Iraq: A Chronology of UN Inspections and an Assessment of Their Accomplishments

Arms Control Today, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Iraq: A Chronology of UN Inspections and an Assessment of Their Accomplishments


In April 1991, as part of the permanent cease-fire agreement ending the Persian Gulf War, the UN Security Council ordered Iraq to eliminate under international supervision its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 150 kilometers. The Security Council declared that the comprehensive economic sanctions imposed in 1990 on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait would remain in place until Baghdad had fully complied with its weapons requirements.

Baghdad agreed to these conditions but for eight years deceived, obstructed, and threatened international inspectors sent to dismantle and verify the destruction of its banned programs. This systematic Iraqi effort to conceal and obscure the true extent of its weapons of mass destruction programs began almost immediately, when Baghdad lied about the status of its programs in its initial declarations and obstructed an inspection team. Iraq continued to harass, hinder, and frustrate inspectors until late 1998, when the inspectors withdrew from Iraq just hours before the United States and the United Kingdom launched three days of military strikes against Iraq for its noncooperation. Since that time, Iraq has permitted only limited inspections of declared nuclear sites but has not yet allowed the return of intrusive inspections to verify that it has lived up to its commitment to get rid of its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The inspectors' job was hampered not only by Iraq but also by key countries on the Security Council whose support for the inspections waned. As time passed, the combination of unending confrontations between weapons inspectors and Iraqi officials; the reported growing humanitarian toll of sanctions on Iraqi civilians; and the economic costs of forgoing exports, imports, and energy deals with a former trading partner, undermined the willingness of China, France, Russia, and others from enforcing the inspections and sanctions regimes against Iraq. Quarrels erupted between these countries, which were sympathetic to Iraq and claimed that it had sufficiently disarmed, and the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which repeatedly contended Baghdad had not fulfilled the obligations laid out in the cease-fire agreement.

Shortly after leaving Iraq in 1998, weapons inspectors of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), which was tasked with overseeing the destruction of Iraq's chemical, biological, and missile programs, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), responsible for uncovering and dismantling the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, described their work as unfinished. The IAEA made much more progress than UNSCOM, but both sets of inspectors left Iraq with unanswered questions about Baghdad's proscribed weapons.

UNSCOM reported numerous discrepancies, particularly with regard to biological weapons, between what Iraq claimed it had and evidence discovered by weapons inspectors. For four years, Baghdad denied the very existence of its biological weapons program. When Iraq finally did acknowledge having such a program, UNSCOM officials judged its declarations so insufficient-an assessment shared by independent experts-that the UN team claimed it could not even form a baseline by which to measure its progress in revealing and abolishing Iraq's germ warfare program. More headway was made in the chemical weapons and missile areas, but by 1998 UNSCOM contended that key issues remained unresolved. For example, Iraq had failed to account for thousands of chemical warheads that it claimed, without any proof, to have used, lost, or unilaterally destroyed.

Iraq also sought to mislead the IAEA, but IAEA inspectors were largely successful in obtaining a relatively complete picture of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program and dismantling it. The IAEA, which removed from Iraq all known fissile material that could be used to make weapons, reported in February 1999 that there were no indications that meaningful amounts of weapon-- usable material remained in the country or that it possessed the physical capability to produce significant amounts of such material indigenously But the IAEA cautioned that because nuclear weapons material or infrastructure could be hidden, it could not verify with absolute certainty that Iraq had no prohibited materials.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Iraq: A Chronology of UN Inspections and an Assessment of Their Accomplishments
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.