Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1), and as part of my effort to keep the Congress fully informed, I am reporting on the status of efforts to obtain Iraq's compliance with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.
It remains our judgment that the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have effectively disbanded the Iraqi nuclear weapons program at least for the near term. The United Nations has destroyed Iraqi missile launchers, support facilities, and a good deal of Iraq's indigenous capability to manufacture prohibited missiles. The UNSCOM teams have reduced Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons; inventorying and destroying chemical munitions. The United Nations has inspected, and is preparing to monitor, several facilities identified as capable of supporting a biological weapons program.
Iraq's formal acceptance of U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 715 (ongoing monitoring and verification) in November 1993 was long overdue. The next challenge for the international community is to ensure that Iraq does not break its promise on ongoing monitoring and verification as Iraq has repeatedly done so in the past on other commitments. Continued vigilance is necessary because we believe that Saddam Hussein is committed to rebuilding his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability.
We are seriously concerned about the many contradictions and unanswered questions remaining in regard to Iraq's WMD capability, especially in the chemical weapons area. It is therefore extremely important that the international community establish an effective, comprehensive, and sustainable ongoing monitoring and verification regime as required by UNSCR 715.
Rolf Ekeus, the Chairman of UNSCOM, has told Iraq that it must establish a clear track record of compliance before he can report favorably to the Security Council. However, Chairman Ekeus has said he does not expect to be able to report before the end of the year, at the earliest. We strongly endorse Chairman Ekeus' approach and reject any establishment of a timetable for determining whether Iraq has complied with UNSCR 715. There must be a sustained period of unquestionable, complete compliance with the monitoring and verification plans.
The "no-fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq permit the monitoring of Iraq's compliance with UNSCRs 687 and 688. Over the last 2 years, the northern no-fly zone has deterred Iraq from a major military offensive in the region. Since the no-fly zone was established in southern Iraq, Iraq's use of aircraft against its population in the region has stopped. However, Iraqi forces have responded to the no-fly zone by stepping up their use of land-base artillery to shell marsh villages.
Indeed, the ongoing military campaign against the civilian population of the marsh villages intensified during the beginning of March. A large search-and-destroy operation is taking place. The offensive includes the razing of villages and large-scale burning operations, concentrated in the triangle bounded by An Nasiriya, Al Qurnah, and Basrah. The magnitude of the operation is causing civilian inhabitants to flee toward Iran, as well as deeper into the marshes toward the outskirts of southern Iraqi cities.
In northern Iraq, in the vicinity of Mosul, there is both Iraqi troop movement and some increase in the number of troops. Iraqi intentions are not clear and we are watching this situation closely.
The Special Rapporteur of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Max van der Stoel, presented a new report in February 1994 on the human rights situation in Iraq describing the Iraqi military's continuing repression against its civilian populations in the marshes. The Special Rapporteur asserts that the Government of Iraq has engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity, and may have committed violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Regarding the Kurds, the Special Rapporteur has judged that the extent and gravity of reported violations places the survival of Kurds in jeopardy. The Special Rapporteur judged that there are essentially no freedoms of opinion, expression, or association in Iraq. Torture is widespread in Iraq and results from a system of state-terror successfully directed at subduing the population. The Special Rapporteur repeated his recommendation for the establishment of human rights monitors strategically located to improve the flow of information and to provide independent verification of reports.
The United States continues to work closely with the United Nations and other organizations to provide humanitarian relief to the people of northern Iraq. Iraqi government efforts to disrupt this assistance unfortunately persist. We continue to support U.N. efforts to mount a relief program for persons in Baghdad and the South, provided that supplies are not diverted by the Iraqi government. We have stepped up efforts to press for the placement of human rights monitors for Iraq as proposed by the U.N. Special Rapporteur. We also continue to support the establishment of a U.N. commission to investigate and publicize Iraqi war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of international law.
The Security Council most recently addressed Iraqi sanctions at its March 18, 1994, regular 60-day review of Iraq's compliance with its obligations under relevant resolutions. At that meeting, Security Council members were in agreement that Iraq is not in compliance with resolutions of the Council, and that existing sanctions should remain in force, without change.
The sanctions regime exempts medicine and, in the case of foodstuffs, requires only that the U.N. Sanctions Committee be notified of food shipments. The Sanctions Committee also continues to consider and, when appropriate, approve requests to send to Iraq materials and supplies for essential civilian needs. The Iraqi government, in contrast, has maintained a full embargo against its northern provinces and has acted to distribute humanitarian supplies only to its supporters and to the military.
The Iraqi government has so far refused to sell $1.6 billion in oil as previously authorized by the Security Council in UNSCRs 706 and 712. Talks between Iraq and the United Nations on implementing these resolutions ended unsuccessfully in October 1993. Iraq could use proceeds from such sales to purchase foodstuffs, medicines, materials, and supplies for essential civilian needs of its population, subject to U.N. monitoring of sales and the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies (including to its northern provinces). Iraqi authorities bear full responsibility for any suffering in Iraq that results from their refusal to implement UNSCRs 706 and 712.
Proceeds from oil sales also would be used to compensate persons injured by Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) has received about 2.3 million claims so far, with another 200,000 expected. The U.S. Government has now filed a total of eight sets of individual claims with the Commission, bringing U.S. claims filed to roughly 3,000 with a total asserted value of over $205 million. In addition, the U.S. Government intends to submit this summer numerous corporate claims filed by American corporations and is currently reviewing over 180 claims by U.S. businesses for possible submission to the UNCC. The asserted value of U.S. corporate claims received to date is about $1.6 billion.
During the week of March 21, 1994, the Commission's Governing Council adopted decisions on how to allocate future funds among different claimants and how to ensure that payments made to claimants through national governments would be made in a timely, fair, and efficient manner. Meanwhile, a panel of commissioners began to work on the first set of individual claims for serious personal injury or death. The panel is expected to report its findings to the Governing Council in its spring meeting, scheduled for May 1994.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 778 permits the use of a portion of frozen Iraqi oil assets to fund crucial U.N. activities concerning Iraq, including humanitarian relief, UNSCOM, and the Compensation Commission. (The funds will be repaid, with interest, from Iraqi oil revenues as soon as Iraqi oil exports resume.) The United States is prepared to transfer to a U.N.-managed escrow account up to $200 million in frozen Iraqi oil assets held in U.S. financial institutions, provided that U.S. contributions do not exceed 50 percent of the total amount contributed by all countries. We have arranged a total of about $113 million in such matching contributions thus far.
Iraq still has not met its obligations concerning Kuwaitis and third-country nationals it detained during the war. Iraq has taken no substantive steps to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as required by UNSCR 687, although it has received more than 600 files on missing individuals. We continue to work for Iraqi compliance.
Examples of Iraqi noncooperation and noncompliance continue in other areas. For instance, reliable reports indicate that the Government of Iraq is offering reward money for terrorist acts against U.N. and humanitarian relief workers in Iraq. The offering of bounty for such acts, as well as the commission of such acts, in our view, constitute violations of UNSCRs 687 and 688. In the latest series of attacks on the international relief community, there were two incidents in which members of the U.N. Guard Contingent in Iraq were shot and seriously wounded in March 1994.
As I stated in my last report to you on this issue, Iraq can rejoin the community of civilized nations only through democratic processes, respect for human rights, equal treatment of its people, and adherence to basic norms of international behavior. Iraq's government should represent all Iraq's people and be committed to the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) espouses these goals, the fulfillment of which would make Iraq a stabilizing force in the Gulf region.
I am grateful for the support by the Congress of our efforts.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Robert C. Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate.
William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/218861