February 24, 1999
  A near-worthless dinar leaves Iraqis dependent on hand-outs
  United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Iraq has distributed less than half the medical supplies it has bought since the start of the oil-for-food programme three years ago.
  In his latest report on the programme, Mr Annan says $275m worth of drugs and medical supplies were still in Iraqi warehouses at the end of January.
  About $540m worth of supplies have been delivered to Iraq since the programme was launched in 1996. Mr Annan called on the Iraqi government to give the matter its urgent attention.
  The report said the Iraqi government has contracted to buy only $1.7m worth of high-protein biscuits for pregnant women out of an allocation of $8 million.
  Baghdad is also said to have submitted contracts for only 260 tons of infant milk, even though the UN has approved deliveries of 1,500 tons, the report said.
  Since strict UN sanctions were imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990, infant and child mortality rates have increased dramatically.
  The report is likely to be seized on by the UK and US governments which have long argued that Iraq uses the humanitarian fallout of UN sanctions for propaganda purposes.
  Oil price falls hit Iraq
  Under the oil for-food programme, Iraq is allowed to sell just over $5 billion every six months to pay for food and other urgently-needed humanitarian supplies.
  Because of low oil prices, the UN report says Iraq will only be able to generate $3.1 billion during the current six month period.
  From that amount, 30% is diverted to pay for humanitarian supplies to the three northern provinces not governed by Baghdad, and another 17% goes towards paying compensation to victims of the occupation of Kuwait and the costs of Unscom, the weapons inspectors.
  But delays in distribution are not the only problem for the oil-for-food programme.
  "The most serious issue facing the implementation of the programme at present is the growing shortfall in revenues," Mr Annan said.
  The secretary-general also spoke of delays in UN approval of oil industry spare parts imported to Iraq to rebuild Iraq's dilapidated oil infrastructure.
  In the past these imports have been put on hold by members of the sanctions committee, particularly the US. Mr Annan welcomed the reduction in the number of new applications that have been put on hold

December 17, 1998
  One missile was reported to have hit a residential area
  For live coverage in video from BBC World of developments in Iraq click here for 28.8 modems and here for 56.6k modems.
  Hundreds of cruise missiles have been fired into Iraq by US forces to punish the Baghdad government for obstructing the work of the United Nations weapons inspectors.
  Sirens sounded the all-clear in Baghdad after nearly six hours of sustained attack ordered by President Bill Clinton to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
  American officials - and their UK counterparts - have warned that the onslaught will go on for as long as is required.
  The UK Government has said that its aircraft, which were not involved in the first strikes, are now getting ready for further bombing raids.
  President Clinton said the attacks were necessary because the Iraqis had continued to defy UN weapons inspectors and placed new restrictions on their work.
  But Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov called the strikes "outrageous" and said the UN Security Council would meet again to discuss the crisis. China has also condemned the action.
  The attack, code named Operation Desert Fox, began at 2200GMT. As well as cruise missile attacks a senior Pentagon official said Navy EA-6B attack planes struck against Iraqi air defence radars.
  Iraqi doctors in Baghdad said at least five people had been killed and 30 wounded. There is no independent confirmation of this.
  Saddam blasts US 'cowards'
  Four separate raids were counted by witnesses in Baghdad. Reports said several missiles struck the city, one landing near one of the presidential palaces. Shortly after the attack began, Iraqi television and radio went off the air.
  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused the US and UK of cowardice for using long-range missiles instead of fighting face-to-face.
  In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency, he urged Iraqis to "fight the enemies of God, enemies of the nation, enemies of humanity".
  As the missiles fell, Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries opened up across the city. BBC Baghdad Correspondent Jeremy Cooke said a series of deafening explosions echoed around the city, and the sky was lit up by tracer rounds and exploding shells.
  One missile landed in a residential area of Baghdad, creating a big crater which filled with water from a burst water main. Reports said another had fallen inside Iran.
  Avoiding Muslim holy month
  Mr Clinton said the attacks were intended to protect the interests of the American people as well as the Middle East.
  He said one reason why the US had acted now was to avoid launching military action during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in a few days' time.
  US Defence Secretary William Cohen announced that more air and ground forces were being sent to the Gulf. He said: "Iraq should not misunderstand our determination".
  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he deeply regretted the military strikes.
  The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said he and Mr Clinton had "no option but to act" after more than a year of broken promises by Saddam Hussein.
  The attacks were prompted by the publication of a report by chief UN weapons inspector, Richard Butler, which accused Saddam Hussein of breaking his promise on 14 November to co-operate fully with weapons monitors.
  Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said the report was full of falsehoods, and was merely aimed at justifying military strikes on Baghdad.
  US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott criticised the action even before it was formally announced.
  "I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," he said

 December 17, 1998
  The countdown to crisis has stopped, then started again
  The Gulf War ended at 0500 GMT on February 28,1991. The US-led coalition began a ceasefire and Baghdad ordered its troops to stop fighting. But since then, Iraq has remained at loggerheads with the United Nations and the Americans in particular.
  There have been arguments over the work of the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq (UNSCOM) weapons inspectors, oil, the no-fly zones, and the rights of Shi'ite and Kurdish people living in the region. But the latest crisis stems from Iraq's exasperation with sanctions imposed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
  The UN put forward a series of proposals designed to ensure that Iraq is fulfilling its commitments to destroy weapons of mass destruction in June this year. Their elimination is a pre-condition for the lifting of UN sanctions which have crippled the economy by banning the country's economic mainstay - the free sale of oil.
  October 29, 1997 - Iraq bars American weapons inspectors from the country after the UN Security Council passes a resolution threatening to stop Iraqi officials travelling abroad. Iraq expels Americans
  October 31, 1997 - Iraq reiterates that it is ready, if necessary, to face US military action over its decision to expel the weapons inspectors. Russia and France believe a solution can be found to the crisis. Russia rejects use of force Iraq urged to backdown
  November 3, 1997 - Iraq warns it will shoot down U2 spy planes flying over its territory in support of UN weapons inspectors. Iraq threatens US planes
  November 20, 1997 - Russian Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, brokers a compromise in the crisis between Iraq and the UN. The US, Russia, France, Britain, China meet through the night to work out the deal which allows the inspectors to return to Baghdad. However, UNSCOM inspectors return only to find they are barred from presidential sites. Iraq settlement seen as "brilliant victory" for Russian diplomacy
  January 2, 1998 - A grenade attack is launched against the headquarters of UNSCOM in Baghdad. The Iraqi regime condemns the attack saying it was the act of saboteurs hostile to Iraq.
  January 13, 1998 - Iraq blocks an inspection by an American dominated team. It accuses the leader of the team, Scott Ritter, of spying for the US. Iraq bans weapons inspectors
  January 23, 1998 - Richard Butler, UNSCOM chairman, addresses the UN security Council and presents a bleak report. Iraq will provide no new information on its weapons programme. UN discusses continuing crisis over Iraq
  January 28, 1998 - President Clinton delivers his State of the Union address, and says the US is prepared to carry out a military attack against Iraq. Clinton address applauded
  February 9, 1998 - The Arab League puts forward proposals to end the crisis. It says the inspection teams should be chosen by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Arab bid to solve Iraqi crisis
  February 11, 1998 - The Iraqi government supports a Russian proposal which would give UNSCOM access to eight presidential sites to carry out one-off inspections. The idea is rejected by both the US and Britain. Iraqi concessions 'unacceptable'
  February 13, 1998 - The United States insists it will not walk away from stopping Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction, and Russian objections would not prevent use of force. Russia says diplomatic effort should not end before Kofi Annan visits Baghdad. Russia warns US against military action
  February 17, 1998 - Kofi Annan wins Security Council approval for a peace mission to Baghdad but the US reserves the right to disagree with the results. President Clinton says a solution must ensure unfettered access for weapons inspections. Clinton 'prepared to act'
  February 20, 1998 - Annan arrives in Baghdad, saying he has a "sacred duty" to try to defuse the crisis. In Jordan, a bystander is killed in clashes between police and a crowd of worshippers demonstrating in support of Iraq. Annan arrives on 'sacred' peace mission
  February 22, 1998 - The UN secretary general holds a three-hour meeting with Saddam Hussein, and the UN later announces a deal on weapons inspections. The US says it will await Kofi Annan's formal report to the Security Council. US keeps veto option open
  February 23, 1998 - Kofi Annan formally announces the agreement in joint news conference with Tariq Aziz. Iraq says it was diplomacy, not sabre-rattling, that helped conclude the agreement. Annan signs deal with Iraq
  February 26, 1998 - American Republicans claim that President Clinton has handed Washington's policy on Iraq over to the United Nations. US:Can Clinton sell Iraqi deal?
  February 27, 1998 - Richard Butler endorses the agreement, while Kofi Annan tells UN staff not to be disheartened by criticism of the deal. UN weapons inspector supports Annan's Iraq deal
  March 3, 1998 - The United States and Britain say that the UN Security Council has reached agreement on a resolution warning Iraq of "severest consequences" if it fails to honour the agreement.
  March 26, 1998 - UN weapons experts accompanied by diplomats begin a two-week series of inspections of Iraqi presidential sites.
  April 3, 1998 - Inspectors complete their initial search of the eight presidential sites with a visit to President Saddam Hussein's main palace in Baghdad. Initial searches end
  April 9, 1998 - A UN report claims Iraq is continuing to hold back information about its germ warfare programme. Iraq still holding back on weapons
  April 17, 1998 - UN inspectors say they have made no progress in verifying whether Iraq has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction.
  April 18, 1998 - The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf describes UN inspectors report as "baseless and boring" and calls for a time limit to be set on inspections. Iraq calls for time limit
  April 28, 1998 - UN decides that it is too early to lift sanctions against Iraq, renewing the embargo for another six months. But the US acknowledges progress in the access to presidential and sensitive sites. Iraq sanctions stay
  May 1, 1998 - In an open letter to the Security Council, Iraq warns of grave consequences if UN sanctions against it are not lifted.
  May 20, 1998 - Weapons inspectors resume their search for Iraqi chemical warheads.
  May 26, 1998 - Richard Butler says he intends to draw up a list of outstanding issues that must be addressed by Baghdad to see sanctions lifted by October. On the same day the US announces it is to cut its forces in the Gulf. Official sets out sanctions 'road map' US cuts Gulf forces
  June 11, 1998 - After presenting proposed disarmament measures to the Security Council, UN weapons inspectors arrive in Baghdad for talks aimed at ending international sanctions.
  June 15, 1998 - The UN and Iraq strike a two-month deal which would verify disarmament and pave the way towards the lifting of sanctions. UN secures disarmament deal Iraq welcomes UN deal
  June 19, 1998 - The Security Council approves a resolution allowing Iraq to spend $300m on importing spare parts to improve its oil facilities. UN approves Iraqi oil spend Iraq warms to oil offer
  June 24, 1998 - Richard Butler confirms reports that traces of the nerve gas VX has been found in Iraqi missile fragments. Iraq had always insisted it had not weaponised VX. UN confirms nerve gas reports Iraq rejects nerve gas claims
  June 30, 1998 - An American fighter plane opens fire on an Iraqi missile site. The US Defence Department says the action was taken after four British Tornado military jets were illuminated by Iraqi radar. US plane targets Iraqi missile site Iraq condemns 'US aggression'
  July 30, 1998 - Iraq warns that it will take unspecified action unless the UN embargo is lifted. A statement issued after a meeting of Iraqi leaders said the visit by Richard Butler the following week would be crucial.
  August 4, 1998 - Richard Butler leaves Baghdad after talks collapse on proposals designed to ensure Iraq is fulfilling its committments to destroy weapons of mass destruction. Tariq Aziz said it was pointless becoming involved in an unending process to prove what the Iraqis had already shown. Iraq arms talks collapse
  September 29, 1998 - UN arms inspector Scott Ritter tells the BBC why he left the international team investigating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Inspector condemns UN
  October 27, 1998 - Richard Butler, says tests carried out by international scientists confirm that Iraq filled missile warheads with the deadly nerve agent VX before the 1991 Gulf War. UN says Iraq made deadly weapons
  October 28, 1998 - The Iraqi army embarks on a training exercise to enable hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens to defend themselves. Iraqi army starts mass training
  October 31, 1998 - The Iraqi leadership says it has ceased all co-operation with investigations and monitoring by the UN Special Commission. Iraq stops Unscom
  November 10, 1998 The United States warns that Iraq will be able to rebuild its weapons programme in a matter of months unless the international community takes action over its obstruction of UN weapons inspections. Iraq could rearm 'in months'
  November 11, 1998 The United Nations withdraws all non-essential personnel from Iraq, amid speculation that the United States is preparing a military attack. UN withdraws staff from Iraq
  November 14, 1998 Iraq sends letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan offering to allow UN weapons inspections to resume. Iraq backs down
  November 17, 1998 UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq after Baghdad's promise to allow them to continue their work narrowly averts air strikes. Inspectors return
  December 10, 1998 Inspectors vow to press on with surprise inspections despite a dispute with Baghdad over access. Inspectors in new row
  December 16, 1998 The UN orders weapons inspectors out of Iraq hours after the chief UN weapons inspector, Richard Butler, issued a report complaining that the Iraqis were still failing to co-operate. UN orders inspectors out
  December 16-17, 1998 Hundreds of cruise missiles are fired into Iraq by US forces, marking the start of strikes to punish the Baghdad government for obstructing the work of the UN weapons inspectors. US strikes Baghdad

  By Kristin Gazlay, December 17, 1998
  LONDON (AP) -- Russia and China angrily denounced the U.S. attack on Iraq, while allies such as Germany and Canada offered their immediate support, placing all blame for the crisis on Saddam Hussein.
  ``Nobody has the right to act on their own in the name of the United Nations and even less to pretend to be the judge of the entire world,'' Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Madrid, Spain.
  Iraq's neighbor and former foe in war, Iran, joined Russia and China in blasting the use of force, saying it will bring ``even more pain and misery for the people in that country.'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also urged Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations.
  Fearful of recriminations, the United States today closed all but two of its African embassies, and security was stepped up at many U.S. and British institutions worldwide, from the Philippines to Greece and Denmark.
  The U.S. State Department ordered the departure of some of its embassy personnel in Kuwait and warned other Americans living there to consider leaving.
  The Arab League condemned the strikes, and a Gulf official said Baghdad had reached out for Arab support to stop the attacks.
  Russian President Boris Yeltsin demanded an immediate end to the military campaign, and Chinese President Jiang Zemin also asked President Clinton to refrain from further attacks.
  ``This is a violation of the U.N. charter and the principles of international law, and we condemn this,'' said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi.
  The German government noted, however, that the Iraqi leadership ``had been warned'' the international community would have to act if it failed to cooperate fully with U.N. weapons inspectors.
  Support for the airstrikes also poured in from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain.
  ``Saddam Hussein has brought this crisis on himself,'' Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said.
  France, which has close ties to Iraq, deplored ``the grave human consequences'' of the military strikes, but added its regret that Iraqi leaders were unable to ``show proof of the spirit of complete cooperation'' demanded by previous agreements with the United Nations.
  Fearing an influx of refugees, both Jordan and Turkey closed the borders they share with Iraq.
  In a statement today, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana blamed Saddam for ``the grave situation'' while Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem expressed disappointment in the attack but also called on Iraq to comply.
  In Pakistan, the Senate passed a resolution unanimously condemning the airstrikes as ``an attack on humanity and the Islamic world.'' Islamic Pakistan's right-wing religious group called the United States ``international terrorists.''
  The strikes led news reports in Lebanon, where all newspaper, radio and television stations carried news agency reports without comment.
  In Indonesia, the world's most populous Islamic nation, leaders pleaded for restraint.
  Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka backed the United States and Britain, saying, ``We strongly demand that Iraq immediately and unconditionally implement the U.N. Security Council's resolutions.''
  He was seconded by Misao Nozaki, a 47-year-old Tokyo restaurant owner who called the bombing justified ``because Iraq has continued developing nuclear weapons in a way that goes against the common sense of the rest of the world.''
  But Yukari Ohi, 38, an office worker in Tokyo, said she opposed the use of force.
  ``I think the U.S. decision to attack Iraq was apparently intended to shift attention from the impeachment issue to war,'' Ohi said, noting that the airstrikes came as Clinton faced an impeachment vote.
  India condemned the attack, while Mexico expressed disappointment.
  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was noncommittal, saying, ``Israel is outside the dispute, and in any case will take care of defending itself if the need arises.''
  The international Red Cross sent a diplomatic note to the U.S., British and Iraqi governments asking them to do everything possible to ensure civilians and medical facilities are unaffected by military action.

Israelis don masks

BEFORE and AFTER photos of the bombing of the military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. They were shown at a Pentagon
briefing Thursday at which raids on the Iraqi capital were described.

  AFTER: Before and after photos of the bombing of the military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. They were shown at a Pentagon briefing Thursday at which raids on the Iraqi capital were described.