According to this report on the Jane’s Defence server, two teams of Iraqi engineers received the personal go-ahead from Saddam himself in June 2000 to work on 3 clandestine projects to develop long-range missiles. The projects never got off the drawing board thanks to UN sanctions, which choked off vital parts and supplies. The prescence of UN inspectors also forced the Iraqis to destroy most of the work they had been doing in order to preserve secrecy.
The engineers assigned to each project independently came to the same conclusion; the best way to build a long-range missile was to cluster existing hardware. This way the missiles could be assembled with a minimum of time, testing, and expense.
This points up two things. The first is that sanctions, if vigorously pursued and enforced, actually work so far as denying rogue states the ability to develop sophisticated weapon systems.
The second conclusion that can be drawn is that much can be done without the vital equipment and supplies needed to actually build the weapons. Development time would be greatly reduced, and these weapons would be ready to be deployed with shocking speed as soon as sanctions were lifted or relaxed.
I’m sure that everyone will draw what conclusions they want from this. The “I love the UN” crowd will point out that santions worked, and there was no reason for the invasion of Iraq. The “UN sucks” section of the audience will think it significant that the invasion was the only way to permanently ensure that Iraq wasn’t a vast and destabilizing threat.
Belly up to the bar and take your pick. Both views are right.