Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 1990-1996
Timeline of events related to the Iraq disarmament crisis
July 24, 1990
August 2, 1990
- Nine days before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait US State Department spokeswoman, Margaret Tutweiller encourages Iraq with the statement: "We do not have any defence treaties with Kuwait, and there are no special defence or security commitments to Kuwait."
- Iraqi troops invade Kuwait with armor and infantry, occupying strategic posts throughout the country, including the Emir's palace.
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 660, condemning Iraq's invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 661, placing economic sanctions on Iraq
- Iraq appoints puppet regime in Kuwait which declares a merger with Iraq.
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 678, giving Iraq a withdrawal deadline of January 15, 1991, and authorizing "all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660
January 12, 1991
- Gulf War: Coalition forces launch a massive air campaign against Iraqi military targets.
- Gulf War: Iraq agrees to a Soviet-proposed cease-fire agreement. The US rejected the proposal but said that retreating Iraqi forces would not be attacked, and gave twenty-four hours for Iraq to begin withdrawing forces from Kuwait.
- Gulf War: The US led ground campaign begins.
- Gulf War: Iraqi troops begin to retreat out of Kuwait, setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields.
- Gulf War: One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, President Bush declared a ceasefire. Kuwait has been fully liberated.
- Iraq accepts the terms of a ceasefire.
- Early April
- Iraqi military forces suppress rebellions in the southern and northern parts of the country, creating a humanitarian disaster on the borders of Turkey and Iran.
- The UN Security Council passes the Cease Fire Agreement, Resolution 687. The resolution also called for the destruction, or removal of all chemical and biological weapons, all stocks of agents and components, all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities for ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150km and related repair and production facilities, recognize Kuwait, account for missing Kuwaitis, return Kuwaiti property and end its support for international terrorism. This resolution created a special commission, UNSCOM, to inspect Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear facilities. Iraq was required to turn over all biological and chemical weapons to Unscom for destruction, and ordered to respect the 1968 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.
- According to UNSCOM, Iraqi nuclear scientists are ordered to hide nuclear weapons from UN inspectors, collect and hide computer data, and formulate a "legal" justification for the existence of Iraqi nuclear labs.
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 688, condemning Iraq's repressive measures exercised against civilians. The Council also demands access for humanitarian groups.
- Iraq accepts Resolution 687.
- At a European Union meeting in Luxembourg, a UN safe-haven in northern Iraq is establish, north of the latitude 36 degrees north, for the protection of Kurds.
- The US orders Iraq to end all military action in the northern Kurdish area.
- Iraq declares some of its chemical weapons and materials to the UN, as required by Resolution 687, and claims that it does not have biological weapons program
- Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus is appointed as the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM.
- UNSCOM begins its first inspections in Iraq
- UNSCOM/IAEA teams attempt to intercept Iraqi vehicles carrying nuclear related equipment called calutrons. Iraqi soldiers fire warning shots in the air to prevent inspectors from approaching the vehicles.
- Rolf Ekeus, Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, arranges for a loan to UNSCOM of an US Lockheed U-2 spy plane for taking surveillance photos of Iraq.
- UNSCOM's biological inspection team is told by Iraq that any research into biological weapons was "for defensive military purposes."
- The UN Security Council proposes Resolution 706, a "food for oil" resolution, allowing Iraq to export up to $1.6bn of oil, the revenue from which would be paid into a UN-administered account. This money would then only be used to buy food, medicines and other essential material for Iraqi over a six month period. Some of this money would also be used to meet compensation payments to Kuwait and the cost of UN operations.
- The UN Security Council passes resolution 707, emphasising the need for Iraq to allow Unscom and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) immediate and unconditional access to any areas they wish to inspect. Iraq was also ordered not to move or hide anything relating to its nuclear, chemical or biological programs.
- Former US Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter is hired as a UNSCOM inspector
- IAEA inspectors discover files on Iraq's hiden nuclear weapons program. Iraqi officials confiscate documents from UN weapons inspectors. The UN inspectors refuse to turn over a second set of documents. In response, Iraq refuses to allow the inspection team to leave the site without turning over the documents. A four-day standoff ensues, but Iraq permits the team to leave with the documents after a statement from the UN Security Council threatens enforcement actions.
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 715, which approves joint UNSCOM and IAEA plans for ongoing monitoring and verification. The resolution demands that Iraq "accept unconditionally the inspectors and all other personnel designated by the Special Commission"
- Iraq says that it considers the Monitoring and Verification Plans adopted by Resolution 715 to be unlawful, and states that it is not ready to comply with the Resolution.
February 18, 1992
- The Executive Chairman of UNSCOM details Iraq's refusal to abide by UN Security Council disarmament resolutions.
- Iraq declares the existence of 89 ballistic missiles and chemical weapons. Iraq also claims that it unilaterally destroyed most of these materials the previous summer, in violation of resolution 687.
- Iraq calls for a halt to UNSCOM's aerial surveillance flights. The UN Security Council reaffirms UNSCOM's right to conduct such flights
- Iraq discloses some of its prohibited weapons programs.
- UNSCOM begins to destroy large quantities of Iraq's chemical weapons and production facilities
- Iraq refuses an inspection team access to the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture. UNSCOM claimed that it had reliable information that the site contained archives related to illegal weapons activities. UN Inspectors stage a 17-day "sit-in" outside of the building. UN inspectors eventually leave when their safety is threatened, and the UN Security Council seems unwilling to support their efforts to enter the building with a threat of force.
- A No-Fly Zone, which prohibits the flights of Iraqi planes, is established in southern Iraq, south of latitude 32 degrees north.
- Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM to use its own aircraft to fly into Iraq. Iraq also starts military incursions into the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait and increases its military activity in the northern and southern No-Fly Zones.
- US President George H.W. Bush, on his final day in office, orders a Tomahawk cruise missiles attack of the Zaafaraniya Nuclear Fabrication and Industrial Complex in the Baghdad suburbs, linking the factory to nuclear weapons manufacturing capability. A stray missle hits the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad.
- Iraq agrees to allow UNSCOM to use their own aircraft to fly into Iraq.
- The Kuwaiti government claims to uncover an Iraqi assassination plot against former US President George H. W. Bush shortly after his ceremonial visit to Kuwait. Two Iraqi nationals, caught with smuggled hashish and alcohol inside Kuwait, confess to driving a car-bomb into Kuwait on behalf of the Iraq Secret Service 
- Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM weapons inspectors to install remote-controlled monitoring cameras at two missile engine test stands.
- US President Bill Clinton warns Iraq over its standoff with UNSCOM inspectors.
- US President Bill Clinton orders a cruise missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in the Al-Mansur district, Baghdad, in response to the attempted assassination of former U.S. President George Bush in Kuwait in mid-April.
- UN inspection teams leave Iraq. Iraq then agrees to UNSCOM demands and the inspection teams return.
- Iraq accepts UN Resolution 715 and the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification.
- UN weapons inspectors Ritter and Smidovitch learn, through Israeli intelligence reports, that Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son, is the key player in hiding Iraq's illegal weapons.
- UNSCOM completes destruction of large quantities of chemical warfare agents and production equipment
- Iraq threatens to stop cooperating with UNSCOM inspectors and begins once again deploying troops near the Kuwait border. In response, the US begins to deploy troops to Kuwait.
- President of the UN Security Council says that Iraq's demands are unacceptable and that the country must withdraw its troops from the Kuwait border.
- Iraq withdraws troops from its border with Kuwait
- The UN Security Council passes resolution 949, demanding that Iraq which "cooperate fully" with UNSCOM and immediately withdraw forces recently deployed to southern Iraq, not use any forces in a hostile or threatening manner against either neighbouring countries or UN staff opperating in Iraq, not redeploy or enhance its military forces in the southern part of the country. Iraq withdraws its troops and once again begins to work with UNSCOM inspectors.
- The Iraqi National Assembly recognizes Kuwait's borders and its independence.
- Iraq makes more disclosures about its prohibited biological and chemical weapons programs.
- The UN Security Council passes its previously proposed "Oil for Food" program. This became Resolution 986. Saddam Hussein accepted the terms of the program.
- According to UNSCOM, the unity of the UN Security Council begins to fray, as a few countries, particularly France and Russia, are starting to become increasingly interested in the financial opportunities of a post-sanctions Iraq.
- In response to UNSCOM's evidence, Iraq admits for first time the existence of an offensive biological weapons program, but denies weaponization.
- Iraq threatens to end all cooperation with UNSCOM and IAEA, if sanctions are not lifted by August 31, 1995
- Following the defection of his son-in-law, Hussein Kamil al Majid, minister of industry and military industrialisation, Saddam Hussein makes new revelations about the full extent of his biological and nuclear arms programs. Iraq also withdraws its last UN declaration of prohibited biological weapons and turns over a large amount of new documents on its WMD programs.
- Israeli intelligence reports that Iraq has been attempting to purchase missile gyroscopes (guidance devices) from a Russian export company.
- Iraq provides more information on its prohibited missile programs
- With help from Israel and Jordan, UN inspector Ritter intercepts 240 Russian gyroscopes and accelerometers on their way to Iraq from Russia.
- Iraqi scuba divers, under the direction of UNSCOM, dredge the Tigris River near Baghdad. The divers find over 200 additional Russian made missile instruments and components.
- UNSCOM begins using eavesdropping devices in Iraq. The information is delivered to analysis centers in Britain, Israel, and the US.
- Recently defected Iraqi weapons scientist and son-in-law to Saddam Hussein, Hussein Kamel, returns to Iraq. Within days of his return, he is murdered along with his brother, father, sister and her children.
- Iraqi forces refuse UNSCOM inspection teams access to five sites designated for inspection. The teams enter the sites only after delays of up to 17 hours.
- The UN Security Council issues a statement expressing its concern over Iraq's obstuctive behavior, which it terms "a clear violation of Iraq's obligations under relevant resolutions." The Security council also demands that Iraq allow UNSCOM teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites designated for inspection.
- The UN Security Council passes resolution 1051, recognizing the need for Iraqi imports and exports to be monitored by Unscom and the IAEA. The resolution also called for countries exporting so called "dual use items" which could potentially be used in weapons systems to notify UNSCOM. The resolution also demands that Iraq meet unconditionally all its obligations under the inspections mechanism and cooperate fully with the Special Commission and the director-general of the IAEA
- UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq's main production facility of biological warfare agents
- Iraq once again refuses UNSCOM inspection teams access to a number of sites under investigation
- The US fails in its attempt to build support for military action in the UN Security Council.
- Iraq provides more information on its prohibited biological weapons and missile programs.
- The UN Security Council passes Resolution 1060, which calls Iraq's actions a clear violation of the council's earlier resolutions. The resolution also demands that Iraq grant "immediate and unrestricted access" to all sites designated for inspection by UNSCOM
- Iraq once again refuses UN inspection teams access to sites under investigation.
- Rolf Ekeus negotiates with Iraq, gaining access for UNSCOM to inspect "sensitive" sites. The deal was made, according to UNSCOM, on Iraqi's terms. Only four UN inspectors are allowed in to each of these sites at one time.
- UN Inspector Ritter attempts to conduct surprise inspections on the Republican Guard facility at the airport, but is blocked by Iraqi officials. By the time UNSCOM inspectors are allowed into the facility a few days later, they find nothing.
- Members of the UN Security Council express unease with some of UNSCOM's confrontational tactics
- Iraqi forces launch an offensive into the northern No-Fly Zone and capture Arbil.
- The US extends the southern No-Fly Zone to latitude 33 degrees north.
- UNSCOM inspectors uncover buried illegal missile parts. Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM teams to remove remnants of missile engines for analysis outside of the country.
- The UN Security Council states that it deplores Iraq's intransigence on the buried missile parts.
Continued at Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 1997-2000