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Iraq Disarmed: The Story Behind the Story of the Fall of Saddam

Rolf Ekéus
Iraq Disarmed: The Story Behind the Story of the Fall of Saddam
ISBN: 978-1-955055-70-3
ISBN: 978-1-955055-74-1
2023/305 pages/LC: 2022018361
"A fascinating and clear-sighted book about the UN, the United States, and Iraq, and what happens behind the closed doors of power."—Evin Ismail, Svenska Dagbladet [Swedish Daily News]


"The quest to disarm Iraq took place between two wars—one justified and right, the other a dreadful mistake, a violation of international law that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths."  With these unvarnished words, Rolf Ekéus begins his political-thrilleresque story of the disarmament of Iraq—and the machinations that ultimately led to the fall of Saddam Hussein and the rise of ISIS.

After Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and the war that followed, the UN Security Council ruled that Iraq must rid itself of all weapons of mass destruction. The difficult, politically sensitive, and dangerous task of accomplishing this rested with the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), led by Ekéus, one of Sweden's most seasoned diplomats. This was a radical experiment in UN governance—essentially conveying to one individual the power to conduct a disarmament program, with oversight only by the Security Council.

What followed were a succession of tense conversations with the Iraqi leadership, often-dangerous inspections, complex destruction processes, negotiations with Security Council representatives, and diplomatic maneuvering by world leaders. The recounting of these events lies at the heart of Ekéus's personal narrative of disarmament history in the making, a narrative that adds substantially to the evidence that UNSCOM's mission was successful and the 2003 war clearly illegal.

Crafted not in the interests of a political agenda, but rather for the sake of historical accuracy, Iraq Disarmed serves today as a sobering cautionary tale.


Rolf Ekéus served as executive chair of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) in 1991–1997. Among numerous other diplomatic posts, he was Sweden's permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament (1983–1989) and ambassador to the US (1997–2000). In 2002–2010, he was chair of the Governing Board of SIPRI, where he is now a Distinguished Associate Fellow.


  • Iraq: Revolution, Oil, and War.
  • The Building of UNSCOM.
  • Moving to Action.
  • The Map and the Reality.
  • Long-Term Monitoring and Verification.
  • The Saddam Clause.
  • Secrets and Lies.
  • Hussein Kamel’s Defection.
  • Working with Israel.
  • Is the Job Done?
  • Say Goodbye to the Weapons.
  • On the Path to Disaster.
  • The End of UNSCOM, the Beginning of UNMOVIC, and the Second Iraq War.
  • Iraq's Catch-22.