Iraq And Weapons Of Mass Destruction
During the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was believed to have weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Hussein was internationally known for his use of chemical weapons in the 1980s against Iranian and Kurdish civilians during and after the Iran–Iraq War. It is also known that in the 1980s he pursued an extensive biological weapons program and a nuclear weapons program, though no nuclear bomb was built.
After the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, the United Nations located and destroyed large quantities of Iraqi chemical weapons and related equipment and materials throughout the early 1990s, with varying degrees of Iraqi cooperation and obstruction. In response to diminishing Iraqi cooperation with UNSCOM, the United States called for withdrawal of all UN and IAEA inspectors in 1998, resulting in Operation Desert Fox. The United States and the UK asserted that Saddam Hussein still possessed large hidden stockpiles of WMD in 2003, and that he was clandestinely procuring and producing more. Inspections by the UN to resolve the status of unresolved disarmament questions restarted from November 2002 until March 2003, under UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which demanded Saddam give "immediate, unconditional and active cooperation" with UN and IAEA inspections, shortly before his country was attacked.
During the lead-up to war in March 2003, United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix had found no stockpiles of WMD and had made significant progress toward resolving open issues of disarmament noting "proactive" but not always the "immediate" Iraqi cooperation as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1441. He concluded that it would take “but months” to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks. The United States asserted this was a breach of Resolution 1441 but failed to convince the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution authorizing the use of force due to lack of evidence. Despite being unable to get a new resolution authorizing force and citing section 3 of the Joint Resolution passed by the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush asserted peaceful measures could not disarm Iraq of the weapons he alleged it to have and launched a second Gulf War, despite multiple dissenting opinions and questions of integrity about the underlying intelligence. Later U.S.-led inspections agreed that Iraq had earlier abandoned its WMD programs, but asserted Iraq had an intention to pursue those programs if UN sanctions were ever lifted. Bush later said that the biggest regret of his presidency was "the intelligence failure" in Iraq, while the Senate Intelligence Committee found in 2008 that his administration "misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq". A key CIA informant in Iraq admitted that he lied about his allegations, "then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war". In 2012, Britain will help the Iraqi government dispose of what is left of Saddam's chemical weapons. The teams will work to safely destroy remnants of munitions and chemical warfare agents left over from Saddam's regime.
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