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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions

July 22, 1993

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.

Over the last several months, we have seen more examples of the Iraqi Government's refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and international law. In May I reported on our investigation of allegations that Iraq attempted to assassinate former President Bush during his recent trip to Kuwait. We uncovered compelling evidence that the Iraqi Intelligence Service directed the attempt. I concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that new diplomatic initiatives or economic measures could influence the current Government of Iraq to cease planning future attacks against the United States and that a continuing threat was posed to the United States. Accordingly, I ordered a precise and limited strike against the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in the exercise of our inherent right of self-defense under international law. In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, we reported our actions to the Security Council immediately.

We will strive to use law enforcement and international cooperation to prevent the Iraqi regime from once again killing innocent people in pursuit of its ends. It should be clear, however, that we will strike directly at those who direct and pursue Iraqi policies when it is necessary to do so in our self-defense.

Also, on June 19, a U.S. aircraft fired a missile at an Iraqi anti-aircraft site that had displayed hostile intent. The site has not been active since the attack.

Inspections by the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to date have forced Iraq to disclose, destroy, or render harmless all the major nuclear weapons facilities and equipment of which we are aware. Along with damage inflicted in combat, these inspections have effectively put the Iraqi nuclear weapons program out of business in the near-term and have substantially impaired Iraq's other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

Over the long-term, however, we believe that Saddam Hussein is committed to rebuilding his WMD capability, especially nuclear weapons. UNSCOM and the IAEA are therefore developing a program of long-term monitoring in accordance with Security Council Resolution 715. Iraq has refused to accept that Resolution, blocking UNSCOM from installing cameras to monitor Iraq's compliance with restrictions on long-range missiles and from sealing missile sites. The Security Council has declared these actions, along with Iraq's failure to comply with demands related to its chemical weapons program, to be a material and unacceptable breach of Resolution 687 and has warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it fails to comply. Discussions between UNSCOM and Iraq on these issues are currently underway.

Iraq depicts itself as seeking consultations, rather than confrontation, in complying with Security Council resolutions. Iraq, however, has attempted to obstruct even the clearest Security Council requirements. In June, Iraq missed two deadlines to deliver equipment for producing chemical weapon precursors to UNSCOM for supervised destruction. UNSCOM has reported the matter to the Security Council, which has the matter under consideration. Iraq still refuses to divulge information indicating the foreign companies from which it purchased equipment and materials. Accurate information is integral to a workable and realistic mechanism for import control, as required by Security Council Resolution 715.

Iraq has also tried to restrict the exercise of UNSCOM's aerial inspection rights, impose limits on the duration of inspections and the size and composition of inspection teams, required advance notice of inspection activities, and limit inspectors' rights to take photographs. Vandalism, harassment, and theft have continued against inspectors and U.N. property. Iraq is responsible for improving this hostile environment.

We have received reports of Iraqi forces shooting at Saudi border guards across the Iraq-Saudi border. These acts appear to violate paragraph 3(a) of Security Council Resolution 686, which demanded that Iraq cease hostile or provocative acts against other states. These incidents are the first of their kind since the cease-fire and further call into question Iraq's intention to live in peace with its neighbors.

The "no-fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq permit the monitoring of Iraq's compliance with Security Council Resolutions 687 and 688. Over the last two 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, as have large-scale troop movements. However, the no-fly zone has not prevented the Iraqi army from conducting an ongoing campaign against Iraqi Shias in the southern marshes, involving the recent burning of several villages. We are continuing to work toward the placement of human rights monitors throughout Iraq as proposed by Max van der Stoel, Special Rapporteur to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and to work for the establishment of a U.N. Commission to investigate and publicize Iraqi war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.

The international community has continued its efforts, consistent with Security Council resolutions, to alleviate suffering in Iraq. The United States is working closely with the U.N. and other organizations to provide humanitarian relief to the people of northern Iraq, in the face of Iraqi Government efforts to disrupt this assistance. We continue to support new U.N. efforts to mount a relief program for persons in Baghdad and the South and will ensure that the U.N. will be able to prevent the Iraqi Government from diverting supplies.

The U.N. sanctions regime exempts medicine and requires only that the U.N. Sanctions Committee be notified of food shipments. In accordance with paragraph 20 of Resolution 687, the Committee received notices of 20 million tons of foodstuffs to be shipped to Iraq through June 1993. 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 accept U.N. conditions for selling $1.6 billion in oil as previously authorized by the Security Council in Resolutions 706 and 712, although talks between Iraq and the United Nations on implementing these resolutions were resumed in New York on July 7 for the third time in two years. Iraq could use proceeds from such sales to purchase foodstuffs, medicines, materials, and supplies for essential civilian needs of its population, subject to strict U.N. monitoring of sales and the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies (including to its northern provinces).

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 has received about 800,000 claims so far, with a total of roughly two million expected. The U.S. Government has filed a fourth set of individual claims with the Commission, bringing U.S. claims filed to about 1,100. The Commission's efforts will facilitate the compensation of those injured by Iraq once sufficient funds become available.

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 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. We have arranged a total of over $51 million in such matching contributions thus far and anticipate making another matching contribution of just over $40 million.

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 Security Council Resolution 687, although it has received over 600 files on missing individuals. Regional organizations have also been engaged—thus far to no avail—in trying to obtain Iraqi compliance on the issue of detainees. We continue to work for Iraqi compliance

The United Nations has completed its technical task of demarcating the previously agreed Iraq-Kuwait border, and the President of the Security Council accepted its work. Iraqi Government officials have refused to recognize the boundary, despite the requirement to do so under Security Council Resolution 687. In accordance with Security Council Resolution 806, which responded to Iraqi disruptions on the border, the U.N. continues to seek the identification and deployment of an armored battalion to the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM), so that UNIKOM has sufficient force to take necessary actions to prevent violations of the border and the demilitarized zone. The United States and our allies also continue to press the Government of Iraq to return all property and equipment removed from Kuwait by Iraq.

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. A government representing all the people of Iraq, which is committed to the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq, would be a stabilizing force in the Gulf region. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) espouses these goals and our support for the INC is a signal of the future we seek for Iraq.

I am grateful for the support of the Congress of our efforts.



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

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