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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

"Iraq Liberation Act" introduced into Congress

Iraq News, SEPTEMBER 29, 1998

By Laurie Mylroie

The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .

I.  S.2525/HR 4655, "IRAQ LIBERATION ACT OF 1998," SEPT 29
   Congress, on a bi-partisan basis, is fed up with the Clinton 
administration's do-nothing policy on Iraq.   Today, the "Iraq 
Liberation Act of 1998" was introduced into the Senate and House.  Those 
introducing the bill in the Senate were Sen. Majority Leader, Trent 
Lott, [R, Miss], Sen. Bob Kerrey, [D. Ne], Sen. John McCain [R, Az], 
Sen. Joseph Lieberman [D Conn] and Sen. Jon Kyl [R, Az].  Those 
introducing the bill in the House were Rep. Benjamin Gilman [R, NY] and 
Rep. Christopher Cox [R, Ca]
Mr. LOTT (for himself, Mr. KERRY, Mr. MCCAIN, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mr. HELMS, 
Mr. SHELBY, Mr. BROWNBACK and Mr. KYL _________________________) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
Committee on ____________
To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.
   Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-tives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, 
   This Act may be cited as the "Iraq Liberation Act"of l998.
   The Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an eight 
year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops 
and ballis-tic missiles against Iranian cities
       (2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians 
from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 
50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
       (3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi 
Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 
5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town 
      (4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a seven month 
occupation of Kuwait, killing and
	committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civil-ians, and 
setting Kuwait's oil wells ablaze upon re-treat.
       (5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 
1991, and Iraq subsequently ac-cepted the ceasefire conditions specified 
in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) 
requiring Iraq, among other things, to dis-close fully and permit the 
dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to 
long-term monitoring and verification of such dis-mantlement.
     (6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate 
former President George Bush
during his April 14-16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
     (7)  In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the 
border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of 
or attack against Kuwait.
     (8)  On August 31 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by 
helping one Kurdish faction cap-ture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish 
regional govern-ment.
     (9)  Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny 
weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq 
(UNSCOM) ac-cess to key facilities and documents, has on several 
occasions  endangered  the  safe  operation  of UNSCOM helicopters 
transporting UNSCOM per-sonnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern 
of de-ception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of 
mass destruction programs.
   (10)  On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all co-operation with UNSCOM, 
and subsequently threat-ened to end long-term monitoring activities by 
the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.
    (11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 
105-235, which declared that
"the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its 
international obligations" and
urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the 
Constitution and relevant laws
of the United States, to bring Iraq into Compliance with its 
international obligations.".
   It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the 
regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the 
emergence of a demo-cratic government to replace that regime.
(a) AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE.--The President may provide to the 
Iraqi democratic opposition
organizations designated in accordance with section 5 the following 
        (1)  BROADCASTING--(A) Grant assistance to such organizations 
for radio and television broad-casting by such organizations to Iraq.
               (B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United 
States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to carry out 
this paragraph.
        (2)  MILITARY ASSISTANCE--(A) The President is authorized to 
direct the drawdown of defense arti-cles from the stocks of the 
Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, 
and military education and training for such organiza-tions.
       (B)   The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this 
paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
    (b)  HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE--The Congress urges the President to 
use existing authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to 
provide humanitarian assistance to individuals living in areas of Iraq 
controlled by organizations designated in accordance with section 5, 
with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled to 
such areas from areas under the control of the Saddam Hussein regime.
    (c) RESTRICTION ON ASSISTANCE.-No assistance under this section 
shall be provided to any group witthin an organization designated in 
accordance with section 5 which group is, at the time the assistance is 
to be pro-vided, engaged in military cooperation with the Saddam Hussein 
    (d) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT -The President shall notify the 
congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign 
Assistance Act of 1961 at least 15 days in advance of each obligation of 
assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures 
applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
        (1)  IN GENERAL--Defense articles, defense services, and 
military education and training pro-vided under subsection (a)(2) shall 
be made available without reimbursement to the Department of De-fense 
except to the extent that funds are appro-priated pursuant to paragraph 
        (2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to the President for each of the fiscal years 1998 and 1999 
such sums as may be necessary to reimburse the ap-plicable 
appropriation, fund, or account for the value (as defined in section 
644(m) of the Foreign Assist-ance Act if 1961) of defense articles, 
defense serv-ices, or military education and training provided under 
subsection (a)(2).
     (f) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS--(1) Amounts author-ized to be 
appropriated under this section are authorized to remain available until 
    (2)   Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are 
in addition to amounts otherwise available for the purposes described in 
this section.
           (a)  INITIAL DESIGNATION--Not later than 90 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more 
Iraqi democratic opposition organi-zations that satisfy the criteria set 
forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 
          (b)  DESIGNATION OF ADDITIONAL GROUPS.--At any time subsequent 
to the initial designation pursuant to sub-section (a), the President 
may designate one or more addi-tional Iraqi democratic opposition 
organizations that sat-isfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as 
eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
         (c)  CRITERIA FOR DESIGNATION.--In designating an organization 
pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only 
organizations that-
              (1)  include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individ-uals and 
groups opposed to the Saddam Hussein re-gime; and
              (2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for 
human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to 
maintaining Iraq's territorial in-tegrity, and to fostering cooperation 
among demo-cratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime
         (d) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT.-At least 15 days in advance of 
designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to this 
section, the President shall
notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his pro-posed designation in 
accordance with the procedures appli-cable to reprogramming 
notifications under such section 634A.
Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, 
Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent 
Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of Representatives 
on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 78, 105th 
Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13,1998), the Congress urges 
the President to call upon
the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for 
the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein 
and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against 
humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.
   It is the sense of Congress that, once Saddam Hus-sein is removed 
from power in Iraq, the United States
should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and 
substantial humanitarian assistance to the
Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi 
parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq's 
foreign creditors to develop a multilat-eral response to Iraq's foreign 
debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime. 
Tuesday, September 29, 1998
Lott bill calls for military aid for groups seeking Hussein's removal
~WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi today 
said the United States needs to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein from 
power through military support of Iraqi opposition groups. "It is time 
to move beyond political support to direct military assistance. It is 
time to openly state our policy goal is the removal of Saddam Hussein's 
regime from power," he said.
   Senator Lott today introduced the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, S. 
2525, which allows the President to provide "direct and overt" military 
assistance to Iraqi opposition groups. He made the following statement:
   "I am introducing legislation allowing the President to provide 
direct and overt military assistance to the Iraqi opposition. This is a 
bipartisan initiative.  I am joined by Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, 
Senator John McCain of Arizona, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, 
Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Richard Shelby of 
Alabama, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, and Senator Jon Kyl of 
   "Today is the 55th day without weapons inspections in Iraq.  For 
months, I have urged the Administration to fundamentally change its 
policy.   Monitoring the concealment of weapons of mass destruction is 
not enough. Our goal should be to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein 
from power.
   "We should have no illusions. This will not be easy and it will not 
happen quickly.  But it can happen. The U.S. has worked with Iraqi 
opponents of Saddam Hussein in the past. We can and should do so in the 
   "I have been working with a bipartisan group of Senators throughout 
much of the year to support a change in U.S. policy toward Iraq. In the 
State Department Authorization conference report, $38 million is 
authorized for political and humanitarian support for the Iraqi 
   "In P.L. 105-174, Congress appropriated $5 million to support the 
political opposition and $5 million to establish Radio Free Iraq.
   "In the Senate-passed version of the Fiscal Year 1999 Foreign 
Operations Appropriations Act, there is an additional $10 million for 
political support to the Iraq opposition.
   "These steps have been important. But they are not enough. It is time 
to move beyond political support to direct military assistance. It is 
time to openly state our policy goal is the removal of Saddam Hussein's 
regime from power.
   "As long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, Iraq will pose a threat 
to stability in the Persian Gulf.  As long as he remains in power, Iraq 
will pursue weapons of mass destruction programs. His record speaks for 
   "The answer is not just 'containment' or a U.S.-led invasion. There 
are Iraqis willing to fight and die for the freedom of their country. 
There are significant portions of Iraq today which are not under the 
control of Saddam Hussein.
   "Our goal should be to support Iraqi freedom fighters and expand the 
area under their control.
   "I have discussed this approach with senior Administration officials. 
I have consulted with distinguished outside experts. I have raised this 
approach with heads of states and government officials from the region. 
I believe this approach can work.
   "S 2525, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, has four major components. 
 First, it calls for a policy to seek the removal of the Saddam Hussein 
   "Second, it authorizes the President to provide $2 million for 
broadcasting and $97 million in military aid to Iraqi opposition forces. 
The President is given the discretion to designate the recipients of 
this assistance. The military aid authority is similar to that used to 
support anti-narcotics operations in South America and to train and 
equip the Bosnian army.
   "Third, it renews Congressional calls for an international tribunal 
to try Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials for war crimes.  This 
will be a crucial step in delegitimizing his reign of terror.
  "Finally, the bill looks toward post-Saddam Iraq and calls for a 
comprehensive response to the challenges of rebuilding the country 
devastated by decades of Saddam Hussein's rule.
   "Similar legislation has already been introduced in the House. We 
will make every effort to work with the Administration to see if we can 
enact this legislation before we leave.
   "We need bipartisanship now more than ever in foreign policy. This is 
a bipartisan approach to U.S. policy toward Iraq.  We are interested in 
looking to the future. We are interested in protecting American 
interests and ensuring that Saddam Hussein can never again threaten his 
neighbors with military force or weapons of mass destruction."
Floor Statement of Senator Bob Kerrey
September 29, 1998
   Mister President, I rise to comment on the situation in Iraq and to 
urge my colleagues to support the legislation introduced by the Majority 
Leader today.
   I spoke on Iraq on this floor last November and again in February, 
but Saddam Hussein is still in power, still threatening his neighbors 
and oppressing his people, so I must turn again to this topic. In fact, 
I will keep turning to it, joining my colleagues from both sides of the 
aisle, trying to change U.S. policy toward Iraq, because I cannot abide 
the idea of Saddam Hussein as the dictator of Iraq and I will never 
accept the status quo in Iraq. One of three things will happen, Mr. 
President: Saddam Hussein will lose his job, I will lose my job, or I 
will keep talking about him on this floor. 1998 has unfortunately 
brought us a new and less advantageous situation in our relationship 
with Iraq. First of all, other threats have pushed Iraq into the 
  Asia's recession and the collapse of the Russian ruble have sent shock 
waves through all the emerging markets. Economic instability is usually 
the harbinger of political instability, which in turn threatens the 
peace between nations and the ability of weakened nations to maintain 
their own security. The Indian-Pakistani nuclear confrontation and the 
unravelling of Russia's military are two highly significant examples of 
this trend.  Russia's crisis is particularly important because our 
security and that of our allies depends on Russia keeping its nuclear 
weapons and fissile materials out of the hands of the rogue states and 
terrorist groups which would deliver them to us, either by ballistic 
missile or by the rented or stolen truck favored by terrorists.
   Terrorism may or may not actually be on the rise, but terrorists have 
recently shown the intention and ability to attack American targets 
overseas. As we confront organizations like that of Usama bin Ladin, we 
come face to face with people who will go to great efforts to kill 
Americans, and we react strongly. In the aftermath of events like the 
bombing of Khobar Towers or the two embassies in Africa, we naturally 
move terrorism to the forefront of our threat concerns. As peace is 
gradually made in the world's most intractable ethnic and religious 
conflicts, terrorism ought to decline, but our rationality can not 
penetrate terrorist motivation.
   In addition, there is proliferation. Rogue missiles and their deadly 
cargoes are rapidly developing, arid spreading: the North Korean launch 
follows launches by Pakistan and Iran and tests of nuclear weapons in 
both India and Pakistan. The trend in the proliferation of weapons of 
mass destruction is running against us as an increasing number of 
countries come to view these missiles as a low-cost way of placing the 
U.S. and our allies at risk without expending the resources to confront 
us militarily across the board.  In a way, Iraq during the Gulf War was 
the precursor of this kind of thinking: they entered the war with a big 
army and air force, but in the end the only thing that made them a 
serious and deadly opponent was their arsenal of SCUD missiles.  SCUDs 
and the like may be 1950's technology, but armed with biological, 
chemical, or nuclear warheads, these missiles are equalizers in 1998.
   And so, in this time of uncertainty and change, we rank the threats 
to our national life and to our individual lives and livelihoods, and we 
tend to forget Iraq. It is an old threat, after all, and we have lived 
with it for all this decade. In addition, Iraq seems held in check by 
its neighbors and by economic sanctions. Yet although the Iraqi threat 
may appear to be dormant, in fact the risk we and our allies run from 
the continuation of Saddam Hussein in power is, in fact, greater than it 
has been for years.
   We know, most recently and unambiguously from the former U.N. weapons 
inspector Scott Ritter, that Iraq's program to develop weapons of mass 
destruction continues.  We know that more than fifty days have elapsed 
since the last UNSCOM weapons inspection.  Almost two months of immunity 
have been granted to a regime which used chemical weapons on its own 
people, which seeks biological weapons, and which had an active and 
advanced nuclear weapons program.  Further, Iraqi regime rhetoric, 
stated most recently by Tariq Aziz at the U.N. General Assembly meeting 
this week, notifies us that Iraq will no longer accept UNSCOM 
monitoring, at least not in an effective form. So Iraq's neighbors, and 
we, can expect to be threatened by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction of 
ever-growing lethality in coming years, with no collective international 
action to halt it.
   Saddam Hussein pays for his weapons programs by smuggling oil, at 
which he is getting more proficient, and by diverting resources which 
should be going to the Iraqi people. His military may be less capable 
than before the Gulf War, but his troops could still overwhelm the 
remaining areas of Iraqi Kurdistan outside his control. They could move 
north at any time or attack pockets of resistance in the southern marsh 
   It is strongly in America's interest that Iraq's neighbors and our 
allies in the region live in peace and security. That interest alone 
more than justifies a policy to change the Iraqi government. But there 
is an additional reason which ought to have particular resonance in the 
United States.  Mr President, I refer to the need to free the Iraqi 
people from one of the most oppressive dictatorships on earth.
   We Americans, who have striven for more than two centuries to govern 
ourselves, should particularly feel the cruel anomaly which is the Iraqi 
government. In an age in which democracy is in the ascendant, in which 
democracy is universally recognized as a government's seal of 
legitimacy, the continued existence of a Stalinist regime like the one 
in Baghdad should inspire us to action.  Saddam Hussein rules by raw 
fear. In terms of absolutism, personality cult, and terror applied at 
every level of society, only North Korea rivals Iraq today.  The 
existence of such a government is a daily affront to every 
freedom-loving person, to everyone who is revolted by the degradation of 
our fellow human beings I refuse to accept it, and I want the United 
States to refuse to accept it.  As I have said on this floor before, 
when Saddam's prisons and secret police records and burial grounds are 
opened, when the Iraqis can at last tell their horrifying story to the 
international court which will try Saddam for his many crimes against 
his own people, we Americans will be proud we took this stand.
   Mr. President, over the past year we have made some progress toward a 
policy of replacing the Iraqi regime. The Foreign Operations 
Appropriations Bill passed by this body included funding for assistance 
to Iraqi opposition movements and for broadcasting to Iraq. The 
Administration has proposed a program to assist the Iraqi opposition 
abroad, to link the different groups together and get them organized. I 
support all these efforts, but they don't go far enough. The legislation 
before us takes the additional steps which indicate full commitment to 
helping the Iraqi people get rid of Saddam and his regime: the 
legislation states the commitment, and it enables the Administration to 
supply military assistance to the Iraqi opposition.
   Mr. President, should this legislation come into effect, we and the 
Administration should be prepared for the possibility that the Iraqi 
opposition may use the military equipment they receive, together with 
their own resources, to liberate some portion of Iraq. As I have said 
before that will be the time for the United States to recognize the 
opposition as Iraq's government and lift economic sanctions on the 
liberated part of the country.
   At this time in history, when some in the world seem ready to set 
aside their moral scruples and interact with Saddam, when the UNSCOM 
inspection system is at grave risk, when Saddam may attempt to break 
free of the sanctions which have restrained him since the Gulf War, it 
is urgent for the United States to clearly state its implacable 
opposition to Saddam and his regime. This legislation is the way to do 
that, and to simultaneously help Iraqis make their revolution. Besides 
strengthening the Iraqi opposition, this legislation tells Iraqis to 
keep up hope. It enables the Administration to tell Iraqis we know how 
bad Saddam is, we have the facts on him, and we will not rest until we 
see him in court.  Iraqis will also learn that we understand the need to 
deal with the burden of debt Saddam has incurred, and we will work with 
Iraq's international creditors to find a solution for a post-Saddam 
Iraq. Iraqis will learn of our commitment to provide humanitarian 
assistance and democracy transition assistance to a post-Saddam Iraq. 
They will learn that an Iraq committed to democracy will be a welcome 
member in the family of nations. As they learn what we have done and 
what we are prepared to do, the Iraqi people will be our allies in an 
enterprise which will make them free, and America and its allies more 
   I yield the floor.
USA Today
March 3, 1998
We can remove Saddam
Opposing View: There are many ways the world can work against Saddam. A 
'Free Iraq' is the goal
By Trent Lott
   The strategy of :containing" Saddam Hussein is not working.  Each 
time he cre-ates a crisis, he pays no cost--though the Iraqi people pay 
dearly.  Each time he man-ufactures a confrontation, the United States 
finds itself with less support - and Saddam finds more apologists.
   Start with this unpleasant fact: As long as Saddam remains in power, 
he will threaten vital U.S. interests in the Middle East. His hatred for 
our country, our friends and our values knows no bounds. He has murdered 
uncounted thousands of Iraqis, invaded his neighbors, used chemical 
weapons against both Iran and his own people, and tried to assassinate 
former president George Bush. Who believe "containment"--will change 
this leopard's spots?
   There is an alternative which would give us--not Saddam--- the 
initiative.  It al-ready has bipartisan support. We must strike at the 
fault lines of his regime. Oppo-sition groups already challenge his 
control over large areas of Iraq: Kurds in the North, Shutes in the 
South. He so fears his people that he rarely appears in public and moves 
from lair to lair each night.  His son-in-law defected in 1991, his 
first wife was arrested a year ago, and his son was wound-ed in an 
assassination attempt in 1995. His military, regularly purged, is a 
shell of the force we defeated in Desert Storm.
   We should exploit those vulnerabilities, starting with an 
international move to in-dict Saddam Hussein for his war crimes.  End 
his monopoly on information through a Radio Free Iraq. Toughen 
enforcement of existing sanctions. Expand existing no-fly and no-drive 
zones to degrade his armed forces' control. Support his oppo-nents so we 
can recognize liberated zones, lift sanctions and create a safe and 
prosper-ous "Free Iraq." Then watch the flood of defections from 
   This strategy requires a strong U.S. mili-tary presence in the 
region, and that re-quires supplemental funding now and increased 
long-term defense funding.
   Critics claim this approach is too diffi-cult, that the United States 
would stand alone. On the contrary, key regional allies such as Saudi 
Arabia and Turkey are more likely to support a goal of removing Saddam 
than a policy that just leaves him madder--and securely in power.  Doing 
the right thing will take leadership, com-mitment, and resolve. We've 
had it in the past. We need it now.
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss, is Senate majority leader.

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