After over a decade of frustrated attempts by the International Community to limit the offensive power of Sadam Husein’s regime, there has been a failure to make Iraq comply with the obligations that have been laid down in the resolutions which, since 1991, have been adopted by the UN Security Council on this matter. Among the over sixty resolutions mentioned above referring to the situation that arose after the Kuwait invasion by Iraqi forces, twelve of them, namely those which deal with putting an end to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as well as those that deal with any other possibility of re-establishing arms programmes that would imply a threat to the security of its people, its neighbours and the rest of the world. The resolutions are listed below to highlight the obligations contained therein and the degree of fulfilment? by the Iraqi authorities.
In order to achieve the objective of disarming Iraq, the UN Security Council laid down several requirements, as well as procedures and control mechanisms to ensure that they were complied with, on which the lifting of the sanctions that had been imposed on Iraq since the Gulf War depended.
The Kuwait invasion, as well as the possession of nuclear, chemical and biological arms and long-range ballistic missiles was deemed by the Security Council to represent a threat to the International Community as a whole. The resolutions were therefore based on the principle enshrined in Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter with reference to “Action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression” and which allows the use of force in order to maintain or restore international peace and security. The measures provided for in Chapter VII range from the imposition of sanctions, embargoes of various types – economic, communication, sea, air, post, telegraphic embargoes – and the breaking-off of diplomatic relations to the effective use of military force.
The invasion of Kuwait responded, according to the Iraqi authorities, to a serie of territorial claims based on historical reasons. It was, moreover, a means of pressure and a reprisal by the government of Sadam Husein for the refusal of other Persian Gulf nations to raise the price of oil, something which Iraq had been requesting for some time on account of its need for reconstruction funds after ten years of war with Iran. After the invasion, the International Community set up a system of sanctions, but faced with the refusal of a complete and immediate withdrawal from the territory that had been invaded, an international coalition led by the United States undertook a military action against Iraq which duly ended on the 28th February 1991 with the surrender of Iraq and its withdrawal from Kuwait.
The Security Council set the conditions for the definitive cease-fire, which was approved on 3rd April 1991 through Resolution 687. It must be highlighted the fact that the UN did not sign a Peace Treaty with Iraq, merely a cease-fire agreement, which implies that the war would not have come to an end until the terms and conditions set out in Resolution 687 had been complied with. In aforesaid resolution, and more specifically, in section C, the UN decided that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of all chemical and biological weapons, in addition to all of the research, development, support and manufacturing facilities, and of all of the ballistic missiles with a range grater than 150 km.
It also set up the creation of a Special Commission (UNSCOM) that would carry out an immediate on-site inspection of the Iraq’s biological, chemical and missile capabilities, as well as long-range missiles, with the assistance and co-operation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Furthermore, Iraq would unconditionally agree not to acquire or develop weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any facilities as subsystems, components or research, development, support or manufacturing installations associated with these elements. It would be obliged to inform the Security Council that it would not commit or support any act of international terrorism, and would not permit any organisation devoted to the carrying-out of such acts to operate within its territorial limits. This resolution, apart from its importance in establishing the cease-fire, is the point of reference for all later Security Council actions.
Three days afterwards, Iraq accepted the resolution and on the 18th April handed over its first report, which was incomplete, and in which it declared some of its chemical weapons, even though it denied that it was developing programmes related to biological weapons.
In May 1991, Iraq signed the privileges and immunities for UNSCOM and its staff. These guarantees included the right to unrestricted freedom of entry and exit, without either delays or hindrances, of its personnel, property, supplies and equipment. Nevertheless, in June 1991, the Iraqi authorities repeatedly obstructed the work of the inspectors, and in some instances even fired warning shots.
As a result of the lack of observance of the requests that had been laid down, on the 15th August 1991 Resolution 707 was passed, in which the non-fulfilment by Iraq of its obligations contracted under Resolution 687 was condemned, and specifically its commitment to co-operate with the Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Council demanded, therefore, that Iraq provide full, final and complete disclosure of all the aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and that it allow the United Nations’ inspectors immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that they wish to inspect. Furthermore, Iraq must allow them to take fixed-wing and helicopter flights throughout Iraq without any interference whatsoever, and to make full use of their aircraft and the Iraqi airports most convenient to the work to be done by the Commission. The first UNSCOM inspection with helicopters was blocked in September of the same year. On another occasion, the Iraqi authorities confiscated documents from the United Nations inspectors and after four days of confrontation and retention, Iraq allowed them to leave with the documents that had been seized.
On the 11th October 1991, the Security Council passed Resolution 715, which subscribed to the joint plans of UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Permanently Supervise and Verify the fulfilment of the provisions laid down in Resolution 687. The UNSCOM plan specified that Iraq must unconditionally accept the inspectors and all of the personnel appointed by the Special Commission, as well as to undertake to unconditionally comply with all of the obligations arising from the plans and to co-operate with UNSCOM and IAEA.
Nevertheless, one month later, Iraq declared that the Permanent Monitoring and Verification Plans passed in Resolution 715 were illegal and that it was not prepared to comply with such a resolution. Until the acceptance of the resolution, on 26th November 1993, Iraq repeatedly obstructed the work of the inspection teams: it refused to destroy certain installations used in forbidden programmes, it asked to suspend, with notorious threats, the UNSCOM monitoring flights and refused the Commission’s teams access to some places that were to be inspected.
In the years following the acceptance of Resolution 715 by the Iraqi authorities, UNSCOM managed to achieve some results as regards the Monitoring and Verification Plans, even though the Iraqi security forces kept on refusing entrance to inspectors to certain places that were to be inspected, or held back access with delays of up to 17 hours.
After four years of denials, in June 1995, Iraq admitted for the first time that it had an offensive biological arms programme.
On the 27th March 1996 Resolution 1051 was recognizing the export/import monitoring mechanism and requested that Iraq unconditionally complied with all of its obligations in accordance with those laid down, and fully co-operated with the Special Commission and with the Director General of IAEA. This resolution also requested that Iraq was obliged to declare the dual purpose material cargoes that might be used in mass destruction weapons’ programmes to the Special Commission and the IAEA. In June 1996, Iraq repeatedly denied access to the team of inspectors from the Special Commission to several places that were deemed to be important for national security. On 12th June 1996, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1060 in which it deplores the refusal of the Iraqi Government to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, which constituted a clear violation of the provisions of Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991) and 715 (1991).
In this resolution, the Council demands that the Iraqi regime facilitate immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation which they wish to inspect.
In spite of the requests made by the United Nations and of the 1996 Joint Declaration between the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission and the Iraqi Vice-premier, there continued to be friction and obstacles to free access for inspectors to the sites that had been designated by the Commission. In June 1997, the Iraqi Government once again hindered Special Commission operations that were carried out with helicopters, seriously compromising their safety. On the 21st June, Iraq once more impeded access to the Commission team to particular places that had been designated for inspection.
The Security Council adopted then Resolution 1115 in which it condemned the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to the sites designated by the Special Commission. In this resolution the Security Council requested the full co-operation of Iraq with the Special Commission, in addition to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that the Special Commission might wish to inspect, as well as communication with all of the civil servants and personnel that worked under the auspices of the Iraqi Government, and whom they might wish to interview.
The same old story was to be repeated. On the 13th September 1997, the Iraqi Government personnel prevented, by force, the inspectors taking photographs of non-authorised vehicle movements within a space declared by Iraq to be “sensitive”, and which had previously been designated for inspection. A few days later, a team of inspectors managed to record the transfer and destruction of important files and documents in a site that had been selected for inspection. In October of the same year, Sadam Husein’s Government denied the Special Commission access to presidential sites, on account of deeming them not to be subject to United Nations’ inspections.
Given this context of continued obstruction to the work of the Special Commission, on the 23rd October 1997, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1134 according to which it reiterated its demand Iraq to allow immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any site which the Special Commission wishes to inspect, as well as to allow the Special Commission and its inspection teams to conduct both fixed wings and helicopters flight throughout Iraq for all relevant purposes including inspection, surveillance, aerial surveys, transportations and logistics, without any interference kind and in accordance with the conditions that had been set by the Special Commission. Moreover, it was decided to suspend temporarily, until April 1998, the inspections provided for in Resolution 687(1991), which were needed to determine the lifting or reduction of sanctions that had been imposed on the Iraqi Government.
In several communications addressed to the Security Council in October and November 1997, the Iraqi Government laid down conditions for its co-operation with the Special Commission. In the letter from the Iraqi Vice-prime minister addressed to the President of the Security Council the decision not to co-operate with personnel of the Special Commission holding American nationality was expressed, deciding their expulsion and requesting the withdrawal and suspension of flights over Iraqi territory, especially the use of U-2 aircraft, given that that were considered to be ferrets provided by the United States of America.
In the face of Iraq’s unacceptable aims and its continuing violations of the obligations imposed by the International Community, the Security Council decided to adopt a new resolution in order to reinforce the previous measures. Resolution 1137 of the 12th November 1997 condemned the continued violations by Iraq of its obligations and requested that the government immediately annul the decisions that were conditioning the actions of the inspectors and further requested immediate full co-operation with the Special Commission, free from all conditions and restrictions. The inspections that were needed to permit the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq would only be renewed in accordance with Iraq’s compliance with that which had been laid down in the resolutions adopted by the Council. The following day, Iraq ignores this resolution by requesting that personnel with American nationality working with the Commission leave Iraqi territory immediately.
The authorities of the Commission decided that part of the team should leave Iraq temporarily in the light of the threats to their safety.
Faced with the intensity of the diplomatic pressure, Iraq accepted the return of the entire Special Commission team, which had temporarily set up in Bahrain. The team renewed its inspection activities in Iraqi territory on the 21st November 1997. In December of that same year, the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission informed the Council that Iraq was not allowing inspectors access to certain sites, presidential sites and others that affected its sovereignty. On 13th January 1998 Iraq declared the end of its co-operation with the team of inspectors alleging that team was made up of too many American and British nationals. In spite of its obligations, the Iraqi Government persisted in impeding inspector access to presidential sites. Several assessments specified that Iraq had not provided sufficient information to the Commission to conclude that the Iraqi Government had started out on the steps required to disarm their biological weapons programmes with VX agents and missiles with nuclear warheads.
Confronted with this tense situation, the Secretary General of the United Nations visited Iraq over the 20th to the 23rd February 1998, and as a result of his ministrations, a memorandum of understanding was agreed between the United Nations and the Republic of Iraq.
Resolution 1154 of the Security Council on the 2nd March 1998 adopted the memorandum of understanding that had been signed on the 23rd February 1998 in which Iraq undertook to fulfil the obligations laid down in previous resolutions, as well as certain conditions for the searching of various places, such as presidential palaces. The Council reiterated the necessity of Iraq allowing immediate access, free from all restrictions and conditions, and that any violation of the obligations would have serious consequences for the country.
On the 5th August 1998 Iraq announced its decision not to co-operate with the Commission and with the IAEA until the Security Council lifted the embargo on petrol from the country and reorganised and transferred the inspection team to Geneva or Vienna. On the 9th September 1998, the Security Council, by means of Resolution 1194, condemned the decision of the Iraqi Government to suspend co-operation with the Special Commission and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with respect to all of the disarming activities, as well as limiting the monitoring and verification of the declared sites, which is an unacceptable breach of its obligations, the reason for which it demands that Iraq rescind the above-mentioned decision and co-operate fully with the Special Commission and with the IAEA. Moreover, the Council decided not to renew the inspections required for the review of the sanctions that had been adopted pursuant to resolution 687 until Iraq complied with all of its obligations. At a later date, the 31st October 1998 Iraq announced that is was going to break off all relations with the Commission and its president and that it would not allow any Commission activities on Iraqi territory, including those dealing with monitoring. As a result of this decision, the Commission could not provide any type of assurance that Iraq was complying with its obligations.
Through Resolution 1205, the Security Council condemned the Iraqi decision of the 31st October 1998 of ending any co-operation with the Special Commission and with the IAEA, and so it demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawas of the above-mentioned condition and also requested immediate, full and unconditional co-operation with the Special Commission and with the IAEA.
On the 14th November, the Government of Iraq declared its intention of fully co-operating with the Commission and with the IAEA. Notwithstanding on the 15th December of the same year, the Executive Chairman reported that the Iraqi Government had failed to fulfil its promise of full co-operation with the Commission and with the IAEA. On the 16th December, the Special Commission withdrew its team from Iraq. Immediately, North American and British led forces carried out a series of attacks within the framework of the “Desert Fox” operation.
One year after the Special Commission had left Iraq, on the 17th December 1999, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1284 in which it provided for the setting-up of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) which replaces the Special Commission that had been created pursuant to resolution 687. The function of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of assisting and co-operating with the UNMOVIC was reasserted.
It was decided that UNMOVIC was to take over the functions assigned to the Special Commission as regards verifying the fulfilment of the obligations that had been imposed on the Iraqi Government and that it would set up a permanent monitoring and verification system to carry out the plan that had been adopted in resolution 715.
The Security Council reaffirmed its previous resolutions and stated that the obligations imposed by the same would be applied to the UNMOVIC, and decided that Iraq must allow the new Commission immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all sectors, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation which they wish to inspect.
The Security Council linked Iraqi Government co-operation with the UNMOVIC and with the IAEA with the suspension of various sanctions that had been imposed on Iraq.
The Sadam Husein regime continued to refuse to apply this resolution alleging that there were no clear criteria to lift the sanctions on Iraq.
These resolutions were adopted for immediate fulfilment, nonetheless, with regard to the declaration of their acceptance and the promises made by Sadam Hussein to allow the United Nations to check for itself that the requests had been complied with, the facts have revealed the blatant non-fulfilment of the same. The aim of eleven years ago to disarm Iraq in order to avoid new international security risks has yet to be accomplished, due to the continuous delays and obstruction of the work of various United Nations’ bodies, the reason for which the latest declarations issued by the Iraqi authorities accepting the return of the inspectors offers no guarantee of the good will of the Sadam Hussein regime.
The International Community is debating the need for a new resolution to reaffirm Iraqi obligations and to cover the consequences to be faced in the failure to comply with that which is being requested. The United States of America is a firm defender of a more rigid system by means of a new resolution in order to enable total freedom of action for the UNMOVIC and which sets forth the reprisals to be carried out in the event of renewed non-fulfilment’s and deceptions.
The main requests contained in the resolutions adopted by the Security Council with respect to Iraqi disarmament
3rd April 1991
Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of all chemical and biological weapons and all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres.
Decides that Iraq must submit to the Secretary General, within 15 days, a declaration of the amounts and the types of elements specified in the previous paragraph.
The Secretary-General requests the setting-up of a Special Commission in order to carry out the immediate on the ground inspections
Invites Iraq to reaffirm unconditionally its under the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Decides that Iraq must present the International Atomic Energy Agency, within 15 days, a declaration as to the whereabouts of the site, the amount and the type of nuclear weapons and material.
Requests that Iraq informs the Security Council that it will not commit or support any act of international terrorism.
15th August 1991
Gravely concerned by the information provided to the Council by the UNSCOM and the IAEA regarding the actions of the Iraqi Government that constituted a clear breach of resolution 687
Demands that Iraq provide full, final and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991) of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kms.
Demands that the UNSCOM and the IAEA, along with their inspection teams are granted immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all and any areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that they may wish to inspect.
Demands that an immediate end be put to any attempt to hide, withdraw or destroy any material or equipment associated
with its biological, chemical, ballistic missile or nuclear weapon programmes and will allow the Special Commission and the IAEA, including its inspection teams to carry out fixed wing and helicopter flights throughout Iraqi territory with respect to all of the relevant aims.
11th October 1991
Approves, in accordance with the reports that have been presented by the Secretary-General and by the Director General of the IAEA, the permanent monitoring and verification plans.
Demands that Iraq meet unconditionally all its obligations under the plans and fully co-operates with the UNSCOM and with the IAEA in carrying out the plans.
27th March 1996
Approves the provisions concerning the monitoring apparatus of the exporting and importing of goods related to resolution 687
Decides that Iraq must furnish the relevant information concerning the goods and technological items provided to the Commission and the IAEA, and whatever the circumstances, within 60 days of the passing of the resolution.
Demands that Iraq meet unconditionally all its obligations under the mechanism approved and that it co-operate fully with the UNSCOM and the IAEA.
12th June 1996.
Deplores the refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, which constitutes a clear violation of the provisions of Security Council resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991) and 715 (1991);
Demands that Iraq fully co-operate with the Special Commission and that the Government of Iraq allow the inspection teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that they wish to inspect.
21st June 1997
Condemns the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, which constitutes a clear and flagrant violation of previous resolutions;
Demands the full co-operation of Iraq with the Special Commission and immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that they might wish to inspect, in addition to communication with all the civil servants and personnel under the authority of the Government of Iraq that it might wish to interview.
23rd October 1997
Condemns the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to certain sites and the measures that endanger the safety of Commission personnel, as well as the withdrawal and destruction of documents and the restriction to the free movement of its staff;
Decides that such refusal to co-operate constitutes a flagrant violation of previous resolutions;
Demands that Iraq fully co-operate with the Special Commission;
Requests that Iraq allow without further delay immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to the inspection teams of the Special Commission to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation that they wish to inspect, in addition to communication with all of the civil servants and personnel that it might wish to interview;
Reiterates its request that Iraq allows the Special Commission and its teams to fly throughout Iraqi territory, including monitoring, air relief, transport and logistics flights, without any interference whatsoever;
Decides not to carry out the inspections that have been provided for in resolution 687 (1991), and which are required to lift or reduce the sanctions that have been imposed on the Government of Iraq, until April 1998.
12th November 1997
Taking note with great concern of the continued violation by Iraq of its obligations and deems its decision of the 29th October 1997 to try and impose conditions on its co-operation with the Commission as unacceptable
Requests that the Government of Iraq has to withdraw immediately its decision of the 29th October 1997 and fully, immediately and unconditionally co-operates, without any conditions or restrictions, with the Special Commission;
Decides that the inspections required to lift the sanctions can only be renewed to the extent that Iraq fulfils that which is laid down in the resolution.
2nd March 1998
Endorses the memorandum of understanding of the 23rd February 1998 which was signed by the Iraqi authorities and the Secretary-General of the United Nations;
Stresses that, as has been reiterated in the memorandum, the Government of Iraq must concede immediate access to the Special Commission and the IAEA, without any conditions or restrictions, and that all violations of the relevant resolutions would carry serious consequences for Iraq.
9th September 1994
Condemns Iraqi decision of 5th August 1998 to suspend co-operation with the Special Commission and the IAEA
Demands that Iraq rescind the decision and fully co-operate with the Special Commission and the IAEA
Decides not to carry out the inspections needed to analyse the duration of the sanctions, until both the Special Commission and the IAEA have been able to pursue those activities that are laid down in their mandates.
5th November 1998
Noting with alarm the Iraqi decision of the 31st October 1998 to end co-operations with the Special Commission
Demands that Iraq immediately withdraw its decision to co-operate the Special Commission and the IAEA and fully, immediately and unconditionally co-operates with these bodies;
17th December 1999.
Decides to set up the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to replace the Special Commission.
Decides that the UNMOVIC should take on the functions of verifying the fulfilment by Iraq of its obligations that have been laid down in the various Security Council resolutions and that it is to set up and put into operation a reinforced permanent monitoring and verification system in order to carry out the plan that is set forth in resolution 715
Reaffirms the function of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assist and co-operate with the UNMOVIC
Reaffirms its previous resolutions and decides that Iraq must enable UNMOVIC to have unrestricted, unconditional and immediate access to all sectors, installations, equipment, records and means of transport that it might wish to inspect, as well as to all those civil servants and other personnel that it might wish to interview
Decides, once it has reported that Iraq has fully co-operated with the UNMOVIC and the IAEA for a period of 120 days to be calculated from the date on which the Security Council has been informed by these bodies that the permanent reinforced monitoring and verification system is in full operation, to suspend certain prohibitions and sanctions imposed on Iraq by the Security Council for a period of 120 days; the latter period being renewable.