2003 United Kingdom ultimatum to Iraq

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A UN weapons inspector in Iraq.

On March 12, 2003, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, and the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw proposed a draft resolution to the United Nations. If the demands for disarmament were met by 17 March, it was suggested that military action would be averted and Saddam Hussein would be allowed to remain in power.

The six tests involved:

  • a public statement by Saddam Hussein, broadcast in Iraq, admitting possession of weapons of mass destruction, stating his regime has decided to give them up and pledging to cooperate with UN weapon inspectors.
  • a commitment to allow Iraqi scientists to be interviewed by the inspectors outside Iraq.
  • the surrender of, and explanation of the 10,000 litres of anthrax the Iraqis are believed still to be holding.
  • a commitment to the destruction of proscribed missiles.
  • an account of the unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted vehicles or drones.
  • a commitment to surrender all mobile bio-production laboratories for destruction.

Response[edit]

Saddam denied possession of weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi intelligence offered to allow several thousand US troops to search for banned weapons.[citation needed]

Criticism[edit]

By offering the opportunity for Saddam to remain in power, it suggested Blair's only justification at that time was the presence of weapons of mass destruction and any other justifications are ex post facto justifications.[citation needed] On 27 March 2003, UK government whistleblowers suggested that even if the tests were met, Iraq would have been invaded.[citation needed]

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