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SENATE RESOLUTION 225--RELATIVE TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (Senate - February 07, 1996)

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Mr. ROBB submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 225

Whereas units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, including military trainers and intelligence officers posing as humanitarian relief officials, are still present in Bosnia-Herzegovina;

Whereas the presence of the Revolutionary Guards in Bosnia-Herzegovina violates the peace accord initialed in Dayton, Ohio, on November 21, 1995 and the subsequent treaty signed in Paris, France, on December 14, 1995, which provide that all foreign volunteer troops be withdrawn from Bosnia-Herzegovina within 30 days of the signing of the treaty, that is, January 13, 1996;

Whereas the commanders of the NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina consider the activities of the Revolutionary Guards in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including their espousal and promotion of extremist Islamic fundamentalism, to be one of the most direct threats to the safety of United States forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina;

Whereas the continued presence of the Revolutionary Guards in Bosnia-Herzegovina threatens long-term stability in the region; and

Whereas the continuation of arms shipments from Iran to Bosnia-Herzegovina could preclude the United States from fulfilling its promise of providing military equipment and training to Bosnia-Herzegovina: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the President should--

(1) pursue all measures necessary, including substantial diplomatic pressure on Bosnia-Herzegovina, to expedite the withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina, of all foreign troops whose presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina violates the peace accord initialed in Dayton, Ohio, on November 21, 1995, and the subsequent treaty signed in Paris, France, on December 14, 1995;

(2) bring in the United Nations a proposal to ban Member States from importing Iranian oil in order to pressure the Iranian Government into withdrawing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from Bosnia-Herzegovina; and

(3) establish within the NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina a multi-national task force whose mission shall be, if called upon, to locate and ensure the withdrawal of the Revolutionary Guards from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, under the leadership of Adm. Leighton Smith, the NATO Implementation Force has made marked progress in war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina during the first 2 months of Operation Joint Endeavor.

As an aside, I should mention that, as a member of all three national security committees, including Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence , I am privy to significant amounts of classified information related to Bosnia. For the purpose of this open discussion, however, I will refer solely to information widely available in the public record.

The news media report that much has been accomplished so far in coming to terms with the Dayton Peace Agreement:

First, with only a few exceptions, the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-Croat Federation have observed the cease-fire.

Second, the warring parties have stepped back and are today in substantial compliance with the 4-kilometer zone of separation.

Third, the adversaries have removed their heavy weapons to points that pose no apparent of immediate threat to our forces.

Fourth, the locations of roughly a quarter of the estimated 3 million land mines that plague Bosnia have been identified. Still, this threat to security remains one of the most troublesome--as witnessed by the fact that more than a dozen IFOR troops have been killed or wounded by mines so far.

Fifth, freedom of movement along Bosnia's roads is returning to normal, which is a requisite step to allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to their homes.

In short, the Implementation Force has taken the necessary first steps for Bosnia and Herzegovina to get back on its feet as a peaceful community in this historically war-ravaged region of Europe.

But, even with all of these NATO successes, we must also recognize that all has not gone according to plan. In fact, there remains a clear danger to the peacekeepers.

Today, according to published news reports, there remains a band of about 200 Iranian revolutionary guards in northern Bosnia, many apparently in the United States sector. This band of well-trained soldiers is well-named in that they are Iran's primary instrument for exporting its Islamic revolution.

For more than 3 years, according to the Reuters News Service, these revolutionary guards have served primarily as military advisers and commanders. They reportedly draw their logistical and other support from Iran's Embassy in Croatia. They have not only been training a brigade of Bosnian Moslems in military doctrine and tactics, they have also been teaching them the tenets of radical, extremist Islamic fundamentalism, according to the Washington Post.

Moreover, their continued presence is an indication of the Bosnian Moslem government's inability to comply with the provision in the Dayton Peace Agreement that mandates the expulsion of all foreign volunteer fighters in Bosnia. This presence, combined with Iran's criticism of the Dayton Accord as unjust to the Bosnian Moslems, is cause for concern. Their presence sounds the same alarm bells that we failed to heed a decade ago in Lebanon, with tragic consequences.

Those bells have tolled even louder in the last few days. According to the New York Times, an American who uses the names Kevin Holt and Isa Abdullah Ali has been sighted in Bosnia. U.S. troops have been ordered to arrest him as a possible suspect in the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

The Times also reports that the revolutionary guards have increased their surveillance of U.S. troop activities and are suspected of planning attacks against U.S. targets there. As a result, NATO forces were put on a state of alert on January 23. According to Secretary of Defense William Perry, `We will continue to maintain an alert.'

U.S. commanders consider many of the remaining revolutionary guards as intelligence agents and terrorists. There is speculation that they hope to retaliate against the United States for its Middle East and antiterrorism policies and that they further hope to be able to sway the fragile balance of American public opinion on Operation Joint Endeavor.

When they believe the time is right, they may try to disrupt our operations and in turn, undermine the commitment of the North Atlantic Alliance to a peaceful settlement of the Balkans conflict.

That is why they must not be allowed to remain. At this point, the presence of Iran's revolutionary guards is the single most significant, near-term threat to Operation Joint Endeavor and to lasting peace on the Continent. Landmines will no doubt continue to take their toll on the peacekeeping force, but the revolutionary guards appear to have offensive, revolutionary intent and that poses a real danger to our troops.

That is why, today, I have submitted a Senate resolution that calls for the administration to take three distinct actions:

First, it urges the administration to continue to exert strong diplomatic pressure on Bosnia and Herzegovina to comply with the provision of the Dayton Accord that states `all foreign Forces, including individual advisors, freedom fighters, trainers, volunteers, and personnel from neighboring and other States, shall be withdrawn from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.' We must make it clear that, as Secretary of State Warren Christopher has said, neither military equipment and training nor economic reconstruction assistance is forthcoming until the Bosnian Moslem government is `in compliance with the agreement.'

Second, it urges the President to take to the United Nations the issue of Iran's revolutionary guards remaining in Bosnia in defiance of the Dayton Accord. The members of that international body must weigh the evidence and then take the appropriate action: placing an international embargo on all importation of Iranian oil until that nation recalls all of its military personnel stationed in Bosnia.

Third, it urges the administration to establish an operational task force from units of the Implementation Force. Should diplomacy and sanctions fail, it could be called upon to locate and ensure the withdrawal of the Iranian revolutionary guards from Bosnia. As stated in the Dayton Accord, IFOR troops are authorized to use necessary force to ensure compliance. The mere presence of a force specifically honed to deal with the revolutionary guards should give Iran both pause about terrorist actions in Bosnia and further motivation to withdraw them. To preclude the possibility of mission creep, any such task force would be deactivated immediately upon completion of the operation.

What is at risk if we do not expel the Iranian revolutionary guards from Bosnia and Herzegovina?

First and foremost, the lives of American troops and other NATO soldiers working to secure a lasting peace in Bosnia.

At risk is the security of such neighboring nations as Macedonia, Albania, and our NATO allies should the conflict spread further.

And at risk is an emerging security architecture for a post-cold-war Europe.

Mr. President, I hope all of our colleague can support this resolution. Together, we must increase pressure on the Bosnian Government to expel all foreign volunteer soldiers and in particular, those from Iran. Together, we must persuade the Government of Iran that its continuing presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the United States leads the effort to bring that nation to peace, must come to an end--and now.

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