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Crisis and Conflict in Iraq

Background, Documents & Coverage, 1998-2003


The crisis in relations between Iraq and the United Nations has been a dominant theme of the News Review section of Disarmament Diplomacy since the journal began publication in January 1996. At that time, the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) was five years into its work to supervise and verify the elimination of all existing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 687, and to certify the effective disabling of all Iraqi programmes to develop, produce and deliver such weapons. In March 2003, over seven years later, the process of ascertaining the full WMD-disarmament of Iraq through UN weapons inspections remains incomplete, and a final enforced resolution of the crisis - under the military direction of the United States and United Kingdom, rather than the political direction of the United Nations - looks set to form the next deadly chapter of a confrontation rooted in Iraq's illegal invasion of another UN Member state, Kuwait, in August 1990.

This new Special Feature draws together our extensive coverage and documentation of the confrontations over Iraq as it has appeared in Disarmament Diplomacy and the Disarmament Documentation section of our website since the fateful US-UK aerial bombardment of Iraqi sites and facilities in December 1998. Designed to compel Baghdad's full compliance with UN weapons inspectors, the attack achieved the opposite effect, leading to an Iraqi refusal to readmit weapons inspectors into the country, the collapse of UNSCOM, and the consignment of its successor organisation - the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), established by a further Security Council Resolution, 1284 - to operational inactivity and political limbo until November 2002. December 1998 also marked the first explicit adoption by the government of the United States - then led by Democrat President Bill Clinton - of the policy of 'regime change': the displacement of WMD-disarmament as Washington's fundamental strategic objective by a new, grander goal, the replacement of the regime of President Saddam Hussein. In the wake of September 11, despite the lack of convincing evidence of Iraqi involvement in the terrorist attacks, the Republican administration of George Bush has pushed the doctrine of regime change by military intervention to new heights, with far-reaching implications for international security.

The material which follows seeks to reflect and incorporate the broadest range of international political and diplomatic opinion, claim and counterclaim as the crisis has developed in the last 50-plus months. The focus of our coverage is on the question of Iraq's alleged residual WMD-capabilities and the radically differing approaches to the conclusion of the disarmament process. We also seek to place this focus in its naturally broader political, historical and humanitarian context. With the apparently decisive collapse in March 2003 of diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, the Special Feature will be regularly updated with a continuing emphasis of the diversity of global perspectives and reaction, and on the undiminished importance of WMD-disarmament in Iraq and the Middle East as a new era in the region takes turbulent and violent shape.

Sean Howard, Editor, Disarmament Diplomacy
Rebecca Johnson, Executive Editor and Publisher, Disarmament Diplomacy

March 17, 2003

Crisis and Conflict in Iraq in News Review, 2002-03

News Review is compiled by Dr. Sean Howard from newswire reports and other internet and media sources. The Review is an account of news reports and does not seek to put forward or reflect the views or claims of the Acronym Institute.

Latest Documents and Statements, 2002-03

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

Earlier Documents and Statements on Iraq

Further Sources of information on Iraq

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