Last updated on: 5/27/2009 8:39:00 AM PST
Why did the UN impose sanctions on Iraq, and how long were they to last?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Swiss Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs stated in its Mar. 17, 2002 report titled "Expert Seminar on Targeting U.N. Financial Sanctions":

"Resolution 687 (1991), the 'cease-fire resolution,' declared that these measures [sanctions] would remain in place pending periodic reviews of Iraqi compliance with the obligations imposed.

Operational Paragraph (OP) 22 of the resolution [687] provided for the lifting of trade sanctions once Iraq had complied with the destruction and long-term monitoring of weapons of mass destruction."

Mar. 17, 2002 - Swiss Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs 

The US Department of State wrote in the Dec. 21, 2002 "Fact Sheet on U.N. Oil-for-Food Program for Iraq":

"After the Gulf War and liberation of Kuwait, a U.N. Secretary-General's team determined that the Iraqi people faced a humanitarian catastrophe, including epidemic and famine, if life-support needs were not rapidly met. The United States introduced U.N. Security Council Resolutions 706 and 712 in August and September of 1991. These resolutions eased the sanctions on the sale of oil, imposed in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, by allowing Iraq to sell a certain amount of oil and use proceeds to meet the humanitarian needs of its people."

Dec. 21, 2002 - US Department of State 

The Global Policy Forum stated in its Aug. 6, 2002 policy paper "Iraq Sanctions: Humanitarian Implications and Options for the Future":

"The U.N. Security Council imposed comprehensive economic sanctions against Iraq on August 6, 1990, just four days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. When the coalition war had ousted Iraq from Kuwait the following year, the Council did not lift the sanctions, keeping them in place as leverage to press for Iraqi disarmament, return of prisoners of war and other goals. The sanctions have remained in place ever since.

The U.S. and U.K. governments made it clear early on that they would block any lifting of sanctions as long as Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein remains in power. Though the international community increasingly criticized the sanctions because of their harsh impact on innocent Iraqi civilians and their lack of pressure on Hussein, the U.S. and U.K. have blocked many proposed reforms."


Aug. 6, 2002 - Global Policy Forum 

The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) reported in a May 23, 2001 article titled "UN Faces Split Over Iraq Proposals":

"The sanctions were designed to force Saddam Hussein to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq to ensure it did not have chemical, biological or nuclear weapons."

May 23, 2001 - BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) 

The Council on Foreign Relations stated on its website page "Causes of 9/11: U.N. Sanctions on Iraq?" (accessed May 2003):

"In August 1990, after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution under Article VII of the U.N. Charter (thereby making it binding on all U.N. members) that banned all financial transactions with Iraq, international flights to Iraq, and trade with Iraq in all goods except medicine and humanitarian food aid. In April 1991, after the Gulf War ended, the Security Council passed Resolution 687, which determined that the sanctions would continue until Iraq met several conditions, chief among them shutting down its programs to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and destroying its existing weapons of mass destruction. This resolution also required Iraq to prove to the international community that it was disarmed."

May 2003 - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) 

The White House Office of Global Communications stated on its website (accessed Jan. 21, 2003):

"In a total of 29 separate resolutions, the U.N. Security Council has stated clearly its reason for imposing sanctions: to force Iraq to comply with previous U.N. resolutions."

Jan. 21, 2003 - White House Office of Global Communications