First I’m going to tell about the background of the conflict in Iraq. Because you should know why the US bombed Iraq, and that’s the part the media hasn’t told us much about.
Iraq has been subjected to United Nations sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Sanctions ban all exports, except for oil sales under the Security Council, and allow imports only of food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods for essential civilian needs. But all these sanctions don’t hurt Saddam Hussein as they were originally intended to. No they hurt the civilian population of Iraq.
The Government’s failure to comply with UN Security Council resolutions has resulted in the maintenance
of the sanctions. Under UN Security Council Resolution , which set out
the cease-fire terms for ending the Gulf War, Iraq is obliged to accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of all its - nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and ballistic missiles with a range over 150 kilometres; and - research, development, and manufacturing facilities associated with the above, and undertake not to develop such weapons in the future.
Special Commission oversees these processes. Iraq must give full co-operation, in particular immediate, unrestricted access to any site UNSCOM (The organisation for the Iraq special weapon inspectors) needs to inspect. Iraq has consistently tried to evade its responsibilities. It’s required full disclosure document on missiles was not produced until 1996, five years after it was demanded. It has so far produced three versions on chemical weapons and four on biological weapons, all shown to be seriously inaccurate. In particular, UNSCOM is concerned that
Iraq may still have operational SCUD-type missiles with chemical and biological warheads.
Critical missile components, warheads, and propellant are not accounted for. Nor are 17 tonnes of growth media for bacterial weapon agents - enough to produce more than three times the amount of anthrax Iraq admits it had. UNSCOM strongly suspects that admitted Iraqi figures for production of the bacterial agent are still too low. Over Nor are 17 tonnes of growth media for bacterial agents are not accounted for – enough to produce more than three times the amount of anthrax Iraq admits it had. Iraq’s chemical weapons programme was on an enormous scale. 4,000 tonnes of chemical weapon precursors are not listed.
These could have produced several hundred tonnes of chemical agents for weapons, enough to fill several thousand munitions. Over 31,000 chemical weapon munitions are not accounted for. Key items of chemical weapon production equipment are also missing.
Over 600 tonnes of VX (a lethal bacterial agent) precursors are also not accounted for. These could make 200 tonnes of VX. One drop is enough to kill, and that makes you think a bit. 200 tonnes could wipe out the entire world’s population! Iraq has consistently denied weapon inspectors the access they need to follow up these and other concerns and locate both capabilities and documentation, which might reveal more about Iraq’s weapon programmes. Documents and material have been removed from and destroyed inside sites while UNSCOM inspectors have been held outside prevented from entering. The pattern of defiance has unfortunately got worse over time. Iraq contains 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, along with roughly 215 billion barrels of probable and possible resources. Iraq’s oil resources are the worlds second largest, exceeded only by Saudi Arabia’s. Prior to its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Iraqi oil production had just recovered from the costly Iran-Iraq War. By July 1990, Iraqi crude oil output had reached 3.5 million barrels per day, with production capacity at 4.5 —the highest levels since 1979. Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the embargo on Iraqi oil exports, though, oil production fell drastically. In 1997, Iraqi oil production averaged about 1.2 million barrels a day. The UN Security Council Resolution allows Iraq to sell specified amounts of crude oil over six-month periods. Much of the revenue from these sales is allocated for the purchase of humanitarian supplies for distribution in Iraq under the UN supervision. The remaining proceeds are used to pay compensation for Gulf War victims, pipeline transit fees for Turkey, and funding for the UN special commission (UNSCOM). In December 1996, after a nearly a year and a half of obstruction and delay, the Government began to implement the UN special commission. A significant part of the “oil for food” program was delayed during 1997 because the Government refused to pump oil for extended periods. The Government interfered with the international community’s provision of humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people routinely by placing a higher priority on importing industrial items than on food and medicine, diverting goods to benefit the regime, and restricting the work of UN personnel and relief workers. Which hurt the poor people in Iraq. On January 20, 1998, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to more than double (to $5.26 billion) the amount of oil Iraq could sell over six months.
Iraqi officials repeatedly have stated their hopes that UN Resolution 986 will lead to a complete lifting of UN sanctions. However, the position of the UN Security Council is that sanctions will continue until Iraq complies fully with a number of resolutions. Resolution 687, for instance, stipulates (among other things) that Iraq destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction. Until UN sanctions are lifted, Iraq will not be able to attract the foreign investment it wants or to trade freely. On February 23, 1998, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reached an agreement with Iraq on the issue of free and unrestricted access for UN weapons inspectors. This agreement follows several months of increasing tensions, including a large US military build-up in the Persian Gulf region, since Iraq escalated its interference with UN inspectors particularly during the fall of 1997. On 05 August 1998 Iraq suspended new spot inspections with the UN Special Commission, in charge of ridding Baghdad of its nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic weapons. That decision restricted inspectors to monitoring sites already visited. The Iraqi decision followed moves by the United States to continue embargo even if Iraq complied with weapons demands, unless Baghdad also fulfilled other UN-imposed requirements. On 31 October 1998 Iraq announced that it had decided to stop all forms of co-operation with UNSCOM and its chairman and to stop all its activities inside Iraq, including monitoring, until the Security Council reviews the lifting of sanctions and purges its teams of “American spies and agents.” The Security Council has unanimously condemned the decision and demanded that it be reversed “immediately and unconditionally”.
The situation was extremely delicate, the big question was “what would the US do now”. Because they couldn’t accept this situation. And almost immediately the CNN pronounced that USA probably would bomb Iraq in the nearest future. People in Baghdad got very frightened. Would USA bomb their capital? The entire world saw USA gathering forces near Iraq. And the people in Baghdad’s worst fear would become reality. 16.Dec. 98 at night USA sent many jet-fighters and long range missiles (like the Tomahawk) with different targets in Iraq. They had pointed out some military-installations, chemical factories, storage buildings, and other sites the weapon inspectors had a suspicion of were making chemical, bacteriological or even nuclear weapons. The reason for the attack was to reduce Saddams military strength so that he won’t launch attacks against Iraq’s neighbours and obviously destroy their illegal weapons. This big attack the US officials called a pinpoint airstrike, but this pinpoint airstrike didn’t hit only its original targets. It also hit a civilian building, and there were causalities. The results of this attack weren’t all that good. Yes, many military and suspected weapon producing building were destroyed but Saddam weren’t directly hurt by the attack. Many people say it was a big failure, and the attack should never have occurred in the first place. There’s also another questions, should the UN participate in an attack mission? Ill leave that question unanswered. And even the US must admit that the attack weren’t successful. Even if they don’t. But USA achieved one thing; they made the people in Iraq support Saddam Hussein even more. Ill try to not blame only the US for this attack, because another nation supported it, like England.
From my point of view the attack the resolutions and the sanctions haven’t hurt Saddams regime, but they have hurt the civilian population in Iraq. Especially the sick and the poor ones. And even though Iraq has committed a series of criminal actions. Iraq doesn’t stand alone on the list: Many other countries, especially the Arabic in the Middle East have committed many of the same crimes. The Norwegian government has supported the attack on Iraq, and they’ve been criticised for it. Which I think is a good thing. The only good result there was that the weapon inspectors were allowed access to the suspected sites again, and Iraq’s military force was weakened.
So the conclusion is: The attack on Iraq weren’t very successful. The sanctions and resolutions haven’t hurt Saddam Hussein, but they have hurt the Iraqi people. And made their life much harder. So only the future will show how the conflict in Iraq will end.