Chronology: Iraq

The Middle East Journal, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Iraq


1998

Oct. 17: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told The Washington Post that he believed that determining the extent of Iraqi disarmament was a "political judgment" and that UN Security Council Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) weapons inspection teams might need to avoid confrontational inspections to regain Iraqi cooperation. [10/17 WP]

Oct. 26: An international panel of 21 scientists, examining the results of French, Swiss, and US tests of Iraqi missile fragments for VX nerve gas, turned in their report to the UN Security Council, concluding that, at some point, Iraq had used detergents to wash the fragments and, therefore. might have tried to hide something. [10/27 NYT, FT, WP]

Oct. 27: Iraq called the report, submitted by scientists to the UN Security Council on whether or not Iraq had used the VX nerve gas, a ploy to prolong UNSCOM arms inspections in Iraq. [10/28 WP]

Oct. 30: The UN Security Council created guidelines for a comprehensive review of Iraq's relations with the United Nations. [10/31 NYT, WP]

Oct. 31: Iraq announced it would end all cooperation with UNSCOM arms inspectors and would close their long-term monitoring operations immediately. [11/1 NYT, WP]

Nov. 1: Iraq demanded the dismissal of UNSCOM Chairman Richard Butler. [11/2 NYT, FT, 11/3 NYT]

Nov. 2: Iraq allowed a team of maintenance technicians to make repairs to surveillance cameras and also allowed two teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct routine monitoring visits. [ll/3 NYT]

Nov. 3: The United States warned that it had sufficient forces and firepower in the Persian Gulf to launch an attack on Iraq if Iraq did not resume cooperation with UNSCOM arms inspectors. [11/4 NYT]

Nov. 5: The UN Security Council voted unanimously to condemn Iraq and to demand compliance with UNSCOM. [11/6 NYT, WP]

Nov. 7: UNSCOM arms inspectors began to evacuate from Iraq. [11/8 WP]

Nov. 8: Saudi Arabia said it preferred a peaceful solution to Iraq's stand-off with UNSCOM but that the Iraqi leadership was "fully responsible for the crisis." [11/9 FT]

Nov. 12: At a news conference in Baghdad, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq `Aziz called the UNSCOM commission a "subsidiary of the [US Central Intelligence Agency] CIA and [Israeli] Mossad" and asserted that Iraq had no more prohibited weapons and was entitled to a lifting of economic sanctions. [11/13 NYT]

Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and five other Gulf countries issued a statement warning that the Iraqi leadership would be "solely responsible" for the military consequences if Iraq did not reach a diplomatic solution to its stand-off with UNSCOM. [11/13 NYT, FT, WP]

Nov. 13: UN Secretary General Annan asked Iraq to renew cooperation with UNSCOM arms inspectors, following a five-hour meeting of the UN Security Council that failed to agree on any other diplomatic steps that could be taken. [ 11/14 NYT]

In Baghdad, Russia's ambassador to Iraq delivered two letters to President Saddam Husayn, one from Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the other from Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, criticizing Iraq for halting cooperation with UNSCOM inspection teams. [11/14 NYT]

Nov. 14: Deputy Prime Minister `Aziz sent two letters to the UN Security Council. The first letter stated that Iraq would resume cooperation with the UNSCOM arms inspectors. A two-page addendum attached to the letter outlined what Iraq desired in return for cooperation and stated that the burden of proving that Iraq still had prohibited weapons should be on UNSCOM. The addendum included a request for a comprehensive review of Iraqi-UN relations to be carried out a short time after the inspectors resumed their work and under the direction of UN Secretary General Annan. The second letter submitted to the UN Security Council reiterated that the "wishes" enumerated in the addendum were not conditions for compliance. …

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