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(Note on sources: Reports of US aircraft attacks on Iraqi positions in this timeline are from US Department of Defense press releases. We include them here verbatim as part of the historical record, the reader should infer no judgment on our part as to the accuracy of the statements. We acknowledge these are one-sided reports.
Excerpts from newspaper articles included here are also simply for the historical record - this was the news of the day. Later events may have proved some information false or cast doubt on some claims, this, however was the news of the day.)
Although no UN weapons inspectors are in Iraq, both humanitarian (oil for food) and military operations continue, with air strikes on Iraqi positions or other incidents in the no fly zones occurring almost daily throughout the year. But in the wake of US and UK attacks in Operation Desert Fox, rifts begin to widen in the UN Security Council regarding sanctions on and monitoring of Iraq. France and Russia break away from the long held consensus position while the US and UK call for continued sanctions - with some modifications. The UN will struggle for a solution throughout the year. In the US, a policy of "containment plus" is the official position, and Iraqi expatriate groups begin to seek aid under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. But even as the rate of air attacks on Iraq increases dramatically military intervention in other areas of the globe dominate the headlines. Meanwhile, in Iraq, Saddam Hussein begins to echo the radical Islamic sentiments of Osama bin Laden. Some media sources begin investigating possible connections between the two.
By early February the stage is set and most of the major players are positioned for events of 2001-2003. One undisputed fact is that the Iraqi people are suffering after nearly a decade of sanctions, internal struggles, and now seemingly endless air attacks from the US.
January 4, 1999: Iraq declares it will not accept any humanitarian workers from the US or UK, and demands the UN withdraw those currently in Iraq, stating they can not guarantee their safety following the December attacks.
January 5, 1999: The UN refuses Iraq's request to withdraw US and UK aid workers.
Saddam Hussein delivers a fiery Army Day address to all Arabs. His speech echoes Osama bn Laden's call to jihad, urging Muslim youth to rise up and overthrow their governments who are supporting the infidel invaders:
We and you are aware that some of those who rule over countries in our nation were brought to office by the foreigners, who also brought their fathers and some of their grandfathers also in accordance with these foreigner's conditions and interests, particularly Britain and the United States, joined by the evil racist Zionism. Therefore, the talk about the possibility of reforming them, now that they have been immersed in evil and have no desire to abandon this evil, is a waste of time. It will give them a chance to further deceive the people and nation. <...> Look to see how he who did this is attempting to remove the quality of holiness from the land of your holy places by turning it into a field for the foreigner from which he attacks faithful believers and their land, the land of Abraham, and the land of holy places and good prophets, as well as a great, patient, and mujahid people who are afflicted with them because they reject falsehood and tell the truth.In two separate incidents, two F-15s and two F-14s fire a total of six missiles at four Iraqi MiG-25s over the southern no-fly zone. None of the missiles find its target, but Pentagon officials state that one Iraqi aircraft may have run out of fuel and crashed during the battle. This is the first clash between US and Iraqi war planes since 1992. The US also claims eight additional no-fly zone violations involving up to 15 Iraqi planes.
O male and female Arab youths, O faithful believers of the sons of our faithful nation in places of worship, factories, fields, houses, streets, and the armies of Arab and Muslims, look around you to see how the unjust ones exceeded all limits. Rebel against falsehood and its people. Tell the truth in a loud, firm, and lofty voice. Raise your voices louder to resound in the name of God and the nation. By God, there is nothing more honorable than a stand where right overweighs falsehood and where the people of right defeat the people of falsehood.
O Arabs, Muslims, and believers from various faiths, your Jerusalem is a humiliated captive. The Kaaba in Mecca and the prophet's tomb in Medina are injured by the presence of the foreigner and his spears. 0 people of Mecca and Medina and Najd and Hejaz, 0 Arabs and Muslims, your holy places are being insulted. The aircraft of the aggression took off and its missiles were launched and are being launched against your land, people, and holy places in Iraq, from the water, airspace, and the land of the Gulf.
O sons of Arabs and the Arab Gulf, rebel against the foreigner, his army, and armies. Chase them and expel falsehood and its representatives. Take revenge for your dignity, holy places, security, interests, and exalted values. Rebel against falsehood and its people. Great Almighty God will hear your voice.
The idol rulers will be forced to hear you or depart so as to give chance to the people to say their opinion and adopt their stand. Allahu Akbar [God is great]. Damned be the unjust and infidel ones. Allahu Akbar. Long live our glorious Arab nation, long live Palestine, free, lofty Arab. Allahu Akbar and ignominy to the lowly ones.
QUESTION: As you've said many times, the fundamental policy of the United States is to - one of the fundamental tenants of the policy - is to contain Saddam. Do you think that this has been further complicated by the absence of inspectors on the ground?January 6, 1999: The Washington Post reports that UNSCOM may have provided intelligence on Iraq to the United States. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan denies having received any credible reports supporting this accusation, and further denies reports that he is seeking the resignation of UNSCOM Chief Richard Butler. The US also denies the allegations.
MR. RUBIN: Our policy is a mix of tools to achieve an objective. The policy is to contain the threat he poses plus to promote change in Iraq through working with opposition leaders in as an effective way as possible. On the containment side, as opposed to the change side, there are various tools and each of them has different weight at different times. Certainly the no-fly zone tools remain strongly in effect, and we've seen how effective they are by today's action, which is that when Iraq tries to break out of that part of the box they have to turn tail and go home.
On the inspection side - let's remember that containment isn't just about the weapons capability themselves, but it's also about deterring the threat of using them. What was extremely important was that by using military power last month, the United States provided the kind of credibility to our threat to respond to Saddam's action that can only be provided by action. What he saw was, despite a lot of suggestions around the world or his own suspicions about what we would or wouldn't do, that if he pushes the situation too far, the United States will respond and respond decisively. That is a key component of the credibility of containment that needed to be weighed as against the advantages of having a UN inspection team there.
We have said the best way to deal with the discovery and the destruction of weapons of mass destruction is through UNSCOM. Another way to deal with that is through disarmament by force. That was done to a certain extent and to an additional extent, the credibility of our threat to use force if he were to use such weapons, move to the north, threaten his neighbors, was bolstered in a way that can only be done by that kind of action.
QUESTION: But is the US at all concerned that by saying that sanctions cannot be lifted so long as inspectors aren't on the ground to verify whether or not weapons of mass destruction exists or not, that sanctions will remain in place in perpetuity is a policy that will be difficult to maintain over the long-term?
MR. RUBIN: On that point, let me simply say that that is not our choice; that was his choice. Saddam Hussein made a decision to make UNSCOM ineffective by refusing to cooperate with it. UNSCOM was always a tool that required Iraqi cooperation. UNSCOM was never a tool that could, without Iraqi cooperation, force its way into disarming and discovering weapons of mass destruction. It always required Iraqi cooperation.
The fact that Iraq has decided not to cooperate is a decision we don't have control over. But having done so, they have thrown away the key to unlocking the sanctions regime.
As far as international support for that regime is concerned, we do not see evidence or any significant change in the international support for the sanctions regime. As I indicated yesterday, although we see writing and commentary suggesting that the support isn't there, I've never, in all the years that I've followed this - including four in New York at the Security Council - seen any Security Council member propose an easing of the sanctions regime in the absence of UNSCOM declaring their work completed.
So no country is in favor of easing sanctions right now, because UNSCOM's work is so obviously not completed. So the support for the sanctions regime that has been there - that doesn't mean that everyone likes it. We don't like the fact that we have to put sanctions on Iraq, and we try to ameliorate the effect it has by the oil-for-food program. But we don't see any signs of significance that the sanctions regime is eroding.
The US denounces Saddam Hussein's destruction of villages of the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq
January 7, 1999: At approximately 11:20 a.m. Iraqi time, Saddam Hussein’s regime locked a surface-to-air missile radar on to coalition forces. An Air Force F-16CJ acted in self defense, and fired a high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) at a Roland surface-to-missile site 15 miles northwest of Mosul after being targeted by the site’s radar to suppress the offensive site.
CENTCOM Commander General Anthony Zinni answers questions regarding the US position on Iraq:
Q I'm Halab Masul (ph) with the Middle East News Agency. There have been several calls for a change on the U.S. policy towards Iraq, either from the far left, by lifting economic sanctions and keeping only military, or from the far right, by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. As the commander of the U.S. forces in the area, do you think that the current containment policy is feasible and sustainable, or do you think changes are in order now, and (where to?)?January 7, 1999: The Senate formally begins the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
GEN. ZINNI: I think, Halab, if you take it from my position, obviously I have responsibilities in the region, military responsibilities. I see our role militarily as one of stability. I would not be in favor of anything that destabilizes the situation in the region.
I think when we look toward a post-Saddam Iraq and one in which the Iraqi people would regain the position they've held before, I would want to see anything that occurs be done in a way that the territorial integrity of Iraq is maintained, that whatever government follows would be one that would be representative of all the ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. And I think that any efforts in this direction should keep those kinds of principles in mind, because the stability of the region is critical here.
And I view our role in this containment, although obviously it's very (difficult?) and it could take time and it does involve at times events like we've seen in Desert Fox in eight years of these kinds of events, it's important that we do it in a way that ensures the stability of the region. We shouldn't only focus on Iraq, but we should focus on the effects and how it affects everything in this region.
This is an important region. The United States and all the countries of the world have vital interests in this region, many of them. And I think we ought to take a regional perspective. And for that reason, I think these principles ought to be kept in mind in anything we pursue in the way of looking at a post-Saddam region or change.
Q Given that, how long can the U.S. put up with these sort of cat-and-mouse games that are going on right now that could, you know, end up with fatalities in a worst-case scenario? I mean, do you see the U.S. striking air fields or taking some sort of action to make him stand down?
GEN. ZINNI: Well, first of all, obviously every time we fly or have flown into Iraq, either in the north or in the south, for now a period that stretches from 1991 in the north and '92 in the south, we have sent our planes into that area assuming it was a hostile area. We have adequate rule of engagement that allow us to defend ourselves and enforce the no-fly zone.
We go in with the kinds of aircraft, packaged in certain ways, the tactics we use, where we fly, the kinds of procedures we use that are designed to make sure that our pilots are well-prepared for any eventuality. And throughout the past seven or eight years, we have had instances before. We have made adjustments based on this situation -- adjustments in tactics, adjustments in procedures, in the way we do things. I won't go into detail on that, because obviously there's operational security issues involved.
We feel we can handle what we're facing right now. I think that's been evident. You are correct. It is dangerous. Any time we go up there, we assume the risk and danger because of the unpredictability. We do have contingency plans to react if that decision were made to a number of possibilities, and I believe the chairman made that point the other day in his testimony before Congress.
When a decision is made to take further action, of course, that's the president's decision. We feel confident that we're prepared to handle what we have. But I think your point is a good one. This is risky for our pilots. And we do everything to minimize that risk and to make sure they're well-prepared and have everything they need.
Q Just a follow-up with one short one. Could you capsulize, summarize, the long-term strategy? There's a good bit of criticism inside the Beltway that it hasn't been effectively articulated. Could you, in 25 words or less, just summarize where it is where we're going with this?
GEN. ZINNI: Yeah, I think I can do it in less than 25 words. You know, my mission is to maintain stability in the region. My mission is to ensure the hegemons in the region, including Saddam Hussein, not be allowed to pursue their hegemonic designs. And that can be described in their ability to punish their own people, no-fly, no-drive zones; their ability to threaten their neighbors, move forces to the Kuwaiti border; develop weapons of mass destructions and delivery systems and shoot them.
My mission out there, is to ensure that energy flows, we have access to the region, that our friends in the region are protected and enjoy the stability that we're there as long as there is a threat to preserve.
And what it takes to do that, you know, we are prepared to do it. Is this a short-term, one event, one-threat kind of mission and solution? I think not. I mean, I think that this is an important region of the world. I think we have important friends in this region. I think there's global reliance on things like energy and the markets and access. It is the hinge point of three continents. This will be important for a long period of time.
There is not just one threat out there, or one potential threat. I mean, we see the terrorist and extremist threat out there. We still are wondering which way Iran is going, whether there's moderation or not. I mean, I know you know all the issues and concerns.
Our job is stability. It's easy to look at Iraq, and look at one problem, and look at a short-term solution. And, as you said, everybody in this town and elsewhere in the world, has a short-term solution, which is about one paragraph and sounds easy on paper. As the guy that might have to execute it, it ain't that easy. And containment is hard. It could be long term. But if in the end it's stability and it keeps all the global interests in there protected, and our friends protected in the region, and the people in the region protected, then I think it's worth the price.
Q Hi. I'm Tony Capassio (ph) with Bloomberg News. When Desert Fox concluded, you and Secretary Cohen said that the preliminary evidence showed that the U.S. set back Iraq's capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction by about a year.
General Shelton yesterday or two days ago, said it was now two years, it looked like. What evidence have you developed in the last couple of weeks, that allows you to make that extension, in terms of the damage?
GEN. ZINNI: Yes. That's a good question, and we have actually upped it from the one to two years. And we've done that by, again, through our intelligence, looking at the assessments of the missile production facilities, the machinery that was destroyed, the kinds of unique capabilities he had that were in the onesies or twosies that we were able to eliminate. And now we have evidence of destruction or significant damage.
The infrastructure damage, and the time it will take to repair and rebuild that -- again, the unique kinds of facilities that he would have to replace from outside Iraq, that don't exist in duplicate somewhere else, and could be easily reestablished.
So, in doing further, more detailed analysis of all these sorts of things, we made the estimate that the initial cut had been one year, and now we feel it's more one to two years.
Q Campion Walsh (sp), Dow Jones. There have been a number of stories recently on the relationship between U.S. intelligence on Iraq and UNSCOM. Can you say if data gathered through UNSCOM was used in selecting sites to be in the military strikes?
GEN. ZINNI: On the first part of your question, on the issue that is now in the press about UNSCOM spying, I have no personal knowledge of anything like that or anything that's going on. The targets that we used and the intelligence we used to gain on these were from a variety of sources, fundamentally our own. Obviously just in UNSCOM's routine work we are aware of what UNSCOM does, I think as much as anybody else on the Security Council is aware of what UNSCOM does and goes and what they do and what they attempt to do. Could any of that been part of the targeting? I can't say that it has been directly, but I wouldn't want to say that everything UNSCOM has ever seen or does we have completely no knowledge of. Just by following UNSCOM like any other members of the Security Council we certainly do.
Q Haran Kazazi (sp) from Turkish Daily News again. General, you eloquently express your objective to the answer of my VOA colleague. My question is: professionally do you honestly believe all that wonderful objective can be achieved from the air? Don't you think at one point there is some kind of ground troops needed to do something -- not necessarily from America, but some kind of ground troops? Obviously they cannot do it all by themselves what they have to do.
GEN. ZINNI: I didn't want to give the impression that I thought something could all be done by one means -- by air or ground or sea, whatever. As a military man I need all those dimensions in my AOR. I mean, I -- and I could bore you with all the different component parts of everything we do there and how it involves all these forces. We are very careful to state what our capabilities are and very careful to state what our mission is and our tasks are and how well or how not so well we may achieve that. We have emphasized that through these attacks, air attacks, that we could degrade and diminish. We never said words like "eliminate." We've been very careful to say that these attacks, the mission was not, nor could I make any guarantees that through an airstrike you could change a regime or anything like that, although people have tried to infer that or tried to push us to at least even implying that. We have been very careful not to say that. There are limitations on military power, and there's limitations on certain parts of military power. There are certain types of military capabilities that bring more to the table. I think anyone who studies the military art knows that to achieve certain things you might have to walk the ground and be there -- you have to occupy ground and you have to control the situation directly, and you might not be able to do that indirectly through the air.
So from my professional view I am always careful to give the limitations and make sure that when I am given a mission that I interpret that into military tasks that are achievable, and that my political masters understand certainly what I can achieve and what I can't achieve. I would not make the case for any one kind of capability achieving anything, and I would not overstate what that capability could achieve.
January 8, 1999: UN weapons inspection chief Richard Butler says reports that his commission knowingly helped the United States spy on Iraq are false.
January 10, 1999: The Iraqi Parliament issues an official statement criticizing Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, holding them responsible for the December air attacks on Iraq.
January 11, 1999: US Secretary of Defense William Cohen responds to the statement of the Iraqi Parliament by noting that the United States had over 24,000 troops within striking distance of Iraq should that nation decide to move against its neighbors.
At approximately 10:45 a.m. Iraqi time, an Iraqi SAM radar began tracking Northern Watch aircraft and coalition aircraft were illuminated by multiple Iraqi surface-to-air missile systems. The aircrews acted in self-defense and suppressed one ground-based missile launch site because it posed a threat to coalition forces. A flight of two U.S. F-15Es launched two AGM-130s at an SA-6 site near Mosul and an U.S. F-16CJ fired a HARM at an Iraqi radar site a short while later.
IN THE NO-FLY ZONES OF northern and southern Iraq, Saddam Hussein's gunners blindly fired surface-to-air missiles at patrolling American and British warplanes. In Yemen, terrorists seized a group of British Commonwealth and American tourists, and four of the hostages died in a shootout. In Tel Aviv, the U.S. Embassy abruptly closed down after receiving a terrorist threat. Perhaps it was just a typical week in the Middle East. But in a region where no one puts much faith in blind coincidence, last week's conjunction of Iraqi antiaircraft fire and terrorism aimed at the countries that had just bombed Iraq convinced some that a new conspiracy was afoot.January 12, 1999: Five Iraqi jets violated the southern no-fly zone and two entered the north, bringing the total violations in both zones since Desert Fox to more than 70, Pentagon officials said.
Here's what is known so far: Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas--assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer. U.S. intelligence has had reports of contacts between low-level agents. Saddam and bin Laden have interests--and enemies--in common. Both men want U.S. military forces out of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden has been calling for all-out war on Americans, using as his main pretext Washington's role in bombing and boycotting Iraq. Now bin Laden is engaged in something of a public-relations offensive, having granted recent interviews, one for NEWSWEEK (following story). He says ``any American who pays taxes to his government'' is a legitimate target.
Saddam's terrorism capability is still small-time, according to senior U.S. officials. ``He's nowhere close to the level of the Iranians or Hizbullah,'' says one.
Though it was too early to know for sure, the CIA suspected that bin Laden had a hand in the abduction of 16 foreign tourists in Yemen last week. Four of the hostages--three Britons and an Australian--were killed when the police intervened, and two others, including an American woman, were wounded. Most kidnappings in Yemen are strictly cash-and-carry affairs, in which tribal desperadoes raise money without harming their captives. But these kidnappers, who came from a Yemeni group calling itself Islamic Jihad, demanded that the authorities release two of their leaders, who have ties to bin Laden. And they said they were protesting Western "aggression" against Iraq.
The idea of an alliance between Iraq and bin Laden is alarming to the West (what if Baghdad gave the terrorists highly portable biological weapons?). Saddam may think he's too good for such an association. Jerold Post, a political psychologist and government consultant who has profiled Saddam, says he thinks of himself as a world leader like Castro or Tito, not a thug. "I'm skeptical that Saddam would resort to terrorism," says a well-informed administration official. "He can do a lot of other things to screw with us." But Saddam is famous for doing whatever it takes to stay in power. Now that the United States has made his removal from office a national objective, he knows he is fighting for his life. "The worst thing you can do is to wound him, let him know you meant to kill him, and then let him survive," says an Iraqi Shiite leader in London. As his own people know only too well, Saddam is quite capable of fighting dirty.
January 13, 1999: Iraqi SAM systems tracked and fired on coalition planes over northern Iraq. During the morning, coalition aircraft were illuminated by several Iraqi surface-to-air missile systems. The aircraft were fired upon by at least one surface-to-air missile. The aircrews acting in self-defense suppressed the ground-based missile launch sites because they posed a significant threat to coalition forces. A flight of four U.S. Air Force F-15Es fired two AGM-130s, and an F-16CJ and U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B each fired a HARM against a SAM radar. The incident occurred near Mosul. The two AGM-130s were direct hits on the Iraqi SAM sites.
Q: There's now -- we have daily skirmishes now with Iraq. Is the United States effectively at war with Iraq?January 13, 1999: France submits a proposal to the UN Security Council calling for looser inspections and gradual lifting of sanctions against Iraq
LOCKHART: No, the United States is continuing to follow a policy they followed since the end of the Gulf War (inaudible) containing the threat of Saddam Hussein.
Q: I mean, we're having these daily --
LOCKHART: My first answer was really good.
Q: I didn't hear it.
LOCKHART: Okay. Trust me. Let me go through the answer and then you can follow up. We've had a policy of containing Saddam Hussein since the end of the Gulf War, and that policy is based on crippling economic sanctions that have cost him $120 billion at least since the end of the war; degrading his ability to threaten his neighbors and to reconstitute or deliver weapons of mass destruction. And that's the policy we're going to continue to pursue until we see some positive change and some indication that Saddam Hussein is willing to disarm.
Q: But we're seeing it going in the opposite direction, aren't you? Every day he is sort of escalating what is -
LOCKHART: Well, I think the policy towards Iraq has moved back and forth over the last six or seven years. That doesn't mean we're any less resolute. There's a credible and robust threat of force in the region; should we determine that that needs to be used, where our pilots vigorously enforce the no-fly zone and take the necessary steps in order to protect themselves to do that -- it's important work that they do in the region; it's important to the neighbors that are threatened by Saddam Hussein, and to his own people, and we'll continue to do it.
Q: You're going to continue this back and forth where they shoot at a plane, we fire back -- you're going to let that go on without taking any further action?
LOCKHART: You can fully understand why I'm not going to get into what options may or may not be available to our force there. But what I will say is that we will continue to pursue a policy that contains the very real threat in the region and to the world of Saddam Hussein's regime.
January 14, 1999: The US submits a counter proposal eliminating the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports, provided the proceeds are used for humanitarian relief.
January 14, 1999: During the morning, an F-16CJ fired a HARM at an Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery system that posed a threat to coalition aircraft over northern Iraq. In a separate incident, an F-15E launched an AGM-130 precision guided missile at a surface-to-air missile system that threatened coalition forces.
January 15, 1999: Russia submits a proposal to the UN Security Council eliminating UNSCOM, establishing a new inspection body less objectionable to Iraq, and lifting the oil embargo. The US rejects the proposal, saying that UNSCOM must be allowed to carry out its duties.
January 17, 1999: "Mother of all Battles Day" in Iraq - thousands of Iraqis take to the streets of Baghdad on the 16th and 17th shouting anti-American slogans on the anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War. Iraq issues a demand for sanctions to be lifted and no-fly zones ended immediately.
January 19, 1999: The Clinton administration identifies several opposition groups that will be eligible for US aid under the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998.
January 21, 1999: US military reports Iraqi planes violated the no-fly zone, but no US aircraft were nearby and no shots were fired.
January 23, 1999: At approximately 1:15 a.m. EST, U.S. aircraft flying in support of Operation Southern Watch dropped laser-guided bombs at two Iraqi surface-to-air missile systems that posed a threat to coalition forces in the area.
An editorial attributed o Saddam Hussein appears in Iraqi newspapers condemning Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for keeping the price of oil too low.
January 24, 1999: Between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were again targeted by Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems near Mosul. An EA-6B Prowler and two F-16CJs fired HARMs in self defense. The aircraft responded to being targeted by Iraqi radars used to guide anti-aircraft artillery. Another F-16CJ fired a HARM at an Iraqi surface-to-air missile system. Earlier in the day, an F-15E Strike Eagle scored a direct hit on an Iraqi SA-3 SAM site with an AGM-130, which posed a threat to coalition forces in the region.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister storms out of a meeting of the Arab League, referring to his fellow ministers as traitors and US lackeys in response to their statement calling on Iraq to cease provocative actions aginst its neighbors.
January 25, 1999: The UNSCOM Executive Chairman submits a report (S/1999/94) to the President of the Security Council on disarmament and monitoring.
Between 1:57 and 2:30 p.m. Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were again illuminated and fired upon by Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems in several incidents. An F-15E was fired upon by an anti-aircraft artillery system. Two F-15Es then dropped one GBU-12 each on the system. In another incident, an EA-6B launched a HARM at an SA-2 SAM site that posed a threat to coalition forces in the area. An F-16CJ launched a HARM at a different SA-2 SAM site that posed a threat to coalition forces in the area. Coalition forces observed an Iraqi SAM launch in the vicinity of coalition aircraft. Coalition aircraft departed the area and continued operations.
Iraq's news agency says one of the missiles struck a crowded market in Basra, killing civilians. General Zinni says "There is still a need to review the strike. It's possible that we did a have missile that didn't perform as expected."
January 26, 1999: Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister says Iraq no longer recognizes the legitimacy of the country's border with Kuwait.
"We have analyzed yesterday's information and found that an AGM-130 did miss its target and exploded in a residential neighborhood several kilometers away from its target" -- Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon.
National Security Advisor Sandy Berger announces that President Clinton has changed the rules of engagement for US aircraft operating in Iraq, giving them much more authority to attack any part of the Iraqi air defense network. DoD news briefing with spokesman Ken Bacon :
Q: When was this change made, by the way?Press release: Between 1:25 and 1:50 p.m. Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were targeted by Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems in three separate incidents near Mosul. An EA-6B Prowler, acting in self defense after being targeted by Iraqi radar, launched a HARM at an Iraqi radar site. An F-15E dropped a GBU-12 500-pound precision-guided munition in response to an anti-aircraft artillery system which posed a threat to coalition aircraft. In another incident, two F-15Es fired one AGM-130 each at a radar site which had targeted coalition aircraft. In another incident between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were again targeted by anti-aircraft artillery systems near Mosul. Three F-15Es, acting in self defense after being targeted by Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery systems, dropped GBU-12 500-pound precision-guided munitions.
A: I think it was made about three to four weeks ago.
Press conference with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, could you please elaborate to us on your position concerning the position of Iraq for non-recognition of United Nations Security Council resolutions and its borders with Kuwait. The second question: what if the Palestinian authority proclaimed a State next May? What is your position, Sir?January 27, 1999: US Secretary of State Madeline Albright:
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think Iraq is obliged to comply with all Security Council resolutions. All the efforts we have made in the past year or so was to get them to comply, not only with the disarmament aspects but also with the other aspects of the resolutions, including missing Kuwaitis and return of Kuwaiti property. There is a whole range of issues that Iraq must comply with and that has to be done. There has been no change in that. I would still urge and hope that they will do it. I was surprised by some of the latest statements in the press. There seems to be a sense of desperation setting in. But I hope we can find a way of bringing things back. I know the Arab States are trying, and we are trying in New York, and I hope the Iraqis will also be thinking about the way forward.
QUESTION: Sir, the humanitarian situation in Iraq is deteriorating continuously because of the United Nations sanctions and according to your former assistant, Dennis Halliday, these sanctions are causing genocide. In your opinion, will these sanctions with their humanitarian results ever end, assuming the current Government remains in power. Or does Iraq have to be disarmed as you recently wrote in the world press, neglecting to specify if this meant weapons of mass destruction or total demilitarization of Iraq?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Let me start with your last point. The Security Council resolutions are clear. We are dealing with weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council does not call for total disarmament of Iraq. Iraq is allowed to keep some defensive weapons, but not so lethal as the types that we are seeking to destroy. Even in missiles, they can keep missiles up to 150 miles but not beyond. And so we are not seeking total disarmament, we are seeking to strip Iraq of weapons of mass destruction to ensure that it is not a threat to its neighbours. On the question of your other sanctions, I cannot argue with the fact that the sanctions have had a negative impact on the conditions of the Iraqi population. I think the Council itself, realizing that sanctions are a blunt instrument, immediately offered oil-for-food hoping that it will help alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. It has not been a perfect scheme and there are discussions going on now, as you know, on the proposals on the table, some are suggesting that we improve the humanitarian oil-for-food scheme considerably, others are suggesting we lift the sanctions. What has also made matters worse is the price of oil which has dropped perhaps to its lowest level in many many years and also the fact that the Iraqi oil industry is in a state of disrepair and has not been able to pump up to the 5.2 billion dollars worth that it is authorized. So one is looking at all these things and looking at ways and means of helping the population and avoiding the kind of suffering they are going through which you refer to.
QUESTION: My question is, recently we have seen the unilateral action by the United States and the United Kingdom in Iraq. Now we see preparation of the NATO Organization for unilateral action in Kosovo. Does it mean, in your opinion, that we are assisting the beginning of the end of the system of international governments established after the Second World War and the end of the role of the Security Council as the global council which is the final instance in the question of the global security?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Well I think that conclusion or judgement would be a bit of an exaggeration. Let me say that on Iraq, obviously there are differences in the Council, the United States and Britain maintain that they have the authority on the existing Security Council resolutions. We also know the views of the other Council members, including Permanent Members. So the best one can say here is that there is a difference of interpretation and I hope the Council will overcome this, find this unity and move forward.
On Kosovo, force may be used as you have indicated. I do not know whether it will come to that or not, but I think this is a question that has exercised quite a few of us. If the Council were to be fully faced with the issue, I am not sure whether there would be vetoes on the table or not. But we have to understand in recent history that wherever there have been compelling humanitarian situations, where the international community collectively has not acted, some neighbours have acted. Here for example I have in mind Viet Nam in Cambodia. And that did not destroy, I hope, the international system, and I think given the nature of the regime and what was happening there, the international community came to accept it. I am not making an analogy of implication here, but what I am saying is that those in the middle of the Kosovo conflict should listen to the appeals that are being made and we should not be placed in a situation which you have referred to where the international community may be divided. In my earlier appeals, I indicated that we should find a way of working together and that when we stand together, and put collective pressure, we almost invariably succeed, and I hope we can in this way.
"Our policy toward Iraq is based on hard experience and sound principle. We seek compliance not confrontation. But Iraq's questioning of Kuwait's sovereignty and call for the overthrow of Arab governments are just the most recent indications that Saddam Hussein seeks only to make trouble.That same day the US announces it endorses a proposal by Canada to create three UN panels to study the Iraq situation.
The United States, the Arab nations and the international community have no choice but to continue to contain his potential aggression. At the same time, we will do more to help the Iraqi people get the food and medicine they need through the oil-for-food program."
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I know we're here talking about Iraq but if I can just switch the subject for a moment to Kosovo, and ask you about a proposed American plan to try to bring about a negotiated settlement in Kosovo. What can you tell us about any momentum that might be developing now on the political and military front, perhaps even within NATO, to issue, reissue the threat of force if Slobodon Milosevic does not comply with the October agreement?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that we obviously have been concerned about the deteriorating situation in Kosovo and a need to act quickly. We have been working to try to quicken some political solution here and also keep in mind what can be done through military pressure and the threat of the use of force.
I have spent some time while I was in Moscow talking to my fellow foreign ministers, to try to have some combined action here in terms of a political settlement which would, in fact, be something that would come about rather quickly because I think we are concerned with how long this has been going on and the necessity for coming up with an early solution. We are looking at a variety of ways to make that happen: To try to get the various places into place and to see how actions at NATO with the Contact Group can be combined, but I have not yet made any final decision about attendance to the Contact meeting.
QUESTION: Last question, please. Why is the U.S. destroying the Iraqi defense system while the U.S. declines to interfere in Kosovo? Which means that the U.S. has two criteria over estimating things.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, there are a number of different situations in the world that require a different approach. We have believed, for now seven years, that Saddam Hussein poses a threat to his neighbors and to us, ultimately our forces, and he has acquired and has used weapons of mass destruction against this own people. That is an entirely different situation than an inter-ethnic struggle in the former Yugoslavia and we need to deal with situations in different ways.
I've just described how we intend to be more involved in trying to get a political settlement in Kosovo, again, as we've said before, the potential threat of the use of force. But these are two entirely different situations. The United States is involved in some form or gathering in many situations. If we would (approach) them all exactly the same, we would be considered naive and not useful at all in the way that we operate.
The proposal by Canada -- one of 10 non-permanent members of the 15-member council -- calls for panels on disarmament, humanitarian issues, and POWs and missing Kuwaiti property and archives, each under the chairmanship of the current council president, Ambassador Celso Amorim of Brazil. Those three panels would provide an expert assessment of the current situation in Iraq which council members would then use in deciding how to move ahead.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Minister warns that US warplanes stationed in Turkey are not allowed to take offensive action against Iraqi targets.
January 28, 1999: At approximately 3:45p.m. Iraqi time, two F-15Es observed fire by an anti-aircraft artillery site located north of Mosul. In self-defense, the two F-15Es dropped a total of three GBU-12s on the anti-aircraft artillery site.
US National Security Advisor Sandy Berger in the Washington Post:
If sanctions were lifted, the international community no longer could determine how Iraq's oil revenues are spent. The oil-for-food program would have to be disbanded, not expanded. Billions of dollars now reserved for the basic needs of the Iraqi people would become available to Saddam to use as he pleased. The amount of food and medicine flowing into Iraq most likely would decline.January 30, 1999: At approximately 3 p.m. Iraqi time, coalition aircraft were targeted by Iraqi radars near Mosul. A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle responded in self defense by launching an AGM-130 at the radar site. A second incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Iraqi time. A group of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles acting in self defense after being targeted, dropped two GBU-12 precision-guided munitions on an Iraqi Skyguard surface-to-air missile site. In a third incident at about the same time, F-15Es acting in self defense dropped two GBU-12 precision-guided munitions on an anti-aircraft artillery system and its associated radar which threatened coalition aircraft. The fourth incident occurred close to 3:30 p.m. Iraqi time, when F-15Es acting in self-defense dropped GBU-12s on another anti-aircraft artillery site. In a fifth incident at approximately 4:30 p.m. Iraqi time, a U.S. Marine EA-6B Prowler fired a high-speed antiradiation missile in response to being targeted by a radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery system. Finally in the sixth incident a minute later, F-15Es responded defensively by dropping GBU-12s on a separate anti-aircraft artillery site.
In contrast, under the current program, we prevent Saddam from spending his nation's most valuable treasure on what he cares about most -- rebuilding his military arsenal -- and force him to spend it on what he cares about least -- the people of Iraq. From Saddam's point of view, that makes the program part of the sanctions regime.
Indeed, Saddam already has rejected our initiative to expand it. He knows that every drop of oil sold to feed the Iraqi people is a drop of oil that will never be sold to feed his war machine. Oil for food means no oil for tanks.
The UN Security Council approves the three-panel studies in hopes of achieving forward progress on the deadlocked Iraq issue.
January 31, 1999: Iraq rejects the UN three panel reviews, saying they will take too long and amount to continued sanctions.
At approximately 3:20 p.m. Iraqi time today, a U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Fighting Falcon acting in self defense launched a high-speed antiradiation missile (HARM) at a radar system north of Mosul.
Martin S. Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, visits Kuwait:
The Clinton Administration has developed a new approach to Iraq, which Indyk called "containment plus regime change." This policy, he said, follows two basic principles: the change must come from the Iraqi people themselves and from inside Iraq and the U.S. will maintain its commitment to the territorial integrity of Iraq.February 2, 1999: At 2:20 p.m. Iraqi time, two U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped two GBU-12 precision-guided munitions on an anti-aircraft artillery battery in response to being targeted by Iraqi radar near Mosul. In a separate incident approximately 15 minutes later, two additional F-15Es, also responding after being targeted by Iraqi radar, dropped GBU-12 precision-guided munitions on the same anti-aircraft artillery site. In a third incident at approximately 3:15 p.m. Iraqi time, a U.S. Marine EA-6B launched a high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) at an SA-2 radar site. In a fourth incident at approximately 3:20 p.m. Iraqi time, F-15Es dropped GBU-12 precision-guided munitions on an anti-aircraft artillery site. Finally, in a fifth incident which occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Iraqi time, F-15Es dropped GBU-12s on another anti-aircraft artillery site.
The Iraq Liberation Act, which became law this past fall, has brought about a change in U.S. policy, Indyk said.
"Our objective is to work for the day when there will be a new government in Iraq. The Congress is going to work with the Administration to try to achieve this objective. Now there is a unique situation," he said. "The Congress and the Administration will be working hand-in-hand in this effort."
February 6, 1999: (media) The Guardian:
Thus the world's most notorious pariah state, armed with its half-built hoard of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, tried to embrace the planet's most prolific terrorist. It was the stuff of the West's millennial nightmares, but United States intelligence officials are positive that the meeting took place, although they admit that they have no idea what happened.And
This was not the first time that President Saddam had offered Mr Bin Laden a partnership. At least one approach is believed to have been made during the Saudi dissident's sojourn in Sudan from 1990 to 1996. On that occasion, the guerrilla leader turned the emissaries away, out of a pious man's contempt for President Saddam's secular Ba'athist regime.
But this time round Mr Bin Laden's options have been rapidly diminishing. His hosts, the hardline Taliban militia which rules Afghanistan under Islamic auspices, have vowed publicly to stand by him. But they are at the same time discussing with his worst enemies - the Saudi monarchy and the American government - his eventual departure from Afghan soil.
Mr Bin Laden must surely have felt the noose begin to bite when he heard the news of the Taliban's meeting this week with a US assistant secretary of state, Karl Inderfurth, in Islamabad.
But the most wanted man in the West may be at his most dangerous when cornered. And the increased pressure makes the prospect of a Saddam Hussein-Osama bin Laden alliance, once an improbable marriage of opposites, seem a more credible threat.
Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials.February 11, 1999: Between approximately 12:15 and 12:30 p.m. Iraqi time, a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flight observed Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fire and was also illuminated by an Iraqi radar system near Mosul. Acting in self-defense, one F-15E dropped; GBU-12s on an Iraqi surface-to-air missile communications site. Two F-15Es launched an AGM-130 and dropped GBU-12s on an Iraqi surface-to-air missile system. At 1:32 p.m. Iraqi time, a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropped GBU-12 precision- guided munitions on an Iraqi surface-to-air missile site west of Mosul. Two minutes later, a U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Fighting Falcon launched an AGM-88 high-speed antiradiation missile at an Iraqi radar site northwest of Mosul. Close to 1:38 p.m. Iraqi time, a U.S. Air Force F-15E dropped GBU-12s on a surface-to-air missile communications site east of Mosul.
The key meeting took place in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar in late December. The Iraqi delegation was led by Farouk Hijazi, Baghdad's ambassador in Turkey and one of Saddam's most powerful secret policemen, who is thought to have offered Bin Laden asylum in Iraq.
February 12, 1999 At approximately 1:30 p.m. Iraqi time, an F-15E enforcing the Northern no-fly zone over Iraq was fired upon by an anti-aircraft artillery site north of Mosul. The F-15E dropped a GBU-12 in response to this hostile act.
President Clinton is acquitted of charges in the US Senate.
(This is a work in progress - more to follow.)