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Lead-up to the Iraq War

A UN weapons inspector in Iraq

The lead-up to the Iraq War (i.e., the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent hostilities) began with United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 and subsequent UN weapons inspectors inside Iraq. This period also saw low-level hostilities between Iraq and the United States-led coalition from 1991-2003.


  • 1991–2000: UN inspectors, no-fly zones, and Iraqi opposition groups 1
    • Iraqi expatriate opposition groups 1.1
    • Presidential involvement 1.2
  • CIA SAD Teams 2
  • Congressional Assessment of the Need for War 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

1991–2000: UN inspectors, no-fly zones, and Iraqi opposition groups

Following the 1991 Gulf War, as part of the ceasefire agreement, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 mandated that Iraqi chemical, biological, nuclear, and long range missile programs be halted and all such weapons destroyed under United Nations Special Commission control. The UN weapons inspectors inside Iraq were able to verify the destruction of a large amount of WMD-material, but substantial issues remained unresolved in 1998 when the inspectors left Iraq due to then current UNSCOM head Richard Butler's belief that U.S. and UK military action was imminent. Shortly after the inspectors withdrew, the U.S. and UK launched a four-day bombing campaign in Iraq. Also, during this period the U.S. Congress and U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a resolution calling for regime change in Iraq.

In addition to the UN inspections, the U.S. and UK (along with France until 1998) engaged in a low-level conflict with Iraq by enforcing non-UN mandated northern and southern Iraqi no-fly zones. These were known as Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Provide Comfort II then followed by Operation Northern Watch in Iraqi Kurdistan in the north and Operation Southern Watch in the south, and were seen by the Iraqi government as an infringement of Iraq's sovereignty. These overflights intensified one year before the Iraq war began when the U.S. initiated Operation Southern Focus in order to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq before the invasion.

Iraqi expatriate opposition groups

Following the 1991 Gulf War, Central Intelligence Agency to create conditions for Hussein's removal from power in May 1991. Coordinating anti-Saddam groups was an important element of this strategy and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), led by Ahmed Chalabi, was the main group tasked with this purpose. The name INC was reportedly coined by public relations expert John Rendon (of the Rendon Group agency) and the group received millions in covert funding in the 1990s, and then about $8 million a year in overt funding after the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Another opposition group was the Iraqi National Accord which continues to have influence in the current Iraqi government through its leader Ayad Allawi.

Presidential involvement

In late April 1993, the United States asserted that Saddam Hussein had attempted to have former President George H. W. Bush assassinated during a visit to Kuwait on April 14-16.[1] On June 26, as per order of then-President Clinton, U.S. warships stationed in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea [2]

Bush's Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said that Bush's first two National Security Council meetings included a discussion of invading Iraq. He was given briefing materials entitled "Plan for post-Saddam Iraq," which envisioned peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals, and divvying up Iraq's oil wealth. A Pentagon document dated March 5, 2001 was titled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts," and included a map of potential areas for exploration.[3]


The CIA's [6]

SAD teams also conducted missions behind enemy lines to identify leadership targets. These missions led to the initial strikes against Saddam Hussein and his Generals. Although the strike against Saddam was unsuccessful in killing him, it was successful in effectively ending his ability to command and control his forces. Other strikes against his Generals were successful and significantly degraded the command's ability to react to, and maneuver against the U.S. led invasion force.[4][7] SAD operations officers were also successful in convincing key Iraqi Army officers into surrendering their units once the fighting started.[8]


Congressional Assessment of the Need for War

Sen. [10]

Congress voted to support the war based on the NIE Tenet provided in October of 2002. However, the bipartisan “Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Prewar Intelligence” released on July 7, 2004, concluded that the key findings in the 2002 NIE either overstated, or were not supported by, the actual intelligence. The Senate report also found the US Intelligence Community to suffer from a “broken corporate culture and poor management” that resulted in a NIE that was completely wrong in almost every respect.[11]

See also


  1. ^ FBI Study. "How Do We Know that Iraq Tried to Assassinate President George H.W. Bush?". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  2. ^ Chollet, Derek and James Goldgeier (2008). The U.S Between the Wars. Public Affairs, Perseus Books Group. 
  3. ^ Rebecca, Leung (February 11, 2009). "Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq?". 60 Minutes. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward, Simon and Schuster, 2004.
  5. ^ a b Tucker, Mike; Charles Faddis (2008). Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War inside Iraq. The Lyons Press.  
  6. ^ a b An interview on public radio with the author
  7. ^ Behind lines, an unseen war, Faye Bowers, Christian Science Monitor, April 2003.
  8. ^ Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War inside Iraq, Mike Tucker, Charles Faddis, 2008, The Lyons Press ISBN 978-1-59921-366-8
  9. ^  
  10. ^ “Frontline interview with Sen. Bob Graham” Jan 31, 2006
  11. ^ “Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Prewar Intelligence” July 7, 2004
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