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CONCERN OVER RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ
(Senate - October 09, 1998)

HON. CARL LEVIN

in the Senate

October 9, 1998

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, today, along with Senators McCain, Lieberman, Hutchison and twenty-three other Senators, I am sending a letter to the President to express our concern over Iraq's actions and urging the President `after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.'

At the outset, I believe it would be useful to review the events that led up to the requirement for the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. At the time that Iraq unlawfully invaded and occupied its neighbor Kuwait, the UN Security Council imposed economic and weapons sanctions on Iraq .

After Iraqi forces had been ousted from Kuwait by the U.S.-led coalition and active hostilities had ended, but while coalition forces were still occupying Iraqi territory, the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, conducted a review of Iraq's history with weapons of mass destruction and made a number of decisions in April 1991 to achieve its goals, including a formal cease fire.

With respect to Iraq's history, the Security Council noted Iraq's threat during the Gulf War to use chemical weapons in violation of its treaty obligations, Iraq's prior use of chemical weapons, Iraq's use of ballistic missiles in unprovoked attacks, and reports that Iraq attempted to acquire materials for a nuclear weapons program contrary to its treaty obligations.

After reviewing Iraq's history, the Security Council decided that `Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision' of its weapons of mass destruction programs and all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers and conditioned the lifting of the economic and weapons sanctions on Iraq's meeting its obligations, including those relating to its weapons of mass destruction programs.

To implement those decisions, the Security Council authorized the formation of a Special Commission, which has come to be known as UNSCOM, to `carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities, based on Iraq's declarations and the designation of any additional locations by the Special Commission itself' and requested the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out similar responsibilities for Iraq's nuclear program. Additionally, the UN Security Council decided that Iraq shall unconditionally undertake not to use, develop, construct or acquire weapons of mass destruction and called for UNSCOM to conduct ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance. The detailed modalities for these actions were agreed upon by an exchange of letters in May 1991 that were signed by the UN Secretary General, the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq .

Thus, Iraq unconditionally accepted the UN Security Council's demands and thereby achieved a formal cease-fire and the withdrawal of coalition forces from its territory.

Mr. President, UNSCOM has sought to carry out its responsibilities in as expeditious and effective way as possible. UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler and his teams, however, have been confronted with Iraqi obstacles, lack of cooperation and lies. As UNSCOM has noted in its own document entitled `UNSCOM Main Achievements': `UNSCOM has uncovered significant undeclared proscribed weapons programmes, destroyed elements of those programmes so far identified, including equipment, facilities and materials, and has been attempting to map out and verify the full extent of these programmes in the face of serious efforts to deceive and conceal. UNSCOM also continues to try to verify Iraq's illegal unilateral destruction activities. The investigation of such undeclared activities is crucial to the verification of Iraq's declarations on its proscribed weapons programmes.'

Mr. President, I will not dwell on the numerous instances of Iraq's failure to comply with its obligations. I would note, however, that in accepting the February 23, 1998 Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the UN Secretary General and Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister, that ended Iraq's prior refusal to allow UNSCOM and the IAEA to perform their missions, the UN Security Council warned Iraq that it will face the `severest consequences' if it fails to adhere to the commitments it reaffirmed in the MOU. Suffice it to say that on August 5, 1998, Iraq declared that it was suspending all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, except some limited monitoring activities.

In response, on September 9, 1998, a unanimous UN Security Council condemned Iraq's action and suspended its sanctions' reviews until UNSCOM and the IAEA report that they are satisfied that they have been able to exercise their full range of activities. Within the last week, Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister refused to rescind Iraq's decision. Throughout this process and despite the unanimity in the UN Security Council, Iraq has depicted the United States and Britain as preventing UNSCOM and the IAEA from certifying Iraqi compliance with its obligations.

To review, Iraq unlawfully invaded and occupied Kuwait, it's armed forces were ejected from Kuwait by the U.S.-led coalition forces, active hostilities ceased, and the UN Security Council demanded and Iraq accepted, as a condition of a cease-fire, that its weapons of mass destruction programs be destroyed and that such destruction be accomplished under international supervision and permanent monitoring, and that economic and weapons sanctions remain in effect until those conditions are satisfied.

Mr. President, by invading Kuwait, Iraq threatened international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region. By its failure to comply with the conditions it accepted as the international community's requirements for a cease-fire, Iraq continues to threaten international peace and security. By its refusal to abandon its quest for weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, Iraq is directly defying and challenging the international community and directly violating the terms of the cease fire between itself and the United States-led coalition.

Mr. President, it is vitally important for the international community to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to allow UNSCOM and the IAEA to carry out their missions. To date, the response has been to suspend sanctions' reviews and to seek to reverse Iraq's decision through diplomacy.

Mr. President, as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan noted when he successfully negotiated the memorandum of agreement with Saddam Hussein in February, `You can do a lot with diplomacy, but of course you can do a lot more with diplomacy backed up by fairness and force.' It is my sincere hope that Saddam Hussein, when faced with the credible threat of the use of force, will comply with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. But, I believe that we must carefully consider other actions, including, if necessary, the use of force to destroy suspect sites if compliance is not achieved.

Mr. President, the Iraqi people are suffering because of Saddam Hussein's noncompliance. The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. It is most unfortunate that they have been subjected to economic sanctions for more than seven years. If Saddam Hussein had cooperated with UNSCOM and the IAEA from the start and had met the other requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions, including the accounting for more than 600 Kuwaitis and third-country nationals who disappeared at the hands of Iraqi authorities during the occupation of Kuwait, those sanctions could have been lifted a number of years ago. I support the UN's oil-for-food program and regret that Saddam Hussein took more than five years to accept it. In the final analysis, as the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council stated at the time of the February crisis: `responsibility for the result of this crisis falls on the Iraqi regime itself.'

I ask that the letter to the President be printed in the Record.

The letter follows:
U.S. SENATE,

Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, October 9, 1998.

The President,
The White House, Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. President: We are writing to express our concern over recent developments in Iraq .

Last February, the Senate was working on a resolution supporting military action if diplomacy did not succeed in convincing Saddam Hussein to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the disclosure and destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This effort was discontinued when the Iraqi government reaffirmed its acceptance of all relevant Security Council resolutions and reiterated its willingness to cooperate with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by its Deputy Prime Minister and the United Nations Secretary General.

Despite a brief interval of cooperation, however, Saddam Hussein has failed to live up to his commitments. On August 5, Iraq suspended all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, except some limited monitoring activity.

As UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler told us in a briefing for all Senators in March, the fundamental historic reality is that Iraq has consistently sought to limit, mitigate, reduce and, in some cases, defeat the Security Council's resolutions by a variety of devices.

We were gratified by the Security Council's action in unanimously passing Resolution 1194 on September 9. By condemning Iraq's decision to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, by demanding that Iraq rescind that decision and cooperate fully with UNSCOM and the IAEA, by deciding not to conduct the sanctions' review scheduled for October 1998 and not to conduct any future such reviews until UNSCOM and the IAEA, report that they are satisfied that they have been able to exercise the full range of activities provided for in their mandates, and by acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has sent an unambiguous message to Saddam Hussein.

We are skeptical, however, that Saddam Hussein will take heed of this message even though it is from a unanimous Security Council. Moreover, we are deeply concerned that without the intrusive inspections and monitoring by UNSCOM and the IAEA, Iraq will be able, over time, to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.

In light of these developments, we urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraq sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.

Sincerely,

Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Frank R. Lautenberg, Dick Lugar, Kit Bond, Jon Kyl, Chris Dodd, John McCain, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Alfonse D'Amato, Bob Kerrey, Pete V. Domenici, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Mikulski.

Thomas Daschle, John Breaux, Tim Johnson, Daniel K. Inouye, Arlen Specter, James Inhofe, Strom Thurmond, Mary L. Landrieu, Wendell Ford, John F. Kerry, Chuck Grassley, Jesse Helms, Rick Santorum.


 

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