The US and UK used no-fly zones on top of UN-backed economic sanctions and weapons inspections as a policy of "containment".
A UN mandate for weapons inspections was established in a resolution passed in April 1991.
The first operation by the inspections body, Unscom, took place in June, setting in train seven years of monitoring.
Many prohibited weapons and production facilities were destroyed and dismantled.
The inspectors discovered facilities that Iraqi officials had previously denied having and uncovered prohibited weapons that they had attempted to hide.
A no-fly zone in the north of Iraq was declared in March 1991 to protect Iraqi Kurds after Saddam Hussein's regime had put down their uprising.
A similar zone was established in 1992 in the south, after Iraq continued offensives against the Shia Muslims there.
British and US aircraft have patrolled these zones ever since, bombing air defences when Iraqi radar has locked onto the planes.
The northern no-fly zone was extended in 1996 following an Iraqi offensive in support of one of two Kurdish factions which were then fighting each other.
In June 1993, US President Bill Clinton ordered airstrikes on the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in response to an assassination attempt on George Bush Snr in Kuwait two months earlier.
Some of the suspects arrested in connection with the attempted car bombing reportedly confessed that they had been working for Iraqi intelligence.