Saddam Husain , whose position of power was initially weakened after the Gulf War and who resigned the office of Prime Minister in March 1991, was able to consolidate his dictatorship again after the suppression of the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings and the suppression of an officer’s coup (December 1991). In addition to large stocks of chemical weapons in Iraq, a UN commission also identified plans for the construction of nuclear weapons that were ready for implementation. In October 1991 the UN Security Council decided to submit the Iraqi arms industry to permanent international control.
The ongoing economic and trade embargo against Iraq (set out in various resolutions of the UN Security Council) led to growing impoverishment and high mortality (especially of children) in Iraq. In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991), which contains the ceasefire conditions for ending the Second Gulf War, the UN sought since then, controlling the actual destruction of NBC weapons has often been hindered by the Iraqi government. To monitor the ceasefire, the UN dispatched a peacekeeping force to the demilitarized zone on both sides of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border (UNIKOM). To protect against attacks by the Iraqi government troops, a protection zone for the Kurds was set up in northern Iraq, north of the 36th parallel (April 1991), and in southern Iraq, south of the 32nd parallel, a no-fly zone was set up to protect the Shiites (August 1992, September 1996 extended to the 33rd parallel).
After elections on May 19, 1992 in the northern Iraqi zone, which were declared illegal by the central government in Baghdad, the Kurdish regional parliament proclaimed a confederal “Kurdistan” within Iraq on October 4, 1992 in Erbil. Armed clashes between the supporters of the rival Kurdish groups, especially the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) led by M. Barsani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by J. Talabani , led to a division of the northern Iraqi area among the fighting parties in 1994. Between 1991 and 1996, Turkish troops repeatedly entered the area to attack bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In January 1993, according to aceinland, the constant hindrances of the UN inspections, the deployment of Iraqi troops in the territories allocated by the UN to Kuwait for the removal of war material still stored there and the disregard of the no-fly zone led to Allied air strikes (USA, Great Britain and France); further US military strikes followed revelations that the Iraqi secret service attempted in April 1993 to assassinate then-American President G. Bush.
In November 1993 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submitted a report that Iraq’s nuclear weapons program had either been completely destroyed or at least neutralized; In June 1994 the UN determined that the country no longer had any chemical warfare agents. On November 10, 1994, Iraq recognized the borders and sovereignty of Kuwait as well as all UN resolutions. The UN embargo was extended several times, particularly against the background of the question of reparations payments, the increasing number of human rights violations, conventional armament and the fact that the UN armaments experts announced in the summer of 1995 that Iraq had 200 operational biological warheads in 1991. The ever worsening food shortage and the inflation it triggered (early 1992: around 2,000%) forced the introduction of a rigorous state rationing system. The widespread economic isolation – to a certain extent, however, Iraq succeeded in illegally exporting crude oil via Iran and Jordan – Iraqi economic policy sought to counteract with efforts to achieve the greatest possible self-sufficiency.
After Saddam Husain took over the office of prime minister again in 1994, he was confirmed as president in a referendum on October 15, 1995 (as the only applicant) for a further seven years. The regime’s domestic political crisis intensified in 1995 with the bloodily suppressed uprising by Sunni tribes previously loyal to the government in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, the brutal suppression of a military rebellion and the flight of Saddam Husain’s sons-in-law , both high-ranking members of the Iraqi leadership, with their families to Jordan (August 1995) and led to a wave of purges in the state, party and military hierarchy; which – allegedly due to an amnesty by Saddam Husain - Sons-in-law who returned in February 1996 were murdered shortly afterwards. At the end of August 1996, Iraqi troops interfered in the renewed escalating internal Kurdish fighting in the northern Iraqi UN protection zone in response to a »request for help« from the KDP, led by Barsani. In September the US responded with a military air strike (not officially supported by the UN Security Council). By October 1996, the PUK troops under Talabani were able to reoccupy their traditional area of influence in northern Iraq. In October 2002, Saddam Husain secured the office of President again (officially “re-elected” with 100% of the votes cast); then he issued a general amnesty.
In 1996 the UN signed an agreement with Iraq (“Oil for Food”), which restricts the export of Iraqi petroleum from the United States. a. for the procurement of supplies for the population, the situation of which worsened as the sanctions lasted (increasingly criticized by representatives of the UN aid organizations). The arms control program in particular repeatedly led to strong tensions between the UN and its weapons inspectors on the one hand and the Iraqi government on the other; Iraqi boycott measures against inspections and their eventual suppression (end of 1998), But the USA also used incidents in the no-fly or protection zones (sometimes with military support from Great Britain) several times between 1996 and 2002 as an opportunity for air strikes against Iraqi military positions and infrastructural targets. Tensions with the USA intensified drastically when Iraq was the only state not to condemn the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and to regard them as a consequence of American foreign policy. From then on, the American government accused the Iraqi regime of supporting terrorist organizations as a member of an “axis of evil” and of continuing to seek weapons of mass destruction. One especially at the instigation of Great Britain in connection with the USA on November 8th. The tougher resolution on arms control adopted by the UN Security Council in 2002 (UN Resolution 1441) was accepted by the Iraqi government (restart of weapons inspections, obligation to fully disclose weapons of mass destruction by Iraq, which submitted documents for examination on December 7, 2002). In parallel with the work of the IAEA inspectors and those of H. Blix led the UN Disarmament Control Mission for Iraq (UNMOVIC), the US increased its pressure on Iraq (forcing the deployment of American and British troops in the Gulf region). In view of Iraq’s willingness to cooperate on disarmament issues, which has grown under massive external pressure, numerous states (including Germany and permanent Security Council members France, Russia and China) advocated the continuation of controls and a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis; v. a. the American and British governments stated that the Iraqi regime had failed to comply with UN resolution 1441. When a draft for a second resolution legitimizing military action in Iraq, submitted by the USA, Great Britain and Spain, could not be passed in the UN Security Council.