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What's All the Fuss about Iraq?

More of this Feature

• Part 2: The Long Answer
Part 3: In the End

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The Common People of Iraq
The Persian Gulf War
Saddam Hussein

Part 1: The Short Answer

The news these days is full of talk about Iraq. Why is that?

Well, that question has a short answer and a long answer.

Here's the short answer:

  • Iraq is controlled by its leader, Saddam Hussein. The United States and many other countries don't like Hussein or the way he treats his own people.
  • Iraq also has a lot of weapons that Hussein keeps threatening to use on other people, both in his country and elsewhere in the world. Iraq has a lot of missiles, which can fly great distances to explode in other countries.
  • Iraq also has used, in the past, chemical weapons, which hurt other people's eyes or give them harmful diseases.
  • Many people also think that Iraq is working on building an atomic bomb, which is the most powerful weapon ever invented. For all these reasons, not too many people like Iraq right now.

The United Nations has sent teams of inspectors to Iraq to see if the Iraqis are still building chemical or biological weapons, something they are prohibited from doing by international law.

Especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. and other countries are wary of anyone or any country that has large amounts of weapons of all kinds: missiles, bombs, chemical. Iraq has a lot of all three, and Iraqi officials have made lots of noise lately about not being afraid to use such weapons.

On the theory that it's a good idea to eliminate a possible threat before it becomes a real one, the U.S. and other countries are pressing Iraq to, by allowing weapons inspections, prove that it has no intention of launching a terrorist attack.

Does Iraq have something to hide? Does Iraq have secret stashes of lots and lots of weapons? That's what the U.S. and the U.N. want to find out. That's what all the fuss is about.

Next page > The Long Answer > Page 1, 2, 3 

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