In order to weaken Arab nationalism, Britain blocks Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf by severing the territorial entity, "Kuwait" from the rest of Iraq. [59] [60]


Britain gives Iraq nominal independence. Kuwait remains a British protectorate. [2]


Iran's Mossadegh government nationalises holdings of Ango-Iranian Company (now BP). [2]


CIA helps overthrow Mossadegh in Iran. Shah installed and hands over 40% ownership of oil fields to US companies. SAVAK brutal state police - formed with US backing and with the help of Norman Schwarzkopf Sr. [2] [6]


The CIA brings together British, Iraqi, Jordanian and Lebanese intelligence services in Beirut to devise plans to overthrow Nasser of Egypt. The plans do not succeed. [59]


February - With US encouragement Iraq and Jordan form the Arab union, in response to Syria and Egypt forming the United Arab Republic in January. [59]

July - Popular nationalist revolution in Iraq led by Abdel Karim Kassem overthrows Hashemite monarchy, installed by British In 1921. Kassem nationalises Western holdings in Iraq. [2] The new regime renounces the earlier formed Arab Union with Jordan. [59]

Shortly after the coup the US Joint Chiefs of Staff draft a secret plan, code named Operation CANNON-BONE, for a joint US-Turkish invasion of Iraq. Apparently only Soviet threats to intercede on Iraq's side prevent the US government from enacting the plan. [59]

October - A CIA backed assassination attempt against Kassem fails. One member of the hit squad employed by the CIA was a 22 year old Saddam Hussein. [132]


Kassem helps form OPEC. [2]

The US government begins to fund the Kurdish guerillas in Iraq who are fighting for some degree of autonomy. [59]

The CIA seeks ways to "incapacitate" Kassem. They send him a poisoned handkerchief, but without success. [59]


Britain declares Kuwait independent, Iraq masses troops at the border, but backs down when the British send forces to Kuwait. [59]


Bloody CIA aided coup overthrows Kassem and thousands of supporters. [2] [27] [67]


Ba'ath party comes to power, again with CIA backing. [2] [27]


April - Iraq signs a pact of friendship with the Soviet Union under which it receives military aid in return for port privileges. [59]

May - At the request of the Shah of Iran US President Nixon agrees to help arm the Kurds in Iraq, thus heating up their fight with the Iraqi government and draining Iraqi resources. Ultimately this aid, in the form of Soviet and Chinese weapons and ammunition, totalled some $16 million. [59]

June - Iraq nationalises the Western owned oil consortium, the Iraq Petroleum Company (23.75% US) with the slogan “Arab oil for Arabs”. Iraq is placed on US list of states that support terrorism. [2] [3] [59]


The Pentagon conducts annual training exercises in the Mojave Desert in which Marines are pitted against soldiers in Libyan and Iraqi uniforms. Washington strategists openly discuss invading the Gulf. [2]

October - The Kurds wish to take the opportunity of the Yom Kippur attack on Israel to launch their own attack on the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government being preoccupied as an ally of Egypt and Syria. The Kurdish offensive was suggested by Israel, but US National Security Affairs adviser, Henry Kissinger had the CIA advise the Kurds against the move. As the Pike Report later observed, the US government did not want the Kurds to win they just wanted to use them to weaken Iraq. [59]


March - The Soviets try to help the Iraqi government negotiate a settlement with the Kurds, but the US and Iran advice the Kurds to refuse all terms, which they do. [59]

Threatening statements from US Defence Secretary prompts Saudis and Kuwaitis to mine their oil fields in preparation for a US invasion. [2]


March - The Shah of Iran, who since 1973 had desired to strengthen Iran's position in OPEC by coming to agreements with other Arab states, comes to an agreement with Iraq. The Shah cuts off all supplies to the Kurds and Iraq launches an offensive against them. The Kurds plead for help from the CIA and Kissenger, whom they believed were their allies, but neither make any response and the Kurds are defeated. 200,000 Kurds flea into Iran where they receive little humanitarian assistance. Iran later forcibly returns over 40,000 of them. The US government refuses to admit any Kurds into the US as refugees. When later interviewed by the Pike Committee about this affair, Kissinger responds: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.” [59]

Iraq agrees to share control of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway with Iran. [2]


May - Political activity is made illegal for anyone previously serving in the armed forces, with a possible death sentence for those found guilty. In a country with universal conscription this effectively outlaws political activity. Hundreds of people are arrested and tortured to death, their relatives are ordered to collect their corpses, and many are jeered at when they do so. [2]


July - Iraqi President al Bakr resigns and Saddam Hussein is sworn in. [2]

December - Shah is overthrown in Iran. Hussein recognises the new government on the following day. US embassy personnel in Iran are taken hostage. The US allegedly encourages Iraq to seize back the Shat-al-Arab waterway. [2]


The U.S. provide Iraq with intelligence reports that Iran would quickly collapse in the face of an Iraqi advance. At the urging of U.S.-backed Arab rulers in Kuwait, Egypt and elsewhere, Saddam Hussein unleashes a war with Iran in which hundreds of thousands die. [3] [62]

The attack serves U.S. interests by weakening Iran, where U.S. embassy personnel were still kept hostage. The U.S. do not want either side to win. [2] [3]

To sustain the eight year war Iraq receive massive assistance, direct and indirect, from the U.S.S.R., Eastern bloc countries, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, the U.S., U.K., France, and West Germany. The Pentagon and CIA provides Iraq with satellite and AWACS intelligence on Iranian forces. The U.S. send CIA and Special Forces to train Iraqi commandos and the U.S. helps funnel billions of dollars worth of arms to Iraq. [3]

Egypt, a major recipient of U.S. military aid, sends troops, tanks and heavy artillery to Iraq. In 1980, the military dictatorship in Turkey - a major recipient of U.S. military aid - sends troops to fight rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan, freeing Iraq's army to concentrate on fighting Iran. [3]

The U.S.-supported regimes in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia also support Iraq's war effort. Kuwait's contributes over $30 billion. The U.S. sell over $20 billion worth of arms to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states during this period and allow Saudi Arabia to transfer large quantities of U.S. arms to Iraq during the war. [3]

This war is the first to use chemical weapons since the US invasion of Vietnam. Between 1978 and 1988 the US ships seven strains of anthrax to Iraq. [62] [71]

Botulism was also supplied and further stocks of Anthrax were supplied by the Porton Down laboratories in Britain. Arms from Britain were illegaly channeled by the Thatcher government via an arms company called Astra. [67] [71]

Israel supplies arms to Iran for the war against Iraq, their stated aim, like that of the US government, is to prolong the war as long as possible. [62]

The UK openly supplies arms to Iraq, but also MI6 work with an Iranian born arms dealer, Jamshid Hashemi, to help supply foreign arms to Iran, in direct violation of the British Government's guidelines. In one deal British made motorboats, reinforced to carry heavy machine guns, are exported to Iran via Greece. These boats are used against civilian shipping in the tanker war in the gulf in the mid 1980's. [1]


After Iraq threatens to bomb Israel, Israel respond by bombing Iraq's nuclear power complex. [2] [64]

July - British Foreign Office official Douglas Hurd flies to Baghdad as a 'high level salesman'. Other British MPs to visit between 1980 and 1981 included William Waldegrave, Lord Carrington, Cecil Parkinson, John Nott, John Biffen, Tony Newton and Paul Channon. [2] [67]


The US removes Iraq from list of countries that support terrorism, allowing exports of dual use equipment which include jeeps, helicopters, and transports. Kuwait effectively replaces Basra as Iraq's main port. [2] [64]


Britain officially bans arms sales to Iraq. U.S. and Turkish generals prepare to re-implement the 1958 ‘Cannonbone’ plan to invade and seize northern Iraqi oil fields if Iraq is defeated. [2]


The US increases its support for Iraq, becoming its principle trading partner, increasing purchases of Iraqi oil, encouraging Britain and Japan to do the same and authorising increased intelligence sharing. Vice President Bush, the CIA and the State Department begin lobbying the Export/Import bank to begin large scale financing of US exports to Iraq. [7]

March - The UN reports that Iraq has used poison gas against Iranian troops. [62]

October - Iraq resumes full diplomatic relations with the US, which were broken off in October 1967. This is largely a formality: the US interests section at the Belgian embassy is one of the largest missions in the capital. The price for this continued support is that Iraq drop its hard line on the Arab/Israeli conflict. [2]


Oliver North tells Iranian officials that the US will try to engineer the overthrow of Hussein. Until 1986 the US funnelled arms to Iran through Oliver North, Israel and Pakistan. [2] [3] [4] [5] (See Nicaragua.)


British Conservative MP Alan Clark returns to Baghdad, and the US sends a high level CIA team to advise the Iraqi military. [2]

March - UN confirm that Iraq is using chemical weapons against Iran. After Iran's successful Fao offensive. Kuwait takes a publicly pro-Iraqi Stance. USSR increases trade to Iraq by 48% to $1200 million worth, thus aligning themselves firmly on Iraq's side. [2]


Iran and Iraq start trying to destroy each other's oil facilities. Kuwait calls on the USSR and USA for naval protection. The possibility of Soviet involvement enables the US to justify becoming directly involved on Iraq's side, flagging Kuwaiti tankers in the Gulf, escorting ships carrying Iraqi oil, sinking Iranian patrol ships and destroying oil platforms, thus establishing a military presence in the Gulf. [2]


In the spring, Iran, with the assistance of the Kurdish Rebel Organisations the PUK and KDP, launch an offensive into Northern Iraq capturing the town of Halabja on the 15th of March. The next day the Iraqi airforce bomb Halabja with poison gas, causing 5000 deaths. [2] [63]

David Mellor, then a Foreign Office minister, was allegedly visiting Baghdad at the time. Within a month Defence Minister Tony Newton had returned to Baghdad to offer, on behalf of the British Thatcher government £340 million in export credits. Britain's trade with Iraq had risen from £2.9 million in 1987 to £31.5 million. Iraq becomes Britain's third biggest market for 'dual-use' machine tools. [2] [67]

August - Iran and Iraq agree a cease fire. [2]

Western sources estimate casualties at nearly 400,000 dead and 780,000 wounded: one quarter Iraqi, three quarter Iranian. The cost of the war exceeded the entire oil revenue received by Iran and Iraq since they started to sell their oil on the world market in 1949 and 1931 respectively. [2]

One day after the cease-fire Kuwait decides to increase oil production, violating OPEC agreements and sending the crude oil price from 21 US dollars to 11 dollars a barrel, costing Iraq 14 billion a year in lost revenues; this at a time when Iraq and Iran needed stable prices to reconstruct. Bahrain also began to increase production. [2]

Thirty British MPs sign Ann Clwyd's motion condemning Saddam's gassing of The Kurds. [2]

September - Britain's £340 million export credit deal with Iraq goes through. [2] [67]

The day Iraqi Foreign Minister Sa'dun Hamadi was to meet US Secretary of State George Schulz in Washington, US State department calls a press conference and charges Iraq with using chemical weapons against the Kurds, 8 months after Halabja. [2]

The US Department of Commerce was still approving shipments of billions of dollar's worth of dual use equipment to Iraq. [2] [26]


US War Plan 1002 is renamed 1002-90 and poses Iraq as the enemy. [2]

March - Kuwait demands a 50% increase in the OPEC quota. The demand is rejected but Kuwait goes ahead, doubling oil production to over 2 million barrels a day. Some of this comes from the disputed Rumaila oil field, situated on the Iraq / Kuwait border. Incursions into Iraq by the Kuwaitis during the war had gained them an additional 900 square mile of territory, including large parts of the oil field. [2] [59]

With slant drilling technology, supplied by the US, Kuwait is also tapping oil from inside the Iraqi border. Now Kuwait demands that Iraq pay back the 30 billion dollars it had loaned them during the war. Iraq tries to negotiate but Kuwait responds with an intransigence that surprises observers. [2] [59]

July - Six US warships begin short notice manoeuvres in the Gulf. [2]

October - The US government moves to re-establish "normal relations" with Iraq. US Secretary of State John Kelly tells Saddam Hussein "You are a force for moderation in the region and the United States wants to broaden her relationship with Iraq." [64] [67]

November - The CIA allegedly agrees to help Kuwait put economic pressure on Iraq. [2]

William Webster (director of the CIA) testifies before Congress that US dependence on Gulf oil had risen from 5% in 1973 to 10% in 1989, predicting it would reach 25% by 2000. [2]

General Norman Schwarzkopf makes several visits to Kuwait prior to the Iraqi invasion. [2]

December - The US lifts a ban on loans to Iraq. [64]


In the wake of the removal of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Block, US President George HW Bush is under intense pressure to cut back military spending and his popularity is falling fast. He needs something to show that the miltary is still needed and to show the public that there is something they need protection from. [2] [59]

January-June - According to a study by the Strategic Institute of the US Army War College, Iraq is now interested in rebuilding its economy, not in miltary action. [2]

April - The 'Supergun' story breaks. Steel pipes and parts are seized by British customs as they are leaving the country. Outrage ensues, but the shipment of 'dual-use' equipment had been going on for years. De-facto sanctions against Iraq are quietly introduced. [2]

Saddam Hussein meets with four US senators including Robert Dole. Dole reassures Hussein that the US press is “spoiled and conceited” and that Congressional sanctions issues did not reflect Bush administration sentiment. Dole tells Hussein that a Voice of America broadcaster who had been critical of Iraq had been fired. This is a lie. [2] [64]

May - In regard to overproduction of oil, Iraq accuses Kuwait of economic warfare. [2] [59]

According to Yasser Arafat the US thwarts a chance for a peaceful resolution of Kuwait and Iraq's differences at an Arab summit, after Saddam Hussein offers to negotiate a mutually acceptable border. [59]

June - Iraq sends envoys to several Arab states with appeals for new oil quotas. Kuwait refuses and rejects pleas for a summit. [2]

July - A Summit takes place, and new quotas are set, but the following day Kuwait announces that it will increase oil production substantially by October. It is alleged that the US pressed Kuwait to do this. [2]

Saddam publicly accuses the US and Kuwait of waging economic war against Iraq. The next day Iraqi troops begin massing on the Kuwaiti border. [2] [59]

The US assure Saddam that they have “no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait”. But the US ambassador to Iraq then expresses concern to Hussein about his troop deployment on the Kuwait border. [2] [59]

The US conduct at least four war games directed at Iraq, some premised on an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. [2] [59]

The Kuwaiti Minister of Oil later acknowledges that they knew the US would not let them be overrun. “The American policy was clear. Only Saddam didn't understand it.” [59]

The US government receives several warnings of Iraq's imminent invasion of Kuwait, but does not react. The Kuwaiti government too ignores a warning from one of its own diplomats. [59]

August - On August the 2nd Iraq invades Kuwait. President George Bush phones King Hussein of Jordan and tells him he has 48 hours to reach a negotiated settlement. King Hussein brokers a conference between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq to take place on the 5th. Saddam tells him he will go, and begin withdrawing troops on that day, providing no condemnation is made at the Arab league Summit. [2]

Bush declares that the invasion “underscores the need to go slowly in restructuring US defense forces”. [59]

Before 24 hours have passed the US Senate had “decisively defeated efforts to end or freeze production of the B-2 stealth bomber after proponents seized on Iraq's invasion of Kuwait to bolster their case for the radar eluding weapon”. [59]

Bush prepares orders to freeze Iraqi assets and prevent trade. He despatches seven warships to the Gulf. 40,000 troops are deployed within the first week, before the Saudis 'request' their presence. [2] [59]

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 660 condemns the invasion, calling for an Iraqi withdrawl and regional negotiations to settle the differences between the two countries. [2]

By placing the dispute before the Security Council Bush prevents any meaningful role by the UN General Assembly. Article 12 of the UN charter prohibits the General Assembly from making any recommendation regarding a dispute before the Security Council unless the Security Council requests it to do so. Zaire occupied the rotating presidency of the council and refused requests from Cuba, Yemen and India to convene the Security Council even though it had no power to do so under the UN charter. [2]

When Hussein arrived in Jordan he discovers that Egypt, under duress, from the US, has introduced a resolution condemning the invasion, which was adopted by the Arab League. [2]

The US persuades the Saudi's to accept US troops on the pretext that Iraq might invade Saudi Arabia. Bush officials later admitted that neither the CIA nor the Defense Intelligence Agency thought this probable. In any case Iraq has its own very long border with Saudi Arabia, so it would have no need to pass through Kuwait to invade Saudi Arabia. [2] [59]

US tabled UNSCR 661 calls for total economic boycott, excepting medical supplies and humanitarian foodstuffs (the war over interpretation begins.) By putting this/other resolutions before the Security Council, Bush again prevents the General Assembly from discussing the issue. The resolution is passed. [2]

The US government confirms that food will be included in the ban. [2]

To garner support for the US response the US government employs coercion and spectacular bribes. Egypt was forgiven many billions of dollars in debt, Syria, China, Turkey, the Soviet Union and other countries receive military or economic aid and World Bank and IMF loans, have sanctions lifted, or are given other perks, not only from the US but, under Washington's pressure, from Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration also stopped criticizing the human rights records of any coalition member. [2] [59]

Bush claims the troop build up in Saudi Arabia is wholly defensive, and that Iraq had invaded Kuwait with neither warning nor provocation. Soviet satellite pictures taken on the same day show no evidence of Iraqi troops on the Saudi border. [2]

UNSCR Resolution 682 states the non-validity of the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait, and is adopted unanimously. [2]

Iraq makes a peace proposal which links withdrawal from Kuwait to discussions of the Israeli occupied territory, and replacement of US troops with UN monitored Arab troops in the Gulf. Bush rejects it. [2] [64]

In mid August Iraq submits a new proposal for an Iraqi withdrawal and release of foreign nationals in return for the lifting of sanctions, access to the Gulf, and control of the Rumaila oil fields. The plan is delivered to Brent Scowcroft, Bush's National Security Advisor. Secretary of State James Baker denied the offer had been made, an embarassing lie since The Whitehouse simultaneously acknowledged it. [2] [59]

Tariq Aziz again says Iraq is willing to negotiate. There is serious Saudi interest in the proposal, but the US pressures the Saudis to retract a statement to that effect. [2]

Hussein suggests televised debates between himself, President Bush and Margaret Thatcher. This is rejected. [2]

September - Bush tells congress that huge numbers of Iraqi troops and tanks are massing in Kuwait to threaten Saudi Arabia. Russian satellite pictures show nothing of the sort. [2]

October - A 15 year old girl known only as ‘Nayirah ’ testifies before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi troops taking babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and leaving them on the cold floor to die. The testimony is frequently used by Bush who claims that 312 babies had died. It was later revealed that the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, a fact known by the organisers of the hearing, and that the testimony was false. [2]

There are 400,000 US troops in the region by the end of the month. Bush has failed in his statutory duty under the War Powers Act of 1973 “to report to, and consult with, Congress on emergency military matters. ” [2]

November - Hussein again expresses willingness to talk. [2] [59]

Bush falsely claims Hussein is close to having nuclear weapons. [2]

The US bribes and bullies UN member states to secure votes for UN Security Council Resolution 678, which authorises 'all necessary means' to uphold previous resolutions and restore peace and security in the area. [2] [59]

Cuba and Yemen vote against the resolution and when Yemen's delegate received some applause for his negative vote US Secretary of State Baker says “I hope he enjoyed that applause, because this will turn out to be the most expensive vote he ever cast.” Within days Yemen suffered a sharp reduction in US aid. And 900,000 migrant Yemeni workers are later expelled from Saudi Arabia. [2] [59]

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb writes that the deployement of troops to Saudi Arabia “seems driven more by upcoming budget battles on Capitol Hill than a potential battle against Sadam Hussein. ” [59]

December - The UN reaffirms a ban on attacking nuclear facilities. [2]

Bush directs Schwarzkopf to attack at 7:00pm EST on 16th January, to coincide with the evening news. There are now 540 000 US troops in the Gulf. [2]


January - Iraq offers to withdraw. [2]

On the 9th January James Baker meets Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz. Bush tells Baker to offer no negotiation or compromise. [2]

Bush announces that Iraq has rejected a diplomatic solution. [2]

Both the US Senate and the House of representatives vote to back the use of force. [2]

On the 16th January Bush orders bombing to begin. [2]

Congressman Henry Gonzalez moves to impeach Bush on five counts:

Bush has conspired to engage the US in a massive war against Iraq [.....] Bush has committed the US without congressional consent and contrary to the UN Charter to an act of war [.....] Bush has conspired to commit crimes against peace in violation of the charters of the UN, Nuremberg and the US constitution.”

On the 17th January at 7:00pm EST bombardment of Iraq begins. Within the first hours of the war 85% of all electrical power generation in Iraq is destroyed. Within two days not a single baby incubator is functioning in Iraq. [2]

On the 23rd January Colin Powell, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, announces attacks on Iraqi nuclear facilities, without any regard for the UN General Assembly vote or the Geneva Convention. [2]

US officers admit that the destruction of the civilian infrastructure is deliberate policy, not "collateral" or unintended. [67] They bomb schools, universities, hospitals and more. [86]

They intentionally destroy the Iraqi's water supplies during the Gulf War and through sanctions, leading to many civilian deaths. [153]

US forces bury thousands of Iraqi soldiers in their trenches, dead, wounded and alive. They fire on Iraqi's waving white flags of surrender. The allies use depleted Uranium munitions leaving contamination known to cause cancers, genetic defects and other conditions. Many civilian targets are hit, usually in broad daylight and with no military or government targets nearby. [38] [59] [64] [72]

February - After the Pentagon declared, on the 12th February, that “Virtually everything militarily ... is either destroyed or combat ineffective” the bombing continues daily for the next two weeks. In one instance 1,500 civilians are killed when a civilian air raid shelter is bombed. [59]

Fleeing refugees are also bombed and machine-gunned by low flying aircraft. Finally the remains of the Iraqi army retreats from Kuwait. They are hungry, wounded, sick, exhausted, disoriented and demoralized. They are no threat and would surely have readily surrendered, but US forces slaughter them all and the numerous civilians fleeing along the same road, with bombs, rockets, cluster bombs and gun fire. It is, as GI's describe it gleefully at the time, “a turkey shoot”...“shooting fish in a barrel”. For five days the Iraqis had been asking for a ceasefire. [59]

March - US military obstructs Shia'a uprising and allows Saddam to crush it, killing 30 000. Refugees are burned alive. US planes fly overhead. [2] [40] [59] [64] [67]

A Kurdish revolt is also encouraged by the US and again the US fails to support it and allows the Iraqi government to crush it. [59] [67]

The World Health Organisation estimates that Baghdad's water supply is operating at 5% of pre-war level. People are forced to drink from heavily polluted rivers. [2]

The Save The Children Fund report that hospitals are operating at 20% of their pre-war level, and that public access is severely reduced by lack of fuel and destroyed roads and bridges. [2]

April - Britain and US establish ‘no fly zones’ in northern and southern Iraq. They begin covert, permanent war of bombing in the zones. [1]

The deliberate devastation of the country's infrastructure leads to much more suffering and death. A public health team from Harvard University, visiting several Iraqi cities two months after the end of the war, concludes that “at least 170,000 children under five years of age will die in the coming year from the delayed effects” of the destruction of electrical power, fuel and transportation; “a large increase in deaths among the rest of the population is also likely. The immediate cause of death in most cases will be water-borne infectious disease in combination with severe malnutrition.” One team member testifies before Congress that “ Two world renowned child psychologists stated that the children in Iraq were ‘the most traumatized children of war ever described’.” [2] [59]

A UN inspection team declares that the allied bombardment had had a “near apocalyptic impact” reducing the country to a “pre-industrial age nation” which “had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society.” [59]

May - Despite reports from UNICEF and the WHO confirming cases of extreme nutritional disorders of marasmus and kwashiorkor, and their warnings of a potential disaster in Iraq, new UK Prime Minister John Major declares that Britain will veto any UN attempt to weaken sanctions “…for so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.” [2]

June - The World Food Programme journal reports that the vast bulk of the population are suffering from the sewage, sanitation and water purification failure, and that even the requirement of feeding a baby is becoming ‘…a luxury that poor people simply cannot afford.” UNICEF also reports ‘…an alarming and rising incidence of severe and moderate malnutrition among the population of children under 5.’ [2]

UNICEF concludes that ‘Continuation of the trade embargo and of UN mandated sanctions against Iraq for any significant length of time will place the health and the very lives of hundreds and thousands of children's lives at risk.’ [2]

July - The deadline for weapons disclosure is reached. Iraqi compliance remains patchy, but the US backs off from attacking due to lack of international support. [2]

September - A Medical Aid for Iraq team travels through the country delivering medical supplies and assessing health. Their findings more than confirm the Megan Passey's Harvard Medical Team's findings in May, and in fact the situation is much worse. They report pharmacies turning away 90-98% of all people due to lack of drugs, power failures during the middle of operations, dire shortage of equipment and spare parts, hypodermic needles used repeatedly. They report a ten fold increases in typhoid and hepatitis, and twenty fold increase of cholera. Their report concludes ‘The state of medical care is desperate and, unless conditions substantially change, will continue to deteriorate in every region at every provider level’ [2]

October - In light of the apparent failure of Iraqi weapons disclosure, SCR 715 (reinforcing SCR 707) is passed. It allows UN inspectors to go anywhere, see anything, interview anyone, remove or photograph anything, intercept shipping, road vehicles and aircraft, install surveillance and long term monitoring equipment, check any permitted imports and exports, at any time they wish. Additionally all ‘dual-use’ machinery, and chemicals without any military uses, are banned from entering the country. This ensures that Iraq will be prevented from having any industrial base. [2]

November - The UN reports that the period August 1990 to August 1991 had seen a four fold rise in mortality for children under 5, and a three fold rise in children over 5, as compared to the 1989/1990 equivalent. [2]

December - By the end of the year there have been 1,056,956 cases of malnutrition in children under 5, and according to Iraqi / UNICEF figures, the cumulative death toll for children under 12 has reached 118,406. [2]


February - Ramsey Clark's independent commission of inquiry into the conduct of the war holds its final meeting and passes judgement. After thirty hearings in 16 countries, 19 charges of war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity are levelled at George Bush and key members of his administration, and at General Norman Swhwarzkopf and key members of his military staff. The tribunal jury, made up of 22 international lawyers and former politicians, finds them guilty on all 19 counts. [2]

The findings are front page news in the Middle East and Asia. Not a single word is reported by mainstream Western press or television broadcasters. [2]

A Congressional enquiry discovers that President George Bush Senior and his top advisors had ordered a cover up to conceal their secret support for Saddam Hussein prior to his invasion of Kuwait. Illegal arms shipments had been made to him via third countries, such as South Africa and Chile, and the Commerce Departments records altered or deleted. The British government had also been performing such sales. [67]

April - A consignment of water purification chemicals is blocked by the US. [2]

May - Medical Aid For Iraq again travel through the country delivering medicine and making assessments. They conclude the situation is still worsening. [2]

September - UN inspector Maurizio Zifferero, Deputy Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, declares that Iraq is now in compliance with the UN requirement that it end all nuclear weapon programmes. He stresses that given his confidence in UN inspection teams and not taking Iraq's word at face value: ‘There is no longer any nuclear activity in Iraq. They have no facilities where they can carry out this activity.’ [2]

October - A 50 strong UN team arrives in Iraq to determine whether any ballistic missiles are still concealed. The maintenance of sanctions policy begins to move away from the nuclear emphasis to aspects of Iraq's missile capabilities. [2]

Iraq and the UN sign a humanitarian accord that paves the way for $200 million's worth of supplies, but half of this is to be diverted solely to the Northern Kurdish region. [2]

December - Beth Osborne Daponte, a US Census Bureau staff member estimates that average Iraqi life expectancy at birth has been reduced from the pre-war figure of 68 years to a post war figure of 47 years. She also estimates that thirty times as many civilians have died since the war than during. In response to the political embarrassment of her findings, the Census Bureau tries to remove her from her post. She is saved by the intervention of the American Civil Liberties Union who threaten legal action. Daponte comments: “I find it extremely disturbing that the US Census Bureau tried to suppress and delay the release of information.” [2]

By the end of the year, according to Iraqi / UNICEF figures, the cumulative death toll for children under 12 has reached 241,869. [2]


January - Early in the year Iraq denies landing permission for an inspection team flying into the country. 200 Iraqi personnel cross the newly demarcated border into Kuwait and seize armaments and surface-to-surface missiles. On January 13th the US and UK respond by sending 114 aircraft on bombing raids on targets in Iraq. [2]

February - UNICEF commission Dr. Eric Hoskins to compile a new situation analysis for Iraq. His wide ranging and ultimately embarrassing report is shelved, and one UNICEF official declares he has reached conclusions ‘…not based entirely on fact…’ His findings were later completely confirmed by the FAO and WFP Special Alert Report published in July. [2]

Hoskins concluded: ‘Three years of sanctions have created circumstances in Iraq where the majority of the civilian population are now living in poverty. The greatest threat to the health and well-being of the Iraqi people remains the difficult economic conditions created by internationally mandated sanctions and by the infrastructural damage wrought in the 1991 military conflict.’ [2]

He went on to say: ‘One fundamental contradiction remains: that politically motivated sanctions (which by definition are imposed to create hardship) can not be implemented in a manner which spares the vulnerable.’ [2]

Medical Aid For Iraq undertake another mission to the country, and their conclusions are that the situation is now desperate. They find comatose diabetic children arriving at hospital and simply left to die due to lack of insulin. Asthmatics dying for want of inhalers, incubators out of order, premature births and low birth weight babies rising rapidly, no protein food, no antiseptics, no intravenous fluids, constant re-use of needles and syringes. In Samawa Children's Hospital, the hospital director Dr. Saad al-Tibowi had given his own blood three times in one week. Worst of all the UNICEF feeding programme is collapsing. [2]

A substantial proportion of UN inspectors report that they are satisfied that Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours. The inspection regime is ‘…now giving way to a lower key programme of long term monitoring.’ [2]

June - Clinton authorises the firing of 23 Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Baghdad in response to the alleged assassination attempt on George Bush. Britain provides political support. The US concedes that some have hit residential areas and caused civilian casualties. A Kuwaiti judge later dismissed the assassination charges against Iraq due to lack of evidence. [1] [2]

July - The Iraqi authorities reverse their earlier decision and grant permission for surveillance cameras to be installed at the missile sites. Ekeus notes that Iraq is now ready to accept ‘…on-going monitoring and verification as contained in SCR 715…’ Iraq insists that the embargo now be lifted in light of their full compliance. Ekeus responds he can not recommend an easing of sanctions until Baghdad is prepared to give a full and detailed disclosure of its weapons capabilities and suppliers. [2]

The World Food Programme, a division of the UN FAO, reports that only the Iraqi government ration system has prevented ‘…massive starvation’. [2]

A consignment of cotton for medical swabs and gauze is blocked by Britain. [2]

August - Ekeus states that lifting sanctions is still not on the agenda as Iraq has failed to declare the names of his suppliers of chemical weapons and missiles. After eight days of talks, Ekeus secures the required list, but will not recommend lifting sanctions until ‘…long term…’ monitoring of Iraqi arms development is accomplished. He does not give a time frame regarding how long this ‘…long term…’ will be. [2]

October - Hans Blix, director general of the IAEA reports: “In all essential aspects the nuclear weapons programme is mapped and has been neutralised through the war or thereafter.’ [2]

Medical Aid For Iraq return from yet another mission. They confirm all previous findings and additionally note that aplastic anaemia is increasing, kwashiorkor and rickets are now ‘…common…’, gastro-enteritis is ‘…rife…’, mortality rates from septicaemia and meningitis are ‘…very much on the increase…’, and they record ‘…unprecedented increases…’ in leukaemia, cancers, amoebic dysentery and infectious hepatitis. [2]

December - According to Iraq / UNICEF figures, the cumulative sanctions related death toll for children under twelve is 369,892. [2]


February - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies publishes its ‘Report of the Assessment Mission to Iraq.’ It concludes that only limited improvements to electrical generation, sewage treatment and water supplies have been made since 1991. Large ponds of stagnant water surround villages and suburban areas and represent major health hazards. Prior to the war Northern Iraq was free from malaria, but ‘…thousands of cases…’ are now being reported. The shortages of medicine and insecticides left ‘…little hope for any improvement in the short term…’ Other previously eradicated diseases are re-appearing. [2]

BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn speaks at a meeting of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding: “The claim by the Western governments that food and drugs flow freely into Iraq is not true. I have seen telexes and documents that showed clearly that the British and the American government interfered with the flow of crucial drugs into Iraq. That is unquestionable. […The sanctions] would not be lifted even if Iraq satisfies the UN Security Council on every single sanction report…the Americans are making it clear that the sanctions are not going to be lifted under any circumstances…the West's decision is…to keep squeezing the country…I do not see any possibility that oil will flow in Iraq between now and the end of 1994, and probably after that.” [2] [64]

April - Medical Aid for Iraq undertakes another mission. Its' findings are even worse than their previous report. ‘A general deterioration is widely reported over the last three months. Malnutrition and the increases in infection rates associated with it have resulted in a worsening situation and an increased shortage of medicines. Hospitals in Baghdad, where 25% of the population live, are experiencing particularly acute shortages.’ [2]

May - In an international conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia issues a resolution condemning economic sanctions on Iraq, noting that despite compliance with SCR 687 they have still not been lifted: ‘We call upon the United States and its allies to withdraw all sanctions against the Iraqi people. A decent and humanitarian attitude towards the suffering of the people of Iraq would mandate the Clinton administration to withdraw the UN sanctions immediately.’ [2]

August - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Kolokov states that Baghdad must recognise the border demarcation, but emphasises that Iraq has now complied with the disarmament issue. His statement follows reports of negotiations between Iraq and the Soviet Union to develop oil fields after sanctions are lifted. [2]

September - The Iraqi government announces that since sanctions began in August 1990 about 400,000 children have died of malnutrition and disease. [59]

Ekeus announces his intention to commence a six month weapons monitoring period, after a which a recommendation for lifting sanctions could be made. [2]

Saddam woos former friends with promises of lucrative contracts if they support the campaign against the embargo. Russia, China and France all respond favourably to these overtures. Saddam is also partially rebuilding the military by acquiring spare parts from Eastern Europe, and through front companies set up in the 1980's. They continue to service the Iraqi military via sales from France, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Britain and the US. [2]

October - Temporary Security Council President David Hannay reports that Iraqi troops are being deployed to the Kuwaiti border. The US responds by moving additional forces to the region. Clinton declares: “We will not allow Saddam Hussein to defy the will of the US and the international community.” The UN discloses that its UNIKOM reconnaissance aircraft, which provide a 20 kilometre view across the border, ‘had not managed to detect a single tank or personnel carrier…’ [2]

Chief UNSCOM field officer in Baghdad, Jaako Ylitalo, states: ‘They [the Iraqis] have done an excellent job. Our commission is convinced it's all over. It is watertight. We have faith in the work we have done.’ [2]

Iraq, through a joint Iraqi/Soviet statement agrees to recognise the sovereignty of Kuwait as decreed in SCR 833. This is one of the primary reasons Washington has maintained the embargo. [2]

SCR 949 is passed unanimously, and condemns the ‘…recent military deployments by Iraq in the direction of the border with Kuwait…’ and calls for a withdrawal and no repetition of the threat. [2]

The US threatens Iraq with fresh air attacks. Warren Christopher states: ‘There is no occasion for doing Saddam Hussein any favours at the present time.’ [2]

December - Another Medical Aid For Iraq mission reports that the situation is again even worse than during their last visit: ‘A severe deterioration is detectable in all the hospitals visited by MAI. The team had not expected to see such an extreme reduction of resources, given the desperate situation of the hospitals in April; further deterioration had been hard to imagine. Basic medicines are absent, routine surgery impossible, and more and more equipment is breaking down and put out of use because of the unavailability of spare parts. Children are referred to Baghdad because treatment is unavailable at their local hospital, but the Baghdad hospitals can not provide for them either.’ [2]

The International Scientific Symposium is held in Baghdad and presents evidence of the impact of the war and sanctions on the health of the Iraqi people. It confirms all NGO and UN agency findings, and notes the increase in cancers and congenital abnormalities, particularly of ambiguous genitalia, skeletal abnormalities and hydrocephaly. [2]

The Secretary General's report to the Security Council on weapons inspection states: ‘All items verified as being proscribed have now been destroyed. The ongoing monitoring and verification system is provisionally operational. The major elements for chemical and missile monitoring are now in place. Interim monitoring in the biological area is about to commence.’ [2]

According to Iraq / UNICEF figures, 503,573 children under twelve had now died from sanctions. [2]


January - Tariq Aziz holds talks with Alain Juppe in Paris to explore conditions to lift sanctions. Russia is also lobbying for an end to the embargo within a matter of months. US State Dept. spokeswoman Christine Shelley rebukes the French initiative, citing it as not “…a timely action…neither helpful nor constructive…” [2]

The permanent Iraqi mission to the UN office in Geneva presents a report to the Centre For Human Rights. ‘Rights of The Child’ argues, and indeed proves, that the continuing embargo is ‘…a form of genocide on the people of Iraq…’ It correctly declares that it is illegal under the UN's own ‘Convention on The Rights of the Child’ and the ‘UN Conventions on Genocide’, and as such constitutes ‘…an international crime punishable under international law, regardless of whether it is committed in time of war or peace.’ [2]

February - Douglas Hurd assures his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah that Britain and the US remain committed to sanctions, and that it is important not to ‘…reward…’ the ‘…untrustworthy…’ Saddam Hussein. [2]

Madeleine Albright reasserts US opposition to lifting of sanctions, and declares the French and Soviet negotiations as ‘…wrong…’ Her comments are echoed by the British Foreign Office: ‘This is a leopard that has not changed its spots. Pressure has got us to where we are now and it needs to be maintained.’ [2]

April - Medical Aid for Iraq make another visit to the country to deliver medicines. Their subsequent report confirms all their previous findings and increased incidences of disease, and notes that children now die at home as there is no point taking them to hospitals, and that child blindness is on the increase due to lack of Vitamin A. [2]

SCR 986 is passed unanimously. SCR 986, the so called ‘Oil for Food’ programme, allows Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil to buy food and medicines, but not much else. Repair of infrastructure is essentially still prohibited. Under the programme Iraq can sell up to $2 billion worth of oil every six months. The revenue is to be paid into a UN controlled escrow account, and from it 30% deducted for compensation claims, and 2.2% deducted for the running of the programme. UN personnel stationed in Iraq, in co-operation with Iraqi workers, will distribute supplies purchased. [2]

The implementation of SCR 986 was tortuous. It wasn't until March 20th 1997 that the first shipment of food actually arrived in Iraq: 125 tons of chickpeas and vegetable ghee. The practical problems of a low oil price and the dilapidated state of Iraq's oil facilities compounded the lack of revenue Iraq was able to raise. [2]

It is later revealed that over 2,000 Western companies bribe the Hussein regime for a piece of the lucrative SCR 986 action. [73]

May - Again the sanctions committee upholds the embargo following Ekeus' testimony that he was unable to obtain satisfactory explanations as to the whereabouts of 17 tons of material involved in Bio-weapon manufacture. No mention is made of the fact that this material was acquired from Western companies in the 1980's. [2]

Due to lack of donor pledges, the UN's own aid programme has been reduced by 50%. The WFP predicts that by the end of the month most food stocks will be exhausted. The FAO also reports that the worsening hard currency crisis has resulted in higher free market prices and a further erosion in the low purchasing power of average families to supplement the ration. [2]

July - Early in the month Turkey again invades Northern Iraq in attempt to crush Kurdish separatists. [2]

Completely contradicting previous statements made to UNSCOM about having not developed a comprehensive biological warfare programme in the 1980's, including large quantities of concentrated anthrax, and having promised to provide a full and detailed document of the programmes by the end of the month, Iraq submits its report on its pre-war biological activities. It also agrees to destroy the facilities in question. [2]

August - After the US purportedly detects new hostile military moves in Iraq, Washington pledges to defend Jordan from any Iraqi threat. [2]

Madeleine Albright announces that due to recent revelations by defectors about weapons concealment tactics, an ending of sanctions will be later rather than sooner. [2]

French Deputy Yves Bonnet visits Iraq, where by now 100 under 5's are dying every day, primarily from malnutrition and its related diseases, and 200 over 5's from heart problems, diabetes, renal and liver disease, and leukaemia. The experience prompts him to state: ‘I am filled with shame and anger at myself, at my cowardice, my silence, my complicity with those, who, despite their claims to the contrary, have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, without incurring the wrath of the [war crimes] tribunal of The Hague, implacably going about their dirty, evil work.’ [2]

September - The UN World Food programme publishes its news update. Dieter Hannusch, WFP's Chief Emergency Support Officer states in the report: “After 24 years in the field, mostly in Africa starting with Biafra, I didn't think anything could shock me, but this was comparable to the worst scenarios I have ever seen.” [2]

Mona Hamman, WFP's Regional Manager states: “There are actually more than four million people, a fifth of Iraq's population, at severe nutritional risk. That number includes 2.4 million children under five, about 600,000 pregnant/nursing women and destitute women heads of households, as well as hundreds of thousands of elderly without anyone to help them. 70% of the population has little or no access to food…nearly everyone seems to be emaciated. We are at the point of no return in Iraq. The social fabric of the nation is disintegrating. People have exhausted their ability to cope.” [2]

At the end of the month a Pentagon official states: ‘We simply do not know if he is testing us, planning an attack on Kuwait or planning to murder more of his own people. Any action by him is madness, but then he's mad, so who knows?’ [2]

October - The Guardian reports: ‘It is generally agreed that Iraq has already destroyed all of its weapons of mass destruction, either under UN supervision, or in anticipation of allied bombing raids.’ [2]

Medical Journal ‘The Lancet’ reports: ‘Findings illustrate a strong association between economic sanctions and increase in child mortality and malnutrition rates. The moral, financial and political standing of an international community intent on maintaining sanctions is challenged by the estimate that since August 1990, 567,000 children in Iraq have died as a consequence.’ [2]

By the end of the year, according to Iraqi / UNICEF figures, the cumulative death toll for children under 12 had reached 642,357. [2]


January - John English of the British Red Cross comments: ‘The level of malnutrition is on a par with famine ravaged countries like Sudan.’ UN officials now estimated that four million people faced starvation. [2]

March - The WHO reports: ‘Health conditions are deteriorating at an alarming rate under the sanctions regime…the vast majority of Iraqis continue to survive on a semi-starvation diet. The damaging effects of poor nutrition are being compounded by epidemics…and by a precipitous decline in healthy care. The most visible impact of these problems is seen in the dramatic rise of mortality rates among infants and children.’ [2]

Before sanctions 92% of the population had safe water; 93% had free health care and adult literacy was one of the highest in the world at around 96%. The Economist's Intelligence Unit notes that "the Iraqi welfare state was, until recently, among the most comprehensive and generous in the Arab world." [67]

April - Medical Aid For Iraq undertake another visit to the country. Their subsequent report noted all the horrors of their previous visits had in fact worsened once again. MAI noted particularly that the prospect of the upcoming implementation of the 986 / Oil For Food programme had prompted some aid agencies to pull out of Iraq. No supplies had even arrived in the country under the programme, and people in some areas were now even worse off. [2]

May - Madelaine Albright (US Ambassador to the UN) says the death of half a million Iraqi children “is worth it”. [2] [45]

July - The British government, in anticipation of available funds from SCR 986, persuades twelve lenders, including the Midland, Barclays and National Westminster banks to issue 25 writs claiming more than £400 million from Iraq. A spokesman from the Export Credit Guarantee Department, the very same office that underwrote arms sales to Iraq with tax payers money, states: ‘We are putting down a marker that legal action has started to recover the money and the banks have issued the writs on our behalf.’ [2]

At the end of the month 2000 Iranian troops invade Northern Iraq and converge on the town of Koisinjak. A pro-Western Iraqi politician is quoted in ‘The Guardian’ saying: ‘Idiotic result of US policies toward Saddam…’ allow the Iranian Mullahs ‘…to do as they please.’ No Security Council resolution is introduced to curtail Iran's invasion. [2]

September - The UN Secretary General decides to delay implementing SCR 986 due to security concerns in the North of the country. His decision is prompted by reports of skirmishes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces of the PUK and KDP. In a rare exception, no SCR is tabled to condemn Iraq. Instead…

On the 3rd of the month the US launches 27 cruise missiles, costing $1.2 million each, against targets South of Baghdad to accomplish what Clinton calls ‘…limited but clear…’ objectives: “To make Saddam pay a price for the latest act of brutality, reducing his ability to threaten his neighbours and America's interests.”

Acting unilaterally the US extends the ‘No-Fly’ zone in Southern Iraq and declares that the UN's 986 plan will not be allowed to proceed.

The next day the US launches a further 17 cruise missiles against Iraq.

Britain provides political support. [1] [2]

A 22 country Arab league issues a statement noting that US actions have no UN or international legitimacy. [2]

November - The UN General Assembly meets and adopts Resolution 51/22 to encourage ‘The elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion.’ [2]

December - For the first time since the invasion of Kuwait, Iraqi oil for export begins to flow, but doubts about the efficiency of how supplies will be distributed are growing. [2]

France announces that it has completely withdrawn its planes from aerial patrols of any ‘No-Fly’ zones over Iraq. [2]

By the end of the year, according to Iraqi / UNICEF figures, the cumulative death toll of children under 12 has reached 782,638. [2]


January - The first proceeds from the sale of oil are deposited in the UN controlled escrow account held at the Banque Nationale de Paris. [2]

March - The first food procured under SCR 986 arrives in Iraq: 125.2 tons of chickpeas and vegetable ghee. [2]

Madeleine Albright addresses a symposium on Iraq at Georgetown University, USA.: ‘We do not agree with those nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.’ [2]

April - The US blocks 40 contracts for the supply of medical equipment that are on the World Health Organisation's ‘Priority List’. [2]

The US blocks seven humanitarian food contracts, including rice, beans and cooking oil, to display its displeasure at Iraqi helicopters flying through the Southern ‘No Fly’ zone ferrying Haj pilgrims to Mecca. [2]

Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs Al-Sahaf addresses the UN Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. He berates SCR 986: ‘Children will continue to die after the agreement, since it does not correspond to the minimum needs of the civilian population. It is a temporary and feeble measure, and it should not be characterised as otherwise.’ [2]

The Iraqi Ministry of Health published a UNICEF acknowledged total of 750,000 children under 5 suffering from malnutrition. [2]

May - Over 50,000 Turkish troops invade Northern Iraq with the aim of rooting out Kurdish separatists. The huge scale of the invasion prompts Kurds to accuse the US of complicity and approval. No Security Council resolution is tabled to condemn this invasion and blatant disregard for Iraq's borders. No actions is taken against Turkey whatsoever. [2] [67]

June - Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agree to consider tougher sanctions against Iraq unless UNSCOM inspectors certify in October that Baghdad is fully co-operating. [2]

July - An Iraqi / UNICEF meeting reveals that the level of charitable donations to Iraq has actually diminished due to false expectations surrounding the effectiveness of the Oil-For-Food program. [2]

August - The Iraqi Ministry of Health states that a UNICEF acknowledged total of child deaths due to sanctions has now reached 878,856. [2]

The incidence of childhood cancers and birth deformities are continuing to rise. Observers again point to a possible link between this and the ever growing numbers of Western veterans with the mysterious ‘Gulf War Syndrome’. Veterans are also reporting birth deformities in children sired after the war. [2]

November - The UN accuses Iraq of obstructing its weapons monitoring system and unanimously imposes a travel ban on Iraqi officials. Iraq expels the American weapons inspectors. The US and Britain step up military presence in the Gulf region. [2]

A detailed Iraqi / UNICEF report, ‘Nutritional Status Survey of Infants in the South/Centre of Iraq’ concludes that there is no evidence that the nutritional status of Iraqi children has improved since the adoption of SCR 986, and the supplementary SCR 1111, which raised the permitted oil sales level to $5.2 billion per six months. UNICEF representative in Baghdad Philippe Heffinck confirms the report's findings. [2]

UNSCOM inspectors are allowed back into Iraq to find that the Iraqis have apparently dismantled equipment and destroyed physical evidence. [2]

December - At the end of the year Dr. Eric Hoskins releases another report ‘Political Gain and Civilian Pain: Humanitarian Impacts of Economic sanctions’. In it he states: ‘The Arab Monetary Fund has estimated the value of destroyed infrastructure and economic assets attributable to the 1991 Gulf war at $232 billion.’ [2]

The US National Security Advisor describes the sanctions as “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”. [59]


January - Iraq blocks an UNSCOM team, saying it has too many British and American inspectors. [2]

February - Secretary General Annan notes in his report that the continuing collapse of the electrical system in Iraq could create: ‘…humanitarian consequences [which] could potentially dwarf all the other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people.’ [2]

President Clinton orders a Marine expeditionary force of 2,000 troops and four ships to the Gulf. Britain also increases military presence in the Gulf. [2]

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan works out an agreement with Iraq, defusing the inspections crisis. [2]

March - SCR 1154 is passed. It warns Iraq of the ‘…severest consequences…’ if they fail to co-operate with UNSCOM. It does not contain any authorisation for the use of force. [2]

UNSCOM inspectors, accompanied by senior diplomats, begin the search of presidential sites previously closed to inspection [2]

At the end of the month UNICEF survey reveals that 58% of children are now suffering from malnutrition. [2]

April - UNICEF publishes ‘Situation Analysis of Women and Children in Iraq 1997’ The report concludes that seven years of sanctions have had ‘…a devastating impact on the majority of Iraqi people, particularly children. The Oil-For-Food plan has not yet resulted in adequate protection of Iraq's children from malnutrition and disease.’ [2]

May - Eric Falt, spokesman for the new Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, Denis Halliday, reports that the nutritional status of Iraqi children has failed to improve over the last year. 25% are malnourished, 27% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished, 9% are suffering from acute malnutrition, and 24% are underweight. The inability, due to the lack of spare parts, of Iraq to deliver a working sanitation system means that civilians are still trapped in a cycle of disease. [2]

June - At the end of the month a UN document based on Iraqi government figures indicates that cancer rates in the South of the country have risen six fold since the war. Support grows for the observation that this is directly linked to the allied use of Depleted Uranium ammunition. Extreme birth deformities are now occurring, with some babies born without eyes or limbs, and in some cases even without fully formed heads and brains. [2]

August - Iraqi / UNSCOM relations are becoming increasingly strained. The Iraqi authorities are frustrated with new Chairman Richard Butler and correctly assume he will never present a report to the Security Council recommending a lifting of sanctions. Additionally they accuse UNSCOM of having been infiltrated by Western intelligence agents in a plot to overthrow the regime. The frequent talks between them are increasingly viewed as a cynical fraud. [2]

Butler refuses to certify that Iraq has destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq freezes all co-operation with UNSCOM, and the Security Council agrees to maintain sanctions. The US begins to threaten renewed air strikes if Iraq fails to comply with UNSCOM's demands. [2]

Russia's deputy envoy to the UN, Yuri Fedotov, is quoted in ‘The Guardian’: ‘We are strongly convinced that Iraq is not the only one to blame for this situation, when a decision has been taken to break discussions. This decision we understand was taken by the chairman of UNSCOM [Butler] without duly consulting the Secretary General and Security Council.’ Fedotov goes on to say: ‘Sometimes when you are in a deadlock, you replace the negotiator.’ [2]

At the end of the month UNSCOM team leader Scott Ritter resigns ‘…in protest over the inaction of the Security Council in Iraq and interference by Britain and the US in UNSCOM's work.’ [2]

September - Scott Ritter is interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and states: ‘…I'm somebody who doesn't support the continuation of sanctions…I think they're a horrible tool…sanctions only punish the people of Iraq, they don't punish this [Iraqi] regime.’ [2]

UN Humanitarian Aid Co-Ordinator Denis Halliday resigns in protest at the effects of sanctions and the ineffectiveness of SCR 986 to deal with them. In his resignation speech he states: “We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and as terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral.”

Two weeks later he states: “4000 to 5000 children are dying every month due to the impact of sanctions because of the breakdown of water and sanitation, inadequate diet, and the bad internal health situation.”

Hans Von Sponeck is chosen as Halliday's replacement. [2]

October - In the Security Council the US rejects proposals by Russia, France and China that will clearly commit the Council to lift the embargo if Iraq co-operates with UNSCOM. [2]

President Clinton signs the Iraq Liberation Act. It authorises Congress to provide $97 million's worth of military equipment and training for now completely overt attempts to overthrow the regime. [2]

On the same day Saddam Hussein halts UNSCOM weapons monitoring work in response. The US and Britain warn that military strikes are possible. Iraq refuses to co-operate with UNSCOM and a stand-off ensues. [2]

November - The US bolsters its military forces in the Gulf region. [2]

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan makes a final attempt to convince Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to rescind his decision not to co-operate with UNSCOM. President Clinton orders the military to proceed with plans for a massive cruise and air missile attack against Iraq. He directs National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to telephone General Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and tell him to proceed with the strike on the 14th. [2]

14th - US Cruise missile carrying ships, and planes, are within 50 minutes of striking distance when CNN reports that a statement is forthcoming from Baghdad and that it will be a positive response to Annan's previous letter seeking a resolution to the crisis. President Clinton decides to pause the operation, in effect delaying but not aborting the air strikes. Soon after, the White House receives the first of three letters from Iraq that will clarify Iraq's position its agreement to let UN inspectors back in.

Clinton says the first Iraqi offer is not acceptable because of an annex detailing what the United States believes are conditions of Iraqi acceptance of inspectors.

The White House receives Iraq's second letter. Iraq said the annex contained views and preferences only and this letter spells out that its acceptance of inspections is unconditional.

A third Iraqi letter is received at the White House that specifies that Baghdad's previous decision to cease co-operation with weapons inspectors from UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency is null and void. [2] [64]

86 UNSCOM inspectors return to Iraq. [2]

UN Secretary General Annan's report describes the large shortfall of the 986 program. Falling oil prices, coupled with delays in acquiring spare parts for Iraqi oil installations have lowered the possible $5.2 billion sales potential to $3.15 billion. After deductions for compensation claims, UN costs and pipeline fees, only $1.68 billion is left. Annan comments that this figure would only have ‘…helped in preventing further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.’ [2] [67]

Iraq says that ‘…provocative…’ requests for documents by the chief UNSCOM inspector are intended to provide the United States with a pretext for a military attack. [2]

December - UNSCOM reports that Iraq has not met its promises of co-operation. [2]

UNSCOM inspectors withdraw from Baghdad. Contrary to many western media reports, UNSCOM are not ‘…kicked out by the Iraqis…’ but are withdrawn by Richard Butler for reasons of their personal safety. [2]

US and British forces attack Iraq. The four-day bombing campaign is dubbed ‘Operation Desert Fox’. President Clinton announces that: ‘…a strong, sustained series of air strikes…’ are being carried out ‘…to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.’ [2]

British Prime Minister Tony Blair informs the nation live on television that he is attacking Iraq. He makes the announcement standing in front of a Christmas tree. [2]

Following ‘Desert Fox’ British and US planes roam across Iraq striking at will. Iraqi units are hit almost daily. [1] [2]

Former British Foreign Secretary Lord Healey is quoted in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ that there was ‘…no question…’ that ‘Desert Fox’ was unlawful: ‘It is illegal to attack with bombs targets in a sovereign country without direct authorisation from the Security Council.‘ [2]

The WFP issue its latest report ‘Protracted Recovery and Relief Operation - Iraq’: ‘The main reason for outstanding nutritional problems is the massive deterioration in basic infrastructure, in particular water supply and waste disposal systems. The most vulnerable groups have been the hardest hit, especially children under 5. Throughout infancy they are subject to the vicious cycle of exposure to unhygienic conditions, leading to diarrhoea and diseases which negatively affect nutritional status, which in turn reduces immunity to disease.’ [2] [67]


January - ‘The Guardian Weekly’ publishes a letter by Dr. Peter Pellet, professor of Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts: ‘Deprivation and excess deaths are real in Iraq, and I can personally attest to the devastating effects of the embargo on ordinary life from having been a member of three UN food and nutrition missions. Sanctions are not the humane alternative to war that they are purported to be, and if there were justice in this world these actions promoted by the US and Britain in the name of the UN would be seen as the crime against humanity that they are.’ [2]

Former UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinator Dennis Halliday condemns the sanctions as immoral and ineffective. [17]

US missiles strike the al-Jumhuriya residential district of Basra, and ‘unidentified’ missiles hit the village of Abu-Khasib 16 miles to the South. The UN reports that 17 people have been killed, approx. 100 injured and approx. 45 houses damaged or destroyed. [2]

February - Robert Fisk of the ‘Independent on Sunday’ reports: ‘With little publicity, and amid virtual indifference in Western capitals, US and British aircraft have staged well over 70 air strikes against Iraq over the past five weeks, inflicting more damage than ‘Desert Fox’ [in an] air offensive…carefully calibrated to avoid criticism or public debate.’ [2]

For some time the British and US governments have been citing the lower malnutrition figures in the North of Iraq, as compared to the Centre/South, as evidence of Saddam's lack of concern for his people. These accusations fail to point out that the North is run solely by highly trained and paid UN staff, with an accompanying fleet of well maintained vehicles, computerised inventory and distribution systems. The Centre/South has no access to any such use of these systems. (They also fail to point out that the private sector activity and smuggling levels are higher in the North). [2]

March - The UN humanitarian panel set up in late January to additionally assess needs, issues a damning indictment (later published in April) of the 986 program, and SCR 1153, passed in 1998 to ‘expand’ it. ‘The gravity of the situation is indisputable and can not be overstated. The magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they can not be met within the context of the parameters set forth in SCR 986 and succeeding SCR 1153…nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people.’ [2] [67]

‘The Economist’ reports: ‘For a force supposedly protecting civilians, the American and British jets controlling the skies above Iraq go about their task in a peculiar manner. Their near daily attacks on the “perceived danger” of Iraqi air defences have disrupted the distribution of food and medicine, cut off the flow of oil that pays for those supplies and, on occasion, killed the people they are supposed to be protecting.’ [2]

April - Humanitarian Aid Co-ordinator Hans Von Sponeck describes the revenue situation for the Iraqis: ‘If you assume lets say for the sake of argument, 2 billion dollars twice a year for 22 million people, then you are getting a per capita figure per year of 180, just under 180 dollars. Now I ask you, 180 dollars per year? That's not a per capita income figure, that is the figure out of which everything has to be financed: from electrical services to water and sewerage, to food, to health, the lot. Now if you have 180 dollars and then the press ask me: ‘…do you consider that adequate for survival…?’ I can say at the very best, that the nose is just above the water, so that you are not drowning, but over the course of years, the nose is increasingly touching that water and many people are already drowning. So it is not a figure that we can really take lightly or accept as adequate.’ He describes as ‘…propaganda…’ the many Western claims that the Iraqi government is withholding supplies from civilians imported under SCR 986. [2] [67]

Von Sponeck also notes that ‘…very often Iraq is the victim of fraudulent contracts…’ and that ships often returned goods that were of extremely poor quality. He cites one particular case where rice was shipped to Iraq, with the top layer appearing fine, only for the Iraqis to discover that underneath the entire shipment was rotten. [2]

Whilst in Baghdad, Grant Wakefield and Miriam Ryle interview Iraq's Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Fadil Ahbess. He describes the enormous impact on the animal wealth of Iraq that the lack of vaccines has had. An epidemic of Foot and Mouth disease has ravaged the country. Ahbess states: ‘The total number of animals which are infected so far has reached two million. The death toll is about 400,000.’ Ahbess makes the point that the effect on animal wealth is profound especially at a time when Iraq desperately needs meat for protein, and milk for children. [2]

Denis Halliday states ‘I hold the member states responsible for the sanctions regime on Iraq. I hold them responsible for the genocide that is now existing in Iraq. I hold them, responsible for resolutions and implementing resolutions that undermine the spirit and the content of the UN Charter, which undermine the Declaration of Human Rights, which undermine the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and other provisions of international law which provide for economic and social well-being, and so on. I mean we have the ironic situation where Saddam Hussein himself has undermined the human rights, political rights of his own people. We in the UN and the Security Council have taken away many of the remaining rights, such as food, housing, education, opportunities, employment, well being. That's what we've done. It's a tremendous irony that the UN itself is taking away the rights of the Iraqi people.’ [2]

May - Save The Children (UK) submits evidence to the House of Commons International Development Committee's ‘Inquiry on the Future of Sanctions’ : ‘…Children are the victims of sanctions. They are the most vulnerable to the shortages and hardship that sanctions often lead to. Save The Children believes it is unacceptable and unjustifiable for children to be harmed this way.’ [2]

June - The worst drought in 100 years hits Iraq. Hans Von Sponeck declares that the effect on crops is ‘…a catastrophe…’ with 90% of wheat and barley failing to germinate. He raises concerns that this will mean the government will be unable to sustain the monthly ration at current levels. In over two years of the operation of SCR 986, the full monthly ration has been available only six times. Von Sponeck reports that he will be asking the Security Council for immediate additional funding to cope with the crisis. [2]

August - Benon Sevan is quoted in a report by Associated Press: ‘Large amounts of food and medicine arriving in Iraq are sub-standard, damaged or unusable.’ [2]

UNICEF reports the findings of a major survey into child deaths in Iraq. It states that children under 5 in central and Southern Iraq are: ‘…dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago.’ In a press release, Executive Director Carol Bellamy states: ‘If the substantial reduction in child mortality in Iraq during the 1980's had continued through the 1990's, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under 5 in the country as a whole during the period 1991 to 1998.’ [2] [13] [67]

The same report states: ‘What we do know is that the difference [in mortality rates North + South] can not be attributed to the differing ways the Oil-For-Food programme is implemented.’ It goes on to point out: ‘Sanctions themselves have not been able to be so rigorously enforced in the North as the border is more ‘porous’…’ and that the North has received: ‘…far more support per capita from the international community than the South and centre.’ [2] [13]

‘The Independent’ reports: ‘Over the past eight months, US and British planes have fired more than 1,100 missiles against 359 targets…more than triple the number of targets attacked during ‘Desert Fox’. By another measure, the pilots have flown two thirds as many missions as NATO pilots flew over Yugoslavia in 78 days of around-the clock war there.’ [2]

British Independent television broadcasts journalist Michael Nicholson's investigation into the effect of Depleted Uranium ammunition on both Iraqis and Gulf veterans. His findings include that a US Army DU expert has been tested at 5000 times above permissible exposure rates. Rokke asserts categorically that the US and UK knew the dangers of DU and failed to publicise them: ‘The British government knows because they approved the videos and training materials I developed. I had a British officer assigned to me that worked with me to develop them.’ [2]

Nicholson's narration also refers to: ‘…a once classified document written six months before the war that warned the US army of the health risks to civilians and combat troops. It also warned that if the facts were known it could cause a public outcry.’ [2]

Nicholson travelled to Basra in Southern Iraq, the worst affected area, and interviewed Iraqi paediatrician Dr. Kalb. Kalb showed him photographs of extreme birth deformities and recounts cases of children born without eyes, or with one eye in the middle of the forehead. Nicholson's narration in the report states: ‘Some of these photographs are far too disturbing to broadcast.’ Iraqi geneticist Selma Al-Taha asserts: ‘With the passage of time Depleted Uranium is washed by the rain into the soil [and thus into the food chain]. This is a disaster comparable to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.’ [2]

Also featured in the investigation was UK veteran Ray Bristow who had been tested for DU contamination was found to have 100 times beyond permissible limit. Having unsuccessfully attempted to investigate his own illness through standard British government channels, he travelled to Baghdad to attend an international conference on DU. Whilst there British military police raided his home and removed his computer and all his files. Out of 40,000 UK troops who were in the Gulf, as of January 2000, only 5 have been tested for DU exposure. [2]

Incidences of cancer in Southern Iraq have increased as much as 700% since the war, with a 400% rise in deformities, and sharp increases in miscarriages and Downs Syndrome children. Iraqi scientists claim to have measured some areas of the country as having 5000 times the permissible safe level of background radiation. [2] [39] [67]

Air Force Brigadier General William Looney, head of the US Central Command's Airborne Expeditionary Force states in the Washington Post: ‘They know we own their country. We own their airspace… We dictate the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there is a lot of oil out there we need.’ [2]

September - ‘Arabic News’ reports: ‘Fears prevail in Iraq's neighbouring countries of the epidemic of polio spreading from Iraq into their territories. Official medical sources said, “The disease is spreading in Iraq, and it is on its way to Jordan, Syria and Turkey as there are cases occurring in these countries which threaten to spread epidemics and diseases in these countries.” [2]

‘The New Internationalist’ magazine devotes an entire issue to Iraq. Journalist Felicity Arbuthnott reports that US planes have bombed flocks of sheep and backs up the report with photographic evidence. She also notes that Screw Worm infestation has increased to 70,000 cases and caused an additional 20 human deaths. In reference to Ahbess' claim of ‘…mechanical transportation…’ she points out that the only air traffic allowed to land in Baghdad is UN chartered planes, and US and UK planes are the only ones allowed to fly over Iraq. Screw Worm Fly can not ‘travel’ on carcasses, only on live animals, which confirms Ahbess' assertion that Iraq has not imported any live animals during the embargo, and that it is native only to South America. She cites an unnamed biological warfare expert at the German Bundestag: ‘Iraq is the latest victim of what appears to be a deliberate introduction of Screw Worm…in Libya an outbreak occurred in 1989, at a time of exceptionally strained relations with the US. In a year it covered 5000 sq. kilometres and killed 12,000 livestock.’ [2] [67]

October - ‘Reuters’ reports: ‘The United Nations Gulf War reparations body said on Friday it had paid out $11.8 million to 687 people in 21 countries who proved losses above $100,000 caused by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. These initial payments of up to $25,000 each, the first in the category for losses above $100,000, bring to $3.65 billion the amount paid by the UN Compensation Commission’, it added. [2]

‘The Washington Post’ runs an article quoting Kofi Annan who is accusing the US of ‘…disrupting the Oil-For-Food programme upon which millions of people depend for their survival.’ He also: ‘…accused the United States of using its muscle on the Sanctions Committee to put indefinite “holds” on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of humanitarian goods.’ [2] [67]

UN humanitarian aid co-ordinator Hans Von Sponeck criticises the sanctions panel. Many of its decisions were “a deterrent for the implementation of the humanitarian programme,” he said, complaining that the committee was blocking an increasing number of requests for imports to Iraq. [2] [67]

After eight years of enforcing the "no fly zones" few military targets remain, one US official protests "We're down to the last outhouse. There are still some things left, but not many." [67]

At about this time US missiles hit Al Jumohria, a poor community in Basra. Six children are killed and sixty-three people injured. [67]

November - US planes attack sites in Mosul, Northern Iraq. Shrapnel and shock waves from the explosions hit a school and destroy a civilian home. [2]

December - SCR 1284 is passed by 11 votes. France, Russia, China and Malaysia abstain. The resolution calls upon the Secretary General to set up a new weapons inspection body, UNMOVIC, and to appoint a chairman of the body within 75 days. The chairman would then submit an organisational plan to the council. Within 60 days ‘…after they have both started work in Iraq…’ UNMOVIC and the IAEA would draw up ‘…work programmes for the discharge of their mandates…’ [2]

The International Red Cross notes that after a decade of sanctions "the Iraqi economy lies in tatters" and "the 'oil-for-food' programme ... has not halted the collapse of the health system and the deterioration of water supplies, which together pose one of the gravest threats to the health and well-being of the civilian population." [64] [67]


During the eighteen months to January 14th US planes flew 36,000 sorties over Iraq, including 24,000 combat missions. During 1999 US and British planes dropped more than 1,800 bombs, hitting 450 targets. [67]

February - UN Humanitarian Coordinator Hans Von Sponeck resigns in protest of the sanctions policy. [2] [64]

71 members of congress sign a letter demanding the lifting of the sanctions. House Deomcratic Whip David Benior calls the sanctions "infanticide masquerading as policy". [67] [68]

July - Former UN Humanitarian Coordinator Dennis Halliday says: “In fact, the UN Security Council is sustaining sanctions that are killing about 7,000 Iraqi children each month and they know that. That is intentional; that is genocide.” [18]

August - The Royal Air Force, together with the US, bombs Iraq almost every day. Since December 1998, the Ministry of Defence has admitted dropping 780 tonnes of bombs on a country with which Britain is not at war. During the same period, the United States has conducted 24,000 combat missions over southern Iraq alone, mostly in populated areas. In one five-month period, 41 per cent of casualties were civilians: farmers, fishermen, shepherds, their children and their sheep - the circumstances of their killing were documented by the United Nations Security Sector. Now consider Hain's statement that no bombing campaign exists. In truth, it is the longest such campaign since the Second World War. [43]

The myths and realities of the sanctions against Iraq. [41] [44]

US researchers John Mueller and Karl Mueller conclude that "economic sanction have probably already taken the lives of more people in Iraq than have been killed by weapons of mass destruction in history." [67]


January - “UN sanctions have killed far more ordinary Iraqis than Saddam Hussein” [19]

February - US/British airstrikes against Iraq in response to alleged threats to aircraft in ‘no fly zones’. [1]

Colin Powell says of Saddam “He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.” [29]

March - Turkish forces are allowed to kill Kurds in Northern 'no fly zone'. RAF pilots protest that they are ordered to return to base and ground crews are told to switch off their radar so that the Turkish forces can bomb the Kurds with impunity. [42] [67]

September - On the 11th terrorists destroy the Twin Towers in New York. The US government immediately sets about convincing the public that, contrary to all the evidence, Saddam is linked to the attacks. [64]


April - Prime Minister Blair and President Bush meet and agree to try and lure Hussein into a war. Immediately they step up the bombing of Iraq, but the Iraqi's do not retaliate as hoped. [203]

August - The UK and US again increase the bombing of Iraq. In September alone they drop 54.6 tons of bombs. Effectively they have begun the war already. [1] [203]

September - The former head of the weapons inspectors states that Iraq had already 'been fundamentally disarmed'. [8]

The UK government issues a dossier about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Here the made alse claims about Iraq's capabilities, against the advice of its own intelligence agencies. Most infamous is the claim that Iraq can launch some WMD's in 45 minutes. This is false and they know it. In May 2003, after the war has officially begun, Andrew Gilligan, a BBC reporter attempts to expose the government's deception. Despite the essential truth of what he says he is put under such pressure that he has to resign from the BBC. His highly respected source in the intelligence community, Dr David Kelly, is put under such pressure by the government that he commits suicide (some maintain that it may not have been suicide). An enquiry led by a government appointed judge is derided as a whitewash when it clears the government of any wrongdoing. [204] [205] [206] [207] [208]

October - The director general of the IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, reports that: “We neutralized Iraq's nuclear program. We confiscated its weapon-usable material. We destroyed, removed or rendered harmless all its facilities and equipment relevant to nuclear weapons production.” [59]

The real reasons for the US and UK governments going to war have long been obvious to many. [9] [20]

Public support for the war is low. [25]

Various intelligence agencies and analysts note that an attack on Iraq would likely lead to an increase in terrorism. [64]

November - After intense pressure and bribery by the US government UN resolution 1441 is passed. It urges Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences". [64]

December - Unicef's 2003 report on the state of the world's children shows that the death rate for young children in Iraq has almost trebled since 1990 to levels typical of a least-developed country. [65]

Denis Halliday observes that far from crippling Hussein's regime, sanctions have in fact strengthened Hussein's hold on power. Meanwhile, notes Halliday, sanctions have "weakened the very people who think about democracy or think about multi-party systems, or think about change of government or governance". The end result is that "we have sustained a regime that apparently we don't like, and we've denied the opportunities for change." [64] [66]

The UK Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, releases a dossier of Saddam's crimes. The crimes listed are almost entirely drawn from a period of US and UK support for Saddam, but this isn't mentioned. [64]


February - Colin Powell falsely claims Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. There is actually no evidence of this. [30] [37] [59] [64]

The US government is funding propaganda to sell invading Iraq to the public. [79]

The US government also creates false intelligence to link Iraq to al-Quaeda. [179] And fake evidence that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Africa. [181]

The US signals its intent to attack Iraq with or without a further Security Council resolution. [64] [92]

Huge public protests are staged around the world demanding that there be no war. Something like two million march in London alone. It is the biggest public demonstration that the UK has ever seen. But the leaders of the so called "democracies" of the West don't listen to the people they are supposed to serve. [209]

Tun Myat, successor to Hans Von Sponeck as UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, notes that the Iraqi's aid distribution is the best he has ever seen. [64]

March - UNICEF notes that Iraqi health, education and infrastructure have already been devastated. [14]

After months of build-up, US and Britain launch war against Iraq, discarding the UN weapons inspection process and bypassing the UN Security Council. [1] [89] The war is illegal under international law. [64]

The use of cluster bombs is widespread. [111]

April - UK minister David Blunkett suggests that Aljazeera's television transmitter should be bombed. The US bomb it two weeks later. [122] [125]

May - The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1483 lifting all non-military sanctions on Iraq, terminating a policy which, according to UNICEF, has contributed to the death of over half a million Iraqi children and countless other suffering. However, 1483 also hands near-total control of Iraq to the two governments chiefly responsible for this policy: the US and Britain. [11]

August - With up to 55,000 Iraqi's killed in this latest war the US and UK are now engaged in a brutal occupation. 8% of Iraq's children are suffering extreme malnutrition; the occupiers fail to make basic repairs to the infrastructure they devastated, leaving most without adequate power, sanitation and healthcare; they kill civilians with impunity. The environment has also been devastated. Even if the will were there this would take years to put right. [12] [21]

September - The chief UN weapons inspector observes that the British intelligence dossier, used in part to justify the war, "did not correspond to reality" by suggesting Saddam Hussein's regime could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. He adds: "From the inspections, no evidence was found that would justify a war." [15] This is later further backed by a British diplomat at the UN, whose evidence was suppressed by the British government. [150]

"Bring 'em on," Bush taunted America's guerrilla enemies last month. Well, they've taken him at his word. There is so far not a shred of evidence that the latest Bush administration fantasy - "thousands" of foreign Islamist "jihadi" fighters streaming into Iraq to kill Americans - is true. But it might soon be. [10]

October - In the UK legal experts belatedly disagree with Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, over his advise that war would be legal. [16]

November - Security situation deteriorates. By early November - six months after President Bush declared the war over - more US soldiers have been killed in Iraq than died during the war to oust Saddam. In the course of the month 105 coalition troops are killed - the highest monthly death toll since the war began. [46]

The US refuses to relax Iraqi labour laws which severly limit unions. [22] [23]

The US also tries to restrict the Iraqi press. [24]

December - Saddam Hussein captured in Tikrit. [46]

No weapons of mass destruction have been found and the US administration switches its justification for war to the removal of Saddam Hussein. "It's unbelievable to me," says David Albright, a former UN inspector and a Washington expert on nuclear arms. "He can't possibly have meant it. Because it means we can hit you if we don't like you." [28]


January - After a visit to Iraq, auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit reports; "Without exception, people said things were worse now than before the war". [33]

The children of Iraq are particularly badly affected by malnourishment and disease. [34]

A former aide and others say the US president made up his mind to go to war with Iraq long before 9/11, then ordered his staff to find an excuse. Blair was happy to support Bush and deceive the public. [31] [32] [35] [36]

April-May - Shia militias loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr take on coalition forces. [46]

Hundreds reported killed in fighting during month-long US military siege of Sunni Muslim city of Falluja. [46]

Photographs emerge revealing torture of imprisoned Iraqis by US forces. [53] [80]

UK soldiers also abused prisoners. [118]

June - Ayad Allawi, the PM of the interim Iraqi government is a CIA asset. He also worked with British intelligence. [54]

Handover of 'sovereignty' to Iraqi government is a sham. [55]

Saddam Hussein transferred to Iraqi legal custody. [46]

July - US military try to censor coverage of Saddam hearing. [56]

Many say US wants to control Saddam's trial so that previous US involvement in Iraq is not raised. [57]

October - The Lancet conservatively estimates the number of civilian dead in Iraq as a consequence of the invasion to be at least 100 000. [47] UK government falsely rejects the study as unsound. [48] [49]

November - Major US-led offensives against insurgents in Falluja, Mosul. [46]

US forces shutdown or destroy major hospitals in Falluja. [52]

US marine is filmed shooting an unarmed, wounded Iraqi. [50] [58]

US troops prevent aid reaching Falluja. [51]


June - It is revealed that US forces have used Napalm in Iraq in contravention of the 1980 Convention on Certain Chemical Weapons. The US had previously denied this. [69]

US and Kurdish forces abduct members of minority groups in northern Iraq. [143]

July - The new Iraqi government makes extensive use of torture. [70]

November - It is revealed that US forces have used white phosphorous as well as napalm. [74] [75] [76]

Multinational forces violate international law by arresting doctors and occupying medical facilities. They also currently hold more than 11,500 Iraqis. [77]

It is far worse living in Iraq now than it was under Saddam Hussein. [78]

The US military manipulates the media to improve their image in Iraq. [82]

US marines go on rampage and slaughter 24 civilians, including women and children. Such incidents are not thought uncommon. [112]

December - The majority of resistance to the occupation of Iraq is from Iraqis, not foreign fighters. [83]

The latest figures released by US Central Command show a dramatic rise in the number of air raids carried out in Iraq. [84] [85]

A titular Iraqi government is installed. [104]


January - The occupation authorities waste and steal money meant for the Iraqis. [87]

March - SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq. [90]

US soldiers killing indiscriminately. [91] [95]

US bases in Iraq indicate an intent for a permanent presence. [93]

The Golden domed mosque in Samarra is blown up. There are signs that the US is responsible and this is part of a tactic of inciting sectarian violence in Iraq. [94] [96]

May - Iraq has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. One in three Iraqi children are malnourished. [97] [98]

Mercinaries in Iraq operate outside the law. [99]

Marines slaughter civilians, including children, in al-Haditha. [100]

The US uses propaganda to improve its image in Iraq. [101] [102]

June - US forces lay seige to Ramadi, a city of 400,000 people. [103]

Fallujah remains in ruins and the residents continue to suffer. [105]

US ambassador in Baghdad reports lack of progress in Iraq...and is apparently ignored. [106]

UN estimates 1.3 million people displaced within Iraq. [107]

Insurgency attacks increase after US security crackdown. [108]

July - US soldiers rape and murder 14 year old girl, try to burn the body and also murder 4 of her family who were in the house. One of the soldiers is later jailed for life for the crime. [109] [135]

A brutal occupation. [110]

August - Kurds in northern Iraq are shelled by Iranian and Turkish forces. [113]

The state of Iraq is not as reported in the western media. [114]

Nuremberg prosecutor says Bush and Saddam should both be tried for war crimes. [115]

September - Torture in Abu Ghraib continues under Iraqi authorities. [116]

Poll shows that most Iraqis want the US to leave and approve of attacks upon the US military. [117]

October - Despite claims by the US authorities there is no evidence Iran is supplying arms to Iraqi insurgents. [119]

Extensive US war crimes in Iraq are reported. [120]

Study concludes that the most likely Iraqi death toll since the 2003 invasion is 655,000. [121] The US and UK governments deny this, but the methodology of the study is sound. [124] The UK Ministry of Defence's chief scientific advisor said the survey's methods were "close to best practice", but the government still rejected them. [174]

UK army chief says foreign troops in Iraq are exacerbating the security situation there. [123]

Iraqi government is behind many civilian deaths in Baghdad. [126]

Most UK citizens want their troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. [127]

More than 3 million Iraqis have fled their homes. [128]

The Bush family is making huge profits from Iraq. [129]

November - As expected, Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death without any reference being made to Western involvement in his crimes. The trial is heavily criticised as flawed and unsound. [130] [131] [136]

Hundreds of US soldiers petition for withdrawal from Iraq. [133]

US officials estimate civil reconstruction of Iraq will cost at least $100 billion. [134]

Weapons manufacturers, principally in the US, reap huge profits from the war. [137] Foreign businesses, again mostly from the US, also reap huge profits under US imposed laws, at the expense of the Iraqis. [144]

US forces massacre civilians in Ramadi and take over the homes of many. [138] [139]

A British army Major accuses his superiors of ordering prisoner abuse in contravention of the Geneva Convention. [140] And a US former Brigadier General says Rumsfeld authorised prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. [142]

Iraqi health care is at an all time low, having been in constant decline since US/UN sanctions were imposed in 1990. [141]

December - Women and children are frequently killed in US raids. [145]

Census counts about 100,000 US government contractors, not counting subcontractors, operating in Iraq. [146]

US forces lay seige to another Iraqi town and a city. [147] [149]

A US marine speaks out against the occupation of Iraq. [148]

Cost of war estimated at $2 trillion dollars. [151]

US death toll hits 3,000. [152]


January - Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck again appeal for the release of former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, imprisoned for three and a half years without charge. [154]

The US sends more than 20,000 extra troops to Iraq. [155]

The US proposes laws for Iraq which will hand their oil wealth to US corporations. [156]

A US soldier pleads guilty to murdering three Iraqis. [157]

Press freedom is much more limited under the occupation than it was under Hussein. [158]

Two of Saddam's aides are hanged. [159]

The Baghdad morgue alone took 16,000 unidentified bodies last year. [160]

About 12% of the Iraqi population have now fled their homes. About 2 million have left Iraq and 1.7 million are internally discplaced. [161]

Iraqi children are dying in their thousands for lack of basic medical care. [162]

There is protest in US against sending more troops to Iraq. [163]

US, British and Iraqi forces slaughter more than 200 civilians in Najaf. [164]

February - US continues with heavy aerial attacks. [165]

Kurds offer cash to get Arabs to leave Kirkuk. [166]

The US "surge" brings increased violence to Baghdad. [167]

There is more evidence of the US and UK stirring up sectarian violence in Iraq. [168]

Iraqi, US and insurgent forces all ignore the Geneva convention with regard to the neutrality of hospitals. [169]

A third of Iraqis now live in poverty. [170]

Insurgent attacks on coalition forces are at an all time high. [171]

March - Britain withdraws some of its troop from Iraq. [172]

Iraqi deaths estimated at 1 million since 2003 invasion. [173]

Iraqi victims of US torture are denied the right to sue. [175]

Iraqi police kill civilians in revenge. [176] [177]

April - The man who commanded British death squads in Northern Ireland now commands special units in Iraq. [178]

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis take part in a protest against the occupation. [180]

Iraqi insurgents are a response to the occupation and the majority of attacks are directed against occupation forces. [182]

A suicide attrack inside the Green Zone kills at least 8 people. [183]

Tens of thousands of Iraqis are currently imprisoned, mostly without being charged. [184]

People close to the US government continue make millions of dollars from the war. [185]

The numbers of executions by the Iraqi government are amongst the highest in the world. [186]

US forces build a wall around a Sunni district of Baghdad, despite objections by Sunnis and Shias in the area and by the Iraqi PM. [187] [188]

British troops say they have lost in Basra. [189]

Iraqi forces torture prisoners. [190]

May - Bush vetoes a bill passed by the US congress which called for US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. [191]

June - Turkish forces shell Kurds in Northern Iraq. [192]

The number of displaced Iraqis tops 4.2 million. [193]

The US more than doubles air attacks in Iraq compared to a year ago. [194]

The Iraqi government orders the arrest of oil workers' trade union leaders. [195]

July - US forces kill more than 350 people in Baquba in a week. [196]

Iraqi Kurdish forces torture prisoners. [197]

Australia admits that oil was a key motive for its involvement in the Iraq war. [198]

US forces are using 1.8 billion small arms rounds per year. [199]

Contrary to the US governments statements there are very few non Iraqis among the insurgents. [200]

Oxfam reports that nearly half of Iraqis are living in "absolute poverty", 70% are without adequate water supplies, 80% lack safe sanitation, 28% of children suffer malnutrition, 92% of children display learning difficulties related to psychological trauma. [201]