Just a reminder. Ronald Kessler reported in November 2007 that George Piro, the FBI agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein the most, was told by Saddam Hussein that he planning on building his WMD and nuclear capabilities in 2004 after sanctions were lifted, which he believed would happen very soon.
What if Russia, China and France lobbied for the UN sanctions to be lifted but the US and UK repeatedly vetoed it? I know that’s a game of alternate history, but it’s a question worth asking. It is likely that Russia, China, perhaps France, and others, could unilaterally break the sanctions (even more than they were already doing), leading to a scenario where sanctions were in place but not enforced.
As a matter of fact, this process was already starting to happen. It was just a question of whether sanctions would slowly crumble or if the Russians, Chinese, etc. would openly declare they would no longer abide by the sanctions and they’d be declared effectively dead. Either way, whether Saddam had WMD or not, he certainly retained capabilities to wage asymmetric warfare with WMDs and likely would have expanded these capabilities very soon.