The Center for Grassroots Oversight

This page can be viewed at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=complete_timeline_of_the_2003_invasion_of_iraq_199


Context of 'September 23, 2002: Generals Warn US Must Secure Allies for Iraq Invasion'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event September 23, 2002: Generals Warn US Must Secure Allies for Iraq Invasion. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad’s willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). (Linzer 9/16/2002; Associated Press 9/16/2002; Sengupta and Buncombe 9/17/2002; Preston and Purdum 9/17/2002) Iraq’s letter is effectively an agreement to the December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. (Purdum 9/18/2002) Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein’s decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that a recent speech by Bush also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad’s decision. (UN News Center 9/16/2002) UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” (BBC 9/17/2002) The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. (Agence France-Presse 9/16/2002; White House 9/16/2002) And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We’ve made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq’s offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam’s offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He’s not going to fool anybody. We’ve seen him before…. We’ll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he’s become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that’s what we expect the Security Council to do.” (Sengupta and Buncombe 9/17/2002; Agence France-Presse 9/19/2002) Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. (Burrough et al. 5/2004, pp. 285) Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. (BBC 9/17/2002) Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It’s important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel… It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors’ return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” (Sengupta and Buncombe 9/17/2002; BBC 9/17/2002)

Three retired four-star generals testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee and warn Congress that a unilateral strike against Iraq without UN approval might limit aid from allies, create more recruits for al-Qaeda and subvert long term US diplomatic and economic interests. A fourth general urges the committee to support the use of military force against Iraq. (Schmitt 9/24/2002)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri complains in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the US intends to use UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002) as a pretext to use military force against Iraq. In the letter, he analyzes several paragraphs in the UN resolution, demonstrating how they are based on assumptions and how the US plans to use some of the key provisions as a pretext for invading Iraq. (Republic of Iraq, 11/23/2002 11/23/2002; CTV 11/25/2002)


Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike