A timeline for events leading to the second Gulf War.
July 16, 1979 -- Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq.
Sept. 22, 1980 -- Iran-Iraq war begins. United States backs Saddam.
Aug. 29, 1988 -- Iran-Iraq war ends. At least 1 million people believed killed.
Aug. 2, 1990 -- Iraq invades Kuwait. U.N. Security Council Resolution 660 calls for full withdrawal.
Aug. 6, 1990 -- United Nations imposes economic sanctions on Iraq.
Jan. 16, 1991 -- Gulf War begins. U.S.-led forces begin airstrikes against Iraq.
Feb. 27, 1991 -- After three-day ground operation, Kuwait liberated.
March 3, 1991 -- Iraq accepts terms of cease-fire.
April 6, 1991 -- Iraq accepts U.N. demand it end production of weapons of mass destruction. Also agrees to allow monitoring by the U.N. special commission inspection team.
June 27, 1993 -- U.S. airstrikes against Iraqi intelligence in retaliation for assassination plot against former President G.W. Bush.
April 14, 1995 -- Oil-for-food program that allows Iraq to export oil to buy food and medicine starts.
Dec. 16, 1998 -- U.N. inspection team withdrawn. Says Iraq is not cooperating fully.
Dec. 16-19, 1998 -- Operation Desert Fox begins against Iraqi weapons programs.
Dec. 17, 1999 -- United Nations replaces U.N Special Commission with U.N. Monitoring, Verification And Inspection Commission. Iraq rejects move.
Sept. 11, 2001 -- Al-Qaida terror attacks that crash four hijacked airliners, destroying the World Trade Center and heavily damaging the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people, focus U.S. attention on fighting terror at home and abroad.
Jan. 29, 2002 -- President Bush labels Iraq, Iran and North Korea the "Axis of Evil" in his first State of the Union speech.
Feb. 5, 2002 -- Iraq wants to resume talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, an Arab League spokesman says. Annan agrees.
March 7, 2002 -- Annan meets Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri at the United Nations, says he has sensed "some flexibility" in Baghdad's position on Security Council resolutions.
March 15, 2002 -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder rejects German military participation in a war against Iraq without a clear U.N. mandate.
April 8, 2002 -- Saddam announces his country would immediately halt pumping oil for one month.
April 29, 2002 -- Saddam turns 65.
May 3, 2002 -- Annan describes three days of talks that have ended between Iraqi and U.N. officials aimed at getting weapons inspectors back to Baghdad as "useful and frank."
May 14, 2002 -- U.N. Security Council unanimously approves the most significant changes in sanctions against Iraq in 12 years, allowing civilian goods in, while tightening the ban on military and "dual use" items.
June 14, 2002 -- The United States demands expulsion of First Secretary Abdul Rahman Saad, a senior diplomat in the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations, for "activities incompatible with his diplomatic status." Iraq denies he is a spy.
July 17, 2002 -- Saddam vows to defeat any U.S. attack on Iraq, urging his people to stand fast and fight for the independence and sovereignty of their country.
July 24, 2002 -- Al-Thawra daily, mouthpiece of Iraq's ruling Baath party, criticizes U.N. Security Council for failing to answer its queries on proposed arms inspection teams, a deadline for lifting international sanctions, and the council's position on U.S. military threats to Iraq.
July 30, 2002 -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Bush administration wants to see a "regime change" in Iraq but has not made a decision whether to pursue it by going to war.
Aug. 1, 2002 -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Sabri asks Annan to send weapons inspectors as soon as possible to Baghdad.
Aug. 2, 2002 -- Annan hands over to the Security Council Iraq's request for technical talks in Baghdad with top U.N. weapons inspectors. Annan welcomes the letter but says it is "at variance" with council resolutions on the return of weapons inspectors.
Aug. 5, 2002 -- Annan says there must be weapons inspections in Iraq before the top U.N. weapons inspector can engage in the technical talks Baghdad has requested.
Aug. 8, 2002 -- Saddam calls for the United Nations to honor its obligations concerning sanctions against Iraq. Annan says there's nothing "new" in the speech.
Aug. 20, 2002 -- A group of gunmen take over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin. Group is identified as the previously unknown Democratic Iraqi Opposition in Germany. Berlin police storm the embassy, freeing the hostages and apprehending the gunmen.
Aug. 21, 2002 -- Palestinian guerrilla leader Sabri al-Banna, better known as Abu Nidal, found dead in his Baghdad apartment. Iraq says it was suicide. His group said he was killed.
Aug. 21, 2002 -- Rumsfeld says Bush is "thinking about" war with Iraq. "(The) president has made no decision to go into war with Iraq," he says, however.
Aug. 23, 2002 -- The Bush administration broadcasts interview with the Pentagon's third-ranking official calling on Iraqis to topple Saddam. "The future that we see for Iraq is a future that would be based on the Iraqi people freeing themselves from the oppression they are now suffering," Douglas Feith tells Radio Sawa, a newly formed AM radio station broadcast from Kuwait.
Sept. 12, 2002 -- Bush tells world leaders gathered at a U.N. General Assembly session to confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq -- or stand aside as the United States acts.
Sept. 16, 2002 -- Iraq says it will allow -- "without conditions" -- the immediate return of weapons inspectors, who have been barred by Baghdad since late 1998. Washington calls the move "a tactical step."
Sept. 23, 2002 -- Official ruling Baath party newspaper rejects any new U.N. resolution.
Sept. 25, 2002 -- National security adviser Condoleezza Rice says Iraq possibly helped al-Qaida operatives develop chemical and biological weapons, and that senior leaders of the terrorist network have been harbored in Baghdad. First attempt to tie Baghdad with terrorism.
Oct. 1, 2002 -- White House says Saddam must go no matter how. "I can only say that the cost of a one-way ticket is substantially less than that," a White House spokesman says. "The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that. The cost of war is more than that."
Oct. 10, 2002 -- By a vote of 296 to 133, the U.S. House approves a resolution that allows Bush to use unilateral military action against Saddam's regime without conditions beyond being informed almost immediately of any military action.
Oct. 11, 2002 -- The Senate approves Iraq resolution in a 77 to 23 vote.
Oct. 16, 2002 -- Saddam wins 100 percent of Iraqi votes in a referendum that renews his presidential term for 7 years.
Oct. 23, 2002 -- The United States, following three days of talks with the other four veto-holding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, presents a draft resolution on Iraq to the 10 elected members of the panel in closed-door consultations.
Oct. 25, 2002 -- The United States formally tables its tough, backed-with-force draft resolution for the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq, seeking a vote "as soon as possible."
Nov. 6, 2002 -- U.N. Security Council begins considering the revised U.S. draft resolution declaring Iraq in "material breach" of previous measures but giving Baghdad a "final opportunity to comply." It warns of "serious consequences" -- diplomatic words for use of force -- if Iraq fails to obey.
Nov. 8, 2002 -- U.N. Security Council unanimously approves U.S.-sponsored Resolution 1441, authorizing the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq and "serious consequences" if Baghdad fails to cooperate.
Nov. 11, 2002 -- Iraq's Parliament recommends the rejection of Resolution 1441, but says it will defer to Saddam's decision.
Nov. 13, 2002 -- Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations says his country accepts "unconditionally" the U.N. resolution on disarming Iraq.
Nov. 18, 2002 -- Hans Blix, head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission and Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrive in Baghdad. Talks focus on a mechanism for the inspection mission in Iraq.
Nov. 20, 2002 -- Blix and ElBaradei leave Baghdad. Blix calls talks "fruitful."
Nov. 21, 2002 -- NATO agrees "to take effective action" to ensure Iraq's compliance with U.N. demands for full disarmament of its suspected weapons of mass destruction.
Nov. 25, 2002 -- U.N. weapons inspectors arrive in Baghdad.
Nov. 27, 2002 -- U.N. inspectors examine two sites east of Baghdad. Inspection are the first in four years after they left the country amid a dispute over access to sites.
Dec. 4, 2002 -- The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a 6-month extension of the oil-for-food humanitarian program.
Dec. 7, 2002 -- Iraq hands over 12,000-plus page report and several compact discs that reportedly describe the country's arms programs before and after 1990 to the United Nations. Critics call the report insufficient.
Dec. 19, 2002 -- Blix and ElBaradei give Security Council preliminary assessment of Iraq's 12,000-page declaration on its weapons of mass destruction programs. Blix says "an opportunity was missed" by Baghdad and says the declaration had "relatively little by way of evidence relative to weapons of mass destruction."
Dec. 28, 2002 -- Iraq turns over to international weapons inspectors a list of scientists involved in its weapons programs. Inspectors want to interview scientists and fill in gaps in knowledge about possible programs for chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Jan. 9, 2003 -- Blix briefs U.N. Security Council on Baghdad's 12,000-page weapons of mass destruction declaration, but says that after six weeks of resumed inspections, "We haven't found any smoking guns." He calls the report "rich in volume but poor in new information about weapons issues and practically devoid of new evidence on such issues."
Jan. 14, 2003 -- Germany says it would call for another U.N. resolution before any military strike on Iraq.
Jan. 16, 2003 -- U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq say they find 11 empty chemical weapons warheads in bunkers.
Jan. 27, 2003 -- Blix and ElBaradei present report to U.N. Security Council. Blix says: "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance ... of the disarmament which was demanded of it," saying significant questions remain about its ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.
Jan. 30, 2003 -- In a letter to the Wall Street Journal and European newspapers, the leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic call for Saddam to be disarmed or face the consequences. The move is seen as a boost to the U.S. position.
Jan. 30, 2003 -- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and British Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday say they back a second U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq.
Jan. 30, 2003 -- ElBaradei says Iraq not in material breach of U.N. resolutions.
Jan. 30, 2003 -- Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage tells a Senate panel an al-Qaida member is in Baghdad. Man believed to be Fadel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, also known as Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.
Jan. 30, 2003 -- Iraq invites Blix and ElBaradei to visit Baghdad before Feb. 14 to find ways to resolve disagreements between the two sides.
Jan. 31, 2003 -- Bush says a second U.N. resolution would be welcome if "it is another signal that it is intent upon disarming Saddam Hussein."
Feb. 2, 2003 -- Saddam, in an interview broadcast Feb. 2 on British television, denies links with al-Qaida and says his country does not possess weapons of mass destruction.
Feb. 5, 2003 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell in a show-and-tell presentation to U.N. Security Council details what he says is Iraq's attempts to hide its weapons of mass destruction and its inks to al-Qaida.
Feb. 6, 2002 -- Turkish parliamentarians authorize the United States to renovate its military bases and ports in the country ahead of a possible war with Iraq.
Feb. 7, 2002 -- Russia says Moscow opposes a second U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize military action against Iraq.
Feb. 8, 2002 -- Annan warns against a unilateral U.S. attack against Iraq, saying such a measure is "not for any one state."
Feb. 8, 2002 -- Blix and ElBaradei begin talks to press Iraq to accept a much more intrusive look into the country's weapons resources.
Feb 8, 2003 -- Rumsfeld in Germany. Hears of Franco-German plan to prevent military conflict. The plan calls for sending thousands of U.N. troops and hundreds, possibly thousands, more inspectors to enforce U.N. resolutions calling for Iraq's disarmament. Washington dismisses the plan.
Feb. 9, 2003 -- Blix and ElBaradei leave Baghdad, saying talks were "useful" and "substantial," but short of a "breakthrough." They leave without key concessions such as overflight facilities for U-2 aircraft. Bush says Iraq can't be trusted, adding it's time for United Nations to decide if it is "relevant."
Feb. 9, 2003 -- Pope John Paul II launches Iraq peace effort by sending a senior personal representative to urge Saddam to cooperate fully with the international weapons inspectors.
Feb. 10, 2003 -- Belgium and France veto U.S. request to provide NATO assistance to Turkey in the event of a war against Iraq. They say the move is premature and would undermine efforts to find a peaceful solution to the stand off. The three European states have blocked the U.S. request for three successive weeks. Ankara invokes Article Four of the NATO treaty, which says the alliance will consult "when, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened."
Feb. 10, 2003 -- Greece, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, calls for a Feb. 17 summit of EU leaders to thrash out a united European stance on how to disarm Saddam.
Feb. 10, 2003 -- In a joint appeal, France, Russia and Germany call for greater efforts to disarm Iraq peacefully.
Feb. 11, 2002 -- Powell says new tape by Osama bin Laden links al-Qaida and Iraq. On the tape, a voice can be heard calling Saddam an infidel for his "socialist" beliefs.
Feb. 11, 2002 -- CIA Director George Tenet and FBI Director Robert Mueller say Iraq poses a threat, but non-state actors such as al-Qaida pose a bigger threat to the United States.
Feb. 11, 2002 -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns the threat of war continues to dampen economic growth. "The intensification of geopolitical risk, makes discerning the economic path ahead especially difficult," he says.
Feb. 14, 2003 -- Saddam bans production or import of weapons of mass destruction. Blix and ElBaradei tell the Security Council no weapons of mass destruction have been found, but large quantities of banned chemical and biological agents remain unaccounted for.
Feb. 15, 2003 -- Massive anti-war rallies rock Europe and the world.
Feb. 16, 2003 -- National security adviser Condoleezza Rice says United States working on a new resolution to disarm Iraq.
Feb. 17, 2003 -- French President Jacques Chirac says Paris would block a new U.N. resolution on Iraq while weapons inspections continue. EU members warn Saddam to disarm or face the threat of war, but say military action is not inevitable and that inspections should continue.
Feb. 18, 2003 -- Spain backs second U.N. resolution that would authorize war if Saddam does not comply. Bush says United Nations faces becoming irrelevant unless it enforces its resolutions to disarm Iraq.
Feb. 19, 2003 -- U.S. Mission to the United Nations says Washington has decided to seek a second resolution on Iraq.
Feb. 21, 2003 -- Blix tells Iraq to destroy its al-Samoud 2 missile for exceeding the Security Council-imposed 93-mile range.
Feb. 24, 2003 - Britain introduces tough, new U.S.-backed draft resolution on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council. Draft repeats earlier warning to Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences." Simultaneously, France and Russia recommend continuation of weapons inspections.
Feb. 26, 2003 -- Blair suffers setback with nearly 200 members of Parliament voting against his policy on Iraq. Overwhelming number of those votes from his own Labor Party.
Feb. 28, 2003 -- Russia says it will veto a second resolution that authorizes force against Iraq.
March 1, 2003 -- Iraq begins dismantling al-Samoud 2 missiles. Turkish Parliament rejects move to allow U.S. troops access to bases in the country in the event of war with Iraq.
March 5, 2003 -- Blix says Iraq is "taking greater steps" toward disarmament but there are still many "question marks." He added: "If we were given more months, we would welcome it" because it's too soon to "close the door."
March 7, 2003 -- Blix tells Security Council inspections "will not take years, nor weeks, but months." He says, "Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure it will still take some time to verify." British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw tables an amendment Friday to a U.N. Security Council draft resolution giving Baghdad until March 17 to disarm. The measure says "Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity" to disarm unless the council determines otherwise by the 17th. Powell shows members of the Security Council what he calls "a catalog of 12 years of abject failure" by Iraq to disarm, saying the 167-page U.N. weapons inspectors' report shows a "damning record of 12 years of lies, deception and failure.
March 12, 2003 -- Britain says Iraq ultimatum in the U.N. draft resolution could be dropped if other Security Council members accept its list of benchmarks, without a deadline, new proposals. The six conditions call on Saddam to: (1) Make a public statement on television admitting that he has hidden weapons of mass destruction and will destroy them; (2) Allow 30 scientists named by the U.N. weapons inspectors to travel abroad with their families to be interviewed; (3) Produce or account for 10,000 liters of missing anthrax;(4) destroy all banned missiles and rocket engines; (5) Explain and hand over the drone reconnaissance plane found by the U.N.; (6) Destroy the mobile biological warfare laboratories he is suspected of having.
March 13, 2003 -- France, Iraq reject British proposals.
March 14, 2003 -- Bush announces he will meet leaders of Britain and Spain in the Azores in a last bid to win U.N. support for military action against Saddam.
March 15, 2003 -- Iraq invites Blix and ElBaradei to the Iraqi capital to discuss remaining questions about its suspected weapons of mass destruction.
March 16, 2003 -- U.N. spokesman says owners of helicopters leased by arms inspectors in Iraq ordered the aircraft to leave because of the threat of war. Owners apparently no longer covered by insurance.
March 17, 2003 -- In the Azores, Bush says "moment of truth for the world" to disarm Saddam. United States, Britain and Spain withdraw their resolution seeking U.N. support for forcible disarmament of Iraq, citing veto threats. Blair hit by first Cabinet resignation -- Robin Cook goes. Bush gives Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave the nation or face war. Australia commits troops to war.
March 18, 2003 -- Iraq rejects ultimatum.
March 19, 2003 -- Seventeen Iraqi soldiers surrender to the U.S. troops in Kuwait before Bush's deadline for Saddam to leave Iraq or face war expires. Bush announces late Wednesday (Thursday in Iraq) that war has begun after some 40 cruise missiles and precision bombs aimed at Iraqi leaders hit Baghdad and other targets. Saddam says, "God will give us victory."
March 20, 2003 -- U.S. Marines cross from Kuwait into Iraq; explosions in Baghdad from aerial bombardment.