[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 3, 1998]
[Pages 163-167]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 163]]

Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With 
United Nations Security Council Resolutions
February 3, 1998

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)
    Consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against 
Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) and as part of my effort to keep the 
Congress fully informed, I am reporting on the status of efforts to 
obtain Iraq's compliance with the resolutions adopted by the United 
Nations Security Council (UNSC). This report covers the period from 
November 26, 1997, to the present.
    My last report included the U.N.-Iraq stand-off which began on 
October 29, 1997, when the Iraqi government announced its intention to 
expel all U.S. personnel working in Iraq for the U.N. Special Commission 
(UNSCOM). Iraq's apparent aim was to force UNSCOM's withdrawal or to 
significantly restrict its ability to function effectively and 
independently, thereby establishing an environment under which Iraq 
could restore its capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) 
without restriction. In November, the members of the U.N. Security 
Council thwarted this effort through joint diplomacy and the use of 
Secretary Council resolutions--backed by the deployment of forces in the 
Gulf. This resulted in the Iraqi government's explicit commitment, on 
November 20, 1997, to allow UNSCOM inspectors, including those who are 
U.S. citizens, to return unhindered to their duties.
    In violation of that commitment and of U.N. Security Council 
Resolution (UNSCR) 687 and subsequent resolutions, including 707, 1134, 
and 1137, Iraq has attempted again to dictate the composition of UNSCOM 
inspection teams and the terms of its compliance with Council 
resolutions. In addition, Iraq has persisted in its efforts to defy the 
Council by unilaterally imposing unacceptable conditions on the 
operations of UNSCOM. This report covering the last 60 days reflects the 
failure of the Government of Iraq to live up to its obligations under 
all applicable UNSC resolutions and its continued hindrance of UNSCOM's 
    In December 1997, the Iraqi government reiterated its longstanding 
refusal to allow any access to all so-called ``Presidential'' sites, and 
said it would limit access to so-called ``sensitive'' sites by UNSCOM 
    On January 5, 1998, an inert rocket-propelled grenade struck a 
building in Baghdad that houses various U.N. elements, including UNSCOM 
headquarters, but caused no injuries. The Iraqi government denied 
responsibility but has yet to arrest any suspects.
    On January 12, the Government of Iraq refused to cooperate with an 
UNSCOM inspection team, declaring that the team was dominated by too 
many ``Anglo-Saxons''. The team had been investigating, among other 
things, allegations that Iraq may have used human beings as experimental 
subjects in chemical and biological warfare development.
    On January 17, the Iraqi government declared a Jihad (holy war) 
against U.N. sanctions and called for 1 million Iraqi citizens to 
undergo military training to prepare for any consequences.
    During the last 60 days, UNSCOM launched two special inspection 
teams that once again targeted Iraq's ``Concealment Mechanism'' in order 
to ferret out WMD programs and documents that UNSCOM--and we--believe 
Iraq stubbornly retains. It became clear that the Iraqis had no 
intention of cooperating with these inspections as specifically called 
for in the most recent UNSCRs on the topic--Resolutions 1134 of October 
23 and 1137 of November 12. The teams were stopped en route, denied 
access, and prevented from video-taping equipment movement or document-
destruction activity at suspect sites.
    Ambassador Butler, UNSCOM's Executive 
Director, traveled to Baghdad on December 12, 1997, and again on January 
19, 1998, to attempt to obtain Iraqi assurance that UNSCOM can resume 
its work unhindered, including unfettered access to ``Presidential'' and 
``sensitive'' sites. Following the January 19 meetings, the Iraqis 
continued to defy and challenge UNSCOM by refusing to discuss access to 
``Presidential'' sites until after Technical Meeting talks have 
concluded in April. As Ambassador Butler reported to the Security 
Council on January 22, the talks were characterized by moments

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``of abuse and denunciation of UNSCOM and its professional officers; an 
attempt to apportion literally all blame to UNSCOM, past and present, 
for the fact that the disarmament task has not been completed and 
sanctions on Iraq remained in force.'' Throughout, the UNSC has 
expressed its support for UNSCOM and its mission in five unanimous 
Presidential Statements since October 1997.
    This record of intransigence is only the latest chapter in the long 
history of efforts by the Iraqi regime to flout its obligations under 
relevant UNSC resolutions. Without full disclosure and free access to 
all sites UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wish 
to inspect, the ongoing monitoring and verification mandated by relevant 
UNSC resolutions, including Resolutions 687, 707 and 715, cannot 
effectively be conducted. UNSCOM must be allowed to continue to 
investigate all of Iraq's programs until it can verify with absolute 
certainty that all the equipment has been destroyed and that all the 
capabilities have been eliminated. Otherwise, Iraq eventually will be 
free to develop the capacity to strike at any city in the Middle East, 
delivering biological, chemical and possibly even nuclear weapons.

Biological/Chemical Weapons

    Iraqi biological and chemical weapons are currently the most 
troubling issues for UNSCOM. This is due to the innate dual-use nature 
of the technology: biological and chemical agents can easily be hidden 
within civilian sectors, such as the pharmaceutical and pesticide 
industries. Iraq continues to prevent full and immediate access to sites 
suspected of chemical or biological warfare activities. UNSCOM is still 
unable to verify that all of Iraq's SCUD missile warheads filled with 
biological agents--anthrax and botulinum toxin--have been destroyed.

Nuclear Weapons and Delivery Systems

    The Iraqi regime contends that UNSCOM and the IAEA should ``close 
the books'' on nuclear and missile inspections, but there are still many 
uncertainties and questions that need to be resolved. Iraq has failed to 
answer critical questions on nuclear weapons design and fabrication, 
procurement, and centrifuge enrichment; to provide a written description 
of its post-war nuclear weapons procurement program; and to account for 
major engine components, special warheads, missing propellants, and 
guidance instruments that could be used to assemble fully operational 

U.S. Force Levels

    The U.S. has led international efforts to secure UNSCOM the access 
and cooperation it must have to do its job. As a demonstration of our 
resolve, the aircraft carriers USS NIMITZ, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, their 
accompanying battle group combatant ships, and additional combat 
aircraft have remained in the region. On January 15, the Government of 
the United Kingdom dispatched the aircraft carrier HMS INVINCIBLE and 
escort ships to the Gulf via the Red Sea.
    United States force levels in the region include land- and carrier-
based aircraft, surface warships, a Marine amphibious task force, a 
Patriot missile battalion, a mechanized battalion task force, and a mix 
of special operations forces deployed in support of USCINCCENT 
operations. To enhance force protection throughout the region, 
additional military security personnel have been deployed for continuous 
rotation. USCINCCENT continues to monitor closely the security situation 
in the region to ensure adequate force protection is provided for all 
deployed forces.
    The U.S. and its coalition partners continue to enforce the no-fly 
zones over Iraq under Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern 
Watch. In response to a series of Iraqi no-fly zone violations in 
October and November 1997, we increased the number of aircraft 
participating in these operations. There have been no observed no-fly 
zone violations during the period covered by this report. We have 
repeatedly made clear to the Government of Iraq and to all other 
relevant parties that the U.S. and its partners will continue to enforce 
both no-fly zones.
    United Nations Security Council Resolution 949, adopted in October 
1994, demands that Iraq not use its military or any other forces to 
threaten its neighbors or U.N. operations in Iraq and that it not 
redeploy troops or enhance its military capacity in southern Iraq. In 
view of Saddam's accumulating record of 
brutality and unreliability, it is prudent to retain a significant U.S. 
force presence in the region to deter Iraq and respond rapidly to 
possible Iraqi aggression or threats against its neighbors.
    We again take note of and welcome H. Res. 322 of November 13, 1997, 
expressing the sense

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of the House that the U.S. should act to resolve the crisis in a manner 
that assures full Iraqi compliance with UNSC resolutions regarding the 
destruction of Iraq's capability to produce and deliver WMD. While the 
increased forces in the region give us a wide range of military options 
we remain committed to exhausting all diplomatic options before 
resorting to other alternatives.


    United Nations sanctions against Iraq were imposed as the result of 
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. It has been necessary to maintain them 
because of Iraq's failure to comply with all relevant UNSC resolutions, 
including those ensuring the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless 
of Iraq's WMD.
    The Iraqi regime continues to insist on the need for rapid lifting 
of the sanctions regime, despite its record of noncompliance with its 
obligations under relevant resolutions, out of alleged concern for the 
well-being of the Iraqi people, claiming that malnutrition and 
inadequate medical care are the direct result of internationally imposed 
    To the contrary, since their inception, the sanctions against Iraq 
have exempted food and medicines--evidence of the concern of the U.S. 
and the international community for the welfare of the Iraqi people. In 
August 1991, when Iraq claimed that it was unable to pay for its food 
needs, the Security Council adopted UNSCR 706 (and later 712), 
authorizing Iraq to sell limited amounts of petroleum on the 
international market, with the proceeds to be used to purchase 
humanitarian supplies and to fund vital U.N. activities regarding Iraq. 
The Government of Iraq, however, ignored the needs of its own people by 
refusing to accept UNSCR's 706 and 712.
    In April 1995 the Security Council proposed a new oil-for-food offer 
to Iraq in UNSCR 986, sponsored by the U.S. and others. UNSCR 986 
authorized the sale of up to $1 billion of oil every 90 days for a total 
of $2 billion during a 180-day period for Iraq to purchase food, 
medicines, and other ``humanitarian items'' for its people, and to fund 
specified U.N. activities regarding Iraq. The Government of Iraq delayed 
implementation of UNSCR 986 for a year and a half, until December 1996.
    Since December 1996, the Iraqi regime has continued to obstruct and 
delay the relief plan. The regime delayed oil sales for two months in 
June and July 1997 under the second phase of the program (UNSCR 1111), 
and again for over one month in December 1997 and January 1998 under the 
third phase (UNSCR 1143).
    The United States has consistently made clear our openness to 
improving the oil-for-food program to better meet the essential needs of 
Iraq's civilian population. The Secretary General 
has just submitted a report to this effect to the Council. We are 
prepared to consider carefully and favorably the Secretary General's 
suggestions to improve and expand the program. Expanding 986 would serve 
our humanitarian and strategic interests. First, the sanctions regime is 
aimed at the threat Saddam poses--not the 
Iraqi people. We should do whatever we can to ease their plight, 
consistent with our interests. Second, expanding 986 will make it more 
difficult for Saddam to use the plight of his people as a propaganda 
card in the Middle East and so help us shore up the anti-Saddam 
coalition. Third, by expanding oil-for-food, we will broaden and 
strengthen the U.N.'s grip on Iraq's revenues and expenditures, 
tightening the leash on Saddam and making it more difficult for him to 
divert funds to the military and WMD.
    Implementation of UNSCR 1051 continues. It provides for a mechanism 
to monitor Iraq's efforts to reacquire proscribed weapons capabilities 
by requiring Iraq to notify a joint UNSCOM/IAEA unit in advance of any 
imports of dual-use items. Similarly, U.N. members must provide timely 
notification of exports to Iraq of dual-use items.
    The Multinational Interception Force (MIF), operating under the 
authority of UNSCR 665, is aggressively enforcing U.N. sanctions in the 
Gulf. The U.S. Navy is the single largest component of this 
international naval force, augmented by ships and aircraft from 
Australia, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United 
Kingdom. Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council support the MIF 
by providing logistical support and shipriders who ensure that merchant 
ships do not deviate from their recorded courses to legal ports and by 
pulling vessels caught violating sanctions into member state ports.
    Since my last report, the MIF has intercepted five sanctions 
violators in the Gulf. Ships involved in smuggling often utilize the 
territorial seas of Iran to avoid MIF inspections. We have

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given detailed reports of these illegal activities to the U.N. Sanctions 
Committee in New York.
    The volume of illegal smuggling of petroleum products from Iraq 
continues to increase. Iraq is working to improve loading facilities in 
the Shatt Al Arab waterway and the continuing cooperation of the 
smugglers with Iran frustrates the naval forces which are restricted to 
international waters to carry out their duties. We estimate that over 
200,000 metric tons of gasoil and other petroleum cargoes leave Iraq 
illegally each month. Profits from this illegal trade support Saddam at 
the expense of the Iraqi people.
    The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), established 
pursuant to UNSCR 687 and 692, continues to resolve claims against Iraq 
arising from Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The UNCC 
has issued almost 1.3 million awards worth approximately $6 billion. 
Thirty percent of the proceeds from the oil sales permitted by UNSCR's 
986, 1111, and 1143 have been allocated to the Compensation Fund to pay 
awards and to finance operations of the UNCC. To the extent that money 
is available in the Compensation Fund, initial payments to each claimant 
are authorized for awards in the order in which the UNCC has approved 
them, in installments of $2,500. To date, 455 U.S. claimants have 
received an initial installment payment, and payment is in process for 
an additional 323 U.S. claimants.

Human Rights

    The human rights situation throughout Iraq continues to be cause for 
grave concern. Reports that the Government of Iraq used humans as 
experimental subjects in its chemical and biological weapons programs 
have been noted above. Credible reports from numerous, independent 
sources indicate that the Government of Iraq also may have summarily 
executed anywhere from 800 to 1500 political detainees in November and 
December 1997. Opposition groups have alleged that many of those killed 
were serving sentences of 15-20 years for such crimes as insulting the 
regime or membership in an opposition political party. Max van der 
Stoel, Special Rapporteur for Iraq for the 
U.N. Human Rights Commission and Bacre Ndiaye, 
the Commission's Special Rapporteur for Summary Executions, are 
investigating these reports.
    Iraq's repression of its Shi'a population continues, with policies 
that are destroying the Marsh Arabs' way of life in southern Iraq and 
the ecology of the southern marshes. Iraq continues to stall and 
obfuscate rather than work in good faith toward accounting for more than 
600 Kuwaitis and third-country nationals who disappeared during or after 
the occupation of Kuwait, and nearly 5,000 Iranian prisoners of war 
captured by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. The Government of Iraq shows 
no sign of complying with UNSCR 688, which demands that Iraq cease the 
repression of its own people. The U.N. Human Rights Commission's Special 
Rapporteur on Iraq reported to the General Assembly his particular 
concern that extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the 
practice of torture continue to occur in Iraq.
    Led by various independent Iraqi opposition groups and 
nongovernmental organizations, the INDICT campaign--which seeks to 
document crimes against humanity and other violations of international 
humanitarian law committed by the Iraqi regime--continues to gain 
    Regarding northern Iraq, the cease-fire between the Kurdish parties, 
established November 24, 1997, as the result of U.S. efforts, continues 
to hold. In recent weeks, both Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and 
Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union 
of Kurdistan (PUK) have made positive, forward-looking statements on 
political reconciliation, which may signal a willingness to settle some 
of their differences. We will continue our efforts to reach a permanent 
settlement through mediation in order to help the people of northern 
Iraq find the permanent, stable accommodation which they deserve, and to 
minimize the opportunities for Baghdad and Tehran to insert themselves 
into the conflict and threaten Iraqi citizens in this region. The Peace 
Monitoring Force--sponsored by the U.S., Great Britain and Turkey under 
the Ankara process and comprising Iraqi Turkomans and Assyrians--remains 
in garrison.


    Iraq remains a serious threat to international peace and security. 
As I told the American people in my recent State of the Union address, 
our country is united in its view that Saddam Hussein cannot defy the will of the world. He has used weapons 
of mass destruction before. We are determined to deny him the capacity 
to use them again. I remain determined to see Iraq comply fully with all 
of its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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    I appreciate the support of the Congress for our efforts and shall 
continue to keep the Congress informed about this important issue.

                                                      William J. Clinton

Note: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House 
of Representatives, and Albert Gore, Jr., President of the Senate. This 
letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on February 4.