Below is a chronology of the Clinton administration's attacks on Iraq:
"There is no difference between my policy and the policy of the present administration [of George Bush]," Clinton says at a January 14 news conference, less than a week before his inauguration. Three days later, U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea fire 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets near Baghdad. The president-to-be also backed repeated air strikes by U.S., British, and French war planes over Iraq January 13-23 that year.
U.S. bombing of Baghdad June 26 leaves at least 8 civilians dead and 20 wounded. Three of the 23 cruise missiles fired at the city hit residential neighborhoods, leaving craters 30 feet deep. On June 29, a U.S. warplane fires an air-to-surface missile against an Iraqi antiaircraft battery in the southern province of Basra. Bombings and missile attacks continue into July. Clinton claims assault is in retaliation of alleged plot by Baghdad to kill former president Bush while on an earlier visit to Kuwait.
U.S. war planes bombard targets in northern Iraq August 9, dropping
cluster bombs on what Washington claims was an Iraqi air defense
battery. Two F-15E fighter bombers also drop four 500-pound laser-guided
bombs at the same site.
Clinton administration announces it will push for tough new conditions for lifting the UN ban on Iraqi oil exports, including recognizing Kuwait as an independent country and ending the persecution of dissidents before the embargo on oil exports is lifted.
Two U.S. F-15 fighter jets patrolling the airspace above northern Iraq shoot down two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters April 14, apparently mistaking them for Iraqi aircraft, killing all 26 people on board. The downing occurred in broad daylight, with no warning given to the targeted helicopters.
At Washington's urging the United Nations Security Council votes
September 14 to maintain its economic embargo against Iraq, first
imposed in August 1990. Earlier in the year, Iraqi foreign minister
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told the UN Commission on Human Rights
that the death rate among young children in the country was 126
times higher than before the Gulf War. Prices of basic foodstuffs
had risen as much as 400 percent. The Security Council has renewed
the sanctions regularly since, with the U.S. government leading
the charge, despite continued reports of the devastating consequences.
A UN study estimates as of January 1996, as many as 576,000 children
in Iraq have died as a result of the economic embargo.
With virtually unanimous bipartisan support, Clinton pours tens of thousands of troops into the Gulf region, and places another 156,000 on alert. Hundreds of bombers and other war material are part of the massive armada sent to the waters off Iraq. The U.S. military buildup, supposedly in response to the deployment of 70,000 Iraqi troops near the border with Kuwait, continues despite the fact that Baghdad began pulling its troops back within days. U.S. troops conduct training exercises in the Kuwaiti desert.
Washington and London both issue "diplomatic notes"
October 20 threatening aerial bombardment if Baghdad sends more
troops south of the 32nd parallel.
The U.S. Navy boards five ships accused of disregarding UN sanctions against Iraq. The Iraqi government reports that the U.S. sailors shot at the crewmen of two of the ships.
Washington sends 1,000 additional troops to Kuwait for training exercises, several months ahead of schedule, along with 13 ships of war material to equip the 20,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in the Persian Gulf region. U.S. officials openly speculate on the possibilities of ousting Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Other war moves by Clinton include: