[House Hearing, 106 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAQ
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2000
Serial No. 106-134
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
66-252 CC WASHINGTON : 2000
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa TOM LANTOS, California
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DAN BURTON, Indiana Samoa
ELTON GALLEGLY, California MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
DANA ROHRABACHER, California SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PETER T. KING, New York PAT DANNER, Missouri
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
MARSHALL ``MARK'' SANFORD, South BRAD SHERMAN, California
Carolina ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
MATT SALMON, Arizona STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
AMO HOUGHTON, New York JIM DAVIS, Florida
TOM CAMPBELL, California EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
KEVIN BRADY, Texas GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina BARBARA LEE, California
PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
GEORGE RADANOVICH, California JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
Richard J. Garon, Chief of Staff
Kathleen Bertelsen Moazed, Democratic Chief of Staff
Stephen G. Rademaker, Chief Counsel
Marilyn C. Owen, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of
International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State... 10
The Honorable A. Elizabeth Jones, Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of
Ms. Alina Romanowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern
and South Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense............ 15
Prepared Members' statements:
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress
from New York and Chairman, Committee on International
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress
from Michigan.................................................. 35
The Honorable Sam Gejdenson, a Representative in Congress from
The Honorable Joseph Crowley, a Representative in Congress from
New York....................................................... 41
Prepared Witness statements:
Assistant Secretary David Welch and Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary Beth Jones, U.S. Department of State................. 45
Alina L. Romanowski, Principal Assistant Secretary, Department of
Additional materials submitted for the record:
Question submitted by William Delahunt, a Representative in
Congress from Massachusetts, together with answer of Assistant
Secretary Welch (Exhibit A).................................... 56
Letter submitted by Christopher Smith, a Representative in
Congress from New Jersey and Chairman, Subcommittee on
International Operations and Human Rights, to Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright on February 18, 2000 (Exhibit B)...... 57
Question submitted by Mr. Smith, together with answer of
Assistant Secretary Welch (Exhibit C).......................... 60
Question submitted by Mr. Smith, together with answer of
Assistant Secretary Welch (Exhibit D).......................... 61
Question submitted by Marshall ``Mark'' Sanford, a Representative
in Congress from South Carolina, together with answer of Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense Alina Romanowski, (Exhibits E
and F)......................................................... 62
U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAQ
Thursday, March 23, 2000
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room
2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Benjamin A. Gilman
(Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman Gilman. The Committee will come to order.
I want to welcome our distinguished witnesses to today's
hearing on our nation's policy toward Iraq. Iraq has been a
festering foreign policy problem for our nation for a long
time. What most distresses us is that our nation stopped making
headway on the problem years ago. Now it seems that, pretty
much across the board, we are losing ground to Saddam Hussein.
There have been no international weapons inspections in
Iraq for 15 months. There is every reason to believe that
Saddam has used this time to reconstitute his weapons of mass
destruction programs. Three months ago, the U.N. decided to set
up a new inspections program, but we all know that threatened
vetoes in the U.N. Security Council are likely to prevent that
new organization from beginning work in Iraq for many, many
Our nation has a policy of containing Saddam militarily.
That policy has cost us some $8 billion since the end of the
Gulf War in 1991.
It cost over $1.2 billion last year alone.
In December 1998, we launched Operation Desert Fox to
punish Saddam for not cooperating with international weapons
inspections. The Administration told us at that time that we
had degraded Saddam's capabilities and so the operation was
declared a success. Since then, Saddam has routinely challenged
our aircraft patrolling over the no-fly zones, and we have
retaliated each time with air strikes. Again, we are told that
this policy is a success because it is degrading Saddam's
Maybe we are degrading his capabilities, but he does not
seem to mind too much, because he keeps provoking us to degrade
him some more. A year and a half ago, a number of us here in
the Congress decided to help our President end this problem
once and for all by passing the Iraq Liberation Act. That
legislation authorized the President to provide $97 million in
U.S. military assistance to the democratic opposition to Saddam
President Clinton welcomed that authority, and in November
1998 he declared he was going to use it to remove Saddam from
power. Since then, there has been precious little follow
through on the President's commitment. Of the $97 million we
authorized in military assistance to the opposition, the only
assistance that has actually been provided is training for four
men in civil affairs.
Of the $18 million we appropriated on three separate
occasions for political assistance to the opposition, not one
dime has actually been provided to the opposition, and less
than $4 million has been expended on their behalf. It is no
wonder that our allies in the region, to say nothing of members
of the opposition itself, question whether the Administration
is really serious about its declared policy of removing Saddam
from power. If the Administration is truly serious about
supporting the opposition, there are two things it should do
First, it should immediately deliver to the opposition the
assistance that currently is being withheld. The funds we have
appropriated for the opposition should immediately be
transferred to the opposition, and the military drawdown
authority should be invoked to begin providing equipment such
as radio transmitters, uniforms, boots, and communications
Second, the Administration should immediately establish a
cross-border humanitarian aid program into Iraq, run by the
Iraqi opposition. Such a program could do a great deal to
ameliorate the plight of the Iraqi people, who continue to
suffer under Saddam's rule. It also would address the concern
that some members have expressed about the effect of U.N.
sanctions on the Iraqi people.
I want to urge the Administration today to take these two
steps in order to demonstrate that it stands by President
Clinton's November 1998 pledge to remove Saddam from power.
Before I recognize our witnesses, I would like to recognize our
Ranking Member, Mr. Gejdenson, for any opening remarks that he
may have. Mr. Gejdenson.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Gilman appears in the
Mr. Gejdenson. Mr. Chairman, might we suspend with the
opening remarks? We have our colleague here who wants to make a
statement and needs your approval. Could we all hold up and let
Mr. Conyers speak, if that is OK?
Chairman Gilman: Without objection, if that is agreeable,
we will proceed. I would like to welcome our distinguished
colleague, the Honorable John Conyers of Michigan, who has
asked to join us today to make a brief statement. I know of his
long abiding interest with regard to Iraq. Mr. Conyers.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much, Chairman Gilman; and my
dear friend, Mr. Gejdenson; my colleague on Judiciary, Mr.
Berman; and, of course, Barbara Lee, who I have worked with for
years; and Members of the Committee. I am delighted to be here.
You have my prepared statement. I wanted to just take a few
minutes to summarize where we are going, because I heard the
ending part of the Chairman's opening remarks, with which I
Before I start, I wanted to thank the Chairman and Ranking
Member for all they have been doing in trying to get Haiti's
elections on the right path. That is a very important issue for
me, and I would like to praise you for that. You were going
down there before I was, Mr. Chairman, and we enjoy your staff
accompanying us and helping us out. Now, the question here is
that after we have had resignations from two Assistant
Secretaries General for United Nations Humanitarian Relief,
Halliday and Von Sponeck, the pressures are now rising. Today I
noticed we have increased the amount of food-for-oil ratios. I
think it has been doubled, and I am happy about that.
But there is a fundamental problem, which is that 23
million people cannot recover from a wrecked infrastructure, no
matter how much we raise those levels. What I am here to
suggest to you is that the UNICEF figure of 5,000 children
dying every month has raised us to a point where this is
trading our integrity and our belief in human rights. As a
matter of fact, we are undermining them by continuing the oil-
I would like to suggest to you, and maybe I am the first
witness you had who would take into account that maybe the time
has come for us to abandon this plan. It is too complicated to
administer. The U.N. has not been effectively doing it. I think
that what we are doing here, Mr. Chairman and Members, is
committing war by yet another means.
So it is my hope that we will consider that the main
problem with oil-for-food is that it does not generate
sufficient funds to begin the process of rehabilitating Iraq's
infrastructure, which is now at a very, very low level and
Children are dying from diseases that would otherwise be
treated. The long-term danger of economic sanctions goes beyond
the crisis of dying children. There are many other problems as
well. The point that I have arrived at, thanks to Bishop Thomas
Gumbelton and Reverend Ed Rowe of the Methodists, Denis
Halliday, whom I have met with, the Institute of Policy Studies
staffer Phyllis Dennis, and many others, has led me to suggest
to you that we consider doing a couple of things.
As long as there is a temporary program, it is not going to
work. If we lift it altogether, the economic sanctions
altogether, do away with the oil-for-food restrictions, and
replace it instead with monitoring from both the inside and the
outside, with the U.N. watching the borders, I think with
UNMOVIC we will be able to move much further down the line. The
reason that we would be able to move away from the humanitarian
problem, of course, is that we would be able to bring in
medical supplies and food.
Also, in the dual-use area, I would beg you to look at that
in terms of some of the things we can do with chlorine and
incubators that could be monitored carefully enough so that we
would not run into a problem. So increasing the allocation is
not enough. Temporarily lifting the ban is not enough. I think
that we would begin to strengthen ourselves, in terms of
building up a citizenry for the objective that you and I all
are working toward. I think Hussein's burned a lot of bridges
behind him with the OPEC countries as well. I think there could
be a quid pro quo for lifting these sanctions. I think Tariq
Aziz would support monitoring with a new kind of cooperation,
if there were a lifting of this ban.
So I think that this ought to move in that direction,
because we cannot achieve democracy by undemocratic means. We
cannot inspire respect for human rights by undermining them. I
beg that you consider the fact that the killing of 500,000
children because we have not been creative enough to create
another way to prevent the possibility of an unknown potential
future threat, is simply unacceptable.
I thank you for this time. My detailed remarks are, of
course, included in my statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Conyers appears in the
Chairman Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Conyers, for taking the
time to appear before us.
Are there any questions anyone would like to direct to Mr.
Conyers? We appreciate your continued interest in humanitarian
efforts, and particularly in Haiti, as well as this issue. Mr.
Mr. Berman. If you accept the premise that the regime in
Iraq is totalitarian, in a sense it controls. If you were to
get rid of embargoes on trade in food and medicines, it would
control distribution and all of that. Why would that make
things better than the oil-for-food and medicines program that
now exists, and also provides in part for distribution of food
and medicines in the North of Iraq? In a sense, the Iraqi oil
is being used to pay to help feed and supply the Kurds in the
Mr. Conyers. There are a couple of considerations, Mr.
Berman. One is that there is a maldistribution of what is going
on between the north and mid-south, a very serious one that has
been brought to my attention, in terms of the supplies and
Mr. Berman. Do you mean more is getting to the north?
Mr. Conyers. To the north; yes, sir. But over and beyond
that, what we are doing is that we are becoming the oppressors.
Obviously, we are reducing the possibility of the people from
ever becoming organized and increasing their resistance because
obviously they are blaming us. It is our policy, although I
have heard arguments both ways.
By changing this formula drastically, as I have suggested,
we would then be allowing Iraq to make major financial
investments. There is no way they can do that now, because they
cannot develop their oil resources any further and because
nobody will invest there at this point.
That is why I think that the foreign minister has agreed to
comply stringently with the requirements that we would put on.
Most importantly, the food and the medicines would have to be
going to the people. That would encourage them.
As a matter of fact, it has been predicted that they would
then begin to invest more in their own people themselves than
they have been, since they did that after the Iraq-Iran war. We
think that would resume again. Right now they are just blaming
us. That is why I recommend that there be a departure, a
drastic departure, to help the Iraqi people.
Mr. Berman. Their investments during the Iraq-Iran war
were for weapons, many of them provided by Western countries,
to develop their nerve gas potential to use against their own
people in Iraq.
Mr. Conyers. There was some of that. But the people that
have told me that they would be able to employ more resources.
Whether they would or not, I cannot defend against any
Mr. Berman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Gilman. Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much.
Mr. Conyers, I share concern, as we all do, about the loss
of life for children, and women and men in Iraq, but especially
for the children. I am frankly torn about the efficacy of the
I have been going back and forth in my own mind about what
is being achieved when you have a malevolent dictator like
Saddam Hussein, who in my view, and I think you would agree,
and maybe you might want to say it for the record, compounds
the problem by not allowing, by impeding, the flow of medicines
and food so that more children do die so then he can turn
around and say, look, see what the sanctions are doing.
I think we have to be very cognizant of that lethal game
that he employs. Just a couple of very brief comments: A 1999
UNICEF study found an increase in child mortality since 1991.
It noted that Iraq had not allowed implementation of the food-
for-oil program until 1996, too late to have a substantial
impact on the child mortality statistics measured by the study,
which were for the period 1994 to 1999.
Again, if there are ten children who are dying, that is ten
too many. If there is one child dying, that is one too many.
But the 5,000 figure, just so we know, is that accurate as of
today? Every month are 5,000 kids still dying?
Mr. Conyers. This is a UNICEF figure.
Mr. Smith. I know that, but in terms of their study, from
at least the UNICEF report I read, that dates back a bit. But
if you could, just for clarity?
Mr. Conyers. For clarity, I can repeat that UNICEF still
stands by their astounding estimate of about 5,000 children
dying every month.
Mr. Smith. That would be this February and March?
Mr. Conyers. Yes.
Mr. Smith. OK. Just so we have that.
Mr. Conyers. It is an incredible figure; I agree with you.
By the way, I want to underline my support for everything you
have said about Hussein getting the better end of this deal. We
are in a quandary. If this were easily resolved, we would not
have to hold a hearing.
I would really like to continue to urge you, Mr. Smith, to
think about another mechanism, because the oil for food program
does not promote enough, even with the 100 percent improvement
in allotments, to make really a serious difference. I think
that we have to help the U.N. craft another way.
Mr. Smith. I appreciate it.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you. Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, let me just say to Mr. Conyers, thank you very much
for being here and for your leadership. I have joined you for
the last couple of years in signing the letter to the
Administration asking for the de-linking of the military and
the economic sanctions. Certainly for me, we understand who
Saddam Hussein is.
We also understand that there are 5,000 children a month
dying. It is a calculated risk because, like you say, who knows
what? We can only anticipate that less people would die, less
children would die, if economic sanctions were lifted. I think
it is worth the risk, because in no way should our country be
even in part allowing these numbers to die before us. It is
just an immoral position, I think, to take.
Let me just ask you, in terms of what is going on in Iraq
with regard to the military buildup, if we were to lift
economic sanctions--let me put it another way. From your point
of view, does Saddam Hussein or does the international
community bear the responsibility for the deaths of these
children in Iraq? Or do you believe that is a question that
cannot be answered, that we just have to move forward to try to
Mr. Conyers. There are people on both sides of it. Let me
just put it to you frankly. It is our approved policy that is
doing this. The fact that Hussein is aggravating, manipulating,
taking advantage of it, and playing it as a crude political
tool at the expense of his own people, should not in any way
dissuade us from reconsidering the policy.
What I am suggesting is that the damage that is being done
is so great that there is no way within the oil-for-food
program that we can ever turn these numbers substantially
around. What we are doing, in my judgment, is committing war by
another means. It is on the most helpless of a civilian
population. I would like to help these people buildup. You know
what that is doing, for those of you who have been over there,
what this is doing for our relationships with the people
themselves, who keep asking, why are they doing this to us?
I think it would give us a new way to go in there. I would
be the first to say if for any reason it does not work or they
are so duplicitous that it will not ever happen, then I would
be willing to withdraw. We have enough creativity to not get
hooked on a program that has led two administrators of the
program to throw up their hands in disgust.
Chairman Gilman: Thank you, Ms. Lee. Dr. Cooksey.
Mr. Cooksey. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr.
Conyers. I really want to ask a question of you and everyone of
the panel in the room. We have had sanctions in Iraq and they
have not worked. I, too, am concerned about it from a
humanitarian standpoint, particularly the children. But, the
weakest in society are the children and the very elderly.
We have done the same thing in Cuba since 1959 or 1960. My
question is, is there a model out there that we have used or
that has been used elsewhere in the world that has worked to
get rid of a dictator?
Mr. Conyers. Yes, the South African anti-apartheid regime,
but that model will not work in this case because, there, the
African people were totally united with ANC. There was a coming
together, which of course Hussein has skillfully prevented from
happening in Iraq. His people are not only not united, but they
are seriously divided; thanks to him. So he has made it
impossible to follow that model.
With our pursuit of this plan, we are also taking on the
angst of the Iraqi people. It is clear to them that they have
no allies outside of Iraq. It only aggravates the problem, from
my view. That is why I want to reiterate what you said, what
Barbara Lee said: continue the military sanctions. As a matter
of fact, we might be able to tighten them. I think we could
come around on the other hand and begin to show to the people
that we are revising our position on this policy. It is a U.N.
policy. It is not American made, but is American supported, and
we must be willing to revisit this policy.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you.
Mr. Cooksey. Could I yield to Mr. Berman?
Did you have another example? You were about to say
Mr. Berman. No, I was thinking one can make a case that
the sanctions and the prohibitions on new investments in South
Africa helped persuade the business community there to lobby,
to come down against apartheid and the apartheid government,
and played a major role in creating the dynamic by which Nelson
Mandela was freed, and they went to free elections.
Mr. Conyers. Of course, there is not any private sector.
It is a different dynamic going on in Iraq. This is the
Chairman Gilman. Mr. Delahunt?
Mr. Delahunt. Yes, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers, on this side.
Mr. Conyers. Good morning.
Mr. Delahunt. I think the point about the sanctions in
South Africa that should be made is that those sanctions were
crafted and imposed in consultation with the ANC, with those
forces in South Africa that were attempting to overthrow the
apartheid system, the apartheid regime. But that, in my
opinion, has not occurred, and I do not know if it is feasible,
within Iraq nor in Cuba. I have visited Cuba on several
occasions. I have spoken with dissidents there. The ones with
whom I have discussed the issue of the sanctions, indicate that
it does not accrue to their benefit. I think that is important.
In this particular case, if I am clear as to your position,
it is that. I would hope that when the Administration witnesses
come before us to testify, that they speak first to the issue
of the validity of that 5,000-a-month figure. I think that is
very important, because it is something that no matter what, if
we can do anything to reduce that figure, I think it is a moral
obligation on the United States to do.
It would be your position if that figure is accurate, that
if we lifted the economic sanctions, then the burden and the
onus would then be on Saddam Hussein and the regime to
distribute, in a fair and equitable manner, resources to reduce
that figure. If it did not, he then would lose support, popular
support, and the battle of public opinion within the country.
Is that your position?
Mr. Conyers. Yes. His credibility would then legitimately
come under the attack that it has escaped.
Mr. Delahunt. It would become very clear to the Iraqi
people that it was not the Great Satan, it was, in fact, the
regime itself that was responsible for the tragedy that is
Mr. Berman. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. Delahunt. I yield to Mr. Berman.
Mr. Berman. Could I just give the opposite side of that
view? First of all, these sanctions were imposed to achieve
certain things, first and foremost of which is to help ensure
the elimination of a program of weapons of mass destruction.
They are not essentially designed to make Saddam fall.
There are other aspects of U.S. policy that are maybe
directed toward that. The Chairman has been heavily involved in
some of those issues. But this was evolved for the possibility
of the lifting of sanctions, and was held out to the Iraqi
government, based on their willingness to go along with a
serious and intrusive inspection program to ensure that these
programs were not going on.
We have no idea what the Iraqi people think, because Saddan
uses every means of repression and suppression, up to and
including mass executions and murder, to create the
demonstrations of support for his regime, the squashing of
dissidents and all of that.
Leading up to the Gulf War, the argument of people who
opposed the war was, do sanctions. The people who decided to
support the war were saying, we do not think sanctions are
going to achieve getting them out of Kuwait. But now the
sanctions are focused on getting back in a meaningful
inspection program, and then, with the possibility then that
sanctions would be lifted.
It is possible that if you took away the oil-for-food
program and allowed free trade and donations in food, that
resources would then go to otherwise better the lives of the
Iraqi people for infrastructure. I believe it is just as equal
or an even greater possibility that, that program will be used
to even more quickly rebuild the military, pursue the weapons
of mass destruction program, and free-up those resources from
oil sales for that purpose. That is the other side of the
Mr. Conyers. Yes, sir. That's not an impossible belief.
The fact of the matter is, the lifting of the economic
sanctions in no way interferes with stopping them from their
nuclear and military capabilities, because military sanctions
would continue. We will be giving ourselves an advantage that
we have never enjoyed before, one of preventing civilian
deaths, while also preventing military capabilities.
If anything, Howard, I would be for increasing military
sanctions in exchange for lifting of the economic sanctions. We
had indications from at least the second in command, if that
means anything, that this could be a way out of our dilemma. It
would give them the chance that they need to create massive
capital to buildup their oil reserves and production
capability, which will always be kept down, the way we are
doing it. Plus we have this hugely immoral policy, that to me
does not square us with our role in the United Nations and
around our country.
Chairman Gilman. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr.
Mr. Sanford. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would simply say that I agree with a lot of what you have
said. The one component that I would disagree with, and would
just be curious to hear your thoughts on, would be the idea of
lifting economic but leaving in place military sanctions. It
seems to me, as an advocate of our armed forces, right now we
have something that is providing a lot of wear and tear on our
military forces, something that is providing a lot of expense
to the American taxpayer. That is this enforcement of the no-
fly zones, which were originally put in place to uphold U.N.
Security Council Resolution 688.
This was basically to help in easing the repression of
Iraqi forces. It has not done that. As a result, I think
American pilots go around blowing holes in the sky. Every
morning, they will leave Turkey at 4 a.m., F-16 pilots out of
Turkey, be up at first sunlight there over the northern watch,
and roll in to provide enforcement of that, quote, ``no -fly
zone.'' It is, in essence, a patchwork that has proved to be, I
think, ineffectual in really making that difference that is
called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 688. So I would
just be curious as to why the one, but not the other?
Mr. Conyers. That is why I said that we may have to
strengthen our military sanctions, and that would include
revisiting them to develop something that might be more
effective. So I am not asking that we do anything but continue
and maybe even strengthen those. But as to this other part, Mr.
Sanford, the humanitarian part, we are losing the war with the
people. This compares with South Africa, where they had a
feeling that many people in America and its government,
finally, and other governments, were in the struggle with them.
That feeling does not exist in Iraq and cannot exist with
the tactics that Hussein is using, which may be considered far
more vicious than the ones that were applied in South Africa.
So I do not have a strategy for the military sanctions, but
I do think they should be continued or tightened. By the way, I
do not know how long Mr. Delahunt was sitting over there, but I
commended the Chairman and Ranking Member for their
participation in our efforts to get free and fair elections in
Haiti. I want to include his name in that for the record.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you.
Chairman Gilman. If there are no further questions of Mr.
Conyers, we want to thank Congressman Conyers for taking the
time and for sharing his thoughts with us.
Mr. Conyers. I am honored to be before the Committee.
Thank you so much.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you. We will now proceed with the
balance of our hearing. Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. Gejdenson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be brief. I
am concerned of the erosion of the international consensus on
the Iraq policy; especially within the Security Council. It is
clear that Saddam Hussein would use any additional resources to
rebuild his arsenal of mass destruction and, frankly, try to
increase his ballistic missile capability.
I think that we have to recognize that if there is a
diminution of support in the Security Council and elsewhere in
this country for this policy, it will not be sustained over the
long haul. Just because we do not have good options, does not
mean that we ought to stick with the policy as it is.
In every conversation that I have had with General Zinni,
with Arab leaders from the region, the opposition is not taken
seriously. I know this Congress spends a lot of time wanting to
arm and in other ways facilitate the opposition. Even the
Administration announced today that it will grant $260,000 to
the Iraqi National Congress. My sense of a leadership that
spends most of its time in fancy hotels in London is that they
are not the ones that are going to lead a revolution on the
ground in Iraq.
We do have to build a consensus with Iraq's neighbors, as
difficult as that is and as often frustrating as it is. It is
clear that Saddam Hussein, with his present resources, is not
paying attention to his people's needs. It is hard to believe
that even if he has more oil and more resources, that he would
use it for his own citizens instead of building billion-dollar
palaces and trying to get more weapons. But again, we will not
be successful unless we build broad-based support for our
I would like to applaud the president and Secretary
Albright for the steps they have taken toward Iran, made
easier, obviously, by Iran's own moderate actions and the
elections of moderate officials to their parliament. But I do
think we need a new approach and a new look at this policy in
Iraq, so that we can have a broad-based political response here
in the United States and overseas.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gejdenson appears in the
Chairman Gilman: Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
I will now ask our witnesses to come forward. Mr. Welch,
Ms. Romanowski, Ambassador Jones. Our panel of witnesses today
is headed by C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary of
International Organization Affairs for our Department of State.
Mr. Welch has served in that position since October 1998, after
most recently serving as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Mr. Welch has had a long
career in foreign service prior to this, serving us in a number
of posts overseas in the Middle East.
We welcome you, Assistant Secretary Welch. You may put your
full statement in the record and abbreviate it, or whatever you
STATEMENT OF HONORABLE C. DAVID WELCH, ASSISTANT SECRETARY,
BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you and your
colleagues for holding this hearing this morning. Mr. Chairman,
with your permission, I would like to use my statement this
morning in view of the importance of this issue, the gravity of
some of the things said, in particular about Administration
policy, so that I may give you as comprehensive a look at this
issue as I think it merits.
Chairman Gilman. Please proceed.
Mr. Welch. I am going to speak on behalf of the State
Department and the Administration. I am joined by my colleague
Beth Jones, who covers overall policy toward Iraq, and
including toward the Iraqi opposition. Ms. Romanowski, from the
Department of Defense, can address our military posture and our
security presence in the area.
I am going to focus in these introductory remarks on two
areas. First, the humanitarian situation in the country,
including the balance between the impact of sanctions and the
benefits of the oil-for-food program. I would also like to say
a few words on disarmament, prevention of rearmament, and what
we expect from what is called UNMOVIC over the next few months.
Mr. Chairman, the humanitarian situation is a complex
subject, and we are concerned about the recent flow of
misinformation and biased assertions from several sources that
has made it difficult to maintain sight of what our policy
really is and what is really happening on the ground in Iraq.
We hope to provide some clarification today.
U.S. policy toward Iraq has followed a consistent course
since the liberation of Kuwait in January 1991; and whatever
you might have read in the papers lately, there is no sea-
change in the offing. Our policy is based on the objective
judgment that the regime of Saddam Hussein poses a continuing
threat to regional peace and security, which must be contained.
Again, despite what you may have seen in the press,
containment remains a cost-effective and successful policy.
U.N. sanctions are extremely important and must continue until
Iraq complies with its obligations under the Security Council
resolutions. Let me state for the record that we do not expect
Iraq to meet that standard any time soon.
In fact, we doubt that Iraq will take the sensible steps
necessary to obtain the lifting or the suspension of sanctions,
as long as Saddam Hussein is in power. Those sanctions do not
target the civilian population, however, and have in fact never
restricted the importation of basic medicines and food.
The United States has focused on addressing humanitarian
needs in Iraq since the immediate aftermath of Operation Desert
Storm in 1991, when brutal military repression displaced tens
of thousands of civilians in northern Iraq. We responded with
Operation Provide Comfort, a U.S.-led coalition effort that
provided food, shelter, and other forms of disaster assistance
on a massive scale.
The coalition also instituted a no-fly zone in the north in
1991, and another one in the south in 1992. That has contained
the Iraqi military and prevented any repetition of large scale
use of force against civilians. In the Security Council, we
have championed the humanitarian interests of the Iraqi people,
and we continue to do so as we speak. Let me cite a few
In April 1991, we helped shape Security Council Resolution
688, which demanded an end to Iraqi repression of civilians and
provided part of the rationale for the no-fly zones. In August
1991, we played a leading role in drafting Resolution 706,
which included the original oil-for-food program, a program
Iraq promptly rejected. Let me repeat that date: August 1991.
In May 1995, we cosponsored Resolution 986, which expanded and
fleshed out the oil-for-food concept. You will recall the
tragically slow evolution of that concept. Iraq rejected that
resolution outright for at least another year, and then slow-
rolled it for six more months, so that the first delivery of
humanitarian goods under that resolution did not occur until
March 1997; three years ago. Some critics are attempting now to
portray oil-for-food as part of the humanitarian problem in
Iraq. In fact, it is a solution whose implementation was long
delayed by the Iraqi regime and whose full potential is only
now being approached.
In February 1998, we supported Resolution 1153, which
expanded that oil-for-food program to $5.2 billion in oil
export revenues during each six months; over $10 billion a
year. In December 1999, we supported Resolution 1284, which
removed that ceiling on the value of oil exports authorized to
meet humanitarian needs in Iraq. That resolution also included
numerous provisions to improve the efficiency of oil-for-food.
I want to emphasize that the need to balance the impact of
sanctions and the benefits of the oil-for-food program is not a
new challenge for U.S. policy. Sanctions were imposed for valid
reasons, have been in place for nine and one-half years, and
are likely to continue for some time. Oil-for-food has been in
place almost exactly three years, during which oil prices have
fluctuated, and the program itself has been constantly
reassessed and adjusted. That process of assessment and
adjustment is ongoing, as indicated in Resolution 1284, and
will certainly continue.
Sanctions are not aimed at the Iraqi people. The bottom
line is this. We believe that oil-for-food, properly managed,
can effectively mitigate the impact of sanctions on Iraq's
civilian population for as long as sanctions on the Iraqi
regime remain in effect. Success will require the U.N. to do
the best possible job of administering the program.
Similarly, Iraq will have to be pressed to do its part,
cooperating with the program, rather than seeking to discredit
it, rather than seeking to circumvent it, and rather than
attempting to eliminate it. Maintaining the proper balance will
never be easy, but we believe it is an achievable result and
certainly a result worth the utmost effort over the long haul.
Criticism of sanctions is understandable. But we believe
much of the recent criticism has been misplaced. In particular,
those who see negative consequences from sanctions and
advocating lifting sanctions as the only solution overlook at
least three important points.
First, the Saddam Hussein regime is among the most brutal
and systematic violators of human rights in modern memory. The
most recent report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur For Human
Rights noted that the gravity of human rights in Iraq has few
parallels since the end of the second World War.
Second, sanctions deprive Saddam Hussein of the financial
wherewithal to pursue his manifest goal of acquiring and using
weapons of mass destruction. Saddam, deploying WMD, would be
the worst imaginable humanitarian outcome for the Iraqi people
and for all the peoples of the region.
Third, lifting sanctions would enable Saddam to rebuild his
military and put his WMD programs on the fast track, but would
not guarantee a better life for the average Iraqi. On the
contrary, conditions for many Iraqis, especially in the north,
would deteriorate dramatically if oil-for-food and the U.N.
Let me be crystal clear. Providing resources to Saddam
Hussein would not mean relief for the Iraqi people. Conversely,
providing relief to the Iraqi people is not the same as helping
Saddam. Let me explain that.
First, Saddam Hussein's perennial spending priority is
military development and WMD. It is not civilian well-being.
Lifting sanctions would simply enrich the regime and enable it
to pursue Saddam's spending priorities. Lifting sanctions would
not help the Iraqi people.
Second, we also hear criticism from the other side, from
those who say that oil-for-food is in fact helping Saddam
Hussein. Just as providing more resources to the Iraqi regime,
for example by lifting sanctions, would not benefit the Iraqi
people, it is our view that oil-for-food resources provided to
the people do not benefit the regime. On the contrary,
providing humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people is
essential to maintaining international support for sanctions on
Oil-for-food is having a clear and measurable impact.
Nutrition has improved. Per capita intake is up from 1,300
calories per day before the program began to over 2,000 now,
thanks to a ration basket, the U.N. ration basket, that is
augmented by locally grown foods. Food imports are now at pre-
war levels. In the year before the program began Iraq imported
about $50 million worth of medicine.
Over the past three years more that $1 billion worth of
medicines have been approved. Similarly, over a billion dollars
worth of goods for the water, sanitation, electrical and
agricultural sectors have been approved. The impact has been
the greatest in the northern provinces. The reason for that is
simple. The U.N. manages the program there without interference
from the regime.
For example, the same UNICEF study others have cited this
morning showed that infant mortality in the north has fallen
below pre-war levels. Yet in south central Iraq, where the
Iraqi government handles distribution of oil-for-food goods,
the study has revealed a disturbing rise in child mortality to
more than double the pre-war level. These numbers show that
oil-for-food can meet the needs of the Iraqi people, if
manipulation by the regime can be overcome.
Let me say a few words about how the United States can make
this program more effective. We have been accused recently of
having too many holds or having the wrong holds on contracts
proposed under this program. Of course there are those in
Baghdad, and I have to say even in the Security Council, who
seem to believe that neither the United States nor any member
of the Iraq Sanctions Committee should put any contract on hold
for any reason.
Our goal is to help the oil-for-food program succeed. With
that in mind, we want to approve every contract we can and do
it as quickly as we can. But there is another goal that is
equally as important, and that is to deny Saddam Hussein inputs
for his weapons of mass destruction and military programs. That
goal makes a heavy demand on us, as it can mean the painstaking
review of each and every contract. This is a responsibility we
Our rigorous and responsible approach has won plaudits from
some smaller countries in the Sanctions Committee, countries
that lack the resources and the expertise which the U.S. can
apply to this process. It has also elicited criticism from some
larger Members of the Committee which have the resources and
the expertise, but have chosen to turn a politically, or even
perhaps commercially, blinded eye to possible dual-use items
included in oil-for-food contracts.
Three Security Council Member States have one-third of all
oil-for-food contracts. There is an orchestration of complaints
about holds, often joined by those who are motivated for
commercial gain. Ninety percent of these contracts have been
approved, but the number of our holds has mounted over the past
year for a variety of reasons. Some of these contracts lack
adequate information, and we are unable to act on them until we
get details from those who have submitted them.
The program's revenue has grown as oil prices have gone up.
There is an accelerating flow of contracts that has crowded our
review process. However, it is our view that the holds that we
have put on have had minimal impact on the humanitarian bottom
line to date. Nonetheless, we agree that while we must be
vigilant, we must also strike a balance with legitimate
We are currently examining our contract review procedures
to ensure that they appropriately reflect our twin priorities:
maximizing assistance to the people while denying the regime
access to goods it could use to reconstitute its military and
WMD programs. We are also seeking to enhance the U.N.'s
capacity to monitor potentially sensitive items, such as
electricity generating equipment or water purification plants;
to ensure that such items, if approved, are installed in the
approved location and used for the approved purpose.
Let me turn briefly to the WMD issue. A major portion of
Resolution 1284 deals with the creation of UNMOVIC, the U.N.
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, as a
subsidiary body of the Security Council and a successor to
UNSCOM. After consultation with council members, the secretary
general has appointed Mr. Hans Blix to serve as the executive
chairman of this new body.
My colleague, Robert Einhorn, Assistant Secretary for Non-
proliferation, and I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Blix
shortly before he took up his duties on March 1. As former head
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Blix is fully
qualified for the sizable task he faces, and he has adopted a
serious and methodical approach that seems well-suited to the
task. He is currently structuring his organization and
assembling his staff and will submit an organizational plan to
the Security Council in mid-April.
He will then proceed with lining up potential inspectors
with the requisite technical expertise to resume inspection and
monitoring activities in Iraq. Baghdad, meanwhile, has publicly
rejected Resolution 1284 and ruled out the return of U.N.-
mandated weapons inspections teams, but that, I do not think,
is the final word. Should Iraq reconsider, as it has on several
other resolutions, and allow UNMOVIC in, we expect Dr. Blix and
his teams to be robust in carrying out the mission it has
inherited from UNSCOM. The United States will provide all
possible support for that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Sorry to go on. I wanted to get
all this into the record.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Welch appears in the
Chairman Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Welch.
THE HONORABLE A. ELIZABETH JONES, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY, BUREAU OF NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
I'm pleased to introduce Ambassador Elizabeth Jones, who is
a career member of the senior Foreign Service class of career
ministers. She took over as Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary in the Department's Bureau of Near Eastern affairs in
October 1998, after having served as Ambassador to the Republic
of Kazakhstan. She has held many other Washington assignments,
and her overseas' assignments have been concentrated in the
Middle East, South Asia and Germany. We welcome Ambassador
Jones for any comments she would like to make.
Ms. Jones. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I associate myself
with the comments made by Assistant Secretary Welch, and I
would like to conserve some of our time and wait for questions.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you very much.
We now introduce Ms. Alina Romanowski, the Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
International Security Affairs, serving as the principal
adviser to the Secretary of Defense on matters relating to
those areas of the world. Her prior service has been both in
Washington and in the field, having served as country director
for Israel after coming to the Department of Defense from
service with the CIA as an intelligence analyst in the Near
East and South Asia region.
We welcome Ms. Romanowski.
ALINA ROMANOWSKI, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY, NEAR EASTERN AND
SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Ms. Romanowski. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I have
submitted a written statement for the record. Also, in the
interest of time, I will be here to take questions on the
military aspects of our policy on Iraq.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Romanowski appears in the
Chairman Gilman. Thank you, Secretary Romanowski.
We'll now turn to questions.
Mr. Crowley. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Gilman. Yes, Mr. Crowley.
Mr. Crowley. Unfortunately, I have to leave. I just want
to thank you for holding these hearings.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you. Do you have a question you
want to address to our witnesses?
Mr. Crowley. I actually have to leave right now. I have a
statement to read into the record.
Chairman Gilman. Without objection, the statement will be
placed in the record.
Mr. Crowley: Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Crowley appears in the
Chairman Gilman. My first question is directed to
Secretary Welch. In the more than three months that have passed
since the approval of our U.N. Security Council Resolution
1284, it has become obvious that UNMOVIC, the new U.N. weapons
inspection agency, is going to have trouble getting its
inspectors back into Iraq at any time in the near future. In
particular, the requirement for Security Council approval,
first of the appointment of the executive chairman of UNMOVIC,
then of the executive chairman's organizational plan for
UNMOVIC, and then of UNMOVIC's work program, sets up repeated
confrontations within the Security Council that are certain to
delay the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq.
Indeed, some analysts have looked closely at the resolution
and concluded it must have been structured to make certain that
Saddam is not confronted with the request from UNMOVIC to admit
inspectors into Iraq until after our Presidential election next
November. In order to reassure us that this is not true, can
you tell us when you expect UNMOVIC to ask Saddam Hussein to
admit inspectors for the agency?
Mr. Welch. In Resolution 1284, there were a number of
questions asked of the new executive chairman, particularly
with respect to organization. That is the plan that he will
present in, I guess, about three weeks. April 15th is the
deadline for that. After that plan is presented, if it is
approved by the council, UNMOVIC is up and ready to operate.
The only thing inhibiting its operation, then, in the full
sense of the word, would be whether it can do it inside Iraq.
What stops that right now is the Iraqi government has not
accepted, indeed it has rejected, Resolution 1284. If they were
to accept Resolution 1284, and the council has approved the
organizational plan, then the monitoring and inspection
activity could resume in Iraq just as soon as they were able to
get there, which of course could be any time after April 15th
and certainly well before November.
Chairman Gilman. Can you tell us when you expect the
council to approve the UNMOVIC plan?
Mr. Welch. The council has not actually gotten it yet, Mr.
Chairman. It is hard to predict how that debate will go. It
depends on what is in the plan. The debate for the selection of
an executive chairman, which was the other deadline contained
for Council action in 1284, was easily met and that deadline
was satisfied. I have had some experience with working on the
Security Council in these issues. They frequently do cause a
lot of debate.
I would imagine that the other council members have the
same degree of confidence we do in Dr. Blix. The question of
organization is not going to divert attention for that long.
Chairman Gilman. What would you estimate to be an outside
date for final approval of UNMOVIC's organizational plan and
Mr. Welch. Again, I cannot say. But, typically the council
acts reasonably rapidly on these things. As I said, the only
example we have under this resolution is the selection of the
executive chairman. Most of the debate took place before the
nomination. Once the nomination was received, consensus was
Chairman Gilman. Conservatively speaking, what are we
looking at by way of a timeframe?
Mr. Welch. I would say within a few business days to look
at the organizational plan. I would add, that should be
juxtaposed to what is our estimate of the likelihood of Iraqi
acceptance of the resolution in any near timeframe. That
estimate I cannot give you. That is probably a more important
impediment to them restoring their activity in Iraq.
Chairman Gilman. So it could be at least several months,
is that correct?
Mr. Welch. That is entirely in the hands of the Saddam
Chairman Gilman. Ambassador Jones, on March 3rd of this
year, the leadership of the Iraqi National Congress sent a
letter to Secretary Albright, proposing that our Nation
establish a cross-border humanitarian aid program into Iraq
that should be run by the Iraqi National Congress. Such a
program would resemble the cross-border humanitarian aid
program that we used to have in Afghanistan, back when our
Nation was helping the Afghans free themselves from Soviet
occupation. In general terms, what is the Administration's
reaction to that proposal?
Ms. Jones. The Administration would certainly welcome
anything that improves the humanitarian situation for the
people inside Iraq. That is the primary reason that we worked
so hard on the various elements of 1284 that Assistant
Secretary Welch has just described. What I cannot say is what
kind of cross-border system might work the best. I would not
want to equate the situation in Iraq with the situation in
Afghanistan, in that respect.
It is certainly a proposal that we have been working on
with Mr. Chalabi, have been discussing with him and with some
of his colleagues and would welcome discussing further with the
Chairman Gilman. Do you expect to have some proposal
before us at some reasonable date?
Ms. Jones. We have not gotten as far as drafting a
Chairman Gilman. Ms. Romanowski, are we in fact
accomplishing anything of military significance with our
repeated air strikes in response to the Iraqi threats to our
aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone?
Ms. Romanowski. The short answer is yes, Mr. Chairman, I
think we are. The monitoring of the no-fly zones is actually
accomplishing two important things. One is to ensure that Iraqi
aircraft cannot, in fact, fly and be used to repress the
civilian populations in the areas where the no-fly zones are.
There is also an added benefit. Because the Iraqis are
continuing to challenge our presence there, we are, in our
response, degrading the Iraqi air defense capabilities over
time. It also allows us to monitor, importantly, the presence
of the Iraqi military forces to determine if they are changing
their posture and becoming an even greater threat to Iraq's
Chairman Gilman. Are we inflicting any substantial damage
on Saddam, particularly if we are dropping bombs filled with
cement, as has been reported in the press? Has this been really
an effectual program?
Ms. Romanowski. To my knowledge, we are not dropping bombs
with cement. We are responding to Iraqi provocations and
threats to our coalition partners. We are responding to that.
We are, in fact, degrading Iraq's air defense capabilities.
Chairman Gilman. Seventy Members--and this is for the full
panel, anyone who cares to respond--70 Members of the House
recently sent a letter to the President calling on him to end
the economic embargo in Iraq, but to keep in place the military
embargo. The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1284, which was
adopted last December, eliminates the ceiling on Iraqi oil
exports and directs that future Iraqi imports of a list of
humanitarian items, like food, medicine, and medical supplies,
be exempt from U.N. review.
After that resolution is fully implemented, will there
still be, in any meaningful sense, an economic embargo in place
against Iraq with regard to trade in items that are of no
military significance? Mr. Welch, would you care to respond to
Mr. Welch. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me also in my
answer attempt to address some of the concerns that
Representative Conyers raised. First, I think I have a
difference with him on what the fundamental problem is. The
fundamental problem, in our view, is the noncompliance of the
Saddam Hussein regime with its obligations under Security
Council resolutions. Because of that extended noncompliance,
sanctions have remained on.
Because sanctions are Saddam's primary target, the reason
that he has them as his primary target is he wants the money.
Because he wants the sanctions lifted and access to his money
again, he will exploit anything, including the suffering of his
own people to that end. There is a need to address the
suffering of the Iraqi people, but lifting the sanctions is not
the answer. It is too dangerous. It will not work, and we have
a better idea.
It is too dangerous, because the reason you have control of
revenues through sanctions is to oblige Iraq to disarm and to
prevent its rearmament. If he gets access to the revenues, you
are not going to succeed at either. It will not work because he
does not have any intention of using these revenues for the
benefit of his people. We have a better idea because, yes, in
1284 there is a whole broadening of the humanitarian program
laid out that can do that more effectively.
It is meaningful in the sense of maintaining sanctions. Why
is that? Because the U.N. controls that program and Iraqi
revenues, not the regime. As long as that is the case, we will
see an answer which, I will be the first to admit, has been
imperfect in the operation of this program so far, but can be
better to the situation on the ground. Conversely, if you take
the other option of lifting the sanctions, you are not going to
succeed in any of those objectives.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you. Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. Gejedson. Thank you. My assessment of our success rate
with insurgences or opposition groups in a military sense, at
least in my time here, has not been all that successful. The
Contras did not work out all that well. Before that, the Bay of
Pigs was not exactly a success. Even if the Afghan guerrillas
got the Russians out, I am not sure that at the end of the day
we have ended up with a better situation there. So first I
would like to ask Ms. Romanowski, and I have talked to General
Zinni, is the opposition even potentially a military force?
Ms. Romanowski. The opposition, I believe, needs a lot of
training in the areas that we have identified to make them into
an effective, external political opposition and political
voice. We are looking at providing them training to make them
more effective in those areas. In our discussions with them, it
is clear that they also feel that the kind of training that we
are offering them will provide them some benefits. We are
focusing on that.
Mr. Gejdenson. What date would you estimate in this plan
they would be ready to militarily confront Saddam Hussein? In
this millennium or the next?
Ms. Romanowski. I would not want to put an exact date on
Mr. Gejdenson. Thank you. It was a very good answer. I was
getting lost, which is why I have to interrupt you. Ambassador
Jones, at this point within Iraq, is there a groundswell of
support for the opposition?
Ms. Jones. I think it is probably very difficult to
overstate the amount of repression that there is inside Iraq.
There is no question that there are people who would like very
much, a lot of people would like very much, to come out from
under that repression, to come out from under the Saddam
Hussein regime. That has been the case for a very long time,
certainly since he first took over and from the days that I
lived and worked there.
Mr. Gejdenson. But right now, momentarily, they cannot do
anything and politically they cannot do anything, because the
repression is very effective.
Ms. Jones. We actually do not know that.
Mr. Gejdenson. He kills people that look funny.
Ms. Jones. That is exactly right.
Mr. Gejdenson. All right.
Ms. Jones. He kills anybody before they even have a
thought in their head about what they might do.
Mr. Gejdenson. And anybody near that person, just in case
they might have been contagious.
Ms. Jones. That would be correct.
Mr. Gejdenson. So it seems to me we feel good around here
and we say we are going to give all this money to the Iraqi
opposition. I am sure they are enjoying their stays in London,
where the leaders seem to be for a large part of time. But at
the end of the day, I see absolutely no reasonable hope that
Iraqi opposition will have any impact on our policy, except to
make Congress feel like we are doing something.
Then it seems to me the next place we have to look at is
the embargo. Now, we all know what happens in the debating
process. If you put up a proposition, and we can demonstrate a
few failures, it often undermines the public's confidence in
the whole process. It is not right, but that is how it works.
When you add to that a recalcitrant Security Council, the
reality is, that this 15-Member decisionmaking group, including
us, on what goes through to the Iraqis makes us look foolish.
Because the Iraqis are not going to show you the palaces,
the billion-dollar palaces that Saddam is building. They are
not going to show you the weapons he is trying to smuggle into
the country. They are going to show you dying children. They
are going to say, ``Country A'' in the Security Council held up
syringes, water, medicine, whatever it was, and that is why we
So unless you can come up with a better process of getting
stuff through quickly, without these ``We don't know some minor
detail, so we are going to put a hold on it,'' that hold then
ends up being the whole reason Iraqi children die. Now, people
have told me the Iraqis get, the Iraqis who live in the north
where we get to distribute or people we trust more get to
distribute the food, are doing fine. They are not dying. Saddam
Hussein gets a proportionate share and so theoretically his
people should not be dying either. But he is beating you on two
counts. We have a dumb system for approving products going into
Iraq, so it then shows us is that the whole thing looks kind of
silly. We have evaporating Security Council support for our
policies. Frankly, the same problem is happening in the United
So I agree with your fundamental assessment. He is a very
dangerous guy. If he gets free access to lots of cash, he is
going to spend most of it acquiring weapons of mass
destruction; and the next hearing we could have here is about
where we were when Saddam Hussein got the missile and the
chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that took out some city
in the Middle East, children and all.
So we have got to find a way to reshape this policy very
rapidly, or you are going to find a Congress, an international
community, that isolates the United States, not Iraq. Last, I
guess my question is, we have been very good and lucky, but if
one of America's planes bumps into one of Saddam Hussein's
antiaircraft missiles, we have got a major problem here.
He has got an American he can march around. We are heading
for a Presidential campaign. We have got to get through the
next six months before some element of rationality will return
to the discussion here. You have to be very careful with those
resources, because I think he is a threat to the region. I
think he is a threat to the Iraqi people. But I do not think
the present policy gets us there.
Mr. Welch. Mr. Gejdenson, thank you for your statement,
which I will take as confirming the direction that I indicated
that we ought to go.
Mr. Gejdenson. You are all very good at this.
Mr. Welch. I have been doing it for some years--
considering our adversaries on this issue, you get a bit of
training. Mr. Gejdenson, I think at the core of what you said,
with respect to the implementation of our sanctions policy, it
ought to be that we find a way to redress these humanitarian
issues while not losing sight of the responsibility we have not
to let this cat out of the bag again.
That is a tough balance to strike. I hear from what you say
a recognition that when we strike it we ought to, if we are
going to hold on something, do it for a valid and important
reason. But also I expect you would agree with me that if we
are going to release on something, we do it with having had
some real scrutiny.
The United States is, I think, the only member of the
council that rigorously applies this scrutiny. If at the end of
the day we take some heat internationally for that, frankly, we
will have to bear that, because it is also our responsibility
to ensure peace and stability in this region. That is an
important part of our National security interests.
Mr. Gejdenson. I do not want to take up Members' time. I
would just say it is not a question of heat. Heat, I am always
happy to take. But being able to sustain a policy is the
fundamental question here, and not just doing something because
we, have had this embargo on Cuba now for 40 years. What a
great success. We are fighting whether a boy spends his time
with his aunts and uncles or whether he goes back to his
It just does not make sense to sustain a policy that is
isolating the United States, that is losing support in the
American public, because you are not going to achieve your
goals at the end of the day. Sometimes you may have to let
something through, I would argue. If you have not got a good
damn reason to stop it, let it go. I would rather catch him
after the fact because we have got to get the international
community to support something that makes sense and not
continue on something that does not seem to be working.
Chairman Gilman. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I would like to compliment you on your
presentation here today. It was comprehensive. I learned a lot.
The questions that have been asked and the answers here have
been answered directly. I appreciate the professionalism that
you have all shown. With that said, let me know that we do not
have a cat in the bag. What we have got is a rabid dog in the
bag. If you let the cat out of the bag, it may or may not hurt
Saddam Hussein is an animal that could, not only is hurting
his own people, but would hurt Americans if he can get the
chance to do so. We cannot afford to let him out of the bag.
Let me note that when we keep talking about the effects of our
policies and the effects of what is going on, on the children
of Iraq, we all sympathize with innocent people.
Mr. Welch, I think you adequately covered the fact that the
fault of the suffering of those poor children and the civilians
in Iraq is not the fault of the people of the United States,
but the fault of Saddam Hussein himself. I think you said it
quite well. I think that the statistics that you have shown,
shows that we are permitting them to have what is necessary to
feed those children. He is choosing instead to spend that money
on weapons and to screw his own people. That is terrible.
We should never have a hearing on Iraq unless we recognize,
Mr. Chairman, that Saddam Hussein, Saddam insane, Saddam
Hussein, is still holding hundreds of Kuwaiti prisoners. There
are hundreds of people that have been taken from Kuwait.
As a proportion of their population, it is a monstrous
crime against the people of Kuwait. Anything we do to try to
stop to change this situation in that part of the world has to
take into consideration these prisoners that we believe Saddam
Hussein is still holding. I must ask, is there some evidence
that Saddam Hussein is still holding many of these Kuwaiti
prisoners alive, or has he murdered all of them, too?
Mr. Welch. Frankly, it is hard to say because the degree
of their cooperation with that inquiry process has been so
Mr. Rohrabacher. Which again underscores the nature of
this regime; holding Kuwaiti prisoners. He refuses to give any
type of humanitarian report to their families. I would call on
Saddam Hussein today, and anybody who is advocating that we end
this embargo, to make a call on Saddam Hussein before anything
happens to make sure we have an accounting of those prisoners.
Second, I agree that supporting the resistance does not
seem to have worked. I do not think this Administration has
taken seriously the move by Congress to provide resources for
Kuwaiti resistance, not as seriously as it should have been
taken. However, I would say that before we can be taken
seriously, Mr. Chairman, I believe that the Congress, and I
would call on Congress, and I may offer this resolution myself,
to provide legislation that will end the prohibition on the
assassination of foreign leaders in relationship to Saddam
Saddam Hussein is a rabid dog who is murdering his own
people, who is a threat to millions of other people's lives,
and we should repeal that prohibition in relationship to people
like Saddam Hussein, and Saddam Hussein specifically. Perhaps
if Congress would do that, the $100 million we provided for the
overthrow of Saddam Hussein would be taken seriously. After
all, what was that $100 million for? It was to replace Saddam
We think that they are going to carry him out, let him go
to some island, and live a life of luxury for the rest of his
life? Is that what the resistance would have done in our view?
No. It would have military confrontation, and hopefully Saddam
Hussein would have lost it. With that said, I commend again the
job that you have been doing. I have been more angry than most.
I backed the Chairman in the Chairman's resolution that
passed before the House yesterday, in asking the Administration
to use this leverage to bring down oil prices. I believe Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait, by being involved in that price fixing
conspiracy, have shaken the faith that many of us had in that
friendship. I commend the President. I commend the Chairman for
the leadership he has provided in that. But we should never
forget at the same time that there is a severe challenge in
that region, and that is why Saudi Arabia and Kuwait should
make sure they keep our friendship and loyalty. Thank you very
Chairman Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. Delahunt. Just one question, that is all. I know we
are running out of time. We have a vote. The 5,000 figure that
UNICEF claims, if you could respond, is that a fair and
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Congressman, for asking this
question, because there have been numerous references.
Mr. Delahunt. I do not care where it came from. I am just
interested in the accuracy of the figure. I do not want an
Mr. Welch. If I could just say, though, one thing.
Mr. Delahunt. We have got to vote, Mr. Welch. I have great
respect for you, but is it a figure that, give or take----
Mr. Welch. Please permit me just to say one thing.
Regardless of the figures, U.S. policy is not based on finding
an acceptable number of dead children. Mr. Delahunt. Believe
me, Mr. Welch, I am not questioning the policy. I just want to
know, if that is an inaccurate figure, what is the figure? I
have an estimate.
Mr. Welch. We have pursued this. . .
Mr. Delahunt. I am not blaming the United States. I just
want to know.
Mr. Welch. We pursued this question with UNICEF. Frankly,
the numbers are hard to know. Causality is hard to prove or to
Mr. Delahunt. I am not even asking for causality. I am
Mr. Welch. The data that seems to be relatively well-
established in their report is on the number of live births,
number of deaths per birth. In the north, that figure is better
today than it was before the war. In the south and central Iraq
that figure is worse.
Mr. Delahunt. Mr. Welch, I respect that, but we have less
than a moment. Are we talking approximately 5,000 dying?
Mr. Welch. I do not know. That is a new one to me.
Mr. Delahunt. So, you cannot question the validity or the
legitimacy. You do not have enough information to challenge the
validity of the numbers.
Mr. Welch. But I do want to establish what connection it
has to our policy and to the causality question.
Mr. Delahunt. I am not even suggesting that there is a
causality. I did not mean to suggest that. But I just wanted to
see if there is a disagreement or if there is credible evidence
that, that is an inaccurate figure. You do not have any
Mr. Welch. Congressman, I would like the opportunity to
provide in writing an answer with respect to the 5,000 number.
Mr. Delahunt. Sure.
[The information referred to appears as Exhibit A in the
Mr. Delahunt. We have got to go vote. Thank you.
Chairman Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt.
The Committee will stand in recess pending the votes on the
Floor. We will continue our discussion as soon as the voting is
The Committee stands in recess.
Mr. Smith. [Presiding.] The Committee will resume its
sitting. First of all, Secretary Welch, thank you for your
patience. We do appreciate your standing by during this series
of votes we have on the Floor. Chairman Gilman, unfortunately,
has a delegation that he is meeting with from one of the other
countries, oh, from New York State. So, again, I thank you for
I do have a couple of questions I would just like to pose.
Back on February 18th, I had sent a letter, as Subcommittee
Chairman of International Operations and Human Rights, to
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, asking a number of very
specific questions. I mean, as I said in my opening comments, I
am like many others very torn by these reports of so many
While there may be some hyperbole, if there are just some
children dying, and any of this is attributable to our
sanctions regime, and we are not doing all that can be done to
mitigate that outcome, shame on us. So the question that I
pose, and I would ask unanimous consent that the letter be made
a part of the record, and the questions that are asked in that
letter be considered by you, Secretary Welch, as questions that
we really would like to get on the record as quickly as
[The information referred to appears as Exhibit B in the
Mr. Smith. Just to ask a couple of questions that are of
concern, you mentioned that about, I think it was 10 percent of
the oil-for-food contracts are held up. As you probably know,
on February 7th, the Secretary, or the Director, I should say,
Sevan, reiterated his serious concern, and these are his words,
``serious concern,'' at the persistent high level of holds
placed on applications for humanitarian supplies. I think the
number you gave us is about 10 percent.
He also pointed out that there is currently a backlog of
around 800 humanitarian and oil sector applications awaiting
review. Is that true? Are there that many that have not been
approved? To what do we attribute it? Is there a lack of
staffing, an insufficient number of people? What's the holdup?
Mr. Welch. Mr. Smith, I would also like to add an answer,
because I said something while you were not in the room, sir,
and it referred back to a point you had raised. I think your
words were, in looking at this problem of infant mortality,
that one dead child is one too many. I could not agree more
with that. What I said to one of your colleagues was, please
understand that American policy is not based on the calculation
of acceptable numbers of dead children. I feel it is very
important as an American official to make that statement. There
are no acceptable numbers.
Audience Member: That is not what the Secretary of State
said. She said that----
Mr. Smith. Please, order. This is a hearing. This is not a
town meeting. So I would ask you to refrain from any comments.
You can make them to the press, if you like, outside the door.
Mr. Welch. Mr. Smith, I have your letter, and we have been
doing a considerable amount of work to get you specific answers
to each of the detailed questions you ask, which are very good
questions, sir. Normally it is my preference to answer such
correspondence before we have hearings on the matter. However,
in view of the importance of this subject, we wanted to come up
here and have a chance to get all our information out in
public. We will answer your letter now very rapidly.
One part of this gets to the high level of holds that you
asked about both in the letter and just now. When we received
your letter, we were in the midst of an internal review of how
we administer the oil-for-food program. Contrary to the
headlines in some of the newspapers that this constitutes an
easing or changing of sanctions, what it is, is a way to look
at a more effective administration of the program. If I could
just say a couple of words about that. First, the
responsibility for that is shared.
Iraq should do something. The U.N. should do something. The
Security Council should do something, and the United States
probably should, too. I can only speak and have control over
the last of those things. In response to your question, we have
undertaken this review of how we run the program. I do not know
what it will produce with respect to the numbers of contract
holds. It is my hope, of course, that the numbers go down.
But as I said in my testimony, we feel there is a valid
approach that we have to striking a balance between
humanitarian concern and non-proliferation risks. We want to
strike the right balance in both cases. I think we can make an
improvement, frankly. Now, in terms of the numbers, the number
is actually today greater than 800. It is probably more than
1,000. But that masks a lot of different kinds of issues.
For example, I would say fully a third of that number, that
is, somewhere between 300 and 400, is because when we get a
contract, it will say something like spare parts. You cannot
make a good judgment about humanitarian concern or non-
proliferation risks if the information is incomplete.
Another area is dual-use technology, technology that is
specifically barred from entry into Iraq, unless there is
adequate monitoring on the other end. Right now, frankly, the
monitoring is deficient, because UNMOVIC is not there. That
category of holds probably comprises another 300 or so. There
is a great deal of difficulty in addressing that. That may be a
figure we have a hard time coming to grips with.
Another group of holds would be the ones where, frankly, we
sat around and not had the resources or the intensity to focus
on them. A large part of that is because this program has grown
very rapidly. I was telling one of your colleagues earlier that
the full value of the oil-for-food program was actually
attained only in the fall of 1999. Thus, the amounts of
contracts and the deposits into the bank account, the escrow
account, have grown logarithmically, and that has put a strain
on our resources.
Secretary Albright has directed that we give more attention
to this, and has directed also that more personnel be provided
to the effort. They are working through that now.
Mr. Smith. Personnel are actually deployed in this effort.
Mr. Welch. It is an interagency system. That includes
people from the intelligence community, the Department of
Defense, the Department of Energy now. We have gotten them into
it because of certain kinds of contracts that ought to be
reviewed by DOE, and the State Department. In the State
Department, there are personnel from the non-proliferation
bureau, which has the main authority for export-import
monitoring and export controls. There are a couple of people
who work on this in my office, and a couple of people in the
Middle East bureau. I cannot give you an exact figure on the
aggregate number in the State Department, but I would say no
more than, would I be right in saying, about ten or so?
Mr. Smith. Do you suspect that you will actually increase
that, in order to accommodate this explosion of available cash
and the need?
Mr. Welch. I would like to do that. Unfortunately,
resources are a real problem in the department today. I am sure
you heard this from my boss several times, Mr. Smith. We have a
deficit of personnel. What that means, practically speaking, is
we have 400 jobs in the State Department right now that cannot
be filled because we do not have the people. But, yes, this is
a high priority. The Secretary has directed that increased
resources be given to it. I believe that will mean that we will
Mr. Smith. If you could get back to us as to those plans,
because it would seem to me that the allocation of scarce
resources is urgent, especially given the implications of not
doing it and the loss of life, or at least the mitigation of
health on the part of these kids.
Mr. Welch: Yes, sir.
[The information referred to appears as Exhibit C in the
Mr. Smith. The number 5,000, could you shed some light on
the veracity of that number? I tried, in questioning Mr.
Conyers, and he seemed to indicate that it is current and up to
date, and, as of this past February, there were another 5,000
children who have died. Is this accurate? That is not to say
that if it is 2,000, it is OK. There is no acceptable number,
from my point of view as well. But we really need to have
absolute clarity, as much as humanly possible, as to what the
real numbers are.
Mr. Welch. The honest answer is I do not know. The
estimates that UNICEF did where we thought there was
statistical validity were on infant mortality as a percentage
of live births. There, I think I would agree, if I understand
the conclusion that Mr. Conyers was drawing, that infant
mortality has increased in South and Central Iraq during the
decade of the 1990's. It was rightly pointed out that it has
gone down by comparison to pre-war levels in the North.
UNICEF itself does not, however, assert causality.
Causality is hard to prove or disprove in this situation.
But they have not asserted that these deaths are
specifically the result of sanctions.
We believe that the problem of infant mortality has,
however, been aggravated by the deterioration, in particular in
the sanitation sector. It is our conviction that some of that
can be addressed by better administration of the oil-for-food
program, including looking at those areas where potential dual-
use items might be needed for that purpose.
Let me mention, for example, chlorine. I have done some
work now with UNICEF to check whether their monitoring of
chlorine usage would hold up, because chlorine is a precursor,
as you know. I think we are reassured that, yes, that system is
working reasonably well. But now we need to look at the
potential dual-use equipment more carefully.
Mr. Smith. It terms of medicines, you pointed out that
there were, over the past three years, more than $1 billion
worth of medicines approved. I assume by ``approved'' you also
mean imported? Because you used the word ``imported'' before
about the 50 million, or are they at some stage of getting into
Mr. Welch. No, I would expect that some part of that
number is in the pipeline.
Mr. Smith. How does all of that relate to pre-war numbers?
I mean, was there an indigenous pharmaceutical industry at all
in Iraq? I do not know that. I really would like to know.
Mr. Welch. I cannot say. I can provide an answer on that,
Mr. Smith. OK, that would be fine.
[The information referred to appears as Exhibit D in the
Mr. Smith. Do you know whether or not they were net or
total importers of all of their drug----
Mr. Welch. I think that one indicator we have, though,
broadly speaking, of the requirements in the medical area is
provided in the Secretary General's recent report. That report
basically says that the availability of medicines is much
improved, with 90 percent of the needs being met. I cannot say
what the criticality of the remainder would be, and that the
more acute needs are now in other sectors.
Mr. Smith. Let me just ask, are international humanitarian
non-governmental organizations presently afforded full and
unfettered access to the areas of Iraq controlled by the
Mr. Welch. No; less than full and fettered access. In the
North, there are numerous NGO's and international organizations
that operate effectively and easily. In South and Central Iraq,
the situation is far poorer by comparison, especially in South
Iraq, where the government cites security reasons for not
allowing international organizations in. I believe ICRC has
finally established a presence in Basra, but I cannot think of
any others at the moment that have been able to operate down
I am sorry, I forgot this. In 1284, the Security Council
imposed an obligation on Iraq to permit that access, because it
is cognizant that it obviously would be better if international
organizations were in there and had a chance to take a look.
Mr. Smith. Thank you.
I would like to ask Mr. Sanford if he could take the Chair.
Regrettably, I have to leave myself. But I thank you, Secretary
Welch, for your testimony.
Mr. Sanford. [Presiding.] I would echo Mr. Smith's
sentiments in thanking you for your very generous use of time.
I will basically have four quick questions.
Mr. Welch. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sanford. First of all, in your testimony you had
described containment as a factor. Even before I say that, I
would make a strong division between economic and military
sanctions. I would, for the most part, agree with your thoughts
on economic sanctions. I strongly disagree with, in essence,
your and Ms. Romanowski's thoughts on the military sanctions
and their efficacy.
Toward that end, you said in your testimony that
containment was effective, but it did not meet the standards
necessary to bring about its end. In other words, Saddam would
not do the things in his regime to bring about its end over the
course of his life.
Now, I find that really unsettling, because I come from
South Carolina. We have got a guy named Strom Thurmond, who is
two years away from hitting 100, which is to say that if Saddam
had anywhere near the same kind of life expectancy, you could
be looking at, let us say, another 40 years of him being
around, which is to say if we add up the $1.2 billion that it
is now costing the military to impose these, in essence,
military sanctions, and we leave off OPTEMPO, which I think
wears out troops, we leave off depreciation of assets, that
would be about $48 billion in direct cost to continue to
maintain these military sanctions. Do you think this
approximately $50 billion expenditure is worthwhile?
Mr. Welch. If I might answer the last first. The answer,
Mr. Sanford, is yes, I do. I am not certain that, that is the
exact cost to the United States.
Mr. Sanford. Probably higher, because of OPTEMPO, again,
depreciation of assets, et cetera. But ballpark, we would say
in this hypothetical it could be $50 billion worth of expense.
Mr. Welch. I think every Administration has agreed that
the Persian Gulf area is of vital strategic interest to the
United States. That since August 1990, the Iraqi regime poses
the most significant threat to peace and security in that area.
Therefore, successive Administrations have felt that this is a
price that's appropriate. I believe that even were Saddam not
there, America would have an interest in a security presence in
that area. Were those all of your questions?
Mr. Sanford. No, no. That is the first one. I have four.
But we can come back. Do you have a thought? Go ahead.
Mr. Welch. You asked about whether this is never going to
end in effect until Saddam is gone.
Mr. Sanford. Those were your words.
Mr. Welch. Right. I said I did not expect him to comply.
Mr. Sanford. Right.
Mr. Welch. I do not. That is an objective judgment.
However, if lightning strikes and I am proven wrong, the
United States signed up to these Security Council resolutions,
and we will implement them. I think the answer that I have
tried to give on economic and military sanctions was to draw a
distinction here, which I feel is important.
Mr. Sanford. I agree with the distinction.
Mr. Welch. Because the sanctions provide control of money.
If you lift those and you lose control of those revenues to
Mr. Sanford. I am not disagreeing with you. Again, because
of what you have said about effectiveness, in other words, I
would not dispute at all that this is an area of vital
strategic interest. But in terms of effectiveness, in other
words, there I think I would have to disagree, because the
question you have to ask when spending the hypothetical $50
billion is, are we effectively making a difference on what the
air cover is supposed to be doing, which according to U.N.
Security Council Resolution 688, is to cease repression of
Iraqi civilian populations. To suggest that this is the case,
that somehow people in Iraq are unrepressed, I think is just at
total odds with the facts on the ground.
Mr. Welch. Yes, sir. I think perhaps in that particular
area, what our presence has done is deter the worst of the
depredations but not all of them. So you are absolutely right.
In terms of the effectiveness of containment, of course
everybody has an opinion on this. Let me offer just the
following view. I think that some pretty strong words have been
said about this regime here today.
Mr. Sanford. Sure.
Mr. Welch. I would make my own contribution in that
Mr. Sanford. Absolutely.
Mr. Welch. But we do know the leader of Iraq. He has
struck out at his neighbors once every decade with a major war.
Mr. Sanford. Right.
Mr. Welch. The sanctions that have been in place have, at
a minimum, deterred one in this last decade. That is not an
Mr. Sanford. I do not know that you could draw that. I do
not know that, that is a validate hypothesis. In other words,
it may have been that the economic sanctions were partly
attributable to him not lashing out over the last ten years. It
may have been the fact that he has been rebuilding
infrastructure over the last ten years that has kept him from
So I want to specifically focus, in my remarks, really on
the no-fly zone. That is what I am really getting at here. I do
not know how you would say that the no-fly zone is effective,
because we can through satellite imagery and otherwise come up
with detection as to whether or not he is massing troops, et
In fact, I would go on to my second point. Your comment in
your testimony, then, that we have contained the Iraqi
military, which I guess is what you are stressing now. He has
not lashed out in the last ten years. But if you look at 1999
numbers, there were 600 breaches of the no-fly zone in 1999.
In essence, to round it, basically two times a day, he is
breaching the no-fly zone. I go back again to effective
containment. How is that an effective containment of his air
forces? Or turned another way, do you see any place within Iraq
where an insurrection has been made possible because of the no-
Mr. Welch. They are not there to promote insurrection in
the area under their supervision, but to deter the government
of Iraq from using air power against the populations in those
areas. In the case of the southern no-fly zone, they are
associated with the enforcement of Resolution 949, which says
that Iraq cannot put additional forces into that area.
Mr. Sanford. If I were to go back with what you just said,
that there was outright repression of the Iraqi people, they
would say to me, in other words--it was explained a long time
ago--that one of the possible outcomes of having a no-fly zone
would be that Saddam would not be able to get his troops to
places where Iraqi National Congress or others would gather
folks to storm up in arms against him. That did not happen.
You say that is not one of the goals of the current no-fly
zone. In fact, it is to make sure there is not repression. So
instead they shoot you with a gun, a pistol, as opposed to a
gun out of a helicopter.
Mr. Welch. Yes, I agree that there is that risk that
Saddam could do that. We have seen him do it in the past. I am
sorry my defense colleague is not here to talk about the
numbers of breaches, and their character, and how we respond.
Let me say something from my own experience in the past.
I have negotiated several cease-fires with the Kurdish
groups in northern Iraq. I have been to northern Iraq several
times myself. To a person, the population of northern Iraq
would be frightened, dismayed, perhaps to the point of voting
with their feet, were an American presence not overhead. This
is something that they strongly desire, fervently desire. Now,
with respect to the no-fly zone in the south, there is----
Mr. Sanford. But that is not to say that they are not
Mr. Welch. Actually, in the North, things are a lot
Mr. Sanford. Better, but still repressed.
Mr. Welch. Wherever Saddam can reach, he generally has a
practice of repression.
Mr. Sanford. Right.
Mr. Welch. That is certainly the case in the South. In
that instance, however, I would argue that the no-fly zones
help prevent and deter the worst of the depredations through
use of helicopters. I would also argue that Iraq's immediate
neighbors are profoundly reassured by the presence of American
forces over the skies of southern Iraq. That is not unimportant
to us, in terms of our regional security interests.
Mr. Sanford. Third question: The military have a term
called center of gravity, wherein if you hit your enemy, for
instance, in the war in Vietnam, we never really impacted North
Vietnam's center of gravity. As a result, every night they had
on the news nightly body counts, but we were not impacting
their center of gravity. As a result, we lost. Could you show
me where this air war, if you will, is impacting Saddam's
center of gravity?
Mr. Welch. I do not know that I am competent to answer
that question, Mr. Sanford. If you do not mind, I would like to
submit an answer or have the Department of Defense submit its
answer with respect to that. But as I understand your question,
it would be what effect this is having on the Iraqi military.
Mr. Sanford. Right.
Mr. Welch. Yes, sir.
[The information referred to appears as Exhibits E and F in
Mr. Sanford. Last question: Scott Ritter, who himself has
been on the ground, as have you, has basically said that the
no-fly zone is pretty much a waste of time. Is he incompetent,
misinformed; or if wrong, why?
Mr. Welch. Mr. Ritter has had lots of views. I also
understand he has written advocating the lifting of sanctions.
I have expressed the Administration's view today on that idea.
Mr. Sanford. I am not disagreeing with you on that part.
Mr. Welch. So he pretty much covered a lot of ground in
Mr. Sanford. Sure.
Mr. Welch. He did a good job when he was at UNSCOM. I am
sorry he quit when he did, because the job was incomplete. With
respect to his opinions now, he is entitled to have those. I
would have to look at exactly what he said and see whether I
agree with it or not. I do not agree with his idea about
lifting sanctions. I think he wrote an editorial to the Boston
Globe about that.
Mr. Sanford. I sure appreciate your time. Nobody else is
here, so the hearing is adjourned.
Mr. Welch. Thank you.
[Whereupon, the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
March 23, 2000
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