Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and the Iraqi Opposition [Updated February 10, 2003] [open pdf - 98KB]
"In his 2002 and 2003 State of the Union messages, President Bush characterized Iraq as a grave potential threat to the United States because of its insistence on developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the potential for it to transfer WMD to terrorist groups. Since September 2002, the President has said that unless Iraq allows full disarmament of its WMD by United Nations weapons inspectors, the United States would lead a coalition in military action to achieve that disarmament. This would almost certainly include the ouster of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein and his Ba'th Party regime. Although the Administration has been less vocal about the regime change goal since the September 2002 decision to work through the United Nations to achieve Iraq's disarmament, the Administration maintains that regime change has been declared U.S. policy since November 1998 and remains the desired goal. Even before October 1998, U.S. efforts to oust Saddam had been pursued, with varying degrees of intensity, since the end of the Gulf war in 1991. These efforts primarily involved U.S. backing for opposition groups inside and outside Iraq, some of which are now receiving increased U.S. political and financial support and military training. According to several experts, past efforts to change the regime floundered because of limited U.S. engagement, disorganization of the Iraqi opposition, and the efficiency and ruthlessness of Iraq's several overlapping intelligence and security forces. Previous U.S. administrations ruled out major U.S. military action to change Iraq's regime, believing such action would be costly, risky, and not necessarily justified by the level of Iraq's non-compliance."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31339
United States. Dept. of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/