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Center for Security Policy

28 April 1998


Even as the Clinton Administration once again shows itself unable or unwilling to address the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction in the only way certain to be effective -- namely, by removing him and his clique from power -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has once again insisted that the latter should be the object of American policy. Better yet, he has helped to secure the first increment of funding needed to achieve that objective.

Toward a 'Free Iraq'

Sen. Lott met yesterday with Dr. Ahmad Chalabi, President of the Executive Council of the Iraqi National Congress -- the broadly representative, democratic and pro-Western political opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime. Afterwards, Senator Lott declared: "I have long advocated a policy designed to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Only this will end the threat posed by Iraq once and for all."

As Sen. Lott noted toward this end: "Final congressional action is expected this week on an amendment [to the Defense supplemental authorization report] I authored providing $10 million to support the democratic opposition and to establish a 'Radio Free Iraq.'" What is more, the State Department authorization conference report passed in the Senate today under Senator Lott's leadership provided an additional $38 million to aid those who seek to liberate Iraq from Saddam's tyranny and bring a Free Iraq once again into the family of nations.

These initiatives are important first steps towards reconstituting and empowering the democratic opposition to Saddam's regime. Of particular importance is the contribution surrogate broadcasting can make to breaking the monopoly on information enjoyed by Saddam Hussein -- a key to the exercise of totalitarian power.*1 Such a radio service will be able to let the Iraqi people know of Saddam's direct responsibility for the hardship they are currently experiencing; it will also facilitate the opposition's efforts to expand liberated areas and garner support within those parts of Iraq that remain under the dictator's thumb.

The Bottom Line

Senator Lott said yesterday, "I hope the Administration will engage seriously with the Congress in moving toward a policy toward Iraq that is designed to achieve the goal of ending Saddam's reign of terror." The Clinton administration could powerfully signal its embrace, albeit belatedly, of this goal by having President Clinton follow Senator Lott's in meeting with Dr. Chalabi. Until then, the Majority Leader is to be commended for stepping into the breach -- and his colleagues in the Congress for following his strategically important lead.



*1 - The growing recognition of the critical role surrogate broadcasting can play not only in Iraq but in Iran and China, as well, should impel Congress to rescind the present directive to terminate the existing Freedom Radio broadcast services -- Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.


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