Iraq since 1880

late 1800s
British worked to control the Middle East as a route to India.
Oil first discovered in Persia (1)
WW-I years

Pre-1914: A weakening Ottoman Empire was in the process of gradually losing its territorial holdings to neighboring European powers. In 1908, the Austria-Hungary Empire formally annexed (previously Ottoman) Bosnia and Herzegovina. Subsequent threats of territorial loss prompted the Turks to seek a protective military alliance with one of their neighbors. France and Russia were approached without success; the Germans (through an interesting series of historical accidents) formed a protective alliance in 1914. [See: A Peace to End All Peace, by David Fromkin]

1914, Sunday morning, June 28: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austria-Hungary Empire and his wife were assassinated while visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia. Several of the assassins were apprehended and questioned. Austria-Hungary authorities determined that they had received instruction from neighboring Serbia, and responded by demanding return of the co-conspirators who had successfully fled there. The demand was refused, prompting Austria Hungary to declare war against Serbia immediately thereafter (see explanation (2)). A complex set of cascading alliances resulted in multinational war (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Ottoman Empire against Britain, France and Russia.).

1916: Anticipating a successful conclusion to the war and the Ottoman Empire breakup, and despite assurances given to Arab leaders that if they fought to defeat Ottoman forces they would be granted independence, the British and French drew the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement (3), creating national borders of Middle Eastern countries, which would then be divided between the two of them. Mesopotamia, including Baghdad, was to be administered by Britain, with Lebanon and Syria to be under French control.

1917: Britain invaded Mesopotamia (4), which had been controlled by the Ottoman Empire since the 16th century. The newly empowered Bolsheviks in Russia discovered the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement (3) and made public British and French true intentions of acquisition.

1917: US business interests became involved, providing financial and material support to all parties. Each side reacted by attempting to block portions of US shipments to respective enemies. Germany took an aggressive approach, using its submarines to attack and sink US ships enroute. President Wilson, with an eye towards the potential spoils, called for war with Germany and entered the conflict, using a familiar rallying cry to convince a doubting public: "the world must be made safe for democracy." (4)

1919: With the defeat of Germany and Turkey, Britain and France divided land previously held by Turkey, with the British controlling (newly drawn) Iraq, Kuwait, Palestine, and Jordan. (Kuwait was carved from Iraq – calculated to cut off Iraq’s access to the Persian Gulf, and to afford a future measure of British control over the divided region.) Conflict over allied control of Iraqi oil assets developed, and was solved with division of the Iraqi resource between Britain, France, Holland, and the US.


Treaty of Sevres (5) established British mandate over Iraq via authority of the League of Nations (essentially rubber-stamping the earlier Sykes-Picot agreement (3)), defining its borders (see also: Treaty of Lausanne (6)). (Borders drawn disrupted traditional cultural and economic ties, leading to persistent and ongoing conflicts.)

European and US oil companies began drilling operations (7) for Middle Eastern oil..
Oct. 3, 1932

Iraq recognized as a sovereign state, joining League of Nations (8) with the Sunnis continuing to control the government and the economically disadvantaged majority Shiites vying for power.

WW-II Years
The victorious allies, predominantly the US and Britain, moved to control Middle Eastern oil and to resist attempts at Soviet expansion into the region. By the close of hostilities, the British Empire had suffered losses, while US influence and wealth expanded considerably.
May, 1948 – Present

Following the Jewish Holocaust in Europe, and with an eye toward establishing meaningful western (military) influence in the oil-rich Middle East (9) , the British and the US moved to create a Jewish state in Palestine through UN authority (10a). (See also: Conf. of Middle East Chiefs of Mission 1951 – pg3, para6 (10b).) Despite the deep anger of the displaced indigenous inhabitants, and under US dominance over the UN, Israel was formally created May, 1948 (10c). (See

Tension and bloodshed between the new state and the indigenous Palestinian people were present from Israel’s founding, and has persisted. Similar discord with Israel’s Arab neighbors also continues with open warfare occurring in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.

The US has continued to provide Israel with tens of billions of dollars in financial and military aid, building a massive regional military machine (11). This support, and the suffering and bloodshed that have followed the use of those materials continues to foster a deep anger toward the US among regional peoples.

1951 – 1953

Iran: 1951: Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Mosaddeq nationalized Iranian oil fields (12), expelling British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Two years later (1953) Mosaddeq was overthrown via a CIA orchestrated coup (13a), (see also: CIA documents (13b)) placing the Shah of Iran in control. (NOTE: American General Norman Schwartzkopf, Sr. helped the Shah of Iran develop SAVAK secret police.)

Iraq: Oil revenues grew markedly, with little of the money reaching the Iraqi people. Street protests grew, resulting in the government declaring martial law (14), the banning of political parties, and the imposition of a curfew.

1954 – 1956

1954: The US granted Iraq military and economic aid.

1955: Iraq joined the US drawn "Baghdad Pact" (15) of Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, and later Britain. This was feared by Israel as the alliance excluded them. Egypt’s President Nasser rejected the Baghdad Pact and accepted Soviet arms, raising his regional status in his rejection of Western influence. (See: US Secretary of State reaction. (16) )

Egypt – 1956: Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. (17). After an Israeli ship was seized in the Canal, with two Israelis being executed in Egypt, Israel attacked the Gaza Strip – then under Egypt’s control. Syria and Jordan offered Egypt military aid if requested, and Nasser threatened that Israel was doomed. Israel responded on October 29 by invading the Sinai peninsula [The Sinai-Suez War], with Britain and France joining Israel’s efforts against Egypt. Within one week, Israel controlled the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. The Soviets responded by threatening to intervene on Egypt’s behalf prompting a stand-down, and Israel’s return of the captured territory.

1958 – 1959

Years of public impoverishment, while oil wealth flowed to Iraq’s leaders and to Western oil companies, lead to a sudden revolution, lead by Brigadier Abdul-Karim Qassem, overthrowing the British installed king (18). Qassem supported poor farmers and middle class workers, allowed trade unions to form, worked to end the feudal land system long in place, and lifted a ban on Iraq’s Communist Party. Qassem also attempted to negotiate with the Iraq Petroleum Company to increase Iraq’s royalties (finally passing Public Law 80 (19) in 1961- see below). The US and Britain responded with rapid troop deployment to Jordan and Lebanon to head off further regional (and anti-

Oct. 7, 1959

22 yo Ba’ath party member, Saddam Hussein failed to assassinate Qassem in a CIA backed coup attempt (20). Hussein suffered a bullet wound to his own leg, and fled to Syria, then Egypt.(He escaped an imprisonment upon his later return, eventually helping to lead a successful Ba’athist coup in 1968.)


Qassem repeatedly called for reunification of Iraq w/ Kuwait (21) stating at a June 19, 1961 press conference: "Iraq regards Kuwait as an integral part of its territory." Britain immediately stationed troops in Kuwait and positioned naval forces in the Gulf.

Public Law 80 (22) was passed in December, prohibiting concessions being granted to foreign companies. Qassem also transferred control over Iraq’s oil resources to an Iraq National Oil Company. This, plus the fact that a few cabinet positions were filled with people sympathetic to Communist Party goals, lead the US to label the events as a communist takeover, and to begin actively supporting the Ba’ath Party. Furthermore, the Soviets began making overtures toward the new Iraqi government.

Feb. 8, 1963

Qassem was overthrown and subsequently assassinated via a second CIA backed coup (23a), with Ba’ath Party taking power under A.S. Arif. Thousands of Communist Party members were executed (with the list of members evidently provided by the US(23b). Arif held the presidency through his death in 1966 when the presidency was assumed by his brother, General Abdul Rahman Arif.


The USSR continued to offer support to regional revolutionary movements.

June 1967

"Six Day War" (24) fought with Israeli capture of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and Syria’s Golan Heights. With the war lost, Nasser resigned. (See: Nasser’s resignation speech June 7, 1967. (25)) Iraq-US diplomatic relations were immediately severed .


Arif was toppled by another factional Ba’athist coup July 17, 1968, with Tikriti born, General Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr (26) named as president and Saddam Hussein (27) (who had helped lead the Ba’athists in the failed 1959 coup (20) ) was named as Vice President. Within two weeks many potential rivals were either purged or in some way weakened. (From this position, Hussein developed a vast network of secret police (28) who continued to execute dissident left voices.)


Iraq broke off diplomatic connections with Iran after Iran occupied Persian Gulf Iraqi islands. (29). (Finally settled in 1975 with Iran retaining the islands.)

June 1, 1972

Bakr and Hussein (30a) were supported by the US until this year, when the Iraqi-Soviet Friendship Treaty (30b) was announced in April followed by the Iraqi oil-fields being nationalized (30c) in June, creating the Iraq Petroleum Company. (Note: this occurred after the price of oil, set by OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), was raised from $3 per barrel to $22.) The US State Department under Nixon shifted support to the Shah of Iran, providing an eventual $22 billion in arms sales (31), while labeling Hussein as "unreliable," placed Iraq on the list of terrorist supporting nations, and began arming Iraqi Kurds in the north. [See: video quote of former Secretary of State Ramsey Clark in Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]


Peace agreement with the Kurdish Democratic Party collapsed with suppression of Kurdish uprising and resulting refugee crisis. Despite the US’s role in encouraging and supporting the Kurdish revolt, it refused to aid the refugees. Kissinger, who had been responsible for crafting the plan stated: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work (33)."


Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord (34) regarding control of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway that defined an important border between the two countries that allowed Iraq a water passage to the Gulf. With the accord signed, the US-[Nixon]-controlled Shah of Iran immediately withdrew support of the Kurds and stepped up the arming of Iran. (Primary US interest at the time was in limiting USSR influence in the region given the vast petroleum reserves at stake.)

Amnesty International described Iran (35) as having the "highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran."

The Ayatollah Khomeini was expelled from Iraq, where he had lived in exile since the 1960s. He thereafter moved to France until the upcoming Iranian revolution a short time later (36).

SUMMARY OF EVENTS RE: KHOMEINI: The Shah of Iran passed a series of new laws during the early ’60s, understood by the population to have been created under US influence/dominance, and calculated to bring personal benefit to the Shah. This was vigorously protested by the Ayatollah Khomeini, other religious leaders, and the public. The Shah responded with brutal attacks on demonstrators, killing many thousands of them, and in Khomeini’s imprisonment. Protests were suppressed, but not ended. Ongoing demands for Khomeini’s freedom led to his release and exile in Turkey and then Iraq in 1964, where he lived for the next several years. In 1977, rebellion exploded throughout Iran after the Shah’s security police assassinated Khomeini’s eldest son, who had also been exiled to Iraq. The Shah, hoping distance would interfere with Khomeini’s aid to the growing Iranian rebellion, requested he be expelled from Iraq. That request was granted in 1978, Khomeini’s then moving to a hamlet in France where he lived until his return to revolutionary Iran one year later (1979).


Iran: The Shah’s obvious Western acquiescence along with his continued use of oppressive secret police tactics finally resulted in widespread popular rebellion, then in a full scale revolution in January. The Shah was ousted in February and fled the country. Khomeini, who had earlier returned from France, took control, vowed to spread the Islamic Revolution, and called for nationalism, anti-Americanism, and Islamic fundamentalism (37a). The American embassy in Teheran was overrun a few months later – Nov. 4, with several American diplomats being taken hostage. (The captors demanded that the Shah be returned from the US, where he had been granted asylum. (37b) (Note: The Shah of Iran was said to have died of cancer in Panama the following year – July 27, 1980.)

Iraq: The US, alarmed over the loss of regional influence (and a corresponding increase in Soviet influence), shifted support back to Hussein in Iraq. Saddam Hussein replaced General Bakr, becoming the Iraqi President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. Hundreds of party members were immediately executed. Shortly after, Hussein nullified the Algiers [Shatt-al-Arab waterway] Agreement, claiming full control over the waterway (38).


The "Carter Doctrine" (39a), was announced, stating: "… an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America. And such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." (39b)

IRAQ-IRAN WAR: Iraq was supplied military materials by the US, despite the arms embargo in effect, and by September, following a series of border clashes, Iraq invaded its neighbor. [See: Iran-Iraq War (38), and Issues prompting war (40)] Note: Two months into the war (Nov.1980), Khomeini expressed interest in releasing the hostages provided: Iranian assets were released, all sanctions were canceled, and that all of the Shah’s property was returned to Iran. Two months later the agreement was completed and a few weeks later – all remaining hostages were released on January 20, 1981 (immediately upon Reagan’s inauguration).

1980s (early)

Hussein known to be developing and acquiring chemical and biologic weapons (See:"IRAQ – US Military Items Exported or Transferred to Iraq in the 1980s." (41)

1980 (early)
Evidence exists that a deal was stuck with Iranian intermediaries ("October Surprise (39c)") in which Iran would release the fifty-two hostages held, delivering them over to a newly inaugurated Reagan/Bush administration in 1981 (as it was highly likely Carter would be unseated). In return, arms would be shipped covertly (via Israel) during the last weeks of the presidential campaign. (A very similar scheme was again utilized in 1985, in another covert arms-for-hostages deal – See"Iran-Contra (47a)" below.) [See: October Surprise – America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, by Gary Sick; RandomHouse, 1991] [See Also 39d, 39e, 39f, 39g, 39h]

Israel attacked and destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor (42).


Under Reagan’s new administration (inaug.: 1981), Iraq was removed from the US’s list of terrorist-supporting countries. (43)

1983 – 1985
Truck bombs were detonated in Lebanon against American targets in April and October 1983. Pro-Iranian terrorists were said to have been involved in the attacks (44a)/(44b)/(44e). (Multiple seizures of American hostages earlier in Iran, and again, repeatedly in Lebanon in 1983 and 1984 eventually lead to the "Iran-Contra" plan in 1985. (See below (47a)).
1983 – 1984
Reagan’s special envoy – Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly met with Hussein (45a) regarding the US-Iraq relationship and mutual interests. Rumsfeld did not raise the issue of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons despite the fact that the State Department was well aware of Hussein’s use of those weapons in 1982 and 1983 (45b).

Full diplomatic relations between Iraq and the US were reestablished (46a) and increased support in the form of weapons, intelligence information, etc. were given to Hussein (46b).


Reagan administration IRAN-CONTRA (47a) plan: Oliver North worked with Iran, promising US aid to help them topple Saddam Hussein. A deal was struck whereby the Reagan administration, in cooperation with the Israeli government, would secure the release of the American hostages held in Lebanon via the sale of various arms materials, including one-thousand TOW missiles to Iran. (This occurred secretly via official sale of the weapons to Israel. Israel then secretly passed them along to Iran.) A portion of the proceeds of those illegal sales were to be delivered to the Nicaraguan Contras to finance their insurgency against the Sandinista socialist regime then in power, despite Congress’ clear expression that such actions were forbidden. (See also: (47b), White House Email (47c), CIA’s description of cocaine connection (47d), Senate Committee Report (47e), and video testimony of US Dept. of State, David Welch in Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]


Iraq’s use of mustard gas and nerve agents against Iranian soldiers well known to Reagan, VP Bush, Sr., and by senior national security aids (48a). Despite this, US aid to Iraq was increased (including chemical and biologic agents (48b) and (48c)).

(1986 – early 1990s)
Regarding Afghanistan, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and the creation of al Qaeda, See: "Timeline-1 Afghanistan."

Persian Gulf Iran-Iraq "Tanker War (49)."

General Norman Schwartzkopf, Jr. named to head CENT-COM. (Note: General Norman Schwartzkopf, Sr. had helped the Shah of Iran develop the brutal SAVAK secret police thirty years earlier.) Following Iranian military successes in the Iran-Iraq war, the decision was made to send send a massive US naval force into the Gulf (50).

Hussein attacked Iranian troops and Kurdish opponents in northern Iraq (Halabja) (51) in the Anfal campaign, again using chemical agents. Total deaths in the campaign have been estimated at 100,000. Note: a top CIA analyst has published information stating that the Iranians were responsible for the gassing of Iraqi Kurds, not Husein. (51a). In any case – despite subsequent claims that Hussein was responsible for these events, the US continued to send billions to Hussein for "agricultural purposes." (Items included armored trucks, helicopters, large amounts of pesticide chemicals, and anthrax.) Concerns regarding the funding of these items were raised in Congress and were quelled by the Reagan/Bush, Sr. White house.[Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]

Aug. 20, 1988

Ceasefire with Iran. By end of war with Iran, Iraq was economically devastated (52). In order for Hussein to maintain his power-base, he announced a $40 billion program of rebuilding, requiring a maximization of oil income. [Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]

As other Gulf states, including Kuwait, had recently increased oil production, thereby driving down oil prices, Hussein’s plans to rebuild Iraq were frustrated – financing his large army became problematic. He thus began to publicly threaten Kuwait because of their 1) 20% increase in oil shipments over agreed upon quotas, and 2) for slant-drilling/extraction of oil from fields over the Iraqi side of the border. [Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)] In response to these statements, the US revised an earlier plan written to counter Soviet threat to the region – War Plan 1002 – renaming Iraq as main threat in region, and renaming the plan as 1002-90 (53).
Jan. 1990
CENT-COM conducted computer analysis/games – testing Plan 1002-90. [Video testimony – Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)] US War College report written: "Baghdad should not be expected to deliberately provoke military confrontations with anyone (54). Its best interests now and in immediate future are served by peace."
Feb. 1990
General Norman Schwartzkopf, Jr. argued to Congress for increased US presence in the Gulf.
May 1990
Saddam Hussein publicly accused Gulf states of waging economic war against Iraq, with Kuwait singled out as using American equipment to achieve slant-drilling across the border into Iraq’s oil-fields (55). At this same time and following urging from the US, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia demanded immediate repayment of loans earlier made to Iraq. In response, Hussein began moving large numbers of troops to the Kuwaiti border. [Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]
July 27, 1990

Despite these growing tensions between Iraq and Kuwait, and despite the US’s dependence on cheap Kuwaiti oil, the US State Department issued the statement that it was aware of the movement of Iraqi troops threatening Kuwait, but that "there are no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait." — Telegraphing a straight forward message to Hussein: an invasion of Kuwait would not be countered. [See: 1. Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32) video footage of 07-27-90 US State Dept. Briefing, 2. N.Y.Times excerpts re: Meeting with US Envoy (56a), 3. Reported that US Ambassador April Glaspie issued the same information to Hussein July 25, 1990 (56b)/(56c), 4. Summary study of this disinformation program (56d).] These reports of Ms. Glaspie’s meeting with Saddam Hussein were officially countered by the US government, although the State Department declined to release meeting transcripts (56e)..

Aug. 2, 1990

Iraq invaded Kuwait. UN Security Council Resolution 660 (57a) immediately passed – condemning Iraq for invasion of Kuwait. All Iraqi assets in the US were immediately frozen (57b) and the US Navy instituted a blockade of the Iraqi coast before the UN had a chance to convene.

Aug. 1990

Bush Sr. expressed shock at Iraqi invasion, despite the fact that for several months it had practiced for the exact military situation with troops and armaments in place in the middle east poised for response. [General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.: "We went ahead and did an exercise, what’s called a command post exercise, which is what ‘Internal Look’ was, to test our ability to deal with this particular scenario and also to uncover any command and control problems that might exist, any doctrine problems that might exist between the air force, and the navy and the army forces. And it just so happened that we were in the middle of conducting the "Internal Look Command Post" exercises at the same time that the crisis developed in the Gulf." [Video testimony within the highly regarded film "Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)"]

Aug. 5, 1990

US State Dept. representatives, including General Colin Powell, flew to Saudi Arabia, telling them that the Iraqis were amassing on their borders preparing to invade. Official press releases included the fact that the Saudis were shown satellite photographs proving this buildup. [ABC and the St. Petersburg times revealed January 6, 1991 that commercial satellite photographs obtained from that same period did not show the claimed buildup (58a) – i.e.. the military photos shown to the Saudis were falsified (58b). [See discussion of evidence (58c) , CS Monitor coverage(58d), and video testimony within Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]

Aug. 6, 1990

UN Security Council Resolution 661 (59) passed – levying sanctions against Iraq and setting a deadline set of 1/15/91 – i.e.. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday, for Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait.

Aug. 7-8, 1990

Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, after being told by US representatives that Iraq was preparing to invade (See Aug. 5, 1990 above) agreed to the basing of US forces on Saudi land (fulfilling a long held US ambition). Over the next 24 hours, without pre-notification of Congress, forty-thousand troops and a cache of military supplies were flown to Saudi Arabia. [See: 60a, 60b, 60c, 60d, and Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]

Aug. 8, 1990

Iraq announced the annexation of Kuwait (61).

Aug. 25, 1990
UN Security Council Resolution 665 (62) passed – calling for use of force if Iraq failed to withdraw from Kuwait.
Nov. 8, 1990
US increased forces within the area to 400,000 (mostly in Saudi Arabia). The stationing of US troops on sacred Saudi soil infuriated Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi. [Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (32)]
Nov. 29, 1990
UN Security Council Resolution 678 (63) passed by a vote of 12-2 w/ China abstaining – authorizing the use of force if Iraq failed to withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991. [UN states were pressured by the US to vote for war. Example: Yemen voted against the use of force resolution, following which a US representative was quoted as stating "that will be the most expensive no vote you ever cast." 3 days later, Yemen – the poorest country in the Arab world – had its entire aid budget cut by the US. (64)]
Jan. 12, 1991

US Congress authorized use of force if Iraq hasn’t withdrawn from Kuwait, pursuant to UNSC 678, by Jan. 15, 1991 [Joint Res.77 (65), becoming Public Law No: 102-1 on 1/14/91]

Jan. 17, 1991

US lead "Operation Desert Storm" began air assault using "pinpoint accuracy" (only 8% of bombs used were of the -smart- variety, despite mainstream press reports (66)). The bombing resulted in the deaths of 150,000 to 200,000 people, including thousands of innocent civilians. Bombing included reservoirs, filtration and water treatment plants (67a), electric power distribution, food distribution systems. Civilian deaths included 1,500 within the Al-Amariyah shelter. Kuwait entered by coalition forces. (See: Jan. 15, 1991 National Security Directive #54 (67b))

Feb. 15, 1991
President Bush, Sr. called upon the Iraqi people to "…take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside…" (68a) [See also: Guardian, UK (68b)] [See Mar.-Apr. 1991 below]
Feb. 23, 1991
Beginning of US lead, coalition ground assault eventually lasting 100 hours.
Feb. 26, 1991
Hussein announced an immediate withdrawal of forces from Kuwait. Bush, Sr. issued these comments (69a). A large anti-Hussein militia rose, partially in response to President Bush, Sr.’s February 15, 1991, comments. (69b)
Feb. 28, 1991

Ceasefire announced – war abruptly stopped after coalition forces pursued Iraqi troops only to the outskirts of Basra and Nassiyya.

Mar. 2, 1991
Despite announced ceasefire, thousands of retreating Iraqi soldiers killed by US 24th Mechanized Infantry. UN Security Council Resolution 686 (70) passed – calling on Iraq to revoke their claim to the annexation of Kuwait.
Mar. 3, 1991

Schwarzkopf concluded formal peace agreement with Iraq near the Kuwaiti border, allowing Hussein to continue using helicopter armaments, etc. (UN Security Council Resolution 687 (71) passed one month later – specifying ceasefire conditions, including UN inspections.)

Mar. – Apr. 1991

Popular rebellion spread broadly across Iraq in March. Under the ceasefire agreement, Schwartzkopf allowed Saddam’s helicopters to fly through coalition force lines, that were used to slaughter Shiite rebels in the south and Kurdish rebels in the north (72). In addition, rebelling Republican Guard troops in the south were denied the use of their stored weapons. A massive refugee crisis on Turkish and Iranian borders followed. The failed rebellion resulted in over one-hundred thousand rebel deaths, and in keeping Hussein in power.

1991 – 1992

No-fly zones established in Northern and Southern Iraq..

1991 – 2003

Iraqi embargo continued for 12 years – resulting in the death of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 children from lack of water purification, lack of medications, and starvation (73). In 1991 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 706 (74) – the "Oil for Food Resolution, " but the US blocked such materials as chlorine, and medications to be supplied – claiming these to have secondary, wartime, uses. Many scholars find that this embargo has functioned (perhaps knowingly) to keep Hussein in power, as survival staples all must come through his regime, not through commerce. In addition, it is noted that keeping Hussein in power allowed the US military to remain in the region and consolidate a presence with thousands of US troops stationed within Saudi Arabia and elsewhere on a permanent basis. In addition, regional arms sales have continued and accelerated resulting in marked profits of the US arms industry.

June 1993

Stated to be a response to an alleged attempted assassination of George Bush, Sr. in April, the US fired twenty-three cruise missiles at Iraqi headquarters in Baghdad (75).


Hussein took titles: Prime Minister and President of Iraq. The Iraqi National Assembly formally recognized Kuwait’s independence (76).

Apr. 1995

UN Security Council Resolution 986 (77) "Food for Oil" program. (Accepted by Iraq in Dec. 1995)

May 12, 1996

Then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was asked a question on a "60 Minutes News Hour" broadcast: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?" Her reply: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it." (78)


Inspectors withdrew abruptly from Iraq under orders of Richard Butler; this after he unilaterally violated agreed upon UN Security Council protocols ("Modalities for Sensitive Site Inspections") – drawn in recognition of Iraq’s legitimate security concerns, and accepted by the UN Security Council in 1996. Butler had acted outside of agreed upon UN Security Council protocol demanding inspection of an Iraqi "sensitive site"; this resulted in Iraqi officials refusing entry. Operation Desert Fox (79) (bombing by US and British forces) over Dec. 16-19, 1998 (79a) followedjustified to the public (79a)by stating the "Iraq threw the inspectors out."


UN Security Council Resolution 1284 (80) created UNMOVIC, replacing UNSCOM – rejected by Iraq.

Nov. 2000
Iraq became the first OPEC nation to begin selling its oil for Euros, rather than for dollars
Feb. 2001

Major bombing raid over Iraq by US and British forces

Sept. 11, 2001

A group of SAUDI nationals within the al-Qaeda network and aided by Osama bin Laden, attacked multiple targets in the US. This was said to have been in response to the ongoing US presence and increasing interference in the region. [See: TIMELINE OF OIL AND VIOLENCE]

Oct. 7, 2001
The US attacked Afghanistan where al-Qaeda training camps were said to have been active. [See: TIMELINE OF OIL AND VIOLENCE]
Dec. 2001
Shortly thereafter, the US placed a new regime in Afghanistan that was strongly linked to the oil industry. The building of a US controlled one-million barrels/day trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline, earlier refused by the Taliban, was soon after approved. [See: TIMELINE OF OIL AND VIOLENCE]

The Bush administration and US media suddenly switched focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, despite there being no known connection between 9/11 events and the Hussein regime in Iraq.

Mar. 2002
US and UK aircraft dramatically increased (81a) bombing of Iraqi targets.
May 2002

UN Security Council Resolution 1409 (81b) streamlined Iraqi sanctions.

Jul. – Aug. 2002

Weapons inspections negotiations between Iraq and UN continued without success.

Sept. 2002
Massive airstrikes on Iraqi targets undertaken (81c) (one month before the US Congress voted to give Bush the authority to invade).
Oct. 9 – 11, 2002

Passage of resolution authorizing George Bush, Jr. to employ military force in Iraq without further Congressional action (82a) – House voted 10/09/03 / Senate voted 10/11/03 – thereby abrogating Congress’s constitutional responsibility in the matter of war. [Hear: Senator Robert Byrd’s Senate Floor comments. (82b)] [See roll-calls: House (yes:296 no:133) (82c) / Senate (yes:77 no:23) (82d)

Nov. 2002

UN Security Council Resolution 1441 (83) established Iraqi weapons inspection program, threatening "serious consequences" if Iraq failed to comply. Iraq allowed inspections to resume with work beginning Nov. 27, 2002.

Jan. 27, 2003

Hans Blix [UNSCOM/UNMOVIC] report given to UN Security Council (84) – stating progress being made, and that more time was required to complete the task. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei’s reported to the UN Security Council that no evidence of an ongoing nuclear program had been discovered throughout Iraq to date. (85)

Feb. – Mar. 2003
The US pushed the UN Security Council to sanction the use of force against Iraq. (86) As the council was sure to vote "no," the US withdrew that requested vote.
Feb. – Mar. 2003


ARGUMENT 1 : US may act unilaterally under Article 51 of the UN Charter (87) that any state under imminent threat may respond with military action. Evidence of imminent threat included claims that Iraq held and continued to develop "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)," i.e.. nuclear materials, nerve agents (sarin, tabun, and VX), and biological agents.

Nuclear: In testimony to the UN, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated there was no evidence of an extant Iraqi nuclear weapons program (88), and that nuclear materials were not detected within the country despite exhaustive inspections.

Chemical: Scott Ritter (89), who acted as a UNSCOM inspector for over seven years in Iraq through 1998, explained that 1) all discovered caches of nerve agents were destroyed during inspections in the 1990s, 2) the means of creating new stocks of those agents was destroyed by inspectors in the 1990s and could not be rebuilt under current scrutiny, 3) if any caches of tabun or sarin agents were not discovered in the 1990s, they would have deactivated spontaneously after only five years – i.e. they would be useless by 2003, 4) VX agent not discovered in the 1990s would likely also have deactivated spontaneously over the past decade, and again production means had earlier been destroyed. Dr. Hans Blix, the UN Chief Weapons Inspector addressed the UN Security Council on March 7, 2003 (90) stating there was no evidence of ongoing Chemical or Biological programs in Iraq and that at the current rate of progress it would only take a matter of months (not years) to conclude an exhaustive inspection program.

Biologic: Scott Ritter (89) had repeatedly explained how biological agent production facilities were destroyed in the early 1990s and that new facilities could not be rebuilt given our ongoing inspections and reconnaissance. Regarding evidence of earlier production of anthrax in the 1990s he noted that over this period of time any caches of liquid anthrax would have germinated within 3 years – deactivating it as a biologic weapon. Similar evidence regarding the absence of other agents was provided. Mr. Ritter offered further refutation of evidence of any attempted ongoing programs of biological weapons production within Iraq. (See: UN Chief Weapons Inspector, Dr. Hans Blix’s, statement above. (90))

ARGUMENT 2 : Earlier UN Security Council resolution 687 (71) (passed Apr. 1991) and 1441 (83) (passed Nov. 2002) enables use of force by the US and Britain.

UNSC Resolutions did not specify use of force, UN Security Council Resolution 687 (71) stated that the option of force was available as implied in paragraph I-34: "Decides to remain seized of the matter and to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the region."; 1441 (83) similarly stated that further enforcement would require further resolution: "we remained seized on the matter." The US requested such a resolution of the security council, but as votes could not be found – the request was withdrawn.

ARGUMENT 3 : Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are cooperative.

There was no evidence for this. In fact, Hussein was a secular dictator who worked to crush Islamic fundamentalism and was thus considered to be an al-Qaeda enemy (91).

Mar. 3, 2003
WAR IN IRAQ. NOTE: Thousands of rebels who might have been successful in toppled Hussein in Feb. 1991 had been killed by Hussein forces; this as a result of the US cease-fire policy at the time, and following the US’s failure to support the uprising. (92). As this militia no longer existed, military experts within the Bush (Sr. and Jr.) governments calculated that occupation of Iraq would be met with less militia resistance (suggesting this war came as a result of at least a decade of planning and scripting.) [See: Reports from un-"embedded" observers (93)]
Mar. – Apr., 2003

Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of civilians, including many-many small children, lost their lives and/or limbs in what can only be described as psychopathic bombardment of public places. (Cluster munitions were used on civilian populations – an internationally recognized war crime. (94)) Among those killed include an unusual number of independent journalists (95a). (See also: FAIR (95b) and Fisk (95c) Articles.)

No "Weapons of Mass Destruction" were used (or discovered), the oil fields were immediately secured by US forces, and the museums containing priceless artifacts of our common heritage were left unguarded – and were looted, … and gasoline prices are coming down as Iraqi oil flows westward. (March 7, 2003: IAEA Director General, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei’s comments to the UN Security Council. (96))

Mar. 25: Halliburton Corporation was awarded a contract to rebuild Iraq. In addition Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root was further awarded a contract to operate Iraqi oil facilities and to "distribute" Iraqi petroleum products (97) – despite statements by President Bush that "Iraqi oil is for the Iraqis." (The contracts are to be worth a great deal more than a contract held by a new Halliburton subsidiary (Dresser Industries) in 1998 when – then Halliburton CEO – Dick Cheney (98) oversaw the subsidiary’s acquisition.)Dick Cheney gave up his CEO position when taking the role of US Vice President in 2000.

Apr. 17: Bechtel, another US corporation with present and former White House ties, was awarded another lucrative contract (99a) to rebuild bomb damaged Iraq.

BECHTEL’S PAST AND PRESENT WHITE HOUSE CONNECTIONS Bechtel notes (99b):1) In December, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld, then working within the Reagan administration, now secretary of "defense", negotiated with Saddam Hussein to build an oil pipeline across Iraq. 2) The failed pipeline deal was later investigated by Congress as it involved former Reagan White House counsel and Attorney General, Edwin Meese III. 3) George Schultz, former Secretary of State under Reagan, was Bechtel’s CEO before assuming his cabinet position. Mr. Schultz currently serves as senior counselor and as a director at Bechtel.4) Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense under Reagan was a Bechtel executive before assuming his Reagan White House role.

Apr. – May, 2003
Continued US occupation of Iraq with outbreaks of violently suppressed resistance (100).
Aug. 2003
Halliburton subsidiary contract (US Taxpayer money) now valued at over $1 billion.
Nov. 2003
US occupation of Iraq met with growing Iraqi resistance, and with increasing violence. Leaked CIA report estimates Iraqi resistance at 50,000 and growing rapidly. (‘We Could Lose This Situation’ (101)
Sept. 2004
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue with no exit strategy (102) apparent. Past Bush Administration statements regarding Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction" now widely held as false. To date over 1000 US Troops and over 13,000 Iraqi civilians killed with tens of thousands injured, [Hear: MoveOn call for censure – 943KB mp3 file (103).]
Oct. 2004
Official and final conclusion of the Iraqi Survey Group (104): 1) No weapons of mass destruction were present in Iraq despite Whitehouse insistence they would be found.
Sept. 2005
Under continued US occupation, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians and 1900 US troops have been killed. Iraq approaches civil war (105).
Oct. 2005
Video hint of the reality of October, 2005 (106), … and the many preceding months.
Feb. 2006
Zogby International Poll of US Troops in Iraq: 72% say ‘US should exit Iraq this year‘ (107).
June 2006
Conditions in Iraq continue to deteriorate (see: leaked US Ambassador memo (108a)).


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