Events leading up to war in Iraq
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Events leading up to war in Iraq

The US said it had began its war against Iraq just minutes after explosions were heard over Baghdad on Thursday.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2003 10:50 IST

The United States said it had began its war against Iraq just minutes after explosions were heard over Baghdad on Thursday.

Following are main developments leading up to the start of the war in Iraq:


Aug 2 - Iraq invades Kuwait. Emir flees to Saudi Arabia. UN Security Council condemns Iraq and demands withdrawal.

Aug 6 - Security Council imposes sanctions on Iraq and occupied Kuwait.


Jan 17 - US-led allied forces start Gulf War with air attacks on Iraq and occupied Kuwait.

Feb 28 - Hostilities end after 100-hour ground war in which US-led coalition drives Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Revolts erupt in Kurdish north and mainly Shi'ite south.

April-May - US, British and French troops create safe haven in north to protect returning refugees. Iraqi troops withdraw. Allied planes patrol "no-fly" zone in north.

April 11 - United Nations declares Gulf War ceasefire after Iraq accepts terms of Security Council resolution 687, which demands dismantling of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and payment of war reparations from Iraqi oil revenue.

June - UN arms inspectors begin work. Disputes over Iraq's compliance with UN. demands for the scrapping of its chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic arms programmes lead to successive crises and keep sanctions in place for years to come.


July 1 - Iraq admits for first time it has biological weapons.


Sept 3/4 - The United States launches two missile barrages at Iraqi targets.

Dec 10 - UN oil-for-food deal comes into effect, allowing Iraq to sell $2 billion worth of oil over six months to buy humanitarian supplies for its people.


Dec 16 - UN inspectors withdraw from Baghdad a day after reporting that Iraq is still not cooperating with their work.

Dec 17 - US and Britain launch four days of air strikes.


Jan 30 - US President George W Bush brands Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, part of an "axis of evil" armed with weapons of mass destruction and supporting terrorism.

Sept 12 - Bush urges United Nations to force Iraq to disarm.

Nov 8 - Security Council unanimously approves resolution 1441 giving Iraq a last chance to scrap its alleged weapons of mass destruction or face "serious consequences".

Nov 13 - Iraq accepts resolution 1441 unconditionally.

Nov 27 - UN inspectors resume work after four-year break.


Feb 24 - United States, Britain and Spain circulate a draft resolution declaring that Iraq has squandered its "final opportunity" to disarm. A French counter-proposal, endorsed by Germany and Russia, calls for more time for UN inspections.

March 15 - Saddam puts Iraq on a war footing, dividing the country into four military districts and putting his younger son Qusay in command of the vital Baghdad-Tikrit area.

March 16 - Bush meets the leaders of Spain and Britain and says that March 17 is the last day for a vote on a second Iraq resolution.

March 17 - United States, Britain and Spain abandon efforts to get international endorsement for war against Saddam Hussein. Later the US. gives the Iraqi leader an ultimatum giving him and his sons 48 hours to flee or face war.

March 20 - War started shortly after the 48-hour deadline passed.

First Published: Mar 20, 2003 09:41 IST