Iraq disarmament crisis

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The issue of Iraq's disarmament reached a crisis in 2002-2003, when U.S. President George W. Bush demanded a complete end to what he alleged was Iraqi production of weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq comply with UN Resolutions requiring UN inspectors unfettered access to areas those inspectors thought might have weapons production facilities. Iraq had been banned by the United Nations from developing or possessing such weapons since the 1991 Gulf War. It was also required to permit inspections to confirm Iraqi compliance. Bush repeatedly backed demands for unfettered inspection and disarmament with threats of invasion.

On 20 March 2003, a coalition of primarily U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq (see 2003 invasion of Iraq). After the war, a number of failed Iraqi peace initiatives were revealed.



In the decade following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations passed 16 Security Council resolutions calling for the complete elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Member states communicated their frustration over the years that Iraq was impeding the work of the special commission and failing to take seriously its disarmament obligations. Iraqi security forces had on several occasions physically prevented weapons inspectors from doing their job and in at least one case, took documents away from them.

On 29 September 1998, the United States Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act supporting the efforts of Iraqi opposition groups to remove Saddam Hussein from office. The Act was signed by President Clinton on 31 October 1998. On the same day, Iraq announced it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

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