US and Iraqi History Lesson

December 16, 1998

Key Events in Iraq and U.S. Relations

Related Articles

By The Associated Press
FFrom the Gulf War to the standoff over weapons inspections, some of the key events leading up to the current confrontation between the United States and Iraq:


Aug. 2 -- Iraq invades Kuwait.

Aug. 6 -- United Nations imposes sweeping trade sanctions on Iraq, which are still in force.


Jan. 17 -- U.S.-led coalition launches air war against Iraq.

Feb. 26 -- Allied troops take control of Kuwait.

Feb. 28 -- Cease-fire announced.

March 2 -- U.N. Security Council lays down conditions, including destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and reparations for Kuwait. These conditions must be met before sanctions are lifted.

April 1991 -- United States, France and Britain declare a 19,000-square-mile area of northern Iraq a ``safe haven'' for Kurds and impose a no-fly zone above 36th parallel.


Aug. 27 -- A no-fly zone is imposed over southern Iraq to stop Iraqi air attacks on Shiite Muslim rebels. The United States and some allies begin air patrols.


Jan. 7 -- After Baghdad refuses to remove missiles that United States says it has moved into southern Iraq, allied warplanes and warships attack missile sites and a nuclear facility near Baghdad.

April 13 -- One day before former President George Bush was to arrive in Kuwait, 14 arrests are made for plotting to assassinate him; Washington says plot was organized by Iraqi intelligence.

June 27 -- U.S. warships fire 24 cruise missiles at intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for what the United States calls the plot to assassinate President Bush.


Oct. 7 -- Iraqi troops move toward Kuwait, then pull back when U.S. dispatches carrier group, 54,000 troops and warplanes.


Sept. 3-4 -- U.S. ships and airplanes fire scores of cruise missiles at Iraqi anti-missile sites to punish the Iraqi military for venturing into the Kurdish ``safe haven'' in northern Iraq.

Sept. 11 -- Iraqi forces fire a missile at two F-16s in the northern no-fly zone. The United States responds by sending more bombers, stealth fighters and another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region. Iraq accuses Kuwait of an ``act of war'' for allowing U.S. jets into Kuwait.

November -- Two U.S. F-16 pilots fire missiles at Iraqi radar sites near the 32nd parallel in the southern no-fly zone.

Dec. 9 -- The United Nations allows Iraq to make limited oil sales under closely monitored deal.


November -- Iraq orders American weapons inspectors to leave the country immediately, accusing them of spying. President Clinton orders aircraft carrier to the Gulf to join a military force already in place.

Oct. 7 -- U.N. arms inspectors tell the Security Council that Iraq still refuses to disclose full details of its banned weapons programs and is imposing restrictions on the inspections.


Jan. 13 -- Iraq effectively blocks a U.N. weapons inspection team led by an American, failing to provide escorts needed to enter sites.

Jan. 27 -- Clinton intensifies U.S. pressure on Iraq to open all sites, warning Saddam Hussein not to ``defy the will of the world.''

February -- U.S., British military buildup in the Gulf.

Feb. 23 -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan works out agreement with Iraq, defusing crisis by promising efforts to remove sanctions.

June 30 -- A U.S. F-16 fighter fires a missile at an Iraqi surface-to-air missile battery in southern Iraq after Iraqi radar locks on four British patrol planes. Iraq denies any aggression.

Aug. 5 -- Iraq announces it's cutting ties with weapons inspectors, saying it sees no move toward lifting sanctions. It leaves long-term monitoring in place.

Oct. 30 -- U.N. Security Council offers a comprehensive review of weapons inspection program to assuage Iraq, but refuses demands to declare the review will lead to lifting sanctions.

Oct. 31 -- Iraq cuts off work by U.N. monitors. United States and Britain warn of possible military strikes to force Iraq into cooperating.

Nov. 5 -- U.N. Security Council condemns Iraq's actions as a ``flagrant violation'' of resolutions.

Nov. 11 -- United Nations begins withdrawing much of its staff in Baghdad, including arms inspectors and some humanitarian workers.

Nov. 12 -- Eight Arab foreign ministers declared that Iraq would be ``held responsible for any consequences'' from its stopping the work of U.N. inspectors.

Nov. 13 -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says he is not trying to provoke a crisis and will accept ``positively any initiative'' to end U.N. sanctions. U.S. military buildup in the Gulf continues.

Nov. 14 -- Iraq sends a series of letters to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council professing willingness to cooperate unconditionally with U.N. weapons inspectors. President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair cancel ordered military attacks against Iraqi targets.

Nov. 15 -- President Clinton says Iraq narrowly avoided punishing military strikes by dropping its defiance of the United Nations, but Saddam Hussein must cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors without conditions. Defense Secretary William Cohen says the U.S. military will ``maintain a steady force'' in the region ``that is more than adequate to deal with Saddam Hussein.''

Nov. 20 -- Iraq's deputy foreign minister, Riyadh al-Qaisi, tells chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler that many documents the weapons inspectors seek regarding the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missiles were destroyed, never existed or already had been turned over.

Nov. 27 -- A week after Butler's request for weapons documents, Riyadh al-Qaisi responds with three letters about Iraq's chemical weapons and missile programs, including allegations that deadly VX nerve gas was planted on an Iraqi warhead to discredit Baghdad.

Dec. 8 -- National Security Council Adviser Sandy Berger says the United States will work step by step with foes of Saddam Hussein to bring down the Iraqi president.

Dec. 9 -- Iraq refuses to permit an unannounced U.N. weapons inspection in Baghdad and White House officials respond cautiously. ``Sometimes what happens is that they refuse the first time and they go back and they get in,'' says Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Dec. 10 -- Defense Secretary William Cohen says Iraq's refusal to allow inspectors access to the ruling Baath Party offices creates a ``very serious situation'' that could prompt a no-notice military attack.

Dec. 11 -- The United States will hold off acting until U.N. chief weapons inspector Richard Butler makes his report on Iraqi compliance to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, says Berger. ``We want to see this process play it's course,'' he says.

Dec. 15 -- Butler says in his report that Iraq has not met promises made a month ago to fully cooperate with U.N. inspectors and has imposed new restrictions on their work.

Dec. 16 -- President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair order ``a strong, sustained series of air strikes'' to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. ``Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world,'' Clinton says.

``The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors,'' Clinton says from the Oval Office of the White House, shortly after anti-aircraft fire began erupting around Baghdad. ``Saddam has failed to seize the chance. And so we had to act and act now.''

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No Ground Fighting Yet; Call to Arms by Hussein
Special to The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Thursday, Jan. 17 -- The United States and allied forces Wednesday night opened the long threatened war to drive President Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, striking Baghdad and other targets in Iraq and Kuwait with waves of bombers and cruise missiles launched from naval vessels.

"The liberation of Kuwait has begun," President Bush said in a three-sentence statement confirming the start of the attack that was read by his spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, shortly after the raids began.

Later, in a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office a somber Mr. Bush said that after months of continuous diplomatic overtures had failed to produce movement by Iraq, the United States and its allies "have no choice but to force Saddam from Kuwait by force. We will not fail."

No Planes Reported Missing

United States officials said shortly after midnight Wednesday that none of the planes that took part in the night-time raids were reported missing.

In Baghdad, Mr. Hussein said in a speech broadcast by the Iraqi radio that "the mother of all battles had begun," according to news service reports. He called Mr. Bus a "hypocritical criminal" and vowed to crush "the satanic intentions of the White House." It was unclear when Mr. Hussein had read his remarks, whether they had been pre-recorded or where he was at the time.

Mr. Bush said his goal "is not the conquest of Iraq, it is the liberation of Kuwait." But he also said, "We are determined to knock out Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb potential. We will also destroy his chemical weapons facilities."

3 Other Nations Take Part

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday night that those targets had been among those assigned to the first wave of American F-117 Stealth fighter-bombers, F-15 fighter-bombers, British Tornado attack planes and Saudi and Kuwaiti F-15's that raided Iraqi military targets about 3 A.M. local time Thursday (7 P. M. Wednesday Eastern Standard time.)

Administration officials also said United States navy ships in the waters off the Arabian Peninsula had fired ground-hugging cruise missiles at targets that had been programmed into their guidance systems for months. The officials said the ships fired a total of 50 Tomahawk missiles in an assault on Iraqi command and communications centers.

Seeking to Avoid Civilians

Mr. Cheney said the initial targets were spread throughout Iraq Kuwait and were chosen to "do everything possible to avoid injury to civilians." Both officials declined to say if there had been any American or allied losses, or to describe in any detail how badly they thought they had damaged Baghdad or the other Iraqi targets.

"The response of the Iraqi forces at this point has been limited," Mr. Cheney said, leading analysts to conclude that the allies may have succeeded in their goal of largely incapacitating Iraq's Air Force at the outset.

But Mr. Cheney said that the war was just beginning and that "it is likely to run for a long period of time."

Reports of New Attack

Cable News Network reported that anti-aircraft fire resumed in Baghdad about 9:30 A. M., Iraqi time and that its correspondents heard explosions that sounded like bombs in the far distance from their central Baghdad hotel.

The network also reported the first sighting of President Hussein since the start of the attacks, by a Western television technician at a Baghdad television center this afternoon.

Mr. Cheney said the United States could not confirm reports that Iraq had fired Soviet-made Scud missiles at allied positions after the attack began. Reuters reported from Bahrain that the civil defense authorities there had detected missile launches but that the weapons fell short of their targets.

Assuring Americans that ground forces were not yet engaged in the battle, the President added: "Five months ago, Saddam Hussein started the cruel war against Kuwait. Tonight, the battle has been joined."

He said initial reports indicated that "our operations are proceeding according to plan."

"Our objectives are clear," he said. "Saddam Hussein's forces will leave Kuwait, the legitimate Government of Kuwait will be restored to its rightful place and Kuwait will once again be free."

"Some may ask, why act now? Why not wait?" the President said. "The answer is clear. The world could wait no longer."

Repeating his promises that Saudi Arabia would not become "another Vietnam," Mr. Bush said he would bring American troops home as soon as possible.

"I'm hopeful that this fighting will not go on for long and that casualties will be held to a n absolute minimum," he said. "Our troops will have the best possible support in the entire world, and they will not be asked to fight with one hand tied behind their back."

In the written statement issued earlier, Mr. Fitzwater said: "In conjunction with the forces of our coalition partners, the United States has moved under the code name Operation Desert Storm to enforce the mandates of the United Nations Security Council. As of 7 o'clock P. M., Operation Desert Storm forces were engaging targets in Iraq and Kuwait."

The current President of the United Nations Security Council, Bagbeni Adeito Nzengeya of Zaire, convened the Council late Wednesday night to discuss the outbreak of fighting.

Security Council Resolution 678, which authorized the use of force against Iraq after Jan. 15, also requires "the states concerned" to keep the Council regularly informed about any action they take under the resolution.

Skies Over Baghdad Alight

The nighttime attack was first reeled in television reports by American corespondents in Baghdad that the skies over the Iraqi capital were alight with anti-aircraft and tracer fire. Initial reports were that multiple waves of warplanes bombed central Baghdad, hitting ail refineries and the airport.

Mr. Bush notified Congressional leaders of the planned attack between 6 and 7 P. M., telephoning House Speaker Thomas S. Foley and Robert C. Byrd, the President pro tem of the Senate. In a letter and a report he also sent the formal notification as required under the war resolution passed by the House and Senate last week, that all efforts at diplomacy had failed and that he had made his final decision to commit America to its first all-out war since Vietnam.

"The Government of Iraq remains completely intransigent in rejecting the U.N. Security Council's demands, despite the exhaustive use by the United States and the United Nations of all appropriate diplomatic, political and economic measures to persuade or compel Iraq to comply," the report said.

Foley Urges Unity

Mr. Foley said: "We must now pray for a conflict that ends quickly, decisively and with a minimum of loss of life. We must now stand united in support of our armed forces in the gulf who have embraced the duty and burden of conducting war."

Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, the Republican Leader said, "The cause of this war is Iraqi aggression, not American determination.

"In New York, the United Nations Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cue-Har, said, "I think it is for me to express deep sorrow."

United States officials said that the decision to go to war had been developing over several days, and that Mr. Bush had been working on at least four drafts of his speech for two or three weeks.

But he put into motion the actual order for battle only at 8 A. M. Wednesday, when Saudi officials said Secretary of State James A. baker 3d called in the Saudi Ambassador, Prince Bandar bin sultan, and told him that American forces would attack Iraq.

Code Word to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, using a prearranged code word, the informants said. The King then repeated back a code word that constituted the final acknowledgment that the offensive would begin.

Mr. Bush monitored the offensive from the Oval Office, where he had watched the evening news and waited for the first signs of attack with Vice President Dan Quayle, Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, and John H. Sununu, the White House Chief of staff. Mr. Scowcroft spent the night in the Situation Room in the White House basement, connected electronically to the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department and the pentagon, where Mr. Cheney and General Powell worked through the night as well.

Making good o his repeated warnings to Mr. Hussein, who had defied 12 United Nations resolutions and a naval blockade, Mr. Bush began the largest American military offensive since the Vietnam War about 19 hours after the expiration of the United Nations deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait peacefully. The President said he decided to order the attack because "the world could wait no longer." He added "Sanctions, though having some effect showed no signs of accomplishing their objective."

He said he had hoped that the Congressional vote authorizing the use of force last weekend would prompt Mr. Hussein to agree to withdraw from Kuwait. "Instead he remained intransigent, certain that time was on his side," Mr. Bush said.

"No president can easily commit our sons and daughters to war," he said.

Mr. Fitzwater's statement about the start of war was prepared Tuesday night, the President's spokesman said, but Mr. bush could have withheld the final order to attack "if there was a massive pullout by Saddam Hussein."

"It could have been changed," Mr. Fitzwater said.

Late Wednesday night, the White House said that Mr. Bush had authorized the Energy Secretary, James Watkins, to distribute 1.12 million barrels a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the next 30 days in a measure "designed to promote stability in world markets."

The United States had spent the day formalizing a command system under which international forces are expected to fight under the United Nations auspices but under the actual leadership of the United States.

Bush Calls Other Leaders

Mr.. Bush called Prime Minister John Major of Britain and other leaders of the anti-Iraqi alliance Wednesday from his private study to inform them that the attack was about to begin.

"The White House also sought to reassure the American people that all prospects for a peaceful solution had been exhausted, leaving Mr. Bush no choice but to begin what he has said will be an overwhelming display of air, sea and land power that will end Iraq's occupation of Kuwait swiftly and decisively.

"This military action, taken in accord with United Nations resolutions and with the consent of the United States Congress, follows months of constraint and virtually endless diplomatic activity on the part of the United Nations, the United States and many, many other countries," Mr. Bush said.

Some of those who had opposed the Congressional resolution on the use of force issued statements rallying behind the President.

'Unite Behind Our Troops'

Senator David L. Boren, Democrat of Oklahoma and chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "Now that the war has begun, all Americans should unite behind our troops. We hope and pray that victory will come quickly and with minimum loss of life."

The House majority leader, Richard A. Gephardt, said, "My prayers and thoughts are with the soldiers and their families, and my hopes are for a swift and successful conclusion to this war."

Although initial reports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq were very sketchy, the first wave of attacks appeared, as expected to exploit the alliance's overwhelming air power perhaps in an attempt to bomb strategic command targets in Baghdad.

Reports from members of the news pool stationed in Saudi Arabia with American forces said two squadrons F-15E fighter-bombers loaded with bombs and air-to-air missiles took off at 12:50 A. M. local time today from the largest American military base, in central Saudi Arabia.

They made the 600- mile plus flight to Baghdad in about 90 minutes, flying into the clear night sky in pairs. "We've been waiting here for five months now," said Col. Ray Davies, the base's chief maintenance officer. "Now we finally got to do what we were sent here to do."

A steady stream of F-15E's were taking off from central and eastern Saudi Arabia, part of an international air force that includes the deadliest, fastest and most technologically advanced warplanes in the world.

The United States alone has about 1,800 warplanes in the Persian Gulf region, based at military installations in Saudi Arabia and abroad six aircraft carriers plying the gulf, the Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that there were now 425,000 American soldiers stationed in the region after the swiftest and largest mobilization of arms in American military history. There are an additional 265,000 troops from 27 other countries, facing what the Pentagon estimates is an Iraqi Army of 545,000 in southern Iraq and Kuwait.

From Baghdad, television broadcasts said the pounding of the city continued intermittently through the night. The city had gone black, shaking from bomb reports as the night sky was pierced by tracers from batteries of anti-aircraft weapons massed around the city. At one point, reporters in Baghdad said volleys of anti-aircraft fire, and the glow of distant explosions lit the entire night sky.

A Cable News Network correspondent said he had seen a fire near a mosque, while another reported that a refinery near the presidential palace was being fired on. Loud explosions and machine-gun fire could be heard in the background as the reporters spoke by telephone with their organizations in the United States.

In Saudi Arabia, news reports said that air raid sirens had been turned on at air bases and that reporters had been ordered to go inside and advised to put on their gas masks, but there were no reports of enemy attacks.

Congress had given Mr. Bush authority to use force against Iraq on Saturday after a long and emotional debate. The President also acted with the authorization of the United Nations. It had given Iraq until Tuesday to leave Kuwait, which Baghdad occupied on Aug. 2 in a lighting raid that shattered that the United States and Europe had would be a time of peace following the end of the cold war.

The American response had been orchestrated over the next five months, as Mr. Bush moved virtually the entire might of the nation's non-nuclear forces to the gulf while the United Nations sought to dislodge Iraq from Kuwait through a constantly tightening choke hold of economic sanctions.

The United States had expressed growing impatience with the sanctions, however, and the planning for war was stepped up sharply after Nov. 29, when the United Nations approved the resolution authorizing the use of force if Iraq did not withdraw by Jan. 15.


The Endless Battle, Iraq, the Kurds and the United States

By John H. Cushman Jr.
Published: September 4, 1996
Correction Appended

Six years after Iraq invaded Kuwait the United States remains mired in conflict with the regime of Saddam Hussein, this time striking with cruise missiles in retribution for his army's operations in Kurdish regions in the north. For years, rebellious Kurds have fought against the Baghdad authorities and among themselves. After expelling Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, the American-led coalition came to the Kurds' aid and forbade Iraq from repressing them within a protected enclave. But as one Kurdish faction turned to Baghdad for aid against an Iranian-backed rival, Iraqi forces drove into the protected zone, triggering this week's American attack.

John H. Cushman Jr.


The Iraqi military is a shadow of the 1.2 million-man force it was at the start of the Persian Gulf war. But many of its heavy weapons survived the war, and Iraq is estimated to have recovered about 80 percent of its prewar weapons manufacturing capacity, although it is prohibited from making chemical or nuclear arms.


TROOPS: about 400,000

Backbone is Republican Guard, whose divisions are given priority in weapons, training and responsibility.


Special Security Organization controls the capital and protects Saddam Hussein. Other intelligence and security forces help root out and suppress internal opposition.



Mostly Russian combat aircraft, they are of little use because of the no-flight zones enforced by the Western allies.



Thousands of tanks and other armored vehicles survived the war, as did anti-aircraft guns and missiles, although these have proven ineffective against the United States and its allies. Some reports suggest that 100 or more Scud ballistic missiles may be hidden away, despite their prohibition under terms of the ceasefire.


Roughly one-third of the Army; roughly 1,000 tanks, 1,000 artillery pieces and 1,000 armored personnel carriers.


Numbering 20 million, the Kurds have struggled unsuccessfully for 2,000 to carve out an independent state in the mountainous region where they live. Opposed and manipulated by surrounding nations and Western powers who believe such a state would destabilize the region, the Kurds have been riven, too, by factionalism.



TROOPS: 30,000


Mainly small arms, some light artillery, rocket launchers, mortars and some surface to air missles.

The largest Kurdish faction, it is led by Nashirwan Barzani, grandson of a legendary guerrilla leader who did work for the Central Intelligence Agency. It has allied itself with Saddam Hussein.



TROOPS: 12,000


Led by Jalal Talabani, this faction broke away from the Kurdistan Democratic Party 20 years ago. Mr. Talabani has turned to Iran, which sees the faction as a weapon in its continuing hostilities with Iraq.


United States forces based in the Persian Gulf fired 27 cruise missiles at four areas in Southern Iraq early yesterday. The military said the 15 to 20 targets were command and control, air defense and communication sites at Iraqi air bases and a ground training center. The Pentagon said the missiles inflicted ''significant damage.''



Fired 8 Tomahawk cruise missiles

TYPE: Guided-missile destroyer

HOMEPORT: Norfolk, Va.


Fired 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles

TYPE: Guided-missile



Two B-52's fired 13 conventional air-launched cruise missiles.

BASE: Barksdale A.F.B., La.



RANGE: 1,150 miles

WARHEAD: 1,000 pounds


RANGE: 750 miles

WARHEAD: 1,000 pounds


17 missiles were launched from the Laboon, its sister ship Russell; the U.S.S. Hewitt, a Spruance-class destroyer, and the Jefferson, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine.


1988: Iran-Iraq war ends. Iraq steps up military actions against rebellious Kurds in its territory.

March 1988: Iraq is accused of shelling Kurdish towns, including Halabja, with chemical weapons.

August 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait.

January-February 1991: American-led alliance conducts air war and brief ground war, expelling Iraq from Kuwait.

March 1991: Kurds rebel and seize key towns in north of Iraq. Iraqi military responds forcefully and more than a million civilians flee into the hills, some into Iran and Turkey.

April 1991: Security Council passes Resolution 688, calling on Iraq not to repress its minorities, the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north.

April 1991: U.S., France and Britain offer protection to the Kurds in the north. Iraq is prohibited from operating aircraft north of the 36th Parallel.

1992: In an effort at unity, Kurds elect a government in May and set up a parliament in Erbil, trying to establish a semi-autonomous state.

August 1992: U.S. coalition imposes no-flight zone on Iraq's warplanes in the south, below the 32d Parallel, to protect Shiite minorities from attack.

December, 1992: U.S. F-16 shoots down an Iraqi MiG-25 in the southern no-flight zone.

January 1993: Another plane is shot down by the coalition, and Iraq moves surface-to-air missiles into the south and refuses to remove them. On Jan. 13 the U.S., Britain and France strike four missile-radar sites and two missile sites.

June 26, 1993: President Clinton orders cruise missile strike against Iraq to retaliate for reported plot to bomb former President Bush on his visit to Kuwait.

May 1994: Fighting erupts between the two main Kurdish factions in northern Iraq. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan occupies Erbil, including the parliament, which had been held by the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

1995: Repeateed American attempts to negotiate a truce between the warring Kurdish factions fail.

July 1996: Iranian troops push into northern Iraq, purportedly in pursuit of Iranian Kurdish rebels, but causing the Democratic Party to fear an Iranian effort to aid its rival.

Aug. 22, 1996: According to Tariq Aziz, the Iranian Deputy Prime Minister, massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish Democratic Party faction, wrotee a letter seeking the Iraqi Government's intervention in the factional fighting.

August 1996: Renewed fighting erupts between the two Kurdish factions.

Aug. 30, 1996: Even as the two factions meet in peace talks in the American embassy in London, the U.S. announces that Iraq has amassed forces outside Erbil, warning it not to attack.

Aug. 31, 1996: Iraqi troops quickly seize Erbil, routing fighters with the Patriotic Union.

YESTERDAY: The U.S. fires cruise missiles at targets in southern Iraq.

(Source: Department of Defense; Periscope, a data base of the U.S. Naval Institute, a publishing group affiliated with the Naval Academy at Annapolis.)

Correction: September 5, 1996, Thursday A chart yesterday tracing Iraqi history since 1988 misstated the nationality of Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in some editions. He is Iraqi, not Iranian.

Key dates in Saddam's life - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune

Published: Sunday, November 5, 2006

Key dates in the life of Saddam Hussein:

- April 28, 1937: Born in the village of Uja, near Tikrit. His father died or disappeared before he was born.

- 1957: Joins the radical, secular nationalist Baath Party at age 20.

- 1959: Flees Iraq for Cairo, Egypt, after taking part in an attempt to assassinate the country's ruler, Gen. Abdul-Karim Kassim, and is sentenced to death in absentia.

- 1963: Returns to Iraq after the Baath Party overthrows Kassim, but then is imprisoned after Baath leadership is ousted.

- 1967: Escapes and takes charge of the underground Baath Party's secret internal security organization.

- July 1968: Baath Party wins back power under the leadership of Gen. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who appoints Saddam, his distant cousin, as his deputy. Saddam purges key party figures, deports thousands of Shiites of Iranian origin and supervises the state takeover of Iraq's oil industry and land reform.

- 1979: Saddam forces al-Bakr to resign. Hundreds of Baath and military officials are executed in purge.

- Sept. 22, 1980: Iraqi forces invade Iran, launching an eight-year war that costs hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides and devastates Saddam's plans to transform Iraq into a developed, prosperous country.

- 1982: Shiite guerrillas ambush Saddam's convoy in Dujail. He escapes. About 150 Shiites are killed in the wake of the assassination attempt.

- 1987: Saddam launches his "Anfal" campaign against Iraqi Kurdish rebels, in which tens of thousands - many of them civilians - are killed.

- Aug. 2, 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait.

- January 1991: A U.S.-led coalition attacks to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

- March 20, 2003: U.S.-led forces invade Iraq. Within three weeks, Iraq's army collapses and Baghdad falls. Saddam flees to his northern homeland.

- July 2003: Sons Odai and Qusai are killed in a gunbattle with U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

- Dec. 13, 2003: U.S. soldiers discover a bearded and disheveled Saddam hiding in an underground bunker in Adwar, village south of Tikrit.

- Oct. 19, 2005: Saddam and seven others go on trial for the Dujail killings.

- Aug. 21, 2006: Saddam and seven co-defendants go on trial in a new case, for the Anfal crackdown.

- Nov. 5, 2006: Verdict expected in the Dujail trial, in which Saddam faces the death penalty.