| Share
 

Iraq Crisis

Events of 1997–1998

Related Links

Crisis erupted as the U.N.'s weapons inspection process in Iraq neared its seventh year. On Nov. 13, 1997, Iraq expelled the American members of the U.N. inspection team mandated to determine whether the nation had destroyed its nuclear, biological, and ballistic weapons. Under the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire resolution, the U.N. had agreed not to lift sanctions until Iraq's full compliance had been verified.

As the inspection standoff stretched over months, the U.S. began a military build-up in the Gulf. In Feb. 1998 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan brokered a peaceful solution, but in its aftermath, Baghdad continued to impede inspections, finally putting a complete halt to them in Aug. 1998.

A number of countries condemned the U.S.'s inflexibility over sanctions, which they saw as responsible for the appalling humanitarian crisis in Iraq. The United States, however, faulted President Saddam Hussein for his own people's misery-he had only to comply with the U.N. agreement to end their suffering.

Although repeatedly frustrated with the U.N.'s seemingly oversolicitous attitude toward Iraq, after the August standoff the U.S. opted for diplomatic arm-twisting instead of a military solution. In September the U.N. Security Council unanimously affirmed that there would be no talk of lifting sanctions without U.N. inspections. Yet the brief solidarity the U.S. felt with the U.N. faded when no progress occurred and Hussein resumed his defiant shell game.

On Oct. 31 the United States and Britain threatened Iraq with the possibility of a military strike if it did not begin cooperating. On Nov. 14 Iraq agreed to unconditional cooperation with the U.N. inspectors, and the United States and Britain called off planned military action. But on Dec. 15, chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler reported that Iraq had not lived up to its promise.

The following day the United States and Britain began four days of air strikes, which ended on December 19, the day before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began. The attacks focused on command centers, missile factories, and airfields - targets that the Pentagon believed would damage Iraq's weapons stores.




Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover began the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” program in March 1950.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring