Saddam Hussein led a brutal dictatorship of Iraq from 1979 to 2003. In 1990, he invaded and occupied the nation of Kuwait for six months until being expelled by an international coalition. For the next several years Hussein showed varying degrees of contempt for the international terms agreed to at the end of the war, namely a “no-fly zone” over much of the country, international inspections of suspected arms sites, and sanctions. In 2003, an American-led coalition invaded Iraq and overthrew the Hussein government.
Building the Coalition:President Bush put forward a number of rationales for invading Iraq. These included: violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, atrocities committed by Hussein against his people, and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which posed an immediate threat to the U.S. and the world. The U.S. claimed to have intelligence which proved the existence of the WMD and asked the U.N. Security Council to authorize an attack. The council did not. Instead, the U.S. and the United Kingdom enlisted 29 other countries in a “coalition of the willing” to support and carry out the invasion launched in March 2003.