, 12 April 1991, A32)
5 April 1991 UN Security Council approves Resolution 688 demanding that Iraq immediately end repression of its civilian population, including in Kurdish-areas in the north, and allow international humanitarian organizations access to all areas in Iraq. Bush administration warns Iraq not to interfere with humanitarian relief efforts in Kurdish-populated areas and declares area north of 36th parallel a "no-fly" zone. (UN Resolution 688, 5 April 1991; Washington Post, 10 April 1991, A1; 11 April 1991, A1)
18 April 1991 United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) is established to carry out on-site inspections of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities, supervise the removal of chemical and biological weapons, and monitor and verify Iraq's compliance with disarmament obligations under resolution 687. (
20 May 1991 Bush says sanctions should not be lifted as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power in Iraq. (International Trade Reporter, 29 May 1991, 825)
12 July 1991 The leader of a UN team sent to Iraq to survey Iraq's civilian needs says he will recommend a partial lifting of sanctions to allow Iraq to buy critically needed food, medicine, and spare parts. Because of constraints on the UN's own budget, he says Iraq should be allowed to sell some oil to pay for the needed items. (Washington Post, 13 July 1991, A14)
5 August 1991 As required by UNSC Resolution 687, Iraq begins to return $700 million in gold bullion to Kuwait. Transfer is completed by 18 August. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 12)
7 August 1991 International inspectors discover a previously unknown and unexpectedly sophisticated facility for the production of centrifuges for use in uranium enrichment outside of Baghdad. US officials say the operation is one of four approaches followed by Iraq in its attempt to develop nuclear weapons. (Washington Post, 8 August 1991, A30)
8 August 1991 Iraq reveals that it tried to hide 17.6 pounds of irradiated nuclear fuel from UN inspectors. (Washington Times, 9 August 1991, 7)
21 August 1991 UNSCOM team reports that Iraq cooperated with UN efforts to verify the destruction of chemical weapons sites; attributes Iraqi attitude to need to resume chlorine production for civilian uses. (New York Times, 22 August 1991, A3)
19 September 1991 Following report by UN team sent to assess humanitarian conditions in Iraq, UN Security Council approves Resolution 706 which allows Iraq to export up to $1.6 billion of oil over a 6-month period. 30 percent of the revenues are earmarked for a reparations fund, five percent to pay for UN operations in Iraq, and the rest about $900 million may be used to buy humanitarian supplies. Under the plan oil revenues will go into an escrow account and expenditures will be monitored to ensure they go only for food. Iraq, however, refuses to take advantage of the program, saying the conditions are an intrusion on its sovereignty. Observers speculate that secret reserves of gold and perhaps secret bank accounts missed in the assets freeze are allowing Saddam to import some food and resist the UN demands. (Washington Post, 20 September 1991, A23; 22 October 1991, A17; 10 December 1991, A31; CRS, 31 March 1992, 13)
23 September 1991 Iraq detains 44 UN inspectors for 13 hours after they discover documents detailing Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Iraq releases inspectors after confiscating suspect documents, charges that UN team leader David Kay works for US intelligence. Three days later, Iraq agrees to release documents. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 17)
11 October 1991 UN Security Council approves Resolution 715, laying out a long-term plan to monitor potential Iraqi violations of Resolution 687, which prohibits Iraq from pursing the production of weapons of mass destruction. (Dowty 1994, 180)
12 October 1991 At an Iraqi-sponsored regional conference, Saddam Hussein claims that Iraq could withstand international sanctions for "20 years." (CRS, 31 March 1992, 20)
2 November 1991 Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) charge that Iraq has stipulated that all aid should be funneled through its official rationing and distribution system, bars them from distributing humanitarian aid directly. (New York Times, 3 November 1991, A1)
23 November 1991 Iraq frees imprisoned British national in exchange for the release of $125 million in frozen assets in UK banks. Under the terms of the agreement, funds will be used to purchase humanitarian imports. 12 European banks reportedly release tens of millions of dollars in Iraqi assets despite US objections. (New York Times, 24 November 1991, A7; Washington Post, 10 December 1991, A31)
27 November 1991 A Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff report claims that Iraq is able to buy food and other necessities by sanctions-busting exports to Iran, Turkey, and, primarily, Jordan, and by drawing on secret bank accounts not caught in the assets freeze, and through sales of gold and jewelry. (Washington Post, 10 December, 1991, A31; International Trade Reporter, 4 December 1991, 1759)
10 December 1991 The Islamic Conference Organization adopts resolution calling for the maintenance of economic sanctions against Iraq; Sudan casts the only negative vote on the measure. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 28)
11 January 1992 Iraq claims that it has rebuilt 75 percent of its power grid, 85 percent of its oil refining capacity, and large parts of its transportation and military-industrial infrastructure. Italy releases between $10 million and $84 million in Iraqi assets for purchase of humanitarian goods. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 31)
13 January 1992 Germany provides information to the UNSCOM revealing that German companies "played a key role in supplying materials" for Iraq's centrifuge program; UN inspectors believe the enrichment program would have been capable of producing enough enriched uranium for four Nagasaki-size bombs a year. Four days later International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms that Iraq has destroyed German-supplied equipment. (Financial Times, 15 January 1992, 1; CRS, 31 March 1992, 32)
25 January 1992 UN Secretary General releases report to Security Council highlighting Iraqi recalcitrance in complying with UN resolutions regarding its weapons programs, military activities, and financial disclosures. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 33)
5 February 1992 UN Security Council votes to extend economic sanctions against Iraq because of "serious evidence" revealing Iraqi non-compliance with UN resolutions. (Washington Post, 6 February 1992, A21)
13 February 1992 Turkish Prime Minister announces that Turkey will crack down on the illegal importation of Iraqi oil cargo in response to complaints from Turkish merchants that the Iraqi imports are depressing the local market. (Congressional Research Service (CRS), 31 March 1992, 36)
27 February 1992 Iraq informs the UN that it will increase its compliance with UN resolutions in exchange for a relaxation of economic sanctions. US rejects Iraqi linkage, calls for a new UNSC resolution to pressure Iraq to comply with existing resolutions. Bush administration announces that US will not ease sanctions until Saddam Hussein is removed from power. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 39)
1 March 1992 After Iraq refuses to destroy ballistic missile manufacturing equipment, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd hints that UK will not rule out the use of air strikes to force Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions. Press reports assert that Bush administration is also considering using a military strike to coerce Iraq into complying with UN demands to dismantle its ballistic missile production facilities. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 39)
11 March 1992 The UN Security Council charges Iraq with noncompliance with Resolution 687, because of its continued refusal to reveal the whereabouts of all its nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and production facilities. Russian ambassador in Washington endorses the use of military force to compel Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post, 12 March 1992, A1; CRS, 31 March 1992, 42-43)
14 March 1992 US officially threatens to use military measures to force Iraqi compliance with UN demands. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 44)
20 March 1992 State Department official confirms that Iraq has allowed the UN to establish humanitarian aid centers in several southern Shiite cities. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 46)
23 March 1992 Reports surface that Syria has opened its border in two places to facilitate trade with Iraq; Syria denies the report. (The Middle East Economic Survey, 23 March 1992)
25 March 1992 UN team reports that it has begun the dismantling of ballistic missile production equipment. (CRS, 31 March 1992, 47)
25 April 1992 After months of fruitless investigation, State Department and CIA officials are increasingly skeptical that large amounts of hidden Iraqi financial assets exist. (Washington Post, 25 April 1992, A1)
6 May 1992 US steps up pressure on Iraq to implement the "oil-for-food" deal by threatening to use frozen Iraqi assets to pay for needed humanitarian goods. (Financial Times, 6 May 1992, 7)
July 1992 According to news reports, the availability of electric power is almost back to pre-war levels in Baghdad and a few other areas and that reconstruction of buildings and communications is proceeding. However, supplies of food and other essentials seems to have been reduced following US pressure on Jordan's King Hussein to crack down on smuggling through his country. (New York Times, 14 July 1992, A1, A6)
26 August 1992 Accusing Saddam Hussein of violating UN Resolution 688, US, UK, and France declare a no-fly zone in southern Iraq to prevent Iraqi forces from continued repression of Shiite Muslims in the area. (Washington Post, 27 August 1992, A1; USIS, 26 August 1992)
2 September 1992 IAEA Deputy Director Maurizio Zifferero, head of the UN nuclear inspection team in Iraq, declares that Iraq's nuclear program has been dismantled. (Washington Post, 3 September 1992, A39)
29 March 1993 US and UK drop demand that Hussein step down as a condition for lifting economic embargo, but reinforce demands that Iraq abide by cease-fire agreement and UN resolutions. (Washington Post, 30 March 1993, A17)
November 1993 Iraq agrees to allow the UN to set up a long-term electronic monitoring system to verify that it does not again acquire weapons of mass destruction. (The Economist, 7 January 1994, 57; Washington Post, 7 February 1994, A11)
17 May 1994 The UN Security Council says that, in addition to allowing long-term monitoring of its weapons programs, Iraq must also officially recognize the newly demarcated border with Kuwait before sanctions can be lifted. In addition, the United States wants to link the lifting of sanctions to Iraq's treatment of the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north. (New York Times, 18 May 1994, A10)
July 1994 Iraq destroys 480,000 liters of chemical agents in accordance to demands of the UNSCOM. (Oldaker 1996, 2)
9 August 1994 Hussein Kamel Hassan, son-in-law of Saddam Hussein and senior member of the ruling circle in Baghdad, defects to Jordan and attempts to form an anti-Ba'ath resistance movement. Kamel reveals extensive details of Iraq's continuing biological, nuclear, and missile programs to UN and US intelligence officials. (Oldaker 1996, 2)
September 1994 Turkey relaxes embargo along border, allows 600 trucks a day to transport food to Iraq in exchange for up to 1,500 liters of oil. (Financial Times, 8 December 1994, 5)
6 October 1994 20,000 Iraqi troops suddenly surge toward the Kuwaiti border but quickly withdraw when the US responds with a rapid buildup of troops and other military forces in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. (Washington Post, 14 October 1994, A1; New York Times, 18 October 1994, A1)
November 1994
In mid-October, Iraq and Russia issue a joint statement from Baghdad stating that Iraq is ready to recognize Kuwait's sovereignty and borders and that, once it does, Russia will support lifting the oil boycott. However, at a Security Council meeting a few days later, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz does not submit the expected formal recognition, saying only that it is "under consideration". Iraq formally recognizes Kuwait's sovereignty in mid-November. (Washington Post, 14 October 1994, A1; New York Times, 18 October 1994, A1; The Economist, 19 November 1994, 47)
14 April 1995 The UN Security Council passes Resolution 986, which increases the amount of oil Iraq can export under the "oil-for-food" program from $1.6 billion to $2 billion every six months. Despite this increase, Iraq charges that the terms of the resolution violate Iraqi sovereignty and refuses to cooperate. (New York Times, 30 January 1996, A3)
7 December 1995 United Nations officials disclose that Jordan has seized a cache of Russian-made missile guidance systems that were being smuggled into Iraq across the Jordanian border. Russian officials deny any involvement in the shipment. (National Public Radio, 7 December 1995; Washington Post, 15 December 1995, A30)
25 January 1996 Jordan announces that it will halve its exports to Iraq, estimated at $400 million, in an effort to alienate the Iraqi business community from Saddam Hussein. (Financial Times, 26 January 1996, 6)
2 March 1996 Hussein Kamel, the brother in-law of President Saddam Hussein, is killed along with members of his family three days after he returns from exile in Jordan. Kamel left Amman after his efforts to rally anti-Baghdad Iraqi groups failed and after receiving assurances he would not be harmed. (Newsweek, 4 March 1996, 39)
7 March 1996 Jordan announces that it has seized another shipment of military spare parts en route to Baghdad. (New York Times, 8 March 1996, A12)
April 1996 Jordan allows the United States to base fighter jets near the Iraqi border to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. (Washington Post, 7 March 1996, A17)
4 May 1996 President Clinton charges that the US Navy has evidence that Iran has assisted Iraq in smuggling petroleum products through the Persian Gulf. (Reuters, 13 May 1996)
20-22 May 1996 Iraq and the UN sign agreement to implement "oil-for-food" deal, under which Iraq will sell up to $2 billion in oil over a six-month period in accordance with Resolution 986. In response Iraqi dinar surges and prices for consumer goods plummet. (Reuters, 20 May 1996; 22 May 1996)
14 June 1996 UNSCOM inspectors begin dismantling a biological weapons facility in central Iraq, despite pleas from Baghdad to salvage some dual-use items. (Reuters, 14 June 1996)
3-4 September 1996 Iraq sends its army into the Kurdish north; the US launches cruise missile raids against air defenses in Southern Iraq and extends the southern no-fly-zone almost to the outskirts of Baghdad. While the UK supports the air strike, Russia and France express disapproval. Following the attack, the United Nations temporarily suspends the "oil-for-food" program. (The Economist, 7 September 1996, 6-7)
Early December 1996 The UN Security Council decides to extend the "oil-for-food" agreement for the upcoming six months. Iraq signs its first contracts with foreign companies to sell crude oil. (Financial Times, 3 December 1996, 6; Washington Post, 10 December 1996, A21)
29 December 1996 France announces it will cease to participate in the mission monitoring Northern Iraq. (International Herald Tribune, 29 December 1996, 1)
27 March 1997 Secretary of State Albright specifies the conditions under which the US would agree to lift sanctions on Iraq. Not only does Iraq have to comply with UN resolutions, but Iraq has to prove its peaceful intentions. She doubts this can occur without a change in the Iraqi regime. (Financial Times, 27 March 1997, 7)
10 April 1997 US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson calls for a condemnation of Iraq for violating the air embargo by flying more than 100 people to the holy Muslim site at Mecca in Saudi Arabia. (United Press International, 10 April 1997)
15 April 1997 In defiance of the hardening US attitude towards Baghdad, Russia and Iraq reach an agreement to develop the Qurna oilfield in Southwestern Iraq. Russia claims that the agreement does not constitute a violation of the UN sanctions because they allow Russia to make investments in oil facilities already owned by Russians. Nevertheless, Russia agrees not to go ahead with the development until the sanctions are lifted. (Financial Times, 15 April 1997, 1)
17 April 1997 Owing to the opposition of China and Egypt and to a lesser extent Russia and France, the UN Security Council issues a statement that does not condemn Iraq for flying a group of pilgrims to the Mecca in spite of the UN-imposed air embargo. The US Defense Department asserts that although the US opposes the principle of the flights, it is not ready to use force to stop such a small and humanitarian operation. (New York Times, 17 April 1997, A7; Washington Post, 23 May 1997, A1)
25 May 1997 Top Iraqi officials say that Baghdad would not object to the reopening of the border crossing with Syria, which has been closed for 17 years. Syria shows a particular interest in taking part of the "oil-for-food" program. (New York Times, 25 May 1997, 10)
26 May 1997 According to the United Nations large numbers of Iraqis are still suffering from critical shortages of food and medicines. Iraq asks for the "oil-for-food" program to be expanded up to a ceiling of $4 billion. However, US still opposes relaxation of the sanctions and voices concern about the lack of transparency in relief distribution. (International Herald Tribune, 26 May 1997, 6)
5 June 1997 The UN Security Council extends the "oil-for-food" program for another six-month period at the same export level. (The New York Times, 5 June 1997, A3)
18 June 1997 Iraq announces it will not resume oil exports until agreement is reached with the UN on a less restrictive plan for purchasing food than the current arrangement, which requires the UN Sanctions Committee to approve each contract. (Dow Jones News, 18 June 1997)
August 1997 Syria and Iraq discuss reopening a long-closed pipeline between the two countries. (Financial Times, 25 August 1997, 13)
12 August 1997 Having resumed oil exports, Iraq accuses US of blocking or delaying contracts for humanitarian imports, including a contract to import 100 ambulances from France. (Agence France Presse, 12 August 1997)
24 October 1997 The UN Security Council passes a US, UK-backed resolution condemning Iraq for continuing to hinder UNSCOM weapons inspectors and threatening a travel ban on responsible Iraqi officials if the obstruction continues. In response, the Iraqi National Assembly calls for the suspension of ties with UNSCOM until the UN sets a timetable for lifting sanctions; Iraq announces American inspectors will be given one week to leave the country. (Journal of Commerce, 27 October 1997, 8A; Financial Times, 29 October 1997, 8; Washington Post, 30 October 1997, A01)
End October 1997 Iraq refuses entry to three Americans on a team of UN arms inspectors, and warns Iraqi anti-aircraft guns might fire upon US U-2 spy planes if surveillance flights continue. The UN sends a high-level diplomatic mission to resolve the budding crisis and Iraq delays the expulsion order against the American inspectors. (Washington Post, 3 November 1997, A1; Financial Times, 5 November 1997, 6)
12 November 1997 The UN Security Council unanimously approves a travel ban for senior Iraqi officials and demands that Iraq stop interfering with UN weapons inspectors. Iraq insists that the weapons teams have fewer Americans. When Iraq refuses to comply with UN demands, the weapons inspectors leave the country. Fears mount that Iraq could revive chemical and biological weapons programs without the oversight of the international community. Russia and France push for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, while Washington does not rule out a resort to the use of force. The United States increases its military presence in the Gulf. (Washington Post, 13 November 1997, A1; Washington Post, 18 November 1997, A22)
21 November 1997 After intense diplomacy by Security Council members, particularly Russia, Iraq agrees to allow UN weapon inspectors back into the country. Russia agrees to push for concessions, such as the easing of the UN sanctions, in return. The Security Council rebuffs a Russian request to declare Iraq free of nuclear weapons and nearly free of prohibited missiles. (Washington Post, 21 November 1997, A1; New York Times, 22 November 1997, A1)
4 December 1997 The Security Council renews Iraq's "oil-for-food" program at existing levels for the next six months, and announces that it will consider increasing the permitted amount in early 1998. (Washington Post, 5 December 1997, A45)
16 January 1998 A weapons inspection team leaves Iraq after being barred for three days from conducting an inspection. The UN Security Council deplores Iraq's decision, which constitutes a clear violation of UN resolutions. (CRS, 6 March 1998, 3)
17 January 1998 Saddam Hussein announces that Iraq will expel all weapons inspectors if sanctions against Iraq are not removed within six months. (CRS, 6 March 1998, 3)
End January 1998 In response to Iraq's continued refusal to grant access for UN weapons inspectors, the United States and the UK discuss plans for a strategic bombing campaign to force Iraqi compliance. Meanwhile, three Catholic bishops begin a hunger strike to protest the sanctions against Iraq; fifty more bishops join them in signing a letter to President Clinton calling for the lifting of sanctions. (Washington Post, 21 January 1998, A10; New York Times, 26 January 1998, A1)
3 February 1998 US Secretary of Defense Cohen warns that if diplomacy fails, the United Sates will wage a "significant" military campaign against Iraq, "far more than what has been experienced in the past." (CRS, 6 March 1998, 5)
Mid-February 1998 American forces continue to gather in the Gulf, with the full support of UK, Australia and Canada. After meeting with the five permanent members of the Security Council, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan travels to Baghdad in an attempt to avert military action in the crisis with Iraq. (Economist, 14-20 February 1998, 4; 21-27 February 1998, 4)
20 February 1998 The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1153, which increases the export ceiling of the oil-for-food program to $5.2 billion over a six-month period. (USIS, 24 June 1998)
23 February 1998 UN Secretary General Annan and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Aziz sign an agreement that provides for immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access by UNSCOM inspectors throughout Iraq. Special procedures, allowing for appointed diplomats to accompany UN weapons inspectors, will govern the inspection of eight presidential sites. (CRS, 6 March 1998, 1, 6; Memorandum of Understanding Between the United Nations and the Republic of Iraq, 23 February 1998)
3 March 1998 The UN Security Council endorses the agreement negotiated by Kofi Annan in Resolution 1154 and warns Iraq of the "severest consequences" if it violates the terms of the agreement. (CRS, 6 March 1998, 1)
26 March 1998 UN weapons inspectors start their first inspection of a presidential site, previously declared off-limits by the Iraqi government. (Washington Post, 27 March 1998, A28)
27 March 1998 In order to offset the shortfall in Iraqi oil revenues resulting from delays and a drop in oil prices, the UN Security Council passes Resolution 1158, authorizing the sale of up to an additional $1.4 billion of Iraqi oil and oil products within a 90-day period. (USIS, 27 March 1998)
April 1998 UNSCOM completes its initial inspections of Iraqi presidential sites, hails Iraqi cooperation and finds no prohibited weapons in the sites visited. However, inspectors are worried that their current access to sites might be endangered after Iraqi officials indicate that they understand the accord with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to be of limited duration. (USIS, 3 April 1998; Washington Post, 15 April 1998, A10)
Mid-April 1998 The IAEA reports that Iraq has successfully compiled a "full, final and complete" account of its past nuclear program and that 211 inspections since October 1997 have not enabled the agency to uncover any prohibited nuclear-related equipment or conduct of prohibited nuclear activities in Iraq. However, some specialists are worried that Iraq might restart its nuclear program as soon as the IAEA downgrades its extensive and intrusive verifications into a routine long-term monitoring program. (Washington Post, 11 April 1998, A11; New York Times, 19 April 1998, 4)
17 April 1998 UNSCOM Chairman Richard Butler reports that Baghdad has failed to provide sufficient evidence to UN weapons inspectors to prove that Iraq has entirely destroyed its biological, chemical and ballistic equipment and production capabilities. (USIS, 17 April 1998)
21 April 1998 UN oil experts report that, given current oil prices and the poor state of Iraq's oil industry, Iraq will be not able to fill its oil-for-food quota. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recommends that the Security Council allow Iraq to import $300 million in oil equipment in order to increase its oil production capacities. (USIS, 21 April 1998)
27 April 1998 Ignoring threats from the Iraqi government that it would disrupt future arms inspections if sanctions were not lifted, the UN Security Council extends sanctions against Iraq for another six-month period. Russia proposes to ease inspections connected with Iraq's nuclear activities, but fails to gain the support of all Security Council members. Though acknowledging some progress in the nuclear area, the US calls the Russian initiative "premature" and voices concerns over Iraq's lack of progress on repatriation, return of property and human rights issues. (International Herald Tribune, 29 April 1998, 7; Washington Post, 28 April 1998, A33; USIS, 27 and 28 April 1998)
28 April 1998 Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf says that the agreement negotiated with Kofi Annan on presidential palaces does not entitle inspectors to an unlimited number of visits over an indefinite period. Such an interpretation clearly contradicts statements by Secretary General Annan and other UN officials. (Washington Post, 29 April 1998, A10)
29 April 1998 UNSCOM chief arms inspector Richard Butler reveals that experts discovered mustard gas in Iraqi artillery shells found at an ammunitions depot in 1996. The discovery raises new questions about similar shells that remain unaccounted for. (New York Times, 29 April 1998, A10)
6 May 1998 The head of UNSCOM Richard Butler notifies the Security Council that Iraq has granted weapons experts unrestricted and unconditional access to all sites. This notification is the condition for the lifting of a travel ban imposed on Iraqi officials in November 1997. The ban, which was not enforced because a list of individuals affected by the sanctions was never drawn up, is lifted without US objection. However, members of the Security Council still disagree on whether and when Iraq should be moved to a system of more-routine monitoring by the IAEA. (New York Times, 9 May 1998, A5; USIS, 7 May 1998)
4 June 1998 After a two-day presentation by UNSCOM to the UN Security Council, US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson says Iraq may be close to fulfilling its obligations in the nuclear area. With continued compliance between now and the next sanctions review in October, Iraq could move from disarmament to the long-term monitoring phase for nuclear weapons. However, for chemical and biological weapons, Richardson says, Iraq is not close to fulfilling its obligations. (USIS, 4 June 1998)
15 June 1998 Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Aziz and UNSCOM Chairman Butler announce that they have reached agreement on a two-month schedule and "road map" proposed by Butler to complete verification of Iraq's disarmament if Iraq provides complete information on its long-range ballistic missiles, production of nerve gasses VX or Soman, and details of past biological weapons program. Butler states, "The light at the end of the tunnel is today more visible that it has been for a very long time." (New York Times, 15 June 1998, A3; Financial Times, 15 June 1998, 4; Washington Post, 16 June 1998, A24)
19 June 1998 The New York Times publishes an article claiming the UN and the US are overlooking the smuggling of 50,000 to 60,000 barrels a day of Iraqi oil through Turkey. The Times claims Iraq is also exporting oil by sea through Iran and other countries. Together, these export account for almost 10% of its capacity. (New York Times, 19 June 1998, A10)
19 June 1998 The UN approves the Iraqi purchase of $300 million of spare parts to upgrade its oil production capacity. (Financial Times, 20-21 June 1998, 3)
24 June 1998 Contradicting claims it never weaponized the substance, UNSCOM chief Butler says tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland show Iraq loaded deadly VX gas onto a missile. Iraq claims bias in the test of warhead pieces; similar weapons fragments are tested in Switzerland and France to see whether the finding can be confirmed. (USIS, 24 June 1998; New York Times, 25 June 1998, A10)
23 July 1998 Iraqi authorities refuse to give UNSCOM documents that list weapons used by the Iraqi Air Force during the war with Iran. (Washington Post, 24 July 1998, A28)
27 July 1998 IAEA issues a report to the UN Security Council that says there is no evidence that Iraq has nuclear weapons. However, the agency admits Iraq could be hiding nuclear components. In response, Russia suggests moving from disarmament to long-term monitoring on Iraqi nuclear weapons. But US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson says the "nuclear file" on Iraq should not be closed. He maintains the report shows Iraq "has failed to provide information on weapons design, on uranium enrichment, on nuclear experts." (New York Times, 28 July 1998, A3; USIS, 29 July 1998; New York Times, 30 July 1998, A7)
4 August 1998 Iraq rejects Butler's blueprint for an accelerated schedule of inspections in coming weeks and demands that Butler report to the UN that the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction is completed. (Financial Times, 5 August 1998, 12; New York Times, 5 August 1998, A9)
5 August 1998 Iraq restricts activities of IAEA and orders an end to all UNSCOM inspections, except for those specifically approved by the Iraqi government. It allows long distance monitoring with video camera, as well as air, water and soil sampling, to continue. President Hussein demands that UNSCOM be restructured, Butler replaced, and that UNSCOM move its headquarters out of the United States. (Financial Times, 6 August 1998, 1; USIS, 6 August 1998; New York Times, 15 September 1998, A3; Wall Street Journal, 2 October 1998, A16)
6 August 1998 US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson assails Iraq for its actions, while UN Secretary-General Annan rejects Iraq's demands regarding UNSCOM as "not acceptable." (USIS, 6 August 1998; Financial Times, 7 August 1998, 1)
25 August 1998 UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities declares the sanctions against Iraq should be lifted. The Sub-Commission notes the "immense suffering endured by the Iraqi people, and by children in particular." (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 26 August 1998)
26 August 1998 American inspector William Scott Ritter resigns from UNSCOM, arguing that in reality the UN Security Council wants only "the illusion of arms control" and that the Security Council and the US government have given in to the Iraqi government by acquiescing in restrictions on UNSCOM access to sensitive sites. (Washington Post, 27 August 1998, A28; New York Times, 27 August 1998, A1)
3 September 1998 After almost 18 years, Syria and Iraq reopen trade relations and plan to open an oil pipeline closed 16 years ago. (International Herald Tribune, 4 September 1998, 6)
3 September 1998 In a letter to Congress, President Clinton denounces Iraq's failure to allow weapons inspections, warns that, "If the Council fails to persuade the Iraqi regime to resume cooperation, all other options are on the table." (USIS, 3 September 1998)
9 September 1998 In the face of Iraqi intransigence on inspections, UN Security Council votes to end periodic reviews of the sanctions on Iraq, meaning they will not be lifted. (Reuters, 27 September 1998; New York Times, 10 September 1998, A10)
14 September 1998 Iraq's National Assembly threatens to end all cooperation with inspectors unless the Security Council resumes regular reviews of the sanctions. (New York Times, 15 September 1998, A3)
17 September 1998 The leaders of Iraq's two biggest Kurdish groups, previously bitter rivals, reach an agreement to cooperate. (Washington Post, 18 September 1998, A26)
26 October 1998 In report to the UN Security Council, panel of international scientists confirms results of US tests that showed traces of nerve gas VX on Iraqi warheads. French tests were found to been inconclusive, while no trace of any nerve gas was found in Swiss tests. Laboratory tests in all three countries, however, found traces of "decontamination agent" on decomposed warheads. (Times of London, 27 October 1998, 16; Washington Post, 28 October 1998, A18)
31 October 1998 President Clinton signs into law the Iraq Liberation Act, which appropriates $97 million to arm and assist Iraqi opposition groups so they can overthrow the Hussein government. The president comments, "This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers." (USIS, 2 November 1998)
31 October 1998 Iraq stops all cooperation with weapons inspectors, banning arms inspectors from visiting sites that have already been inspected and were being monitored by UNSCOM. Baghdad says sensors and monitors placed in sites can continued operating and also exempt the IAEA from its latest decision. (Financial Times, 2 November 1998, 1; Wall Street Journal, 2 November 1998, A4)
3 November 1998 Defense Secretary Cohen visits Saudi Arabia to meet with King Fahd; says US "will have the support it needs to take appropriate action…" with regard to Iraq. (Washington Post, 4 November 1998, A21)
3 November 1998 France recalls its representative in Baghdad. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov criticizes Iraq's belligerence. He calls it "inexplicable" that Baghdad is rejecting an offer to tie renewed cooperation with a comprehensive review of the sanctions, as proposed by Secretary General Annan. (Dow Jones, 3 November 1998; Washington Post, 7 November 1998, A11)
5 November 1998 The UN Security Council votes unanimously to condemn Iraq for its stance towards the weapons inspectors. Russia and China stress that the resolution does not mention the use of force to make Iraq comply. (New York Times, 6 November 1998, A1; Washington Post, 6 November 1998, A31)
Mid-November 1998 US beefs up forces in Persian Gulf. (Washington Post, 12 November 1998, A1)
11 November 1998 US Treasury Department amends Iraqi Sanctions Regulations to allow American businessmen to sell oil field parts and equipment to Iraq, as provided in UN resolutions. (Journal of Commerce, 12 November 1998, 3A)
11 November 1998 UN evacuates 230 staff members from Iraq, and announces that 41 more will leave tomorrow. (New York Times, 12 November 1998, A12)
12 November 1998 Eight Arab states, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, release statement blaming Iraq for the present crisis. (New York Times, 13 November 1998, A12; Financial Times, 13 November 1998, 1)
12 November 1998 British Ministry of Defense publishes paper claiming that Iraqi President Hussein is diverting "huge sums of money" to pay for weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq "has the expertise and equipment to regenerate an offensive biological weapons capability within weeks," and that Iraq "could produce mustard gas almost immediately." (Financial Times, 13 November 1998, 8)
14 November 1998 Iraq's ambassador to the UN, Nizar Hamdoon, sends a letter to UN Secretary General Annan stating Iraq's "clear and unconditional decision … to resume cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency." In response, President Clinton calls off bombing strike on Iraq at last minute; warns that Iraq will be bombed the next time it fails to comply with UN resolutions. (New York Times, 16 November 1998, A11; Financial Times, 16 November 1998, 1)
15 November 1998 President Clinton lists five criteria to judge Iraqi compliance with the UN: allowing inspectors complete access to sites; not hindering searches; resolving all issues raised by the inspectors; surrendering all relevant documents, and accepting all UN resolutions on weapons of mass destruction. (New York Times, 16 November 1998, A10)
20 November 1998 Shortly after UNSCOM inspectors resume their duties in Iraq, the Iraqi government refuses to provide 12 documents relating to weapons inventories. Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Qaysi accuses the inspectors of "unjustifiably" prolonging their work, thereby extending the embargo. (Washington Post, 24 November 1998, A25; 18 November 1998, A33; Financial Times, 24 November 1998, 6)
7 December 1998 UNSCOM chief inspector Richard Butler announces that surprise inspections will resume, and that in the following week he will make a comprehensive report to the UN on whether Iraq is abiding by the inspections regime. (Washington Post, 8 December 1998, A32)
15 December 1998 Butler reports to the UN that Iraq continues to block it from performing its duties. Of the 12 sets of documents asked for by Butler immediately following the crisis, Iraq has handed over only one, and that one does not appear to meet UNSCOM's demands. (Washington Post, 16 December 1998, A16; New York Times, 16 December 1998, A4)
16 December 1998 Without consulting the UN Security Council, US President Clinton and UK Prime Minister Blair initiate military action against Iraq. Some Republican congressmen and politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, criticize the timing of the action, which comes the day before the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on articles of impeachment against the President. Other Republican congressmen, however, join with Democratic leaders in supporting the attack. On the first night of "Operation Desert Fox", over 200 cruise missiles are fired at Iraqi targets. (New York Times, 17 December 1998, A1; Washington Post, 17 December 1998, A1)
16 December 1998 Japan and Germany express sympathy for the US-UK action against Iraq. But France, China and Russia express displeasure. (Washington Post, 17 December 1998, A29)
17 December 1998 Russia recalls its ambassador to the US for consultations. The government releases a statement in which it claims that "The entire system of international security, with the UN and the Security Council as the centerpiece, has been undermined." President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt releases a statement condemning Richard Butler for having escalated tension with Iraq. (Financial Times, 18 December 1998, 1; 18 December 1998, 3; New York Times, 18 December 1998, A19)
19 December 1998 After four consecutive nights of bombing, the US and Britain end the attack on Iraq. President Clinton declares Operation Desert Fox a success at degrading Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program and his conventional military capacity. In all, there were about 600 bombs and 415 cruise missiles fired at approximately 100 targets. (Washington Post, 20 December 1998, A1; New York Times, 20 December 1998, 24; Wall Street Journal, 21 December 1998, A3; 22 December 1998, A20)
20 December 1998 The US and Britain outline a five-point strategy for containing Iraq, including keeping forces ready if needed again, increasing surveillance, implementing the embargo more efficiently, and maneuvering to increase the strength of opposition within Iraq. (Financial Times, 21 December 1998, 2)
21 December 1998 Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Aziz reiterates earlier statements that the weapons inspection regime is finished as a result of the bombing. He claims 62 officers and soldiers were killed, 180 injured, and that civilian casualties were "much higher." The American military disputes the claim there was much damage to civilian sites, emphasizing that the US had left "dual use" civilian-military sites off the target list to avoid hurting civilians. (New York Times, 22 December 1998, A14; Washington Post, 22 December 1998, A31)
22 December 1998 White House spokesman Joe Lockhart states that the US will use its UN veto to block any attempt to "dismantle" the sanctions regime. However, the US does offer to increase the oil-for-food limit if necessary to provide enough food and medicine to meet Iraqi needs. Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer calls for a step-by-step easing of sanctions. (Financial Times, 23 December 1998, 3; Wall Street Journal, 23 December 1998, A10)
22 December 1998 Russia announces that its ambassador to the US will return within a week. (Washington Post, 23 December 1998, A18)
28 December 1998 In the beginning of a tit-for-tat campaign that continues well into 1999, four Iraqi soldiers are killed as US planes fire on an anti-aircraft unit after being fired upon. (Financial Times, 30 December 1998, 4)
7 January 1999 General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimates between 600-1,600 Iraqi Republican Guards died in the December air strikes. (New York Times, 9 January 1999, A3)
13 January 1999 France releases a proposal for ending the oil embargo against Iraq that would continue monitoring Iraq's weapons programs, but with an emphasis on preventing Iraq from acquiring new weapons or using existing materials to develop new weapons. Iraq, however, rejects the notion of renewing an arms commission in any form. (Financial Times, 14 January 1999, 14; 18 January 1999, 12; New York Times, 14 January 1999, A6)
15 January 1999 US proposes lifting the limit on Iraq oil sales under the oil-for-food program, as long as the UN retains control over the revenues generated, but rejects France's proposal. (New York Times, 15 January 1999, A8)
15 January 1999 Russia proposes a plan to end the oil embargo on Iraq and replace the UNSCOM team with a new multinational panel of experts that would negotiate new inspections rules with Iraq. Similar to the French proposal, the emphasis would be on long-term monitoring through such means as cameras and aerial reconnaissance. (Washington Post, 16 January 1999, A9)
25 January 1999 Iraqi officials report a US missile attack killed 11 civilians near Basra. US officials later admit a missile aimed at a radio tower used to monitor US aircraft landed several miles off-target. (Washington Post, 26 January 1999, A1; 27 January 1999, A15)
Late January 1999 UNSCOM head Richard Butler sends a report to the UN Security Council that maintains Iraq is concealing past and present weapons programs. Russia, which no longer recognizes UNSCOM and demands Butler's resignation, temporarily suppresses the report's circulation in the UN. (New York Times, 27 January 1999, A6)
27 January 1999 US supports a Canadian plan for three panels to hold hearings on Iraq's relationship with the UN. One panel will focus on disarmament, another on the humanitarian situation inside Iraq, and a third on people who disappeared after Iraq invaded Kuwait, along with missing property and archives. (New York Times, 28 January 1999, A8; USIS, 7 April 1999)
28 January 1999 The commander of military forces in the Persian Gulf, General Anthony Zinni, testifies before Congress that no Iraqi opposition group has the power to unseat Saddam Hussein. (New York Times, 29 January 1999, A3)
4 February 1999 UNSCOM head Richard Butler announces he will leave when his contract expires in June. (New York Times, 5 February 1999, A3)
8 February 1999 IAEA submits a report to the UN Security Council detailing plans for intrusive inspections of Iraq's nuclear capabilities. (New York Times, 10 February 1999, A8)
19 February 1999 Riots erupt in southern Iraq after the killings of Shia Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq Sadr and two of his sons. Sadr had given anti-government sermons. Police are reported to have killed several protesters. (Washington Post, 24 February 1999, A15; 16 March 1999, A13)
9 March 1999 Qatar's foreign minister calls for allied attacks against Iraqi air defenses to cease. (New York Times, 10 March 1999, A8)
27 March 1999 In a 27-page report, the special UN panel reviewing Iraq's disarmament record maintains that, due to Iraqi intransigence, inspection and monitoring of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs will have to continue. The panel recommends that investigations be "comprehensive and intrusive." The panel also suggests most of the inspectors be UN employees, as opposed to experts supplied by national governments. (New York Times, 28 March 1999, 18)
30 March 1999 US maintains it may oppose some measures proposed by a second UN panel investigating the humanitarian situation in Iraq. The four-member panel suggests allowing foreign direct investment in Iraq's oil production sector, as well as allowing foreign direct investment in non-military export industries. The panel also suggests war reparations payments be lowered temporarily because low oil prices mean Iraq is unable to reach the $5.2 billion ceiling for oil exports. (New York Times, 31 March 1999, A6)
Early April 1999 Iraq rejects the findings of the three panels convened to review its relations with the UN. Iraq declares that the panels' findings provide a pretext for aggression by Iraq's enemies, and infringe on Iraq's sovereignty. (New York Times, 9 April 1999, A3)
15 April 1999 Britain and the Netherlands propose UNSCOM be replaced by a larger body empowered to perform more intrusive inspections in Iraq. The proposal would also create a mechanism to bring Iraq's illegal oil exports into the UN oil-for-food program and, like the US proposal, abolish the ceiling on oil-for-food exports. (New York Times, 16 April 1999, A3)
April 1999 Diplomats accuse Syria of violating UN sanctions against Iraq charging that every week hundreds of tankers are smuggling Iraqi oil to Syria. (New York Times, 26 April 1999, A6)
24 April 1999 In show of unity, Iraqi opposition leaders begin week-long visit to Washington to meet State Department officials and members of Congress. US announces it will supply opposition with "nonlethal" aid like offices and communications equipment. (Financial Times, 24 April 1999, 4; New York Times, 25 May 1999, A4)
1 July 1999 Richard Butler resigns as chairman of UNSCOM. He later accuses UN Secretary General Annan and Russia of trying to destroy the commission because it was "too independent." Butler states that only the Clinton Administration held Saddam's "feet to the fire". (New York Times, 1 August 1999, 6)
12 August 1999 UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that, according to a joint UN-Iraq survey, the mortality rate of Iraqi children under five has doubled since the Gulf War. Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, blames both the UN embargo and the Iraqi regime for the high mortality rate of children. US defends sanctions policy arguing that in Kurdish territory in northern Iraq, where food and medicine is distributed by the UN, mortality rates have declined. US also states that the Iraqi government has used less than 10 percent of money available under the oil-for food program for children and pregnant women. (Washington Post, 12 August 1999, A21; USIS, 13 August 1999; Financial Times, 13 August 1999, 4)
20 August 1999 France criticizes US for continued US-led bombing raids in Iraq. Cycle of tit-for-tat skirmishes has been going on for eight months with 1,100 missiles attacking 359 targets in Iraq. (New York Times, 13 August 1999, A1; 20 August 1999, A8)
14 September 1999 Two days prior to meeting of permanent members of Security Council to discuss Iraq, US State Department releases report charging that Saddam Hussein neglects basic needs of his people, obstructs oil-for-food program, while spending millions of dollars on resorts and palaces for party officials and supporters. The report aims to counter Iraqi efforts to undermine sanctions regime by blaming them for widespread disease and malnutrition. (New York Times, 14 September 1999, A6; USIS, 14 September 1999)
24 September 1999 Week-long effort to gain support in the Security Council for British and Dutch resolution, backed by US, fails. China, France, and Russia refuse to support the proposal without assurances that economic sanctions will be immediately lifted once Iraq agrees to new inspections. (Washington Post, 24 September 1999, A22; New York Times, 24 September 1999, A3)
4 October 1999 UN Security Council allows Iraq to sell an additional $3,040 million in oil by November 21, thus raising the total amount of sales under the "oil-for-food" program from $5,256 million to $8,296 million for a 6-month period. (USIS, 4 October 1999)
25 October 1999 UN Secretary General Annan criticizes the US for holding up more than $500 million in humanitarian goods in the UN sanctions committee. (Washington Post, 25 October 1999, A8)
30 October 1999 Iraqi oppositions groups gather in New York to support rejuvenated US-backed campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein. However, last minute cancellations by several opposition groups undermine credibility of the umbrella group, the Iraqi National Congress. (Washington Post, 30 October 1999, A19)
3 November 1999 Despite objections from US and UK, Annan extends term of UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck, for another year. US, UK accuse von Sponeck of siding with Iraq and criticize his public statements about the devastating humanitarian impact of sanctions. (Washington Post, 3 November 1999, A28)
22 November 1999 In response to Russian efforts to improve the terms of the oil-for-food program for Iraq, Security Council extends program for only two weeks instead of six months. In protest, Iraq suspends all oil exports; oil prices surge to highest level since the end of the Gulf War. (New York Times, 23 November 1999, A1, A10)
30 November 1999 Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz visits Moscow in effort to ensure Russia's continued opposition to renewed weapons inspections. (Financial Times, 1 December 1999, 4; New York Times, 6 December 1999, A12)
2 December 1999 Russian oil company Zarubezhneft announces it will drill several oil wells in Iraq. The company is the first foreign company to drill since sanctions were imposed. (Associated Press, 2 December 1999)
11 December 1999 UN Security Council postpones vote on weapons inspections, but approves oil-for-food program for another six months. Iraq announces resumption of oil exports. (New York Times, 11 December 1999, A6; Wall Street Journal, 13 December 1999, A25)
15 December 1999 Iraq refuses to allow IAEA inspectors to check Iraq's uranium stockpile as required under the 1968 nuclear nonproliferation treaty. (New York Times, 15 December 1999, A13; 16 December 1999, A5)
17 December 1999 Following eight months of discussion, UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1284 with abstentions from three permanent members - France, Russia, and China. Resolution reaffirms Iraq's obligation to disarm, establishes new UN Monitoring and Verification Commission, UNMOVIC, to replace UNSCOM, and removes ceiling on Iraqi oil sales under the oil-for-food program. Once UNMOVIC reports that Iraq has met key disarmament tasks and has fully cooperated with weapons inspectors for a period of 120 days, the Security Council can vote to suspend sanctions. Suspension needs to be renewed every 120 days. Resolution also streamlines approval procedures for Iraqi imports of civilian goods. All financial dealings and Iraqi oil revenues remain under UN control. UN Secretary General Annan is given the mandate to evaluate Iraqi oil sector, make recommendations on how to increase production, and consider possibility of limited foreign investment in the Iraqi oil sector. (USIS, 17 December 1999; New York Times, 18 December 1999, A1, A6; Washington Post, 18 December 1999, A1, A22)
19 December 1999 Iraq officially rejects resolution 1284 and demands unconditional lifting of sanctions. (Washington Post, 19 December 1999, A54)
8 January 2000 Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan urges visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz to cooperate with UN weapons inspections. (Washington Post, 8 January 2000, A14)
13 January 2000 Iraq announces it will allow IAEA inspectors to check its uranium stockpiles, ending a month-long standoff between the agency and the government of Iraq. The inspections are first by an outside agency since December 1998. (New York Times, 13 January 2000, A14)
27 January 2000 Hans Blix, former Director General of the IAEA, is unanimously elected by the UN Security Council to head the new weapons inspections commission UNMOVIC. (Financial Times, 27 January 2000, 7; Washington Post, 28 January 2000, A18)
14 February 2000 Hans von Sponek, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, resigns in protest over sanctions, charges they create "a true human tragedy that needs to be ended." Two days later Jutta Burghardt, director of World Food Program in Iraq, also resigns. (Financial Times, 14 February 2000, 2; Reuters, 16 February 2000; Washington Post, 27 February 2000, B3)
31 March 2000 In response to UN Secretary General Annan's request, Security Council doubles the amount Iraq is allowed to spend on repairing its oil industry from $300 million to $600 million over six month. Iraq is allowed to spend a total of $1.2 billion on oil sector repairs during 2000. (Washington Post, 1 April 2000, A5; UN Resolution S/Res/1293)
8 June 2000 UN Security Council passes resolution sponsored by France requesting first comprehensive study of Iraq's humanitarian situation after 10 years of international economic sanctions by panel of independent experts. Report is to be published by November 26. (Washington Post, 10 June 2000, A20; UN Security Council Resolution 1302, 8 June 2000)
1 July 2000 Iraq tests short-range ballistic missiles indicating that it has restarted its missile program. Building and testing of short-range missile system is not prohibited under UN sanctions. (New York Times, 1 July 2000, A1; 3 July 2000, A7)
10 August 2000 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visits Iraq during a tour of OPEC countries. Chavez is the first elected head of state to visit Iraq since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Iraq hails visit as a "slap in the face" for the United States. (Washington Post, 10 August 2000, A24; 11 August 2000, A17)
12 September 2000 Iraq refuses to allow independent experts into the country to assess the living conditions in Iraq as requested by the Security Council in June. Iraq also refuses entry to another group of experts that wanted to devise ways to improve the oil-for-food program. (New York Times, 12 September 2000, A10)
12 September 2000 US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says that US would not use force to get Iraq to cooperate with the new arms inspection program. (New York Times, 13 September 2000, A12)
Mid-September 2000 While France warns Iraq to respect UN resolutions and cooperate with weapons inspections, Russia is pushing for lifting of UN sanctions. In letter to Secretary General Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov states that Russia lost more than $30 billion in business since the embargo was imposed 10 years ago. (Financial Times, 13 September 2000, 8; New York Times, 14 September 2000, A10)
Late September 2000 Russia, France and Jordan allow passenger flights to the newly reopened international airport in Baghdad. They argue that civilian flights are not a violation of UN resolutions. (Washington Post, 23 September 2000, A17, 24 September 2000, A33; Wall Street Journal, 28 September 2000, A4)
28 September 2000 In a compromise agreement between US, France and Russia, the amount earmarked for compensation is reduced from 30 percent to 25 percent beginning with the new phase of the oil-for-food program in December. (Wall Street Journal, 28 September 2000, A45; New York Times, 28 September 2000, A6)
31 October 2000 UN Security Council gives permission to buyers of Iraqi oil to pay in euros instead of dollars. Iraq threatened to stop selling oil if the conversion was not made by November 1. (Financial Times, 31 October 2000, 20)
2 November 2000 Officials and companies from 45 countries attend Iraq's annual trade fair, among them senior officials from several Arab countries and Jordan's Prime Minister. (New York Times, 2 November 2000, A6)
5 November 2000 Iraq restarts domestic commercial flights for the first time after Gulf War. Two passenger flights land in northern and southern no-fly zones respectively. (New York Times, 6 November 2000, A10)
26 November 2000 Tariq Aziz flies to Syria from Baghdad. Aziz, the first Iraqi official to fly out of Baghdad since UN sanctions were imposed, states "There is no embargo on civil aviation. That is an American lie." Iraq also reopens pipeline to Syria; Syria is believed to receive about 150,000 barrels a day of Iraqi oil in violation of UN sanctions. (New York Times, 26 November 2000, 4; Financial Times, 2-3 December 2000, 4; Washington Post, 24 January 2001, A8)
End of
November 2000
Iraq demands that crude-oil buyers pay a 50-cent surcharge per barrel directly into an Iraqi government account outside the control of the UN or lose their contracts. Oil buyers refuse, and the UN rejects lower oil price formula for December proposed by Iraq that conceals the surcharge. (Financial Times, 29 November 2000, A10; New York Times, 2 December 2000, A3)
1 December 2000 Iraq halts all oil exports in protest over UN refusal to accept drop in its official oil price. (Washington Post, 2 December 2000, E1)
6 December 2000 UN Security Council and Iraq reach agreement on oil price; oil-for-food program is then renewed for six months. Security Council also adopts provision proposed by France that allows Iraq to spend some 600 million euros ($525 million) on repairing and maintaining oil industry, sets up an account totaling up to $600 million to buy goods and services inside Iraq for humanitarian programs, and also expands the list of products Iraq can import without seeking approval from the sanctions committee. However, the UN will continue to monitor and supervise how the money is spent. (New York Times, 6 December 2000, A14; USIS, 6 December 2000; Wall Street Journal, 12 December 2000, A21)
14 January 2001 With one week left in office, Clinton administration approves $12 million aid package to assist Iraqi opposition groups. Administration plans to deliver food, medicine and other forms of humanitarian aid through the Iraqi National Congress (INC). (Washington Post, 14 January 2001, A1)
January 2001 In a largely symbolic move, Iraq signs free trade pact with Egypt and a few weeks later with Syria. (Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2001, A6; Christian Science Monitor, 23 February 2001, 1)
26 January 2001 Turkey, arguing it has lost about $35 billion in trade since the imposition of sanctions, announces it favors lifting UN sanctions if effective controls on Iraqi military are put into place. (Washington Post, 26 January 2001, A17)
16 February 2001 In response to increase in Iraqi attacks against allied forces, US and British airplanes strike Iraqi radar stations and air defense command centers outside the no-fly zone in southern Iraq. The air strikes are the first since 1999 aimed at targets north of the no-fly zone and are widely interpreted as a sign of harder-line approach of the incoming Bush administration. France, Turkey, and Russia criticize the air strikes. (USIS, 16 February 2001; New York Times, 17 February 2001, A1; Washington Post, 17 February 2001, A1, A23; 18 February 2001, A32)
20 February 2001 US Pentagon officials accuse China of assisting Iraq in rebuilding air-defense systems around Baghdad in violation of UN sanctions. Chinese Foreign Minister Zhu Bangzao denies allegations. (Wall Street Journal, 20 February 20001, A4; 21 February 2001, A10; Washington Post, 21 February 2001, A2)
23 February 2001 US Secretary of State Colin Powell begins week-long trip to the Middle East and Europe in effort to restore sanctions coalition. Secretary of State Powell finds broad support from allies for his proposal to revise Iraqi sanctions policy by tightening restrictions on military equipment and money, and relaxing restrictions on civilian goods. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives assurances that Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline will be brought under UN control. Turkey also welcomes Powell's proposal. (New York Times, 2 March 2001, A6; Washington Post, 4 March 2001, A23)
27 February 2001 Financial Times reports that, according to confidential report by the UN oil overseers for Iraq, a growing number of companies are paying 20-50 cents surcharge per barrel for Iraqi oil. Iraq's oil exports, which had decreased since December when companies refused to pay the surcharge, have risen considerably in recent weeks. Iraqi government earns billions of dollars in oil revenue from surcharge and smuggling. (Financial Times, 27 February 2001, 5)
6 March 2001 In response to US allegations, China Foreign Ministry announces it found no evidence that Chinese companies helped repair air-defense systems around Baghdad. Privately, China assures US that three Chinese telecommunication companies have been told to get out of Iraq. (New York Times, 7 March 2001, A10; Washington Post, 7 March 2001, A19; Wall Street Journal, 9 March 2001, A11)
1 June 2001 UN Security Council approves Resolution 1352 extending oil-for-food program for another 30 days and agrees to consider "new arrangements" for trade in civilian goods. One month extension is meant to allow Security Council members to resolve differences over list of dual use items Iraq would be allowed to import without prior UN approval. US also releases almost $800 million of contracts placed on hold. (Washington Post, 1 June 2001, A22; USIS, 1 June 2001)
3 June 2001 Iraq announces it will halt oil exports for one month in protest over the shorter renewal of the oil-for-food program. Iraq's immediate neighbors - Turkey, Jordan and Syria - will not be affected by the oil cut-off. Iraq has suspended oil exports four times in two years over the terms of the oil-for-food program. (Washington Post, 3 June 2001, A19; Wall Street Journal, 4 June 2001, A17; Financial Times, 5 June 2001, 4)
2 July 2001 UK and US abandon five-month effort to revamp UN sanctions regime after Russia threatens to veto US-backed resolution. Russia argues it would harm Russian commercial interests and introduces its own resolution. UN Security Council agrees to extend oil-for-food program for another five months. (Washington Post, 3 July 2001, A16; Financial Times, 3 July 2001, 7; Wall Street Journal, 3 July 2001, A16; New York Times, 3 July 2001, A1)
13 August 2001 During visit in Baghdad, Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Mero denounces US and UK air strikes and UN sanctions on Iraq and declares that "any attack on Iraq is an attack on Syria." (Financial Times, 13 August 2001, 2)
August 2001 US accuses Chinese companies of continuing to help Iraq improve its defense systems despite assurances by the Chinese earlier in the year that companies will be told to pull out of Iraq. (Wall Street Journal, 14 August 2001, A16)
24 August 2001 US and UK propose that oil price be set every 15 days instead of current system of 30 days to counter Iraq's imposition of price surcharges designed to circumvent UN sanctions. Allies expect the new pricing system to be implemented in September. (Washington Post, 25 August 2001, A15)
26 November 2001 President Bush declares that countries developing weapons of mass destruction could be a target in the US war against terrorism. He warns Iraq to let UN weapons inspectors back into the country or face the consequences. (New York Times, 27 November 2002, A1; Washington Post, 27 November 2001, A7)
January 2002 Iraq allows IAEA into the country for an inspection of a nuclear research center. The move comes at a time when Iraq is seeking to revive dialogue with the UN. However, since 1998 Iraq has not allowed IAEA to conduct more wide-ranging inspections necessary to verify that Iraq has no weapons-grade material. (Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2002, A10)
29 January 2002 In State of the Union address, President Bush singles out Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the "axis of evil" for their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post, 30 January 2002, A1)
Early February 2002 Russia, Germany, Turkey and several Arab nations warn that they will not support US military action against Iraq. They insist that any military action must be conducted under UN authority. (New York Times, 4 February 2002, A10; Agence France-Presse, 13 February 2002)
5 February 2002 Iraq sends message to UN Secretary General Annan via Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, offering to discuss deadlock over weapons inspections "without preconditions". (New York Times, 5 February 2002, A13; Washington Post, 6 February 2002, A12)
6 February 2002 Secretary of State Powell tells Congress that US has no immediate plans for military action against Iraq, but reiterates that regime change remains US goal and warns that US "might have to do it alone." (New York Times, 7 February 2002, A10)
14 February 2002 According to press reports Syria's illegal imports of Iraqi oil have increased over the last year, despite assurances made to Secretary of State Powell that smuggling would be brought under control. (Washington Post, 14 February 2002, A1, A14)
24 February 2002 Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld states that new UN arms inspections system must be much stronger and more intrusive than previous system to end Saddam Hussein's efforts to build weapons of mass destruction. (USIS, 24 February 2002)
7 March 2002 Ahead of meeting between Iraq and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, US presents intelligence reports to sanctions committee detailing Iraq's violation of sanctions. US alleges Iraq converts cargo and dump trucks into missile components and delivery vehicles. (Washington Post, 7 August 2002, A14; 8 March 2002, A29)
7 March 2002 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan meets with high-level Iraqi delegation led by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri for the first time in over a year. Annan calls on Iraq to permit resumption of inspections to avert military confrontation with the US, but makes clear that meeting is not negotiation and that duration and nature of inspections was up to the UN. Both sides agree to meet for further discussions after the upcoming Arab League meeting. (Washington Post, 8 March 2002, A29; 16 April 2002, A13)
10-20 March 2002 Vice-President Cheney tours 11 Middle Eastern countries to rally support for US anti-terrorism campaign and discuss Iraq. All countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, voice concerns over a possible US attack on Iraq and destabilization of the region. (New York Times, 14 March 2002, A19; Financial Times, 20 March 2002, 3)
27-28 March 2002 During Arab League summit Iraq declares for the first time since 1990 invasion its respect for the "independence, sovereignty and security" of Kuwait and pledges not to invade Kuwait again. In return, Arab leaders reject in final communiqué any use of force against Iraq or any other Arab nation. (Washington Post, 29 March 2002, A1; Associated Press, 28 March 2002; Financial Times, 30/31 March 2002, 3)
End March 2002 US and Russia reach agreement on changes to Iraqi sanctions regime intended to facilitate imports of civilian goods while tightening restrictions on dual-use items. In same week, US unblocks about $237 million worth of Russian contracts with Iraq and is expected to release additional Russian contracts worth nearly $750 million. (Washington Post, 29 March 2002, A20; Financial Times, 3 April 2002, 7)
8 April 2002 Saddam Hussein announces that in solidarity with Palestinians Iraq will halt oil production for 30-days or until Israeli armed forces have unconditionally withdrawn from Palestinian territory. Hussein calls on other Arab oil exporting nations to follow suit. UN warns that suspension of oil exports will exacerbate the funding crisis of the oil-for-food program. (New York Times, 9 April 2002, A12; Wall Street Journal, 9 April 2002, A2; USIS, 9 April 2002)
1-3 May 2002 UN and Iraq begin second round of talks on resumption of weapons inspections. Iraq attempts to link resumption of inspections to an end of US and UK enforcement of the no-fly zones and US renouncement of regime change as goal. In the past Iraq has linked weapons inspections to lifting of all sanctions, a demand the US rejects. (Washington Post, 1 May 2002, A20; 4 May 2002, A14)
10 May 2002 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that although US is participating in discussions at the UN, he believes the so-called "smart sanctions" will not stop Saddam Hussein's regime from enhancing Iraq's military capabilities. Rumsfeld claims Iraq has too long and porous borders to prevent smuggling of sensitive material. (USIS, 10 May 2002)
14 May 2002 UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 1409 streamlining the procedures for exporting civilian goods to Iraq while keeping control on dual-use items. Office of Iraq Programme, together with UNMOVIC and IAEA officials, will review all contracts and either approve the export of purely civilian goods or refer contracts that contain items on the "Goods Review List" to sanctions committee for further review. Implementing procedure stipulates that items, not complete contracts, will be blocked and also sets specific timelines for the review of applications. New procedures go into effect May 30 for 6 months. The resolution, however, does not include requirements for Iraq's neighbors to halt illegal oil imports or permission to station international monitors at border crossings and airports, as suggested by Secretary Powell in his "smart sanctions" proposal. (USIS, 14 May 2002; Financial Times, 15 May 2002, 5; Wall Street Journal, 15 May 2002, A12; Washington Post, 15 My 2002, A21)
16 June 2002 Washington Post reports that earlier in the year President Bush signed intelligence order directing the CIA to increase support to opposition groups inside and outside Iraq including provision of weapons, training and money. Order also allows for the possibility of CIA and Special Forces teams to kill Saddam Hussein. (Washington Post, 16 June 2002, A1)
June 21, 2002 Iran states that it is strongly opposed to any US-led attack on Iraq but would remain neutral in an event of an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein. (Financial Times, 21 June 2002, 3)
July 16, 2002 Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz meets with officials in Turkey to discuss military cooperation in the event of a US invasion of Iraq as well as cancellation of $5.5 billion in armaments debt and payment of $228 million in aid to offset Turkey's costs for peacekeeping in Afghanistan. (New York Times, 18 July 2002, A5, A6; Wall Street Journal, 19 July 2002, A9)
July 23, 2002 Following third round of unsuccessful talks with Iraq on 5-6 July, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announces that he will not hold further talks until Baghdad shows some willingness to readmit UN arms inspectors. (Washington Post, 6 July 2002, A13; 24 July 2002, A14)
July 31, 2002 Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins hearings on Iraq as senior members of Congress question the lack of open debate about the administration's plans for Iraq. (Washington Post, 31 July 2002, A14; Wall Street Journal, 31 July 2002, A4)
1 August 2002 In surprise move, Iraqi government issues invitation to UNMOVIC to send a team of experts to Iraq for talks. UN Secretary General Annan and UN Security Council reject Iraqi offer and insist that Iraq agree to UN terms before inspectors return. (New York Times, 2 August 2002, A4; 7 August 2002, A8)
17 August 2002 Russia and Iraq allegedly plan to sign a new five-year economic cooperation program worth $40 billion. Moscow states that cooperation deal would be consistent with UN sanctions regime. (Washington Post, 17 August 2002, A1; 19 August 2002, A10; 20 August 2002, A9)
5 September 2002 At two-day Arab League meeting, Arab foreign ministers strongly oppose a possible unilateral US attack against Iraq, call for UN sanctions to be lifted, appeal to Iraq to come to an agreement with UN on inspections. (Financial Times, 6 September 2002, 2; Washington Post, 6 September 2002, A18)
12 September 2002 In a speech before the UN General assembly, President Bush calls on the UN Security Council to end a decade of Iraqi defiance and enforce UN resolutions or US will act alone to disarm Iraq. Bush administration pushes for single UN resolution authorizing the use of force if Hussein does not meet a tight deadline for admitting inspectors and destroying weapons stock. France suggests a two-step approach with a separate Security Council debate on use of force if Iraq does not readmit inspectors. (New York Times, 13 September 2002, A1; Washington Post, 13 September 2002, A1; 15 September 2002, A23; 16 September 2002, A1)
16 September 2002 Iraq’s foreign minister Naji Sadri announces that Iraq will allow for immediate resumption of inspections without conditions. Bush administration officials denounces Iraqi offer as tactic to avoid Security Council action and states that issue was Iraqi disarmament not inspections. Subsequently, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, reaches agreement with Iraqi officials but inspections are postponed because of disagreement within Security Council over need for new inspection mandate. (New York Times, 17 September 2002, A1; 4 October 2002, A13; Washington Post, 17 September 2002, A1; 2 October 2002, A1; Blix 74-75)
18 September 2002 According to a report published by the Coalition for International Justice, Hussein and his supporters will make more than $2 billion by exploiting the oil-for-food program and thru extensive smuggling operations in 2002. The Coalition criticizes the UN Security Council and its members for failing to stop this flow of illegal money. At same time, Wall Street Journal reports that Iraq stopped charging illegal surcharges. (Washington Post, 18 September 2002, A20; Wall Street Journal, 18 September 2002, A1)
19 September 2002 President Bush asks Congress for unlimited authority to use all means he deems appropriate against Iraq, including military force, without further congressional consultation or approval. In a message from Saddam Hussein to the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Sabri declares that Iraq is “totally clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons” and calls on nations to resists US call for use of force. (Washington Post, 20 September 2002, A1, A21; New York Times, 20 September 2002, A1)
10-11 October 2002 House of Representatives and US Senate by votes of 296-113 and 77 to 23 approve resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq to enforce all relevant UN resolutions. (New York Times, 11 October 2002, A1; Washington Post, 11 October 2002, A1; 12 October 2002, A1)
8 November 2002 After eight weeks of tough negotiations, the UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 1441 giving Iraq a “final opportunity” to disarm. Resolution 1441 finds Iraq in “material breach” of its UN obligations, sets tight deadlines for Iraq compliance and threatens “serious consequences” in case of noncompliance. Iraq has seven days to decide if it will comply with the resolution and readmit inspectors. Resolution also requires Iraq to submit a comprehensive report on all its weapons programs within 30 days. (Washington Post, 9 November 2002, A1, A16; New York Times, 9 November 2002, A1, A8)
13 November 2002 Denying that it has weapons of mass destructions, Iraq officially accepts resolution 1441 and states it “is prepared to receive the inspectors within the assigned timetable”. (Washington Post, 14 November 2002, A1; New York Times, 14 November 2002, A1; Blix 90)
18 November 2002 Together with a small team UNMOVIC head Hans Blix and IAEA director Mohamed elBaradei arrive in Baghdad to discuss and prepare for renewed inspections with Iraqi officials. A week later first team of UNMOVIC inspectors arrives in Baghdad and begins inspections. US military buildup in the Gulf continues. (Washington Post, 19 November 2002, A1; 20 November 2002, A1; Financial Times, 21 November 2002, 7; New York Times, 26 November 2002, A1; Blix 94-95)
8 December 2002 A day ahead of the deadline, Iraq submits 12,000-page WMD declaration to UNMOVIC and IAEA. Iraq claims the declaration is a “currently accurate, full and complete” account of past programs and reiterates its claim that it does not have weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post, 8 December 2002, A1; New York Times, 8 December 2002, A1)
19 December 2002 Briefing the UN Security Council, Blix and elBaradei note that while Iraqi is cooperating with inspections it had missed an opportunity to fully disclose it WMD programs in the declaration. Secretary of State Powell declares that Iraq failed to meet Security Council requirements regarding the declaration and was “well on its way to lose this last chance.” (New York Times, 20 December 2002, A1; Washington Post, 20 December 2002, A1; Blix 106-109)
27 January 2003 In report to Security Council on renewed inspections, Blix states Iraq has not shown a “genuine acceptance” of disarmament demands and cooperation is limited to providing access to sites. IAEA Director ElBaradei gives more positive assessment and assures Council that IAEA could provide assurances that Iraq has no nuclear weapons “within the next few months”. (Blix 138-140; Washington Post, 28 January 2003, A1; Financial Times, 28 January 2003, 3; New York Times, 28 January 2003, A1)
5 February 2003 Secretary of State Powell presents to the Security Council US declassified intelligence information, satellite photos and telephone intercepts supporting US claims that Iraq is making a systematic effort to deceive UN inspectors, hides prohibited weapons and poses an “imminent threat” to the international community. (Blix 152-156; Financial Times, 6 February 2003, 1, 3; New York Times, 6 February 2003, A1; Washington Post, 6 February 2003, A1)
10 February 2003 Ahead of UNMOVIC’s second report to UN, Iraq meets major demand by Hans Blix and allows for surveillance flights to search the country for weapons of mass destructions. (Washington Post, 11 February 2003, A12)
14 February 2003 Blix reports to the Security Council that although inspectors have not found any prohibited weapons, many questions about Iraq’s chemical and biological programs remain unanswered and many prohibited items are still unaccounted for. (Blix 175-178; Financial Times, 14 February 2003, 2)
21 February 2003 After a panel of UN experts determines that range of Iraq Al Samoud 2 missile exceeds the maximum range of 150 kilometers (93 miles) allowed by UN, Blix orders Iraq to begin destroying its missiles and associated equipment by March 1. President Bush calls Al Samoud missiles “just the tip of the iceberg.” (Washington Post, 22 February 2003, A1; 23 February 2003, A28; New York Times, 22 February 2003, A1)
24 February 2003 US, UK and Spain introduce a draft UN resolution declaring that Iraq missed its last opportunity to voluntarily disarm. (Washington Post, 25 February 2003, A1; New York Times, 25 February 2003, A1)
1 March 2003 Iraq begins destroying its stock of about 100 Al Samoud 2 missiles. (Washington Post, 2 March 2003, A17; 3 March 2003, A1)
7 March 2003 In his final report to UN, Blix outlines remaining disarmament tasks, provides a cautiously positive assessment of Iraqi cooperation over last weeks and states that inspections would “not take years, nor weeks, but months.” IAEA director elBaradei declares that inspections found “no indication of resumed nuclear activities.” (Blix 215; Washington Post, 8 March 2003, A1)
17 March 2003 Despite intensive negotiations, US and UK fail to win support of France, Russia and China in the Security Council and withdraw draft resolution. UN arms inspectors evacuate Iraq and President Bush issues ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face US-led invasion. (New York Times, 17 March 2003, A1; Washington Post, 17 March 2003, A1, Wall Street Journal, 18 March 2003, A1)
19-20 March 2003 US launches Operation Iraqi Freedom with initial air strikes targeting Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders in Baghdad. Campaign of air strikes called “shock and awe” continues in Baghdad and other major cities, as US and UK ground forces cross Kuwaiti border into Iraq. (Washington Post, 20 March 2003, A1; 21 March 2003, A1; Wall Street Journal, 20 March 2003, A1; 21 March 2003, A1)
16 April 2003 After US troops take Baghdad, President Bush declares Saddam Hussein’s rule over and calls on UN Security Council to end 13 years of economic sanctions. Russia and France suggest suspending ban on trade of civilian goods but oppose a quick lifting of sanctions without bigger UN involvement in post-war Iraq reconstruction and UNMOVIC certification that all weapons of mass destructions are accounted for and destroyed. (Wall Street Journal, 17 April 2003, A4; Washington Post, 17 April 2003, A1; 18 April 2003, A1; 23 April 2003, A1)
1 May 2003 On board the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln President Bush declares major combat operations in Iraq over. (Washington Post, 2 May 2003, A2)
7 May 2003 To allow for humanitarian assistance and to ease reconstruction efforts in Iraq, President Bush suspends sanctions imposed by the Iraq Sanctions Act of 1990 and restrictions resulting from Iraq’s status as state sponsor of terrorism. Executive order also allows for US citizens and residents to send remittances of up to $500 per household to Iraq. UN and US restrictions on commercial trade and arms remain in effect. (New York Times, 8 May 2003, A16; Washington Post, 8 May 2003, A1; CRS 2003, 20)
22 May 2003 UN Security Council formally recognizes US and UK as occupying powers and with the exception of arm embargo ends all trade and financial sanctions imposed against Iraq. The Council also asks the Secretary General to transfer resources of and authority for the oil-for-food program to the occupying powers in the course of the next six months. In addition, Council calls on member states to freeze overseas assets of Saddam Hussein, his family members and senior officials of his regime and transfer assets of the former regime to the new Development Fund for Iraq. (Washington Post, 23 May 2003, A16; Financial Times, 23 May 2003, 1; New York Times, 23 May 2003, A12; UN Security Council Resolution 1483, 22 May 2003)
2 October 2003 In his interim report to Congress, David Kay, special advisor to CIA’s Iraq Survey Group created to find Iraq’s WMD, states that the group has not yet discovered stockpiles of unconventional weapons or any evidence of an active and large-scale weapons program. However, Kay testifies his inspectors discovered “dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq had concealed from the United Nations during the inspections.” Kay declares evidence found shows Iraq’s intent to resume WMD production in the future. (Washington Post, 3 October 2003, A1; Financial Times, 3 October 2003, 1; Blix 258)
21 November 2003 Oil-for-food program is officially terminated and responsibility is transferred to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Remaining funds are deposited into the Development Fund for Iraq. (State Department Press Release, 21 November 2003)
13 December 2003 US forces capture Saddam Hussein who was hiding in an underground hole at a farm near his hometown of Tikrit. Troops also seize weapons and $750,000 in cash. (Washington Post, 15 December 2003, A1; Financial Times, 15 December 2003, 1)
18 March 2004 GAO officials testify before Congress that the former Iraqi regime acquired an estimated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues from oil smuggling and kickbacks and surcharges from contracts under the oil-for-food program between 1997 and 2002. UN has come under increasing pressure to investigate allegations of corruption by UN officials who managed the program. (GAO 2004a; Wall Street Journal, 19 March 2004, A6; Washington Post, 19 March 2004, A16)
21 April 2004 Kofi Annan appoints Paul Volker, former Federal Reserve Chairman, to head Independent Inquiry Committee investigating allegations of corruption and misconduct within the UN oil-for-food program. Other investigations including one by the Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraq Supreme Audit Council as well as several inquiries by US congressional committees are also under way. (New York Times, 21 April 2004, A5; 23 April 2004, A3; Financial Times, 6 July 2004, 3; GAO 2004b, 14-15)
28 June 2004 US hands over formal sovereignty to interim Iraqi government two days ahead of schedule because of fear of attacks by insurgent groups. More than 130,000 US troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future to provide security as the interim government prepares the country for national elections. (Washington Post, 29 June 2004, A1; New York Times, 29 June 2004)
9 July 2004 The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence releases report accusing US intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA, of overstating key judgments and ignoring evidence that challenge the institutional thinking in their pre-war assessment of Iraq’s WMD capabilities. The Committee cites number of intelligence reports during the 1990s reporting the deterioration of Iraqi military capabilities as a consequence of UN sanctions and US military pressure. (New York Times, 10 July 2004, A1; 11 July 2004, A1; Washington Post, 10 July 2004, A1)

Goals of Sender Country

United States

President George Bush
"The United States strongly condemns the Iraqi military invasion of Kuwait and calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces. …We deplore this blatant use of military aggression and violation of the UN Charter." (White House Press Release, 1 August 1990)

"Our action in the gulf is not about religion, greed or cultural differences… [at stake is] access to energy resources that are key, not just to the functioning of this country, but to the entire world. Our jobs, our way of life, our own freedom and the freedom of friendly countries around the world would all suffer if control of the world's greatest oil reserves fell into the hands of that one man—Saddam Hussein." (Washington Post, 16 August 1990, A15)

"At this juncture my view is that we don't want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." (International Trade Reporter, 29 May 1991, 825)

Robert Gates, Assistant to the President and Deputy Secretary for
Security Affairs

"All possible sanctions will remain in place until he [Saddam Hussein] is gone... Because of the invasion of Kuwait and the brutal repression of his own people, Saddam is discredited and cannot be redeemed. His leadership will never be accepted by the world community and, therefore, Iraqis will pay the price until he is gone." (International Trade Reporter, 29 May 1991, 825)

Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations
Avoids mentioning Saddam Hussein's removal as a condition for the lifting of sanctions during a UN Security Council sanctions review and confirms to journalists: "We are not talking about that." Cites "Iraq's failure to take part in the boundary commission demarcating the border with Kuwait, the suppression of Kurds and Shi'ites, and the refusal of Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations personnel charged with eliminating Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction and monitoring its military industries" as obstacles to the lifting of sanctions. (Washington Post, 30 March 1993, A17; New York Times, 30 March 1993, A3)

President Bill Clinton
"Iraq remains a serious threat to regional peace and stability ... My administration will continue to oppose any relaxation of sanctions until Iraq demonstrates peaceful intentions through its overall compliance with all of the UN Security Council Resolutions." (White House Press Release, 6 May 1996)

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
"These sanctions have a very specific purpose: To remove Saddam's capacity to threaten his neighbors and the world with an arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Saddam has shown that he is capable and willing to use such weapons against his neighbors and his own people alike. This jeopardizes the security and stability of the region and challenges the vital national interests of the United States." (USIS, 13 July 1998)

Clinton Administration, circa 1999
"For all its chinks and ambiguities, [officials say US Iraq policy] can be summed up in four words: containment and regime change. They want to keep Saddam Hussein militarily weak and financially strapped while working, however possible, to force him from power." (Wall Street Journal, 27 August 1999, A10)

Bush administration, 2001
"[US] containment policy ... has three pillars. It aims to deprive Mr Saddam of financial resources for his military and rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction through UN-backed sanctions; to keep military pressure on him by enforcing, with British help, no-fly zones; and to provide finance for the Iraqi opposition. " (Financial Times, 17 January 2001, 8)

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
"With respect to Iraq, it has long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we are looking at a variety of options that would bring that about." (New York Times, 13 February 2002, A1)

United Nations Security Council

Resolution 661
Condemns Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, demands that Iraq withdraws its forces, prohibits UN members from recognizing any provisional Kuwaiti government established by Iraq. (New York Times, 7 August 1990, A1)

Resolution 687
Establishes terms of the cease-fire between Iraq and Kuwait, demands that Iraq unconditionally cooperation in destruction of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction, determines that economic sanctions will remain in force until Iraq complies with UN disarmament demands. (UN Resolution 687, 3 April 1991)

Resolution 1284
Reaffirms Iraq's obligation to disarm, establishes new arms monitor commission UMOVIC, states that once Iraq has meet key disarmament tasks and cooperated with UN inspectors for 120 days sanctions can be suspended. (UN Resolution 1284, 17 December 1999)

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister John Major
Proclaims to the conservative party on May 11, 1991 that Great Britain would use its veto power to make certain sanctions remain until Hussein was overthrown. (New York Times, 21 May 1991, A1)

David Hannay, British Ambassador to the United Nations
"The instructions I received for conducting the sanctions review do not relate to Saddam Hussein's staying in office." (Washington Post, 30 March 1993, A17)

Response of Target Country

President Saddam Hussein
"We would not allow whoever it is to strangle the people of Iraq without strangling him in return. If we feel the Iraqi people are choking and someone is dealing them a bloody blow, we will strangle all the perpetrators ... all oil installations will be incapacitated." (Washington Post, 24 September 1990, A1)

Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
"America and its allies have gone beyond an economic boycott which in essence means only a non-exchange of goods. They embarked on the implementation of an economic blockade by force of arms against Iraq, including food and medicines, and this is an act of war under world norms and international law." (Washington Post, 19 August 1990, A31)

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
"We, as a leadership and a people, are optimistic about the future. This is because sooner or later they will be forced to gradually ease the blockade restrictions. The blockade ... will disintegrate, not by a Security Council resolution, but rather by the natural course of developments." (Cordesman 1997, 155)

Jumhouriya, Iraqi newspaper, commenting on the food for oil deal
"Today, we caused a crack in the wall of the embargo and tomorrow we shall pull it down." (Reuters, 21 May 1996)

President Saddam Hussein
"Iraq has fulfilled its obligations under the Security Council Resolutions ... American conduct wants to prolong the embargo in order to continue killing the Iraqis by denying them food and medicine and by preventing whomever needs to travel from doing so." (Associated Press, 17 July 1997)

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
Formally rejecting UNSC resolution 1284, Aziz says the Security Council had "failed to meet Iraq's legitimate demand for a lifting of sanctions" and that Iraq is "ready to face all the consequences in defense of its sovereignty and legal rights." (Washington Post, 19 December 1999, A54)

Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammed Aldouri
“For more than 11 years, the people of Iraq have suffered under United Nations economic sanctions, which have been kept in place largely by American influence. ... Iraq is no threat to its neighbors. It certainly is no threat to the United States or any of its interests in the Middle East. Once the United Nations inspection team comes back into my country…I am confident that is will certify that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction—be they chemical, biological or nuclear.” (New York Times, 17 October 2002, A31)

Attitude of Other Countries


Foreign Minster Ali Akbar Velayati "We cannot accept any change in Kuwaiti borders, neither by land nor in water." (Washington Post, 8 August 1990, A1)


Crown Prince Hassan
"Jordan respects the UN mandate ... but [sanctions] would bring our economy to a standstill ... Clearly in terms of implementing sanctions we just don't turn off the switch in our dealings with Iraq and Kuwait ... Jordan will suffer enormously when it applies sanctions." (Washington Post, 15 August 1990, C12; New York Times, 15 August 1990, A19)

"In late 1995, Jordan decided to cut down on the two way trade and smuggling between it and Iraq. Even though Jordan rejected a US request to cut off trade completely, it decided in early 1996 to cut in half from $400 million to $200 million its trade in food and essential goods with Iraq." (Cordesman 1997, 143)

"For Jordan and its ailing economy, the math is simple. The country saves an estimated $500 million a year from the cut-rate oil it imports from Iraq outside of the U.N. oil-for-food program, or nearly twice what Jordan received from the U.S. in aid last year." (Wall Street Journal, 18 June 2001, A15)

Jordan's Minister of Information Taleb Rifai
"The effort to separate Saddam from Iraq has not worked; there is a sense that sanctions are falling apart. We all feel, as a government and as a people, that it's time for them to be lifted." (Washington Post, 21 September 2000, A21)


Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa
"The Arab world is not going to repeat 1991. All the people of the region have sympathy for the people of Iraq. ... Iraq does not pose any threat the way it did." (Washington Post, 5 November 1998, A56)


USSR Foreign Ministry spokesman Yuri Gremitskikh
"The Soviet Union believes that no contentious issues, no matter how complicated, justify the use of force. Such events totally contradict the interests of Arab states, create new additional obstacles to the settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and run counter to the positive tendencies of improvement of international life." (Release from the Soviet Embassy in Washington, 3 August 1990)

It is in Russia's interest for sanctions against Iraq to be lifted so that Iraq would again be free to sell oil for profit, because "Iraq owed Moscow some $7 billion (for Russian tanks, helicopters, and other weapons dating back to the Iran-Iraq War) and Russia wanted the money." (Talk, September 1999, 200)
Russian Ambassador to UN Sergei Lavrov
"The Security Council never authorized creation on any no-fly zones ... and the Security Council never presented the task of undermining the regime in Baghdad. ... If the unilateral [American] actions continue, then I don't believe the atmospherics would be right for any hope for success." (Washington Post, 14 April 2000, A21)

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Russia "is calling for the economic sanctions against Iraq to be lifted as soon as possible in conjunction with the restoration of international control over Baghdad's military programs that have been banned, in line with the resolutions of the UN Security Council." (FBIS-SOV-2000-1113, 13 November 2000)


French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine
"First and foremost, the international community must be capable of preventing any new development of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq, either through the use of remaining stocks that may have escaped control or destruction, or through new prohibited arms programmes. This task would be accomplished by a renewed, independent and professional control commission under the authority of the Security Council. ... It would then be possible to lift the export embargo on oil and petroleum products. This embargo no longer has a raison d'étre. It is inflicting cruel and unnecessary suffering on a people held hostage." (Financial Times, 18 January 1999, 12)

French President Jacques Chirac
"We have never been in breach of the UN sanctions, even though we consider this sanctions policy dangerous, inhuman and inappropriate." (Financial Times, 13 September 2000, 8)


"China finds it ironic that the United States is seeking to persuade it to support economic sanctions against Iraq while keeping sanctions in place against China." (Washington Post, 27 November 1990 A16)

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
Urges Iraq to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspections stating that although China is opposed to sanctions, Iraq needs to respect UN resolutions. (Washington Post, 8 January 2000, A14)

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
"China resolutely condemns the air attacks that have caused great civilian casualties and property losses and intensified the situation. The establishment of the no-fly zones by some western countries violates the UN charter and norms of international relations and ignores and tramples the sovereignty of Iraq." (FBIS-CHI-2000-1128, 28 November 2000)

Legal Notes

Iraq Sanctions Act of 1990

Endorses sanctions imposed under executive orders; the President must notify Congress at least 15 days before terminating sanction but authority remains with the executive branch under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the United Nations Participation Act of 1945. Additional sanctions imposed through the legislation can only be terminated 60 days after the President certifies that: (1) the Iraqi government has demonstrated substantial improvement in respect for human rights; (2) the Iraqi Government is not acquiring, developing, or manufacturing ballistic missiles or chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons or components for such weapons, has foresworn the first use of such weapons, and is taking steps to dispose of such weapons; (3) the Iraqi Government does not support international terrorism; (4) the Iraqi Government is in compliance with international law; and (5) the President determines that such waiver is in US national security interests; or 30 days after the President certifies that: (1) there has been a fundamental change in the leadership of the Iraqi Government; and (2) the Iraqi Government has provided assurances that it respects human rights, will not acquire, manufacture, or use and will destroy chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, will not provide support for international terrorism, and will comply with obligations under international law. (Public Law 101-513, Title V)

Excerpts from UN Security Council Resolution 661, 6 August 1990

"[A]ll states shall prevent the import into their territories of all commodities and products originating in Iraq or Kuwait ... any activities by their nationals or in their territories which could promote or are calculated to promote the export or transshipment of any commodities or products from Iraq or Kuwait ... the sale or supply, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels any commodities or products, including weapons or any other military equipment whether or not originating in their territories but not including supplies intended strictly for medical purposes, and, in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs, to any person or body for the purposes of any business carried on in or operated from Iraq or Kuwait, and any activities by their nationals or in their territories which promote or are calculated to promote such sale, or supply or use of such commodities or products." All investment in Iraq, Kuwait is banned, including all payments, transfers. UN members are prohibited from recognizing any provisional government established by Iraq. UN Secretary General is to report on compliance with sanctions, establish committee to monitor enforcement of embargo. (New York Times, 7 August 1990, A9)

UN Security Council Resolution 687, 3 April 1991

Defines rules and procedures for the demarcation of boundary between Iraq and Kuwait, for the return of stolen property to Kuwait and the repayment of debt as well as compensations. It also provides that all economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in Resolution 661 and subsequent resolutions will be maintained until Iraq: allows on-site inspections of all nuclear, biological, chemical and missile capabilities and their destruction; undertakes not to use, develop or acquire any of these items; reaffirms its obligations under the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (UNSC Resolution 687 , 3 April 1991)

Economic Impact

Observed Economic Statistics

Prior to the War

Iraq: Foreign Trade, 1982-89 (millions of dollars)

Total imports from:
Food imports from:
Total exports to:
Petroleum exports to:

n.a. = not available
Source: International Monetary Fund; Organization for Cooperation and Development.

Kuwait has approximately $100 billion in foreign assets, investments worldwide. Kuwaiti commercial investments, estimated at $50 billion, earned $8.8 billion in 1989 compared with $7.7 billion from shipments of oil. (Financial Times, 3 August 1990, 4; 10 August 1990, 4)

US Commerce Department official estimates that half of Kuwaiti foreign investment is in US, 20 percent in UK, 30 percent elsewhere in Western Europe, Japan. (New York Times, 3 August 1990, A9)

Iraq's foreign debt is estimated to be between $50 billion and $70 billion, its annual shortfall in hard currency is estimated at $7 billion. Iraq's foreign assets are thought to be negligible. Kuwait estimates that Iraq seized $300 million to $400 million in gold, $10 million to $15 million in foreign currencies in invasion. Much of this money will probably be channeled into sanctions-busting campaign rather than used to pay off debts. (Washington Post, 19 August 1990, H1; Financial Times, 28 August 1990, 2; Economic Intelligence Unit 35; Commerce Department 5)

Kuwait has fourth largest petroleum reserves in world, produces 1.6 million barrels a day. Following absorption of Kuwait, Iraq stands to double its control of oil reserves to 194 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia with 255 billion barrels. Iraqi, Kuwaiti production together is about 4.5 million barrels a day. Oil accounts for over 90 percent of Iraq's exports; annualized estimate of potential revenue from exports, based on second-quarter 1990 export volumes, prices (average $14.32 per barrel), is $13.2 billion. (New York Times, 3 August 1990, A8; 4 August 1990, A5; Rogers 4)

In 1989, oil from Iraq, Kuwait accounted for about 11 percent of total EC imports; Denmark is especially dependent, importing 54 percent of its oil from the two countries. Japan imports 12 percent of its oil from Iraq, Kuwait, is owed about $5 billion by Iraq. (Washington Post, 5 August 1990, A24; Wall Street Journal, 6 August 1990, A1)

Perhaps 75 percent of shortfall in oil supplies from Iraq, Kuwait could be replaced in short run from other sources: Saudi Arabia increases its oil production by 1.5 million to 2 million barrels per day; Venezuela increases production by 350,000 barrels per day immediately, promises additional 150,000 by year-end; UAE increases production by 500,000 barrels per day. USSR is unable to increase production immediately. To offset Japan's loss of 440,000 barrels per day, Iran will increase its sales to Japan from 280,000 to up to 700,000 barrels per day. Brazil has negotiated to buy 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran. (US Department of Commerce, 19; New York Times, 15 August 1990, D3; 27 August 1990, D10; Wall Street Journal, 17 August 1990, A3; 27 August 1990, A3; IMF Morning Press, 17 August 1990; Financial Times, 24 August 1990, 3)

Saudi Arabia stands to earn extra $11 billion in 1990, additional $33 billion in 1991 from increased oil output, higher prices. (Washington Post, 26 August 1990, A25; IMF Morning Press, 22 August 1990)

USSR expects to gain $1 billion a year for every $1 a barrel increase in price of oil. USSR produces 12 million barrels per day, exports 20 percent; half goes to Western countries, half to Eastern Europe. China, Mexico, Indonesia, Romania will also gain economically from increased oil prices. (New York Times, 10 August 1990, D1; Washington Post, 12 August 1990, H7; 19 August 1990, H5)

"About 21 percent of Iraq's total area of 444,400 square kilometers is arable. Up to 70 percent of this arable land is under cultivation, with 44 percent of this area irrigated and the remainder dependent on rainfall and flooding. One-third of Iraq's work force is engaged in agriculture and related activities. Barley, rice and dates are grown in the south and wheat is grown in the north. Milk, sheep and goat meat, poultry and fish are principal products for domestic consumption." (Financial Times, 21 August 1990, 3)

US Department of Agriculture calculates that Iraq imports about 60 percent of its food in good harvest years, about 70 percent in bad. Following 1990 summer and fall harvests, Iraq should have four-month supply of wheat, rice, seven-month supply of barley, one-and-a-half-month supply of corn at normal rates of consumption. (New York Times, 20 August 1990, A1; Washington Post, 27 August 1990, A8; Wall Street Journal, 28 August 1990, A12)

Iraq: Agricultural trade and consumption, 1987-89 a

Major suppliers (percent of total Iraqi imports)
Thousands of metric tons
Imports as
percentage of consumption
Soybean meal
Vegetable oils

a Data are averages for the three years

Source: US Department of Agriculture

US agricultural shipments to Iraq totaled about $1 billion, or 2.5 percent of US farm commodity exports, in 1989, when Iraq was 12th-largest purchaser of US agricultural products overall and largest importer of US rice (taking 14 percent of US rice exports). US share of total Iraqi agricultural commodity imports rose from about 20 percent in 1986 to approximately 40 percent in 1988. (Journal of Commerce, 9 August 1990, 6A; New York Times, 9 August 1990, D19; Washington Post, 23 August 1990, A41; US Department of Agriculture, by communication with authors; US Department of Commerce 14)

Iraq has received about $5 billion in US food subsidies since 1983, $2.5 billion in export loan guarantees since 1988, $141 million in direct export subsidies since 1985. Guarantees were suspended in 1990, all other aid has been cut by embargo. (Wall Street Journal, 10 August 1990, A1)

Turkey's trade with Iraq is $2 billion a year, about 3 percent of Turkey's GNP. Turkey will lose about $400 million in revenues from closure of oil pipeline. Iraq owes Turkey $800 million, supplies it with 60 percent of its oil needs. (Washington Post, 10 August 1990, A30; 16 August 1990, A31)

Jordan's trade with Iraq is $900 million a year, about 25 percent of Jordan's annual output. Jordan sends 40 percent of its exports to Iraq, imports 90 percent of its oil from Iraq, much of it in lieu of payments on longstanding Iraqi debt. Jordan says it will lose $2 billion a year in implementing embargo, including $200 million in exports, mostly food, to Iraq, $200 million in fees for goods passing through Jordan, over $300 million in workers' remittances. Jordan expects to lose about $190 million in aid from Iraq, Kuwait; Iraq will probably discontinue about $295 million in debt repayment to Jordan. President Hosni Mubarak says Egypt, with foreign debt of $50 billion, could lose $2 billion a year from combined loss of remittances from Egyptian contract workers, reduced tolls on Suez Canal, decline in tourism. (New York Times, 15 August 1990, A19; Washington Post, 16 August 1990, A31; 23 August 1990, A40; Wall Street Journal, 24 August 1990, A12)

Pakistan's balance of payments deficit is expected to increase by $1.1 billion because of increases in oil prices, loss of workers' remittances, costs of enforcing embargo ($600 million in increased oil imports; $300 million in lost remittances). (IMF Morning Press, 17 September 1990)

Iraq owes $16.5 million to Hungary, estimated $1 billion to Bulgaria. Poland will lose $1 billion in arms sales, construction contracts, $500 million in exports still awaiting payment. Brazil may have to pay an extra $1.6 billion for oil in 1990, drawing on foreign currency reserves needed to service its $115 billion in foreign debt. (Washington Post, 19 August 1990, H5; 20 August 1990, A19; Financial Times, 9 August 1990, 3; New York Times, 27 August 1990, D10)

India's current account deficit is estimated to widen by $2 billion in fiscal 1990[end]91: $1.2 billion of this is due to increased oil prices, $300 million to additional shipping costs plus fall in remittances from 240,000 Indian workers in Iraq, Kuwait. (Financial Times, 31 August 1990, 6)

Funds committed to Economic Action Plan (billions of dollars)

Saudi Arabia (for Operation Desert Shield)a
United Arab Emirates
Total Arab aid

Aid to front-line states


Immediate loans


Operation Desert Shieldb

Total Japanese aid  
South Korea  

Aid to front-line states


Operation Desert Shield




Materials and services

Total South Korean aid
European Community  

Pledged aid


Operation Desert Shieldc

Total Commitments

a. Includes in-kind donations of fuel, water, transportation
b. For transportation, desert equipment, medical teams, chartered aircraft.
c. For 60 armored vehicles equipped for chemical, biological warfare, plus training.
Source: Washington Post, September 23, 1990, A30.

Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, CIA Director William Webster testifies that the embargo has shut off 97 percent of Iraq’s exports and more than 90 percent of its imports, and that Iraq will likely run out of foreign exchange reserves "by next spring." Webster says that output is severely curtailed at a number of Iraq’s industrial and assembly plants, including Iraq’s only tire-manufacturing facility. He further predicts that "only energy-related and some military industries "will still be operating by spring and "[t]his will almost certainly be the case by next summer." However, Webster points out that sanctions are effecting Iraqi military forces "only at the margin." "Under non-combat conditions, Iraqi ground and air forces can probably maintain the current level of readiness for
as long as nine months." (Washington Post, 6 December 1990, A43)

After the War

A special UN mission to Iraq in March, led by UN Under Secretary General Martti Ahtissari, concludes that Iraq has "for some time to come, been relegated to a pre-industrial age, but with all the disabilities of post-industrial dependency on an intensive use of energy and technology." (New York Times, 3 June, 1991, A1)

A classified administration analysis of the aerial bombing campaign concludes that it destroyed most of the country's electrical grid, in turn affecting water purification and sewage treatment facilities and raising serious public health concerns. A Harvard University study team concludes that the public health consequences of the infrastructure destruction might result in tens of thousands of additional deaths by the end of 1991. Damage to communications and transportation systems is also severe. (New York Times, 3 June, 1991, A1)

The UN's World Food Program (WFP), after a 2-week mission to Iraq, determines that 30 percent of children under the age of five suffer from severe malnutrition. Seventy percent of the population has been forced to live off government rations, which provide only half of the minimum caloric requirements. (Economist, 21 October 1995, 45)

Before the Gulf War, Iraq imported about two-thirds of its food. Since sanctions were imposed, the lack of oil revenue to pay for food imports (which are themselves banned) has made the country turn instead to local agriculture. But [sanctions] prevent the import of spare parts, chemicals for fertilizers and pesticides and all kinds of machinery that might have some military use.
Without them the Iraqis are incapable of maintaining foodproduction, let alone increasing it. (Economist, 21 May 1998, 44)

Iraq prices of selected foods (dinars per kilogram)
Wheat flour
Vegetable oil
Red meat
Eggs (per 30)
Source: Clawson (1993), based on data from the World Food Program.
Iraq: Import costs for official rationing program, 1993
Cooking oil
Baby milk
(millions of US$)
Source: Clawson (1993), based on USDA, UN, FAO, IMF, and Iraqi data.
Iraq: Production of crude oil, 1988-2001 (thousand barrels per day)
Source: US Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency,

UN approved reparation claims resulting from Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, $1.39 billion. (White House 1995)

As of January 1998, net blocked Iraqi assets in the US amount to $1,434.5 million. (OFAC, Terrorist Assets Report, January 1998, 5)

"[In 1991], Iraq’s total external debt was estimated at $43 billion. Its size constituted 65% of the Gross Domestic Product." (Cordesman 1997, 156) "With virtually no debt-service payments made after 1991, the foreign debt has risen to an estimated $119bn by the end of 1997, of which $80.8bn was arrears on principal and $38.1bn arrears on interest." (Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU Country Profile: Iraq, 1998-99, 29)

“With virtually no debt-service payments made after 1991, the foreign debt has risen to an estimated $119bn by the end of 1997, of which $80.8bn was arrears on principal and $38.1bn arrears on interest.” (Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU Country Profile: Iraq, 1998-99, 29)

"Annual inflation, which was running at 45% before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, jumped to an average 500% in 1991. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has calculated that, from the imposition of sanctions to the end of 1995, food prices had risen 4,000-fold. ...A financial crisis at the end of 1995 forced [the Iraqi government] to raise the price of the basic monthly ration almost 50-fold between January and March 1996." (Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU Country Profile: Iraq, 1998-99, 15)

"The official value of the dinar, which has remained at ID0.331:$1 since 1982, bears no relation to its black-market rate. This hit a low of ID2,660:$1 in December 1995, at the height of the economic crisis generated by inflation and
sanctions. It recovered on news that Iraq was entering talks with the UN on an oil-for-food deal, to a peak of ID650:$1 in February 1996. Since 1995 state banks have been allowed to trade at an unofficial rate; this stood at ID450:$1 in February 1996. The continuing weakness of the Iraqi economy and the scarcity of foreign exchange due to UN sanctions have contributed to the dinar’s further decline against the dollar. The average black-market exchange rate for 1997 was estimated by the EIU at ID1,498:$1." (Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU Country Profile: Iraq, 1998-99, 29)

"The effect of the sanctions regime has been catastrophic. Official figures have not been released for many years but real GDP is estimated to have fallen by nearly two-thirds in 1991, owing to an 85% decline in oil production and devastation of the industrial and services sectors of the economy. Agricultural growth has since been low and erratic, and manufacturing output has all but vanished. With the oil-for-food deal, GDP is estimated to have risen by 25% in 1997. But growth is concentrated in the oil sector, and sanctions continue to stifle other sectors of the economy." (Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU Country Profile: Iraq, 1998-99, 14-15)

The Iraq sanctions committee has made several grossly inappropriate waiver decisions, casting a shadow on the efficiency of the implementation of UN Security Council sanctions against Iraq: "At one point, five tons of patchouli leaves were cleared as a food stuff (!); there have several times been sugar notifications in volumes twice what the total population could possibly consume; there have been massive approvals for agricultural equipment without any indication of how they were to be financed; there have been massive flows of teacups and drinking glasses. Items are described manipulatively in order to strengthen their claim of humanitarian usage (e.g. textiles are disguised as "coffin cloth"); the unit prices given are open to question: e.g. detergent for $4/ton, water glasses for $10 a piece." (Conlon, 86)

"[I]raq’s average per capita income dropped from a peak of $8,161 in 1979 to $2,108 in 1989... [and]to well under $1,000 a year in 1992-1995." (Cordesman 1997, 124)

"According to the new Iraqi oil minister Lieutenant General ‘Amir Muhammad Rashid, Iraq lost $85 billion in revenue as a result of the ban on the export of its oil between August 6, 1990 and July 1995." (Cordesman 1997, 136)

"Iraq...has not found any way to bypass the sanctions regimes. It has had only limited success in smuggling oil across its borders, and its main illegal export has been dates-exports worth, at most, $10 million a year. Even in the case of dates, Iraq has faced major problems with the Multinational Interception Force
(MIF) in the Gulf. The MIF has seized some $9 million worth of Iraqi dates since 1994." (Cordesman 1997, 140)

Sources report that 150,000 tons of diesel oil may be smuggled out of Iraq each month, fetching around $30-$50 a ton below market price. (Journal of Commerce, 8 October 1997, 14A)

"Amatzia Baram, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Haifa and a visiting professor at Georgetown University, ... estimates about 50,000 barrels per day of [Iraqi] oil goes through the Gulf—down from 120,000-150,000 b/d three months ago, perhaps in part due to more intense naval policing by the US. About 100,000 b/d goes to Jordan, sold in effect at half price. That smuggled by truck over land borders, mainly through Turkey, amounts to 50,000-70,000 b/d, he says." (Financial Times, 22 December 1998, 3)

"According to Western diplomats.... Iraq was able to illegally export 1,868,466 barrels of oil in 1996, 10,497,000 barrels the following year, 13,296,000 barrels in 1998 and 7,557,838 barrels in 1999. Smuggling began to increase again in September, and record levels of smuggling were reported in December, January and February. If current prices stay high, it is estimated that Iraq will sell about 33,590,390 barrels of illegal gas oil—akin to diesel fuel—this year." (New York Times, 24 March 2000, A3)

"... [Iraq] is now pumping as much as $2 million a day in oil through a recently reopened pipeline to Syria in violation of UN sanctions.

"The Syrian pipeline opens a fourth smuggling route for Iraq, along with Turkey, Jordan and the Persian Gulf, and could boost the government’s direct oil revenue to well over $2 billion a year, according to U.S. official and U.N. diplomats...." (Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2001, A6)

"Oil analysts say the illegal trade [with Turkey] ... —and similar sanctions—evading trade between Iraq and its neighbors Jordan and Syria—puts as much as $1 billion a year directly into Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s pockets.... The neighbors are enticed into the transaction, experts said, because they receive the oil and fuel at deep discounts—perhaps 40 percent below market value—and the trade has become a critical part of their economies. .... Furthermore, Hussein has threatened to cut off the oil trade to Jordan, Syria and Turkey if they implement the "Smart sanctions," leading to a groundswell of opposition in frontline countries whose support is critical to the success of any sanctions program. (Washington Post, 1 July 2001, A14)

Oil-for-Food program (as of 21 March 2003)
Volume of oil
(millions of barrels)
Value of oil exported
(millions of dollars)
Source: UN, Office of Iraq Programme,
a. Phases: I: 10 December 1996; II: 8 June 1997; III: 5 December 1997; IV: 30 May 1998; V: 26 November 1998; VI: 25 May 1999; VII: 10 December 1999; VIII: 8 June 2000; IX: 5 December 2000; X: 20 May 2001; XI: 6 December 2001; XII: 30 May 2002; XIII: 5 December 2002.
b. Beginning with Phase IX Iraq required that payments be made in Euros instead of US dollars. Dollar amounts quoted are those reported by UN, Office of Iraq Programme.

"The first oil under the [oil-for-food] programme was exported on 10 December 1996. For the first three six-month phases the Security Council set a ceiling of two billion dollars on oil exports in each phase. For the phases IV and V the ceiling was raised to $5.2 billion but low price of oil and the state of Iraq’s oil industry put that out of reach. In phase VI, the Security Council, resolution 1266 (1999), recognized the earlier shortfalls and permitted Iraq to export an additional $3 billion worth of oil. Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) removed the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports." (UN, Office of Iraq Programmme,

Iraqi Imports under Oil-for-Food program, 1996-2003, by country of origin (millions of dollars)
percent of total
percent of total
percent of total
percent of total
percent of total
Source: IMF, Direction of Trade Statistics, CD-Rom, August 2004.

"So far, Mr. Hussein has played deftly on America’s rage and Russia’s fears. He gave Russia by far the largest share of Iraq’s contracts last year—$1.3 billion—under the United Nations oil-for-food program, ... In late September, ... Baghdad announced plans to award Russian companies another $40 billion in contracts as soon as United Nations sanctions were lifted." (New York Times, 3 February 2002, 3)

"U.N. officials estimate that Iraq has levied illegal surcharges ranging from 20 cents to 70 cents on every barrel of oil it has sold through the oil-for-food program since late 2000—adding up to as much as $300 million. In addition, Iraq smuggles huge quantities to Turkey and Jordan. All told, U.S. State Department officials believe Mr. Hussein reaps $2.5 billion a year in illegal oil revenues, which they say he uses to develop weapons of mass destruction and consolidate his power." (Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2002, A1)

To eliminate the surcharges "US and British members of the Iraq sanctions committee delayed their approval of the official Iraqi oil selling price ... as long as possible. ... But the net effect was a fall in Iraqi oil exports, not the elimination of surcharges, ... As a result, in the first few months of this year, when the new pricing system really took hold, Iraqi exports fell significantly. U.N. diplomats estimate that, because of the drop in exports, the new pricing system kept some $60 million in potential surcharges away from Mr. Hussein. … The most striking consequence of retroactive pricing was an unintended one: Depriving the humanitarian fund of much-needed cash." (Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2002, A1)

"The [oil-for-food] program has indeed been the locomotive of a steady expansion of Iraqi trade. Contracts approved by the U.N. have delivered $21.1 billion of projects and humanitarian supplies in the last five years, with another $12.8 billion approved or on the way." (Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2002, A12)

In November 2002 UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, released a report “saying the malnutrition rate among Iraqi children has fallen significantly since 1996. UNICEF attributed the drop primarily to an exemption in the sanctions that allows the Iraqi government to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies.” (Washington Post, 22 November 2002, A28)

“From 1997 to 2002, the Oil for Food program was responsible for more than $67 billion of Iraq’s oil revenue. …Despite concerns that sanctions may have worsened the humanitarian situation, the Oil for Food program appears to have helped the Iraqi people. According to the United Nations, the average daily food intake increased from around 1,275 calories per person per day in 1996 to about 2,229 calories at the end of 2001. Malnutrition rates for children under 5 fell by more than half. In February 2002, the United Nations reported that the Oil for Food program has considerable success in several sectors such as agriculture, food, health, and nutrition by arresting the decline in living conditions and improving the nutritional status of the average Iraqi citizen.” (GAO 2004b, 3)

“From 1997 through 2002, we [GAO] estimate that the former Iraqi regime acquired $10.1 billion in illegal revenues - $5.7 billion in oil smuggled out of Iraq and $4.4 billion in illicit surcharges on oil sales and illicit charges from suppliers exporting goods to Iraq through the Oil for Food program. The United Nations, through OIP and the Security Council’s Iraq sanctions committee, was responsible for overseeing the Oil for Food program. However, the Security Council allowed the Iraqi government, as a sovereign entity, to negotiate contracts directly with purchasers of Iraqi oil and suppliers of commodities. This structure, in addition to the uncertain oversight roles of OIP and the sanctions committee, was an important factor in enabling Iraq to levy illegal surcharges and illicit commission.” (GAO 2004b, 4)

“…[A] September 2003 Department of Defense review found that at least 48 percent of 759 Oil for Food contracts that it reviewed were potentially overpriced by an average of 21 percent. Food commodity contracts were the most consistently overpriced, with potential overpricing identified in 87 percent of the contract by an average of 22 percent. The review also found that the use of middlemen companies potentially increased contract prices by 20 percent or more. Defense officials found 5 contracts that includes “after-sales service charges” of between 10 and 20 percent.” (GAO 2004b, 4)

Calculated Economic Impact (annual cost to target country)
Phase I: 1990-96  
Boycott of Iraqi oil; welfare loss estimated at 90 percent of value of lost oil sales (based on 88-89 average Iraqi export in volume and average 90-96 Dubai Fateh prices)
$13.6 billion
Suspension of US agricultural export credits; estimated at 25 percent of loan value.
$250 million
Embargo on exports to Iraq; welfare loss estimated at 50 percent of lost shipments (based on value of 1988 Iraqi imports)
$4.6 billion
Freeze of Iraqi assets; welfare loss estimated at 10 percent of face value of assets frozen.
$370 million
Total, 1990-96
$18.8 billion
Phase II: 1997-2003
Boycott of Iraqi oil; welfare loss estimated at 90 percent of value of lost oil sales (based on 88-89 average Iraqi export in volume and average 97-99 Dubai Fateh prices)
$11.3 billion
Suspension of US agricultural export credits; estimated at 25 percent of loan value.
$250 million
Embargo on exports to Iraq; welfare loss estimated at 50 percent of lost shipments (based on value of 1988 Iraqi imports)
$4.6 billion
Freeze of Iraqi assets; welfare loss estimated at 10 percent of face value of assets frozen.
$370 million
Offseta Oil-for-food program; welfare gain estimated at 53 percent of average Iraqi oil revenues for 1997-98 [Phase I to IV] (taking into account that 30 percentb of revenues are set aside for compensation fund, 4 percent for UN expenses and 13 percent for UN administered Northern Iraq.)
($2.5 billion)
Gains from smuggling of oil and surcharge on oil-for-food trade; welfare gains calculated at 100 percent of estimated revenues.
($2 billion)
Total, 1997-2003
$12 billion
Average Annual Total, 1990-2003
$15.4 billion
a. Although we include the oil-for-food program as offsetting the economic impact of the sanctions, we are not counting it as offsetting assistance in our assessment because politically the program is intended to bolster not undermine the sanctions regime.
b. Percent of revenues set aside for compensation fund was reduced to 25 percent and humanitarian funds for Iraqi government controlled areas increased to 59 percent in December 2000.
Relative Magnitudes  
Gross indicators of Iraqi economy  
  Iraq's GDP (1988)
$64.4 billion
  Iraqi population (1988)
17.2 million
  Iraq's GDP (1997)
$15.4 billion
  Iraqi population (1997)
21.2 million
Annual effect of sanctions related to gross indicators  
  Percentage of GDP (1988)
  Per capita (1988)
  Percentage of GDP (1997)
  Per capita (1997)
Iraqi trade with sender countriesa as percentage of total trade  
  Exports (1989)
  Imports (1989)
Ratio of OECD GNP (1988 $10,877 billion) to Iraqi GNP
a. Sender countries include all UN members save those suspected or known to have violated UN economic sanctions (Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Libya, and Yemen). The UN has permitted Jordan to import $400 million worth of Iraqi oil per year in order to repay outstanding loans. Jordan voluntarily reduced this trade by 50 percent in early 1996.
Source: OECD, Geographical Distribution of Financial Flows to Aid Recipients, 1997; IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook, 1997.



Franklin L. Lavin, member of the Bush Administration
"[UN sanctions] succeeded on one level, in that geography and alliance solidarity were sufficient for a near total economic blockade of Iraq, involving fuel, hard currency, and high-tech weaponry. But the sanctions did not induce Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, nor did they have a particular impact on the war itself. Unlike World War I or the American Civil War, the Persian Gulf War was not a war of attrition; the denial of weaponry to Iraq was of little military significance because Iraq had stockpiled all the weapons it needed." (Lavin 1996, 145)

David Baldwin
"Although economic sanctions alone were not responsible, in my opinion, for any of the goals achieved ... they were probably helpful. That is, they helped to convey the intensity of the disapproval of the international community and they added credibility to the military threat before military force was actually used." (Remarks by David Baldwin at a 24 April 1992 Congressional Research Service workshop on the effectiveness of UN sanctions against Iraq)


Madeleine Albright
"Overall, Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions since 1991 has been meager, sporadic, selective and incomplete. Iraq has imported a huge quantity of biological medium, a growth culture needed for biological warfare. Iraq has not provided a convincing explanation of why it imported this material, what the material was used for, and why it has been able to turn large amounts of the material over to the UNSCOM. Until these matters are resolved, we must proceed on the assumption that the missing material is intended for use in the production of biological weapons." (Fielding 1997, 146)

Alan Dowty
"The Iraqi experience discredits the simplistic notion that the imposition of massive economic dislocation must necessarily result in a rogue regime's submission; such a view underestimates the recourses and subterfuges that a recalcitrant government has at its command." (Dowty 1994, 190)

"The relative ineffectiveness of sanctions reflects the indifference of the regime to their impact on most of the population ... The dependence of most of the population on the basic rations handed out in a tightly controlled distribution system serves to discourage any challenges; in the Shi'ite areas, in particular, the government's control of much of the available food is a powerful weapon." (Dowty 1994, 184)

David Kay, Head of IAEA inspection teams in Iraq
"There are 20,000 people who were involved in Saddam Hussein's clandestine nuclear program. We know that for a fact. We seized their payroll records in the parking lot raid. These 20,000 people are still working for that same organization...You ask yourself, why would someone keep in being a technology-based organization who had as its sole purpose the production of a clandestine nuclear weapon? To at least me that says, because they want to keep in being this capacity, if the sanctions come off and the inspectors leave, to restart that program." (Dowty, 1994, 189)

Margaret P. Doxey
"Considerable progress has been made in fulfillment of the conditions of Resolution 687... Iraq formally recognized Kuwait's sovereignty and borders in November 1994 and in July 1995 admitted that it had been developing biological weapons and consented to examination of this programme...If the removal of Saddam Hussein is an unofficial objective of sanctions, the issue is even more complicated. He has succeeded in maintaining his position despite military defeat, attempted coups and major defections, and reports suggest that internal opposition has weakened." (Doxey 1996, 38-39)

Washington Post
"Any hope that international isolation and the squeezing economic boycott of Iraq will create a popular revolt against Saddam Hussein appears to be ... wishful thinking by the West. The CIA-sponsored resistance movement among Kurds in the north collapsed 20 months ago ... [I]n southern Iraq, Shiite Muslims have no more taste for open revolution." (Washington Post, 21 April 1998, 1)

Meghan L. O'Sullivan
"Although the first sanctions imposed under UNSC resolution 661 in August 1990 did not force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, they did provide the United States with the opportunity to organize a military coalition against Iraqi occupation while the world waited for sanctions to bite. Continued Iraqi intransigence in the face of sanctions also helped build a consensus for military action among international actors initially reluctant to use force. Similarly, the sanctions enshrined in UNSC resolution 687 shortly after Operation Desert Storm ousted Iraq from Kuwait did not achieve Iraq's complete disarmament as hoped, but were instrumental in securing Iraqi recognition of Kuwaiti borders and extracting some Iraqi cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). Although UNSCOM never completed its mission to ensure that Iraq was fully disarmed, it made substantial progress in disabling Iraqi weapons of mass destruction capabilities, particularly in the realms of missiles and nuclear and chemical weapons." (O'Sullivan 2001, 2-3)

“Although sanctions on Iraq were effective, they were not unconditionally so nor as effective as they might have been in other circumstances. They were key in achieving a very successful measure of containment, but failed to bring a new government to Baghdad or to exact any notable change in the behavior of the existing regime.” (O’Sullivan 2002, 61)

US General Accounting Office
"Sanctions may have constrained Iraq's purchases of conventional weapons. According to U.S. and U.N. officials, U.N. screening and monitoring of Iraq's imports provide some deterrent to bringing in weapons and also provide limited on-the-ground checking that commodities are not being diverted to military use. ... Iraq's conventional rearmament efforts are limited to purchases of small arms and spare parts to keep weapons and vehicles not destroyed during the Gulf War operation." (GAO 2002, 14)

Hans Blix
“Iraq certainly wanted to get rid of sanctions and be master of its own imports and economy. Each time the regime has made what it saw as concession on the inspections front, it had been in response to the carrot being dangled in front of it: the possibility of an UNSCOM report that disarmament had been achieved, and a resultant lifting of sanctions by the Security Council.” (Blix 2004, 36)

“After the war, it is becoming clear that inspection and monitoring by the IAEA, UNMOVIC and its predecessor UNSCOM, backed by military, political and economic pressure, had indeed worked for years, achieving Iraqi disarmament and deterring Saddam from rearming. Containment had worked, in other words.” (Blix 2004, 272)

David Cortright and George A. Lopez
“Most analysts argued prior to the Iraq war—and, in many cases, continue to argue—that sanctions were a failure. In reality, however, the system of containment that sanctions cemented did much to erode Iraqi military capabilities. Sanctions compelled Iraq to accept inspections and monitoring and won concessions from Baghdad on political issues such as border disputes with Kuwait. They also drastically reduced the revenue available to Saddam, prevented the rebuilding of Iraqi defenses after the Persian Gulf War, and blocked the import of vital materials and technologies for producing WMD. The unique synergy of sanctions and inspections thus eroded Iraq’ weapons programs and constrained its military capabilities.” (Cortright and Lopez 91)

David Kay, Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence
In a conference call with reporters one day after ISG’s report is released, he states: “We have been struck in probably 300 interviews with Iraqi scientists, engineers and senior officials how often they refer to the impact of sanctions and the perceived impact of sanctions in terms of regime behavior… So it may well be necessary to reassess what a lot of us thought was the impact—and quite frankly thought was the eroding impact—of sanctions over the years, since they [Iraqis] have become so adept at beating them.” (Newsday, 26 October 2003, A7)

“I think the issue is somewhat more complicated. The Iraqis never really suffered greatly from lack of money as a result of sanctions. What sanctions did more than anything else—because the Iraqis defeated sanctions by resorting to black market, illegal activities- is clearly push an Iraqi decision-making system and economic system that was already corrupted and based on the Saddam Hussein family, loyalty and all. It pushed it even more into the criminal vain and, as it distorted the economic process of the country, it really played to the worst elements…of the regime. …What sanctions did is really, it drove the system to go underground, become corrupt, become clandestine, …. And so, it really did have an impact that was distorting on their capability, and I think may have been the final thing that pushed them over the brink to what I call this vortex of total fraud and corruption that they were sinking into.” (Arms Control Today, March 2004)

“They [Iraq] managed to continue to import a large amount of technology—both expertise and goods—that clearly were prohibited by the sanctions program. Now, clearly that amount is less than they would have been able to import if there had been no sanctions program. …It certainly made the imports more expensive in that they had to go a clandestine route for importation. Now, there’s no evidence that money was a limitation on their program. What was a limitation was having the difficulty of getting it clandestinely and not always being able to openly procure from the best possible source…. So, I think it is fair to say that sanctions did limit the robustness of their program. Although ..I’m still struck, having spend the last six/seven months there [in Iraq], at how much they were able to get illegally. It just happened we were lucky that is was a system that was breaking down, so most of the stuff they got they weren’t able to effectively use.” (Arms Control Today, March 2004)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
“In their six years, UNSCOM, which was responsible for inspecting, dismantling, and monitoring Iraq’s chemical, biological, and missile materials and capabilities, and the IAEA Iraq Action Team, which did the same for Iraq’s nuclear program, achieved substantial successes. To the best of present knowledge, they were ultimately able to discover and eliminate most of Iraq’s unconventional weapons and production facilities and to destroy or monitor the destruction of most of its chemical and biological weapon agents….All this was accomplished despite unrelenting opposition and obstruction by the Iraqi regime.” (Cirincione 2004, 54)

Frank Ronald Cleminson, former UN weapons inspector
“In retrospect, therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that one of the most significant reasons that U.S. and British troops have not found nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons or proscribed missiles in Iraq is that, following the 1991 Gulf War, the bulk of these weapons and associated facilities were destroyed either by the United Nations or unilaterally by Iraq. …On top of that, any attempt by Baghdad to regenerate its proscribed weapons programs was effectively inhibited by the package of other UN control measures in operation since 1991. These measures included a severe sanctions program initiated in 1991, the export/import monitoring mechanism that followed, the UN escrow funds into which all Iraqi oil sales revenue was directed, the strict management of those funds by the UN Office of the Iraq Program, the interdiction operations at sea undertaken under UN mandate, and a number of other control mechanisms. Although relatively unknown to the general public, these control mechanisms operated effectively throughout the decade of the 1990s. In combination, they served to prevent any significant reactivation of WMD program on the part of Iraq. ” (Cleminson 2003)

James Dobbins
“U.N. sanctions against Iraq, including the oil-for-food program, are worth close scrutiny not just because some of that money was stolen but because, taken as a whole, this represents one of the most successful uses of international sanctions on record. Any effort to correct past abuses and forestall future ones should proceed from the recognition that, despite its defects, this regime served the international community’s security and humanitarian objectives exceptionally well.” (Washington Post, 10 December 2004, A37)

Author's Summary


Overall assessment
Policy result, scaled from 1 (failed) to 4 (success)
Sanctions contribution, scaled from 1 (negative) to 4 (significant)
Success score (policy result times sanctions contribution) scaled from 1 (outright failure) to 16 (significant success)
Political and economic variables  
Companion policies J (covert), Q (quasi-military), R (regular military)
International cooperation with sender
International assistance to target A (if present)
Cooperating international organizations
Sanction period (years)
Economic health and political stability of target, scaled from 1 (distressed) to 3 (strong)
Pre sanction relations between sender and target, scaled from 1 (antagonistic) to 3(cordial)
Regime type of target, scaled from 1 (authoritarian) to 3 (democratic)
Type of sanction X (export), M (import), F (financial)
Cost to sender, scaled from 1 (net gain) to 4 (major loss)


Overall assessment
Military Impairment
Policy result, scaled from 1 (failed) to 4 (success)
Sanctions contribution, scaled from 1 (none) to 4 (significant)
Success score (policy result times sanctions contribution)scaled from 1 (outright failure) to 16 (significant success)
Political and economic variables    
Companion policies J (covert), Q (quasi-military), R (regular military)
International cooperation with sender, scaled from 1 (none) to 4 (significant)
International assistance to target A (if present)
Cooperating international organizations
Sanction period (years)
Economic health and political stability of target, scaled from 1 (distressed) to 3 (strong)
Pre sanction relations between sender and target, scaled from 1 (antagonistic) to 3(cordial)
Regime type of target, scaled from 1 (authoritarian) to 3 (democratic)
Type of sanction X (export), M (import), F (financial)
Cost to sender, scaled from 1 (net gain) to 4 (major loss)


After the Gulf War, UN-authorized sanctions focused on Iraq's recognition of Kuwait's sovereignty, delineation of the boundary, and destruction of weapons of mass destruction (biological, chemical, and nuclear) and the means to produce them. In addition to these goals, given the difficulties inherent in controlling the export of dual-use technologies and the likelihood that Saddam Hussein would use any oil revenues available to him to rebuild his conventional military capacity as well, the US and UK wanted to retain sanctions in order to contain the regime. Intermittently under the Clinton administration and more explicitly and aggressively under the second Bush administration, the US and UK also sought to condition the lifting of sanctions on a change in regime.

The score of 9 on the containment goal reflects the partial achievement of UN goals relating to recognition of Kuwait, delineation of the border, return of some property, and constraints on conventional rearmament. More importantly, the sanctions, backed by intermittent uses and threats of military force, provided the leverage for the UN inspectors to find and destroy Iraq’s stockpiles and facilities for producing weapons of mass destruction and missiles. However, based on the latest US evaluations (the Duefler report), the Iraqi regime retained a skeletal capacity to restart WMD programs if and when sanctions were lifted. In addition to UNSCOM efforts, containment of Iraq’s WMD capabilities has clearly been aided by the denial of oil revenues to the Iraqi government, but we would note that this success has come at a high price in terms of humanitarian effects inside Iraq and that pressures to lift the sanctions were growing sharply in 2000-02. The final US objective of destabilizing the Hussein regime, however, was achieved only with military force.


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Blix, Hans. 2004. Disarming Iraq. New York: Pantheon Books.

Cirincione, Joseph et al. 2004. WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January.

Clawson, Patrick. 1993. How Has Saddam Hussein Survived? Economic Sanctions, 1990-93. Washington, DC: National Defense University, August.

Cleminson, Frank. 2003. What Happened to Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction? Arms Control Today 33, no. 7 (September). (accessed August 19, 2004).

Congressional Research Service (CRS). 1991. Iraq: U.S. Economic Sanctions. By Clyde R. Mark. CRS Report 90-109. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 22 January.

Congressional Research Service (CRS). 1992. "Iraq's Post-War Compliance Record: A Chronology. By Kenneth Katzman. CRS Report 92-320. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 31 March.

Congressional Research Service (CRS). 1998. "Iraq-U.S. Confrontation: 1997-1998." By Alfred Prados and Kenneth Katzman. CRS report 94-049, update. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 6 March.

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O'Sullivan, Megan L. 2001. Iraq: Time for a Modified Approach. Brookings Institution Policy Brief No. 71,Washington DC, Brookings Institution, February.

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Taylor, Paul D. 1995. "Clausewitz on Economic Sanctions: The Case of Iraq." Strategic Review 23, no. 3 (Summer): 49-58

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