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Key Dates In the Crisis With Iraq

Aug. 2, 1990 -- Iraq invades Kuwait, which Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had accused of overproducing oil and pushing prices down just when he needed oil revenues to recover from 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. U.N. Security Council imposes trade embargo against Iraq and later authorizes use of force to liberate Kuwait.

Jan.17, 1991 -- U.S.-led coalition launches air war against Iraq. Ground offensive begins the next month and Iraqi troops quickly overwhelmed.

Feb. 26, 1991 -- Kuwait liberated.

March 2, 1991 -- U.N. Security council lays down conditions, including destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and reparations for Kuwait.

Dec. 16, 1998 -- U.N. weapons inspectors withdrawn from Iraq, which is accused of failing to cooperate with international attempt to find and destroy its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Hours later, four days of U.S.-British air and missile strikes on Baghdad begin.

Dec. 17, 1999 -- U.N. Security Council issues resolution creating new Iraqi disarmament commission.

Jan. 27, 2000 -- Iraq says it will not deal with new chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix.

Nov. 8, 2002 -- U.N. Security Council unanimously approves resolution threatening Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with "serious consequences" if he does not disarm.

Nov. 27, 2002 -- U.N. experts begin work in Iraq under Nov. 8 resolution.

Dec. 7, 2002 -- Iraq delivers to United Nations declaration denying it has weapons of mass destruction; later, United States says declaration is untruthful and United Nations says it is incomplete.

March 7 -- United States, Britain and Spain propose ordering Saddam to give up banned weapons by March 17 or face war; other nations led by France on polarized U.N. Security Council oppose any new resolution that would authorize military action.

March 17: United States, Britain and Spain withdraw proposed resolution, saying time for diplomacy has run out. U.S. President George W. Bush declares Saddam must flee Iraq or face a U.S.-led invasion.

March 18 -- Iraq's leadership rejects Bush's ultimatum.

March 20 -- U.S. forces launched a surgical military strike against a "target of opportunity" near Baghdad early morning Baghdad time. White House announces, "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun."

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