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Clinton address on Iraq policy

This address by President Clinton to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives on 3rd March (last week) is published at:

Note paragraph under the title "Dual-Use Imports" ("there is no
monitoring of dual-use items inside Iraq.. this has presented new
challenges for the U.N. Sanctions Committee"), and comments on the
terrible physical legacy of the Halajba atrocity: "dramatically
increased rates of cancer, respiratory problems, heart failure,
infertility, miscarriages, and possibly genetic damage in the surviving



Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                      March 3, 1999


March 3, 1999

Dear Mr. Speaker:   (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).  My last report, consistent with Public
Law 102-1, was transmitted on December 18, 1998.


As stated in my December 18 report, on December 16, United States and
British forces launched military strikes on Iraq (Operation Desert Fox)
to degrade Iraq's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) and to degrade its ability to threaten its neighbors.
The decision to use force was made after U.N. Special Commission
(UNSCOM) Executive Chairman Richard Butler reported to the U.N.
Secretary General on December 14, that Iraq was not cooperating fully
with the Commission and that it was "not able to conduct the substantive
disarmament work mandated to it by the Security Council."

The build-up to the current crisis began on August 5 when the Iraqi
government suspended cooperation with UNSCOM and the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), except on a limited-range of monitoring
activities.  On October 31, Iraq announced that it was ceasing all
cooperation with UNSCOM.  In response to this decision, the Security
Council on November 5 unanimously adopted Resolution 1205, which
condemned Iraq's decision as a "flagrant violation" of the Gulf War
cease-fire Resolution 687 and other relevant resolutions.  Resolution
1205 also demanded that Iraq immediately rescind both its October 31
decision and its decision of August 5.  This came after the passage on
March 3, 1998, of Resolution 1154, warning Iraq that the "severest
consequences" would result from Iraq's failure to cooperate with the
implementation of Resolution 687.

Iraq ignored the Security Council's demands until November 14, when U.S.
and British forces prepared to launch air strikes on Iraq.  Baghdad
initially tried to impose unacceptable conditions on its offer of
resumption of cooperation; however, the United States and Great Britain
insisted on strict compliance with all relevant Security Council

Subsequently, Iraq agreed in writing in letters to the U.N. Secretary
General to rescind its August 5 and October 31 decisions and to resume
full cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in accordance with Security
Council resolutions.  Iraq informed the Security Council on November 14
that it was the "clear and unconditional decision of the Iraqi
government to resume cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA."

On November 15, the Security Council issued a statement in which it
stressed that Iraq's commitment "needs to be established by
unconditional and sustained cooperation with the Special Commission and
the IAEA in exercising the full range of their activities provided for
in their mandates."

UNSCOM and the IAEA resumed their full range of activities on November
17, but Iraq repeatedly violated its commitment of cooperation.  As
Chairman Butler's report of December 14 details, Iraq has, over the
course of the last 8 years, refused to provide the key documents and
critical explanations about its prohibited weapons programs in response
to UNSCOM's outstanding requests.  It refused to allow removal of
missile engine components, denied access to missile test data,
restricted photography of bombs, and endangered the safety of inspectors
by aggressively maneuvering a helicopter near them.  Iraq failed to
provide requested access to archives and effectively blocked UNSCOM from
visiting a site on November 25.

On December 4 and again on December 11, Iraq further restricted UNSCOM's
activities by asserting that certain teams could not inspect on Fridays,
the Muslim sabbath, despite 7 years of doing so and the fact that other
inspection teams' activities were not restricted on Fridays.  Iraq
blocked access to offices of the ruling Ba'ath Party on December 9,
which UNSCOM held "solid evidence" contained prohibited materials.  Iraq
routinely removed documents from facilities prior to inspection, and
initiated new forms of restrictions on UNSCOM's work.  We also have
information that Iraq ordered the military to destroy WMD-related
documents in anticipation of the UNSCOM inspections.

Iraq's actions were a material breach of the Gulf War cease-fire
resolution (UNSC Resolution 687), the February 23, 1998, Annan-Aziz
Memorandum of Understanding, and Iraq's November 14 commitment to the
Security Council.  The threat to the region posed by Iraq's refusal to
cooperate unconditionally with UNSCOM, and the consequent inability of
UNSCOM to carry out the responsibilities the Security Council entrusted
to it, could not be tolerated.  These circumstances led the United
States and the United Kingdom to use military force to degrade Iraq's
capacity to threaten its neighbors through the development of WMD and
long-range delivery systems.  During Desert Fox, key WMD sites and the
facilities of the organizations that conceal them, as well as important
missile repair facilities and surface-to-air missile sites, were
attacked.  Operation Desert Fox degraded Saddam's ability to threaten
his neighbors militarily.

UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors withdrew from Iraq on December 15 when
Chairman Butler reported that inspectors were not able to conduct the
substantive disarmament work required of UNSCOM by the Security Council.
The United States continues to support UNSCOM and the IAEA as the agreed
mechanisms for Iraq to demonstrate its compliance with UNSC resolutions
concerning disarmament.

Since December 18, the Security Council has discussed next steps on
Iraq.  It decided on January 30 to establish three assessment panels to
address disarmament issues, humanitarian issues, and Kuwait-related
issues.  The panels, under the chairmanship of the Brazilian Ambassador
to the United Nations, are due to complete their reviews by April 15.

The United States also continues to support the international
community's efforts to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi
people through the "oil-for-food" program.  On November 24, 1998, the
Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1210 establishing a new
6-month phase (phase five) of the oil-for-food program (phase four ended
November 25).  In January, the United States announced its support for
lifting the ceiling on oil sales under the oil-for-food program so that
Iraqi civilian humanitarian needs can better be met.

As long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, he represents a threat to
the well-being of his people, the peace of the region, and the security
of the world.  We will continue to contain the threat he poses, but over
the long term the best way to address that threat is through a new
government in Baghdad.  To that end, we -- working with the Congress --
are deepening our engagement with the forces for change in Iraq to help
make the opposition a more effective voice for the aspirations of the
Iraqi people.  Our efforts are discussed in more detail below.

U.S. and Coalition Force Levels in the Gulf Region

Saddam's record of aggressive behavior compels us to retain a highly
capable force in the region in order to deter Iraq and deal with any
threat it might pose to its neighbors, the reconstitution of its WMD
program, or movement against the Kurds in northern Iraq.  We
demonstrated our resolve in mid-December when forces in the region
carried out Operation Desert Fox to degrade Iraq's ability to develop
and deliver weapons of mass destruction and its ability to threaten its
neighbors.  We will continue to maintain a robust posture and have
established a rapid reinforcement capability to  supplement our forces
in the Gulf, if needed.

Our forces in the region include land and carrier-based aircraft,
surface warships, a Marine Expeditionary unit, a Patriot missile
battalion, a mechanized battalion task force, and a mix of special
operations forces deployed in support of U.S. Central Command.  To
enhance force protection throughout the region, additional military
security personnel are also deployed.  Because of the increased
air-defense threat to coalition aircraft, we have also added a robust
personnel recovery capability.

Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch

The United States and coalition partners continue to enforce the no-fly
zones over Iraq through Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern
Watch.  Since December 23, following the conclusion of Desert Fox, we
have seen a significant increase in the frequency, intensity, and
coordination of the Iraqi air defense system to counter enforcement of
the no-fly zones.  Since that date, U.S. and coalition aircraft
enforcing the no-fly zones have been subject to multiple anti-aircraft
artillery (AAA) firings, radar illuminations, and over 20 surface-to-air
missile attacks.  Subsequent to Desert Fox, Iraq significantly increased
its air defense presence in both the north and south, but it has since
returned to pre-Desert Fox levels.  Despite the decrease, however, Iraq
has not ceased threatening coalition aircraft.

In response to Iraq's increased and repeated no-fly zone violations, and
in coordination with the Secretary of Defense's advice, our aircrews
have been authorized by me to respond to the increased Iraqi threat.
United States and coalition forces can defend themselves against any
Iraqi threat in carrying out their no-fly zone enforcement mission.  On
over 50 occasions since December, U.S. and coalition forces have engaged
the Iraqi integrated air defense system.  As a consequence, the Iraqi
air defense system has been degraded substantially further since

The Maritime Interception Force

The multinational Maritime Interception Force (MIF), operating in
accordance with Resolution 665 and other relevant resolutions, enforces
U.N. sanctions in the Gulf.  The U.S. Navy is the single largest
component of the MIF, but it is frequently augmented by ships, aircraft,
and other support from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Kuwait, The
Netherlands, New Zealand, the UAE, and the United Kingdom.  Member
states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) provide logistical support
and shipriders to the MIF and accept vessels diverted for violating U.N.
sanctions against Iraq.  Kuwait was especially helpful providing
significant naval and coast guard assistance.  Additionally, they
accepted over 15 diverted sanctions violators.

Although refined petroleum products leaving Iraq comprise most of the
prohibited traffic, the MIF has intercepted a growing number of ships
smuggling prohibited items into Iraq in violation of U.N. sanctions and
outside the parameters of the humanitarian oil-for-food program.  In
early December, the MIF conducted the latest in a series of periodic
surge operations in the far northern Gulf near the major Iraqi
waterways.  These operations disrupted smuggling in the region.  Kuwait
and the UAE have stepped up their own enforcement efforts.  Although
partially repaired and back on line, damage to the Basra refinery
inflicted during Desert Fox had a significant impact on Iraq's gas and
oil smuggling operations in the Gulf.

In December 1998, Iraq relocated surface-to-surface missile batteries to
the coastal area of the Al Faw Peninsula.  The missiles in question,
with a range of nearly 60 nautical miles, could reach far into the North
Arabian Gulf and posed a serious threat to the MIF.  The deployment of
these missiles to a position from which they could engage coalition
naval forces was carried out in concert with the increased attempts to
shoot down aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones and constituted an
enhancement of Iraq's military capability in southern Iraq.  Coalition
aircraft responded with air strikes to the threat posed by these
missiles and are authorized to continue to do so as necessary.

Chemical Weapons

After Iraq's November 15, 1998, pledge of unconditional cooperation with
weapons inspectors, UNSCOM began to test the Iraqi promise.  In a
November 25 letter, Iraq continued to deny that it ever weaponized VX
nerve agent or produced stabilized VX, despite UNSCOM's publicly stated
confidence in the Edgewood Arsenal Laboratory finding of stabilized VX
components in fragments of Iraqi SCUD missile warheads.  Iraq alleges
that the presence of VX was a deliberate act of tampering with the
samples examined in the United States.

On November 26, Iraq agreed to cooperate with UNSCOM efforts to
determine the disposition of 155mm shells filled with mustard chemical
agent, and UNSCOM agreed to proceed with such an effort when
logistically possible.  Iraq also agreed to cooperate in verifying the
tail assemblies of R-400 bombs, and in determining the precise locations
of pits that had been used for the field storage of special warheads at
Fallujah Forest and the Tigris Canal.

On November 30, the Iraqis failed to meet a deadline to provide various
documents Chairman Butler requested pertaining to Iraq's chemical
weapons program.  Included in this request was the Iraqi Air Force file
of documents found previously by UNSCOM inspectors that details chemical
weapons expended during the Iran-Iraq war.  We understand that UNSCOM
believes the file indicates that Iraq's official declarations to UNSCOM
have greatly overstated the quantities of chemical weapons expended,
which means that at least 6,000 chemical weapons are unaccounted.

In a January 25, 1999, report to the U.N. Security Council President,
UNSCOM identified as a priority chemical weapons disarmament issues: VX,
the 155mm mustard shells; the Iraqi Air Force file of chemical weapons
documents; R-400 bombs filled with CBW (field inspections needed); and
chemical weapons production equipment (field verification is needed for
18 of 20 shipping containers UNSCOM knows were moved together).  On
monitoring, the report identified as priorities the ability to verify
Iraqi compliance at listed facilities and to detect construction of new
dual-use facilities.

Biological Weapons

Iraq has failed to provide a credible explanation for UNSCOM tests that
found anthrax in fragments of seven SCUD missile warheads.  Iraq has
been claiming since 1995 that it put anthrax in only five such warheads,
and had previously denied weaponizing anthrax at all.  Iraq's
explanations to date are far from satisfactory, although it now
acknowledges putting both anthrax and botulinum toxin into some  number
of warheads.

Iraq's biological weapons (BW) program -- including SCUD missile BW
warheads, R-400 BW bombs, drop-tanks to be filled with BW, spray devices
for BW, production of BW agents (anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin,
and wheat cover smut), and BW agent growth media -- remains the "black
hole" described by Chairman Butler.  Iraq has consistently failed to
provide a credible account of its efforts to produce and weaponize its
BW agents.

During the period November 17 to December 2, 1998, an undeclared Class
II Biosafety Cabinet and some filter presses were discovered; these
items are subject to declarations by Iraq and biological monitoring.

On November 18 and 20, Chairman Butler again asked Iraq's Deputy Prime
Minister for information concerning Iraq's biological weapons programs.
Iraq has supplied none of the information requested.

In the January 25, 1999, report to the U.N. Security Council President,
UNSCOM identified as a priority biological weapons disarmament issue
Iraq's incomplete declarations on "the whole scope of the BW
program."The declarations are important because "Iraq possesses an
industrial capability and knowledge base, through which biological
warfare agents could be produced quickly and in volume."  The report
also identified the importance of monitoring dual-use biological items,
equipment, facilities, research, and acquisition at 250 listed sites.
The effectiveness of monitoring is "proportional to Iraq's cooperation
and transparency, to the number of monitored sites, and to the number of

Long-Range Missiles

Iraq's past practices of (1) refusing to discuss further its system for
concealment of longer range missiles and their components, (2) refusing
to provide credible evidence of its disposition of large quantities of
the unique fuel required for the long-range SCUD missile, and (3)
continuing to test modifications to SA-2 VOLGA surface-to-air missile
components appear intended to enhance Iraq's capability to produce a
surface-to-surface missile of range greater than its permitted range of
150 km.

While UNSCOM believes it can account for 817 of 819 imported Soviet-made
SCUD missiles, Iraq has refused to give UNSCOM a credible accounting of
the indigenous program that produced complete SCUD missiles that were
both successfully test-flown and delivered to the Iraqi Army.

In its January 25, 1999, report to the U.N. Security Council President,
UNSCOM identified the following as priority missile disarmament issues:
50 unaccounted SCUD conventional warheads; 500 tons of SCUD propellants,
the destruction of which has not been verified; 7 Iraqi-produced SCUDs
given to the army, the destruction of which cannot be verified;
truckloads of major components for SCUD production that are missing; the
concealment of BW warheads; and the lack of accounting for VX-filled
war-heads.  The report identified as priorities the capability to
monitor declared activities, leaps in missile technology, and changes to
declared operational missiles.  There are 80 listed missile sites.

Nuclear Weapons

After Iraq unconditionally rescinded its declarations of non-cooperation
on November 15, the IAEA began to test the Iraqi pledge of full
cooperation.  The IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei's December
14 report on Iraqi cooperation stated:  "The Iraqi counterpart has
provided the necessary level of cooperation to enable the
above-enumerated activities [ongoing monitoring] to be completed
efficiently and effectively."  In its 6-month report to the Security
Council on October 7, the IAEA stated that it had a "technically
coherent" view of the Iraqi nuclear program.  At that time, the IAEA
also stated its remaining questions about Iraq's nuclear program can be
dealt with within IAEA's ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV)
effort.  In the IAEA's February 8 report to the U.N. Security Council it
reiterated this position.

Nonetheless, Iraq has not yet supplied information in response to the
Security Council's May 14 Presidential Statement.  This statement noted
that the IAEA continues to have questions and concerns regarding foreign
assistance, abandonment of the program, and the extent of Iraqi progress
in weapons design.  Iraq has also not passed penal legislation
prohibiting nuclear-related activities contrary to Resolution 687.

In a February 8, 1999, report to the U.N. Secretary Council President,
IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei summarized previous IAEA
assessments of Iraq's compliance with its nuclear disarmament and
monitoring obligations.  The report restates that "Iraq has not
fulfilled its obligation to adopt measures and enact penal laws, to
implement and enforce compliance with Iraq's obligations under
Resolutions 687 and 707, other relevant Security Council resolutions and
the IAEA OMV plan, as required under paragraph 34 of that plan."  The
IAEA states that the three areas where questions on Iraq's nuclear
disarmament remain (lack of technical documentation, lack of information
on external assistance to Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program,
and lack of information on Iraq's abandonment of its nuclear weapons
program) would not prevent the full implementation of its OMV plan.

The IAEA continues to plan for long-term monitoring and verification
under Resolution 715.  In its February 8 report, the IAEA restated that
monitoring must be "intrusive" and estimated annual monitoring costs
would total nearly $10 million.

Dual-Use Imports

Resolution 1051 established a joint UNSCOM/IAEA unit to monitor Iraq's
imports of allowed dual-use items.  Iraq must notify the unit before it
imports specific items that can be used in both weapons of mass
destruction and civilian applications.  Similarly, U.N. members must
provide timely notification of exports to Iraq of such dual-use items.
Following the withdrawal of UNSCOM and IAEA monitors, there is no
monitoring of dual-use items inside Iraq.  This factor has presented new
challenges for the U.N. Sanctions Committee and is taken into
consideration in the approval process.

The U.N.'s "Oil-for-Food" Program

We continue to support the international community's efforts to provide
for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people through the oil-for-food
program.  Transition from phase four to phase five authorized by U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1210) was smooth.  As in phase four, Iraq is
again authorized to sell up to $5.2 billion worth of oil every 180 days.
However, because of a drop in world oil prices, Iraq was only able to
pump and sell approximately $3.1 billion worth of oil during phase four.
Since the first deliveries under oil-for-food began in March 1997, food
worth $2.75 billion, and over $497 million worth of medicine and health
supplies have been delivered to Iraq.

As of January 19, under phase four of the oil-for-food program,
contracts for the purchase of over $2.3 billion worth of humanitarian
goods for the Iraqi people have been presented to the U.N. Office of the
Iraq Program for review by the Sanctions Committee; of these, contracts
worth over $1.6 billion have been approved; most of the remaining
contracts are being processed by the Office of the Iraq Program.  As of
February 4, the United States had approved 584 contracts in phase four
and had placed 28 on hold pending clarification of questions about the
proposed contracts.

With regard to funds set aside for imports of parts and equipment to
increase oil exports, as of February 4, 333 contracts with a total value
of nearly $178 million have been approved; 94 contracts are on hold. In
January, the United States released a number of holds on oil spare parts
contracts.  Up to $300 million had been set aside in phase four of the
oil-for-food program to pay for spare parts and equipment to increase
Iraqi oil exports and thus increase available humanitarian funding.  The
United States had requested holds on contracts that did not directly
boost oil exports.  As the current phase of oil-for-food again sets
aside $300 million for this purpose, the United States decided to remove
holds on lower priority contracts.

The Security Council met in January to discuss the humanitarian
situation in Iraq.  The United States supported an examination of the
current situation and exploration of ways to improve the humanitarian
situation, particularly with regard to vulnerable groups such as
children under age five, and pregnant and nursing women.  The United
States has expressed its support for lifting the cap on Iraqi oil
exports under the oil-for-food program, and has suggested some
streamlining of approval of food and medicine contracts in the U.N.
Sanctions Committee.

Three assessment panels are being formed to look at Iraqi disarmament,
the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and Iraq's obligations regarding
Kuwait.  The panels are expected to complete their work by the middle of

Resolution 1210 maintains a separate oil-for-food program for northern
Iraq, administered directly by the United Nations in consultation with
the local population.  This program, which the United States strongly
supports, receives 13 to 15 percent of the funds generated under the
oil-for-food program.  The separate northern program was established
because of the Baghdad regime's proven disregard for the humanitarian
needs of the Kurdish, Assyrian, and Turkomen minorities of northern
Iraq, and its readiness to apply the most brutal forms of repression
against them.  In northern Iraq, where Baghdad does not exercise
control, the oil-for-food program has been able to operate relatively
effectively.  The Kurdish factions are setting aside their differences
to work together so that Resolution 1210 is implemented as efficiently
as possible.

The United Nations is required to monitor carefully implementation of
all aspects of the oil-for-food program.  The current phase marked by
Resolution 1210 anticipates infrastructure repairs in areas such as oil
export capacity, generation of electricity, and water purification.  The
U.N. monitoring regime is presented with increasing challenges, as
UNSCOM monitors are no longer in Iraq.

Humanitarian programs such as oil-for-food have steadily improved the
life of the average Iraqi living under sanctions (who, for example, now
receives a ration basket providing over 2,000 calories per day, a
significant improvement in nutrition since the program began) while
denying Saddam Hussein control over oil revenues.  We will continue to
work with the U.N. Secretariat, the Security Council, and others in the
international community to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the
Iraqi people are met while denying any political or economic benefits to
the Baghdad regime.

Northern Iraq:  Kurdish Reconciliation

Since their ground-breaking meeting with Secretary Albright in
September, Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party
(KDP), and Jalal Talabani, Chairman of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK), have met three times to continue their work towards full
reconciliation.  Both parties have condemned internal fighting, pledged
to refrain from violence in settling their differences, and resolved to
eliminate terrorism by establishing stronger safeguards for Iraq's
borders.  Our deep concern for the safety, security, and economic
well-being of Iraqi Kurds, Shias, Sunnis, and others who have been
subject to brutal attacks by the Baghdad regime remains a primary focus
of our Iraq policy.

On November 4, the Governments of Turkey and the United Kingdom joined
us in recognizing and welcoming the cooperative achievement of Mr.
Barzani and Mr. Talabani.  The three states reiterated the importance of
preserving the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and noted, with
pleasure, the prominence the KDP and PUK have accorded this principle.
We also welcomed the commitment by the KDP and PUK to deny sanctuary to
the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), to eliminate all PKK bases from the
region, and to safeguard the Turkish border.  The parties believe that
key decisions on Iraq's future should be made by all the Iraqi people
together at an appropriate time and in a regular political process.
Their work to achieve the principles embodied in the Ankara Statements
are thus meant to implement a framework of regional administration until
a united, pluralistic, and democratic Iraq is achieved.

On January 8, the two leaders met without recourse to U.S., U.K., or
Turkish interlocutors, in Salahidin in northern Iraq.  They reiterated
their determination to implement the September agreement, made concrete
progress on key issues of revenue sharing and closing down PKK bases,
and agreed to stay in close contact. 

The United States is committed to ensuring that international aid
continues to reach the north, that the human rights of the Kurds and
northern Iraq minority groups, such as the Turkomen, Assyrians, Yezedis,
and others are respected, and that the no-fly-zone enforced by Operation
Northern Watch is observed.  The United States will decide how and when
to respond should Baghdad's actions pose an increased threat to Iraq's
neighbors, to regional security, to vital U.S. interests, and to the
Iraqi people, including those in the north.

The Human Rights Situation in Iraq

The human rights situation throughout Iraq continues to be a cause for
grave concern.  As I reported November 5, the Iraqi army has stepped up
repressive operations against the Shia in the south.  In mid-November,
we received unconfirmed reports from the Iraqi opposition that 150
persons had been executed at Amara, with three bodies left hanging on
the city's main bridge over the Tigris River as a warning to those who
oppose the regime.  An additional 172 persons, some detained since 1991,
were reported to have been summarily executed in Abu Gharaib and
Radwaniya prisons; as in prior waves of summary prison killings, bodies
showing clear signs of torture were reportedly returned to their
families.  Reports reached us in December that a mass grave containing
at least 25 bodies was found near the Khoraisan River in Diyala
province, east of Baghdad.

The Iraqi government continues to work toward the destruction of the
Marsh Arabs' way of life and the unique ecology of the southern marshes.
In the past 2 months, 7 more villages were reportedly destroyed on the
margins of the marshes, with irrigation water cut off and the vegetation
cut down and burned.  Those who could not flee to the interior of the
marshes -- particularly the old, infirm, women, and children -- were
said to have been taken hostage by regime forces.

On February 19, the Shia Grand Ayatollah Mohammed al-Sadr was murdered
in Iraq along with several of his relatives.  Opposition sources
indicate this murder was the work of the Saddam regime.  The regime also
violently suppressed demonstrations that followed in Baghdad and other
cities opposing the murder.

In the north, outside the Kurdish-controlled areas, the government
continues the forced expulsion of ethnic Kurds and Turkomen from Kirkuk
and other cities.  In recent months, hundreds of families have
reportedly been expelled from Kirkuk with seven new Arab settlements
created on land seized from the Kurds.  Reports from the
Kurdish-controlled areas where the displaced persons are received
indicate that they are forced to leave behind almost all of their
personal property.  Due to a shortage of  housing, they are still living
in temporary shelters.

A conference on the research and treatment of victims of chemical and
biological weapons attacks in northern Iraq, organized by the Washington
Kurdish Institute and sponsored by the Department of State was held on
November 18-19, 1998.  The conference focused on the long-range effects
of the Iraqi chemical attack on the village of Halabja, where nearly
5,000 persons were killed in 1988. According to panelists, the hideous
combination of mustard gas, tabun, sarin, VX, tear gas, and possibly
aflatoxin that the Iraqi military used in the attack has resulted in
dramatically increased rates of cancer, respiratory problems, heart
failure, infertility, miscarriages, and possibly genetic damage in the
surviving population.

On December 1, the London-based INDICT organization announced that 12
senior Iraqi officials -- including Saddam Hussein, his sons Uday and
Qusay, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti, Vice President Taha Yasin
Ramadan, and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz -- would be the focus of
its campaign for prosecution by an international tribunal.

The Iraqi government continues to stall and obfuscate attempts to
account for more than 600 Kuwaitis and third-country nationals who
disappeared at the hands of Iraqi authorities during or after the
occupation of Kuwait, despite a Security Council resolution requiring it
to do so.  Baghdad still refuses to allow independent human rights
monitors to enter Iraq, despite repeated requests by U.N. Special
Rapporteur for Iraq, Max Van der Stoel.  The U.N. Human Rights
Commission has issued a strong condemnation of the "all-pervasive
repression and oppression" of the Iraqi government.

The Iraqi Opposition

We are deepening our engagement with the forces of change in Iraq,
helping Iraqis inside and outside Iraq become a more effective voice for
the aspirations of the people.  We will work toward the day when Iraq
has a government worthy of its people -- a government prepared to live
in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of
its citizens, rather than represses them.  On October 31, I signed into
law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.  It provides significant new
discretionary authorities to assist the opposition in its struggle
against the regime.  On January 19, I submitted to the Congress a
notification of my intent to designate certain groups under the Act; I
designated those groups on February 4.  The assessment of additional
groups that may qualify for assistance under the Act is progressing.
Also on October 31, Radio Free Iraq began operations.  Its broadcasts
are being heard in Iraq and its message profoundly displeases the

On November 17, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,
Martin Indyk, met with 17 London-based representatives of the Iraqi
opposition.  He heard the full range of views of the parties present,
and outlined the new U.S. policy toward the opposition.  Indyk urged
them to work together toward the common purpose of a new government in
Baghdad; the United States will help, but the opposition itself must
take the lead.  He urged them to do all they could to get a message to
the people of Iraq that there is an alternative to Saddam Hussein,
adding that the United States will support the campaign to indict Saddam
as a war criminal.

Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi outlined a number of agreed
points to Indyk.  The group:  1) welcomed the new U.S. policy toward the
opposition; 2) will work to create a democratic government in Iraq; 3)
will redouble efforts to get all groups to work together; 4) wants the
opposition to serve as an interlocutor for the Iraqi people with the
international community; and 5) expressed thanks for the U.S. role in
the recent Kurdish reconciliation.

On January 21, Secretary of State Albright announced the appointment of
Frank Ricciardone as Special Representative for Transition in Iraq
(SRTI).  He will abbreviate his current tour as Deputy Chief of Mission
in Ankara, and take up his new responsibilities in early March.  He
traveled with the Secretary of State to London, Riyadh, and Cairo in
late January to discuss U.S. policy on this issue.  He outlined U.S.
intentions to help Iraq resume its rightful place in the region -- a
goal the United States believes can only be achieved under new Iraqi
leadership.  He emphasized U.S. desire to work with Iraqis -- who alone
can make this happen -- inside Iraq and outside Iraq, as well as with
Iraq's neighbors who share the same objectives.

There are, of course, other important elements of U.S. policy.  These
include the maintenance of Security Council support for efforts to
eliminate Iraq's prohibited weapons and missile programs, and economic
sanctions that continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute
those threats to international peace and security.  United States
support for the Iraqi opposition will be carried out consistent with
those policy objectives as well.  Similarly, U.S. support must be
attuned to what Iraqis can effectively make use of as it develops over

The United Nations Compensation Commission

The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), established pursuant
to Resolutions 687, 692, and 1210, continues to resolve claims against
Iraq arising from Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The
UNCC has issued over 1.3 million awards worth approximately $7 billion.
Thirty percent of the proceeds from the oil sales permitted by Security
Council resolutions have been allocated to the Compensation Fund to pay
awards and to finance operations of the UNCC.  Pursuant to decisions of
the UNCC Governing Council, certain small claims are to receive initial
payments of $2,500 toward the amounts approved on those claims before
large claims of individuals and claims of corporations and governments
may share in the funds available for claims payments.  As money from
Iraqi oil sales is deposited in the Compensation Fund the UNCC makes
these initial $2,500 payments on eligible claims in the order in which
those claims were approved by the UNCC.  To date, the United States
Government has received funds from the UNCC for initial installment
payments on approximately 1435 claims of U.S. claimants.


Iraq remains a serious threat to international peace and security.  I
remain determined to see Iraq comply fully with all of its obligations
under Security Council resolutions.  The United States looks forward to
the day when Iraq rejoins the family of nations as a responsible and
law-abiding member.  I appreciate the support of the Congress for our
efforts and shall continue to keep the Congress informed about this
important issue.



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