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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

[CRS Issue Brief for Congress]

92117: Iraqi Compliance with Cease-Fire Agreements

Updated December 2, 1996

Kenneth Katzman
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Nuclear Program
Chemical Weapons
Biological Research
Ballistic Missiles
Humanitarian and Protective Efforts/Aid Programs
U.N./U.S. Efforts in Iraq
Kurds/Operation Provide Comfort
Shiite Muslims/Operation Southern Watch
Aid to the Iraqi People
Other Donors
Monies From Seized Iraqi Assets
U.N. Oil Sale Plans
Resettlement of Iraqi Refugees
Iraqi Support for International Terrorism
Iraq-Kuwait Issues
Border Delineation/Kuwaiti Sovereignty
Border Security
Detainees and Missing Persons
Property
Compensation Claims
War Crimes Prosecution
Sanctions Enforcement
Jordan
Turkey
Iran/Persian Gulf
Issues for U.S. Policy
Economic Sanctions
Protecting/Supporting Iraq's Opposition
Military Action and Long-Term Containment


SUMMARY

The United Nations, the Clinton Administration, and Congress have demanded that Iraq comply with cease-fire agreements and applicable U.N. Security Council resolutions. The United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) says it has made considerable progress in dismantling and monitoring of Iraqi mass destruction weapons programs but that Iraq continues to withhold information on its past programs and might still be concealing weapons or weapons components. U.N. inspectors generally had been accorded better treatment in Iraq since the middle of 1993 as part of Iraq's efforts to achieve a lifting of the U.N. ban on its exports, but there have been several incidents of denied access in 1996.

On November 10, 1994, Iraq explicitly accepted the newly designated land border with Kuwait, confirmed by Resolution 833, as well as Kuwaiti sovereignty. Iraq has said it will return some Kuwaiti property and that it will cooperate on finding Kuwaitis missing since the 1991 war, although there has been virtually no progress on these issues during 1996. Iraq rejected 1991 U.N. plans to allow it to sell oil to fund humanitarian aid for the Iraqi people and other functions, but, in May 1996, it accepted a modified version of that plan approved by the Security Council in 1995. When Iraq did not join the original plan, the U.N. Security Council, in October 1992, directed member states to seize some Iraqi assets for these purposes (Resolution 778).

Iraq's compliance in other areas, especially human rights-related issues, is still unsatisfactory to the international community. In August 1996, Iraqi forces entered Kurdish controlled territory to intervene in the intra-Kurdish dispute, precipitating a U.S. military response. An air exclusion zone in southern Iraq for Iraqi Shiites, who, according to U.N. officials, are victims of brutal repression, was expanded to the 33rd parallel. Iraq nonetheless maintains a substantial presence of troops and security forces in the south. There are also indications that Saddam is losing support within his core base, exemplified by the August 1995 defection to Jordan of his two high-ranking sons- in-law, along with his daughters.

The major issues for the Clinton Administration are how to deal with current and future Iraqi challenges to its neighbors or the United Nations and whether or not to try to block the easing of U.N. economic sanctions. Some observers are also raising questions about what U.S. policy should be in the event Iraq's regime is overthrown. Other options, some of which have been considered or supported by the Clinton Administration, include selective easing of economic sanctions for the Kurdish areas, expansion of the no-fly zones to all of Iraq, placement of human rights monitors in Iraq, the formation of military or heavy weapons exclusion zones, a war crimes trial for the Iraqi leadership, and increased efforts to topple Saddam Husayn. A U.S.-Iraq diplomatic dialogue (The United States suspended relations with Iraq in January 1991) is not currently under consideration. The United States has also forged strategic alliances with the Gulf states to help them defend against Iraq over the long term.


MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

On May 20, 1996, Iraq and the United Nations concluded a memorandum of understanding on implementing a temporary oil sale plan contained in Resolution 986 (April 14, 1995). On November 25, 1996, Iraq said it had accepted remaining U.N. conditions for implementing the plan, which had been delayed as a result of the September 1996 crisis over northern Iraq. On September 3, 1996, in response to Iraq's August 31 incursion into the northern Kurdish enclave, the United States launched two sets of cruise missile strikes on Iraqi air defense facilities south of Baghdad and expanded the southern no-fly zone up to the 33rd parallel. Iraq's ally in northern Iraq subsequently captured all major Kurdish-controlled cities, but its rival faction recaptured much of that ground in October 1996. (For further information on the September crisis, see CRS Report 96-739, Iraq: Attack on Kurdish Enclave and U.S. Response.)


BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

In each of its 60-day reviews of Iraqi compliance, most recently on November 1, 1996, the U.N. Security Council has maintained international economic sanctions on grounds that Iraq has not sufficiently complied with relevant U.N. resolutions.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UNSCOM, chaired by Rolf Ekeus, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are primarily focusing on verifying that all Iraq's prohibited WMD programs have ended and on maintaining a long-term monitoring program to prevent a restart of those programs. (On November 26, 1993, during talks in New York, Iraq formally accepted Resolution 715, which deals with long-term monitoring.) Since mid-1996, Ekeus has said he remains concerned that Iraq might still be importing proscribed materials, that it is concealing banned weapons and components, and that it is obstructing UNSCOM's work. UNSCOM's October 11, 1996 report to the Security Council indicated Iraq was deliberately concealing WMD materials at sites to which Iraq has hindered UNSCOM access. Ekeus made little progress on outstanding issues in a visit to Iraq just after the October 11 report was presented to the Security Council.

The long-term monitoring program was reported as operational in UNSCOM's April 10, 1995 report. The monitoring program includes intrusive and sophisticated electronic surveillance (remote cameras, sensors, seismic devices and other technology) and ongoing on-site inspections and overflights of about 150 industrial sites. When Iraq is again allowed to import freely, UNSCOM will also track future Iraqi imports of dual use items from U.N. member nations, as required by Resolution 715. An import monitoring system was adopted March 27, 1996 (Security Council Resolution 1051). About 50 international experts are staffing the monitoring center in Baghdad.

During 1991-June 1993, several confrontations flared between Iraq and the allied coalition over UNSCOM access, but, prior to March 1996, UNSCOM had been reporting that, in accordance with Resolution 707, Iraq's on-the-ground cooperation had improved markedly since 1993. Missile inspection teams were impeded from entering Iraqi facilities on several occasions during March and June 1996, prompting a Security Council Resolution (1060, or June 12, 1996) demanding Iraq grant UNSCOM unrestricted access. (No force was threatened in that resolution or subsequent Security Council demands.) On June 22, 1996, Ekeus and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz signed an agreement providing for unrestricted UNSCOM access and provision of the requested documents. UNSCOM, for its part, pledged not to remove any documents unrelated to WMD. However, during July 16-22, 1996, and again in August, Iraq restricted UNSCOM missile team access to sensitive sites. Following further access difficulties in mid-August and another Security Council statement August 23, Ekeus visited Iraq during August 25-28 and obtained a renewed Iraqi pledge on access. On November 22, 1996, Iraq prevented UNSCOM from transporting destroyed missile parts to its center in Baghdad for study. The Americans assigned to UNSCOM continued their activities in Iraq throughout the September 1996 U.S.-Iraq confrontation.

The Department of Defense, under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Control Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5859a), continues to assist UNSCOM by providing U-2 surveillance flights, intelligence, and expert inspectors for the UNSCOM teams, monitoring equipment, logistical support, and financial assistance. United Nations U-2 surveillance flights are based in Saudi Arabia. DoD incurs about $6 million in incremental costs in support of UNSCOM per year. A multiagency U.S. office in Bahrain supports the U.N. inspectors who train there. Every six months, Bahrain has renewed permission for UNSCOM's presence there. A Chilean air unit took Germany's place in late August 1996 in providing air transportation for UNSCOM within Iraq. UNSCOM requires about $3 million per month for its operations, and it said in its October 11 report that its funds will be exhausted at the end of 1996 barring new contributions or revenue sources. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait made pledges of unspecified amounts during Ekeus' late November 1996 visit to the Gulf states. The United States agreed to allow Iraq to enter the U.N. Disarmament Conference June 17, 1996.

Nuclear Program

Since 1994, the United States and the IAEA have maintained that Iraq's nuclear program has been essentially ended. The IAEA has said it has assembled a picture of Iraq's nuclear suppliers but would keep their identities secret. (U.N. Security Council Resolution 707 of 1991 requires Iraq to disclose its suppliers of weapons of mass destruction material.) However, the United States and United Nations are concerned that Iraq still has the equipment, expertise (including 7,000 nuclear scientists and engineers), and motivation to rebuild a nuclear program.

In inspection missions during 1991 to 1994, UNSCOM/IAEA inspectors searched over 75 suspect facilities, uncovering and dismantling a vast, undeclared network of nuclear research facilities, including three clandestine uranium enrichment programs (electromagnetic, centrifuge, and chemical isotope separation) as well as laboratory-scale plutonium separation program, and conclusive evidence of a nuclear weapons development program. (Iraq initially declared to the United Nations that it had no nuclear weapons research facilities or unsafeguarded nuclear material.) UNSCOM officials say about 40 facilities contributed to Iraq's nuclear program. Key technical installations of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program were dismantled in 1992. All declared nuclear reactor fuel, both fresh and irradiated, has been removed from Iraq. Following the defection to Jordan of Husayn Kamil (Saddam's son-in-law and former WMD production czar) in August 1995, Iraq revealed it had launched a crash program in August 1990 to produce a nuclear weapon within one year, and that Iraq had planned to divert fuel from its reactors to build a nuclear weapon but the Gulf war prevented Iraq's doing so.

Prior to the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had worked on a radiological weapon that would scatter nuclear material without causing a nuclear explosion. Iraq had tested radiological bomb prototypes but said it abandoned the project when the results proved disappointing. Iraq has subsequently admitted to producing 100 casings for radiological bombs.

UNSCOM Chairman Ekeus said in late October that there are only a few unresolved issues remaining in this weapons category. The IAEA said November 7 it was probable that Iraq was still concealing significant documentation on its nuclear program.

Chemical Weapons

In the course of seven chemical weapons inspection visits between June and November 1991, UNSCOM inspectors took possession of about 140,000 rockets, artillery, grenades, and other weapons (filled plus unfilled) for chemical warfare. Iraq initially declared to UNSCOM in April 1991 that only about 10,000 chemical warheads, 1,500 chemical bombs and shells, and about 1,000 tons of nerve and mustard gas survived the war. Iraq initially declared that it had 280 tons of mustard gas, but UNSCOM found about 600 tons; Iraq declared 75 tons of Sarin initially, but UNSCOM found 138 tons; and Iraq initially declared no Tabun, but UNSCOM found 68 tons of Tabun remaining. UNSCOM has said that all of Iraq's declared chemical weapons program -- over 480,000 liters of chemical warfare agents; 28,000 chemical munitions; and over 1 million kilograms of precursor chemicals -- had been destroyed, and the destruction operation was formally ended on June 14, 1994. Iraq has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

UNSCOM teams have tried to address inconsistencies in Iraq's accounting of imports of chemical weapons equipment and precursors. In March 1996, UNSCOM found 3,000 pages of documents from a chemical weapons site (Muthanna) destroyed by allied bombing during the Gulf war. A March 1996 CIA report said Iraq flight tested a missile armed with a chemical warhead in April 1990.

UNSCOM continues to have doubts that all chemical weapons related activities have been disclosed. In addition, UNSCOM has not yet verified that all VX nerve agent precursors were destroyed by Iraq.

Biological Research

Iraq initially did not declare any biological materials, weapons, research, or facilities in its initial declaration to UNSCOM in April 1991. UNSCOM devoted many visits to searching for or monitoring Iraq's biological weapons capability, focusing initially on the major research and development site at Salman Pak (gutted and partially buried by Iraq shortly before the first inspection began) and later on the Al Hakam facility south of Baghdad (bulldozed by UNSCOM June 20, 1996). However, no hidden biological weapons stockpile has ever been found by UNSCOM. In August 1991, Iraq, under pressure from UNSCOM, admitted that it had a biological research program that included development of weapons for defensive, and potentially for offensive, uses. In July 1995, Iraq admitted having had an offensive biological weapons program (it did not admit to actual weaponization), but Iraq said it destroyed all its biological agents (botulinum toxin and anthrax) by October 1990. Following the August 1995 defections, Iraq admitted to having filled 191 warheads with anthrax and botulinum for use in the Gulf war, but was deterred from using them by the United States and destroyed them after the Gulf conflict. Provisional monitoring of Iraq's biological capabilities began in December 1994; about 75 biological sites are being monitored.

UNSCOM maintains Iraq has not provided evidence that Iraq had destroyed biological warheads. UNSCOM asserts that Iraqi agent production and weaponization declarations are either unsubstantiated or not credible.

Ballistic Missiles

U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 requires the destruction of all Iraqi ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers. Iraq initially declared that 52 Scud or Scud-variant missiles had survived the war. During the first eleven inspection visits (June 1991 - May 1992), UNSCOM destroyed or verified Iraq's unilateral destruction of 151 of such missiles, 19 mobile launchers, 76 chemical warheads, a 350mm and components for a 1,000 millimeter supergun, 28 operational fixed launch pads, and much support equipment. Inspection teams in 1992 oversaw destruction of dual-use missile production equipment, including solid propellant missile facilities. Iraq is reportedly continuing its research on short-range (under 150 km) missiles, and UNSCOM is monitoring about 30 missile sites or related facilities.

In mid-August 1995, Iraq acknowledged it had produced its own engines for Scud- variant missiles. In December 1995, after Jordan reported seizing 115 Russian-made missile guidance components allegedly bound for Iraq, UNSCOM said Iraq had procured some missile components since 1991, in violation of sanctions, and that it had covertly developed and tested prohibited missiles. The Commission said Iraq had produced 80 Scud-like missiles indigenously -- thereby placing in doubt UNSCOM's overall count of Iraq's original missile inventories. At a December 21, 1995 press conference, Ekeus displayed prohibited missile guidance gyroscopes UNSCOM retrieved from Iraq's Tigris River, and it is estimated that missiles using the gyroscopes would be suitable for a missile of a 2,000 mile range.

UNSCOM maintains that Iraq is still concealing six to sixteen enhanced Scud missiles, potentially able to deliver chemical or biological warheads. UNSCOM teams visiting in 1996 have been unable to locate hidden missiles but UNSCOM has been investigating Iraq's methods of concealment.

Humanitarian and Protective Efforts/Aid Programs

The United States and the international community have conducted a major humanitarian relief effort to assist Iraqi Kurds, Shiites, and other citizens since the spring of 1991. On April 1, 1991, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 688, which demanded that Iraq end repression of its citizens and insisted that Iraq allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations to all persons in need of assistance. Nonetheless, even before the August 31 Iraqi incursion into the Kurdish enclave, U.S. and international officials, most recently the U.N. human rights Rapporteur for Iraq in an October 1996 report, and the U.S. human rights report for 1995, have accused Iraq of egregious human rights violations. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck said in 1994 the United States might at some point present a case against Iraq to the International Court of Justice under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

To try to ease criticism of its human rights record, in late July 1995 Iraq ordered a general amnesty for all those convicted of political crimes or desertion. On March 24, Iraq held parliamentary elections in which 60 out of 538 independent candidates won seats to the 250 member body. All 160 Ba'th Party candidates were elected.

U.N./U.S. Efforts in Iraq

A basis for the U.N. presence in Iraq is a 1991 memorandum of understanding (MOU) negotiated by the U.N. Coordinator in Iraq and the Iraqi Government, providing for the presence of up to 600 U.N. relief workers and 500 security guards for the humanitarian effort, which is targeted at some 650,000 residents of northern Iraq during the winter. This MOU lapsed on June 30, 1992, and Iraqi noncooperation forced the U.N. to agree to diminish its maximum presence in Iraq. U.N. operations have continued, even though this MOU expired, and despite funding difficulties and the September 1996 crisis in northern Iraq. Many NGO relief workers, especially Americans or employees of U.S.-based NGO's, fled the fighting in northern Iraq in September 1996. The United Nations will distribute and monitor aid in northern Iraq under the Resolution 986 oil sale program.

Kurds/Operation Provide Comfort. The protection regime (Operation Provide Comfort, OPC), set up in April 1991 to protect the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, has continued, although the humanitarian aspects of OPC were essentially ended by the September 1996 crisis. In cooperation with Turkey, coalition overflights (80 U.S., French, and British planes) enforce the allied ban on Iraqi aircraft north of the 36th parallel and on any Iraqi troop movements into a small zone in the north. OPC overflights are handled by about 800 U.S. military personnel, along with British and French forces, based at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey. A small liaison office (Military Coordinating Committee, MCC) -- with about 50 military and civilian personnel -- in Zakho, northern Iraq, closed because of the crisis. According to the Administration, OPC is in support of Resolution 688 and 687, the latter of which was passed under Chapter VII (peace and security) of the U.N. Charter.

OPC overflights are authorized by an agreement with the Turkish Government, renewed most recently on July 31, 1996, until December 31, 1996. Turkey believes OPC contributes to a power vacuum in northern Iraq which benefits its opposition Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and some observers believe Turkey and the United States will end OPC when it next comes up for renewal. In the wake of the September crisis, Turkey received U.S. backing for a plan to set up a security zone in northern Iraq (Turkey sent 35,000 troops into northern Iraq in March 1995 to battle the PKK) aimed at preventing PKK infiltration into Turkey. Since February 1993, Iraq has not participated in talks with the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, at Faydah in northern Iraq; these talks were intended to prevent military misunderstandings in enforcing the no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

Turkish concerns stem largely from instability in northern Iraq caused partly by infighting between the two leading Kurdish parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) led by Mas'ud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani. In May 1992, they agreed to share power after inconclusive parliamentary and executive elections. In May 1994, tensions between them flared into clashes and the PUK seized Irbil; the PUK subsequently began developing close ties to Iran. The Iraqi Kurds tried to reach an accord under U.S. auspices, and the United States was considering donating $1 million toward the formation of a neutral security force, but no accord was finalized. During July 27-29, 1996, Iran conducted a limited incursion into northern Iraq to combat Iranian Kurdish opposition fighters. In August 1996, the KDP, fearing the growing power of Iran and its PUK ally, requested Iraqi support and Iraq helped the KDP capture Irbil on August 31.

Following continued fighting and U.S. mediation by Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Robert Pelletreau, the Kurdish factions agreed on October 23, 1996 to a cease-fire and face-to-face talks mediated by the United States. The parties have agreed to establish a peace monitoring force composed of Turkmens, Assyrians, and some Kurds, and the Administration is planning to fund the force with $3 million in peacekeeping funds, plus about $4 million in DoD drawdowns for vehicles and communications gear. The President is waiving restrictions on aid to Iraq in order to provide this support. There is also a peace supervisory group consisting of the United States, Britain, Turkey, the PUK, the KDP, and Iraqi Turkmens. For further information, see CRS Report 96-739, Iraq: Attack on Kurdish Enclave and the U.S. Response.

Shiite Muslims/Operation Southern Watch. Shiites constitute a majority in Iraq but historically have been underrepresented in major decisionmaking bodies. The U.S.-led coalition set up a Saudi-based no-fly zone over southern Iraq (south of the 32nd parallel) to protect the Shiites on August 26, 1992 (Operation Southern Watch), although coalition overflights primarily monitor Iraqi military targets. The United States expanded the zone up to the 33rd parallel on September 4, 1996, although France continues to patrol only the original zone. In response to Iraq's movement of troops near Kuwait in October 1994, Security Council Resolution 949 (October 15, 1994) called on Iraq not to deploy its troop so as to threaten its neighbors. The United States and Britain believe the resolution authorizes military action if Saddam moves elite troops (Republican Guards) below the 32nd parallel and, on October 20, 1994, they warned Iraq to that effect. The conference report on the FY1997 defense authorization bill (H.R. 3230) provides for the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress each year on the costs, alternatives, and foreign contributions to OPC and Southern Watch (Section 1041).

A February 1994 report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights said that Iraqi abuses of the Shiite "Marsh Arabs" in southern Iraq might constitute a violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. A CIA photographic report released in September 1994 estimated that 100,000 - 150,000 Shiites had been driven from the marshes by Iraq's marsh drainage projects. (see CRS Report 94-320, Iraq: Marsh Arabs and U.S. Policy).

Aid to the Iraqi People

Iraq says the sanctions regime has created widespread unavailability of all types of medicines and other goods, and killed 700,000 since 1990. The Iraqi government's food subsidies have covered about 50%-70% of each Iraqi's nutritional needs. UNICEF said October 28, 1996 that 4,500 young children die every month because of the sanctions, and it appealed for emergency funds, although the United States did not endorse or dispute those figures. The United States, through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the Agency for International Development (AID) is providing humanitarian assistance to the Kurds in northern Iraq. See appendix.

Other Donors. The U.N. has had difficulty raising funds for Iraq. Turkey gives northern Iraq $13 million worth of food per year. On March 21, 1995, the U.N. appealed for $183 million to carry its relief program from April 1995 to March 1996, but only about $72 million was received or pledged. A 1996-7 appeal was issued for $340 million despite the temporary oil sale plan agreed to in May 1996, but an emergency appeal in May 1996 for $80 million has, as of October 1996, resulted in only $19.5 million in pledges to the U.N. or NGOs in Iraq. On November 15, 1996, the United States announced an $11 million pledge for northern Iraq. As of May 1996, the EU has given about $100 million in aid to Iraq since 1991.

Monies From Seized Iraqi Assets. Additional aid funds (as well as funds for compensation, UNSCOM and Kuwait property returns) have been drawn from frozen Iraqi assets transferred -- or direct contributions -- to a U.N. escrow account pursuant to Resolution 778 October 2, 1992). The United States matches transfers or contributions by other countries out of frozen Iraqi assets held in the United States. Total U.S. transfers to the escrow account are $200 million as of February 1996, of which about 55% went to humanitarian aid. Under Resolution 778, no state is required to transfer more than $200 million or 50% of total assets available for seizure, and therefore the United States has met its asset transfer obligations under 778. Outright contributions, such as those by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, can be earmarked for specific functions, such as UNSCOM; contributed funds do not have to go toward humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid derived from oil assets is distributed to all groups throughout Iraq, though the overwhelming preponderance has been given out in northern Iraq.

U.N. Oil Sale Plans. Temporary oil sale plans have been adopted by the U.N. Security Council to generate income for humanitarian supplies and to pay the costs of various obligations of the cease-fire terms. Resolution 706 (1991) and an implementing plan (Resolution 712) authorized countries to import $1.6 billion in Iraqi oil over a period of six months, the proceeds from which would be paid into an escrow account administered by the U.N. Secretary-General. Resolution 705 set 30% as the percentage of oil income that would be devoted to compensation. Iraq rejected the plan as a sovereignty infringement.

Because of concern about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the United States supported modification to meet some key Iraqi demands. Under Security Council Resolution 986, approved April 14, 1995, Iraq could sell $1 billion in oil every 90 days, and renewable after 180 days. (For details of the plan, see CRS Report 96-501, Iraq: Oil Exports to Resume.) This plan incorporated elements of an earlier Turkish plan to maintain the Iraq-Turkey pipeline (12 million barrels that were in the line, along with additional Iraqi oil that has been flushed through, are now stored in Turkey).

Before the September 1996 crisis, Iraqi oil was to begin flowing (about 700,000 barrels per day) after the United States, on August 7, 1996, gave its approval to U.N. implementing procedures. Independent oil experts are to approve standard oil contracts, but the Committee itself will approve contracts that have special features or alterations. One U.S. concern, the impartiality of the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq (Mohammad Zejjari), was alleviated in late August by the arrival of his replacement, Gualtiero Fulcheri. The bank chosen to handle the escrow account is the New York branch of France's Banque Nationale de Paris, which will be subject to oversight by U.S. banking authorities. The Administration said June 5, 1996 that U.S. firms would be allowed to purchase Iraqi oil or export supplies to agencies of the Iraqi government under the plan, subject to licensing by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Regulations were issued July 12, 1996 (Federal Register, Vol. 61, No. 135, p.36627-9). (See below under Sanctions Enforcement)

Following delays caused by the crisis in northern Iraq, the United Nations appears set to begin implementing the plan as early as mid December 1996. On November 25, 1996, Iraq said it had agreed to U.N. proposals on outstanding issues, particularly U.N. control over plan monitors (14 oil export monitors, 32 point-of-entry import monitors, 151 distribution monitors in non-Kurdish Iraq, and 64 distribution monitors in the three Kurdish provinces). The 15-member U.N. Sanctions Committee formally approved a revised oil pricing formula November 27. Inspectors under contract from the Dutch firm Saybolt still must confirm Iraq's ability to meter oil shipments and Lloyd's Registry must assess the ability to monitor imports.

Resettlement of Iraqi Refugees

Desert Storm and postwar rebellions against Saddam created a flood of Iraqi refugees, including 39,000 Iraqis in a camp in Saudi Arabia (Rafha). Of those, about 10,000 were ex-soldiers that participated in postwar rebellions, and 4,000 were Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered to coalition forces. The Bush Administration, in consultation with Congress, agreed to participate in a multinational resettlement recommended by UNHCR. As of October 1996, total admissions since the program began are about 10,000 Iraqis resettled from Saudi Arabia. About 10,000 Iraqis remained in Rafha as of October 1996. The FY1994 defense authorization (P.L. 103-160) stated the sense of the Senate that the admissions end. The conference report on the FY1996 State Department authorization bill (H.R. 1561) required a report on procedures and criteria for the resettlement of additional Iraqi refugees from Saudi Arabia or Turkey, although that bill was vetoed because of other issues. (See CRS Report 93-893, Iraq: Admission of Refugees into the United States.)

In the wake of the September 1996 northern Iraq crisis, 2,140 Kurds who worked for U.S. relief operations in northern Iraq were evacuated and are in the process of being resettled in the United States under the Attorney General's parole authority, as are about 650 opposition activists. In November 1996, the United States said it would evacuate another 4,900 Kurds who worked for twenty-four different U.S-funded or U.S.- based NGO's implementing the humanitarian component of OPC. The total cost of evacuating and resettling all three categories is expected to reach $60 million.

Iraqi Support for International Terrorism

U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 required Iraq to end participation in or support for international terrorism and Iraq made the required declaration to that effect to the U.N. Security Council. (Iraq was removed from the U.S. list of states supporting international terrorism in 1982 but was reinstated on the list in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait.) However, according to the State Department, Iraq is providing safe haven to extremist Palestinian groups, including the Abu Nidal Organization. The United States has evidence Iraq sponsored an attempt to assassinate former President Bush and destabilize Kuwait during his April 14-16, 1993 visit to Kuwait. On April 13, 1994, two suspected Iraqi intelligence agents (posing as diplomats) killed an Iraqi opposition figure in Beirut, causing Lebanon to break diplomatic relations with Iraq. Iraq is also believed responsible for most of the occasional attacks on international relief workers and opposition facilities in northern Iraq. An Iraqi Kurdish oppositionist in Paris was murdered in Paris August 4, 1996.

Iraq-Kuwait Issues

Border Delineation/Kuwaiti Sovereignty

Resolution 687 required Iraq to annul its annexation of Kuwait and directed the U.N. Secretary-General to demarcate the Iraq-Kuwait border. A demilitarized zone 10 kilometers into Iraq and 5 kilometers into Kuwait was set up under that Resolution. On August 26, 1992, the Security Council adopted Resolution 773, welcoming decisions taken by the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission (established May 2, 1991) and urging Iraqi and Kuwaiti cooperation. On November 23, 1992, the Commission finished demarcating the Iraq-Kuwait boundary as described in the October 1963 "Agreed Minutes" between Iraq and Kuwait, and the border took effect January 15, 1993. (The demarcation deprived Iraq of part of the port of Umm Qasr and a strip of the Rumaylah oil field; Kuwait has begun drilling for new wells in the field.) On March 18, 1993, the Commission determined the sea border, allowing both countries access to the Gulf, and its final report on the border was accepted by the U.N. Secretary General on May 20, 1993. On May 27, 1993, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 833, demanding that Iraq and Kuwait accept the final border demarcation. On November 10, 1994, Iraq formally recognized Kuwait in a motion passed by the National Assembly, signed by Saddam Husayn on behalf of the Revolutionary Command Council.

Border Security

The 32-nation U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM), established by Resolutions 687 and 689 April 9, 1991), continues to monitor border violations. The United States contributes 11 personnel to the 245 observers in UNIKOM, which is commanded by an Italian officer and is considered a U.N. peacekeeping operation. Following Iraq-coalition confrontations resulting from Iraqi incursions into the demilitarized zone in January 1993 (and other incidents), on February 5, 1993, the Security Council passed Resolution 806, calling for a phased deployment of additional U.N. forces, up to a potential 3,600 troops. 775 soldiers from Bangladesh joined the UNIKOM observers in the DMZ. Kuwait is providing shelter, armored personnel carriers, and other equipment for the Bangladeshi unit, in addition to furnishing two thirds of UNIKOM's $5.5 million per month budget. An April 1, 1996 UNIKOM report said the border had been calm over the previous six months and recommended the mission continue. On August 6, 1996, the UNIKOM commander said that in April 1997 the number of observers would be reduced from 245 to 195 due to budget pressure. Kuwait also wants UNIKOM to have a maritime monitoring and rapid deployment capability, and Kuwait is building an electrified fence to prevent further Iraqi infiltrations.

Detainees and Missing Persons

Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687 address Iraq's obligations toward Kuwaiti and other nationals detained in Iraq during the Persian Gulf crisis. Iraq says it holds no Kuwaitis but that it is looking into their fate. On July 1, 1994, Iraq resumed attending ICRC-sponsored multilateral meetings on the fate of the detainees. (Iraq had suspended its participation in the meetings in October 1991.) Since January 1995, Iraq and Kuwait have been meeting every month on the Iraq-Kuwait border, along with U.S., British, French, and Saudi representatives. Iraq has admitted to having arrested and taken to Iraq 123 Kuwaitis, but it says they were freed by dissidents during post-war rebellions. On October 11, 1995, Iraq returned the remains of one Kuwaiti, and one woman was found living in Iraq. About 604 (of an initial 625) Kuwaiti cases, as well as 30 Saudi cases, remain unresolved as of September 1996. Iraq is expected to file a large number of cases of Iraqis it says are missing since the war. The Iraqi press announced September 22 that an Iraqi human rights organization had set up a committee, with representatives in every Iraqi province, to try to determine the fate of the missing.

Property

Under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687, Iraq is required to return all property seized from Kuwait during the period of the invasion and occupation. Iraq has returned some civilian and military equipment, including U.S.-made Improved Hawk air defense missiles, but much of the property returned thus far, such as a dismantled C-130, has been in poor condition. On January 10, 1995, the United States said Iraq had yet to return 9,000 military pieces (including 4,000 TOW missiles, APC's, trucks, Frog-7 missiles, and 3 anti-aircraft systems) and 6,000 pieces of civilian equipment (including ambulances, buses, trucks, forklifts, and radios). Iraq claims the missing materiel was left behind or destroyed when Iraq evacuated Kuwait. U.S. officials have said Iraq used missiles and armored personnel carriers taken from Kuwait during its October 1994 troop move toward the border with Kuwait, and it has handed over some unusable captured Iranian equipment that was never part of Kuwait's arsenal.

Compensation Claims

In accordance with international law, Iraq is liable for losses and damage incurred by foreign governments, nationals, and corporations, resulting from its invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The U.N. Security Council has set up a mechanism for compensating the victims of aggression, based primarily on collecting 30% of Iraqi oil sales or, because sales have been prohibited, 30% of frozen Iraqi assets transferred to the U.N. escrow account. The United States has submitted 3,200 claims to the UNCC with an asserted value of $1.7 billion. The U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) has received about 2.5 million claims totalling about $190 billion in governmental, corporate, and individual claims. The deadlines for submitting new claims have passed. The UNCC wants to give priority to individual claimants and it has thus far approved 900,000 individual claims worth about $3.7 billion, but it has been able to authorize payment of fixed awards for personal injury or death totalling only $13.5 million. On March 4, 1994, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 899, approving compensation from Kuwait to those Iraqis who have left the border area of what is now Kuwait. The May 1996 U.N.-Iraq oil sale agreement will provide funds for compensation when it is implemented. Iraq has received permission to address the UNCC and it is requesting Commission funds for legal defense against compensation claims.

To take care of U.S. claims against Iraq not covered by the U.N. process, the Bush and Clinton Administrations proposed legislation authorizing the vesting in the United States of those Iraqi assets not required to be transferred to the U.N. escrow account under Resolution 778. There are about $1.2 billion in Iraqi assets held in U.S. financial institutions, (out of a total of $5-5.5 billion worldwide) which included the $200 million (oil-related assets) maximum transferred to the U.N. escrow account. The legislation, entitled the Iraq Claims Act (H.R. 3221, S. 1401) but did not pass the 103rd Congress because of disagreements over which claimants would have priority. The conference report on the FY1996 foreign aid authorization bill (H.R. 1561), vested Iraqi assets and provided for adjudication by the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) of the approximately $5 billion in total U.S. claims against Iraq, and, in general, favored private claims over U.S. Government claims. In anticipation of passage of the legislation, on January 18, 1996 Attorney General Reno said the FCSC had established a registry for Americans with claims against Iraq. The bill was vetoed over other issues, however. (See CRS Report 93-964, Iraq: U.N. Compensation Issues.)

On August 2, 1996, the Commodity Credit Corporation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed suit against two Iraqi banks for $2.1 billion in defaulted guaranteed agricultural loans borrowed by Iraq during 1987-1990. The U.S. Government had paid off the lending U.S. banks (mostly U.S. branches of foreign banks) when Iraq defaulted. Continental Grain Co. said November 25, 1996 it would pay $35 million to settle a dispute with the U.S. Government over the use of export credit guarantees for grain sales to Iraq during 1987-90.

War Crimes Prosecution

Section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY1992, (P.L. 102-138, signed October 28, 1991) states the sense of Congress that the President should propose to the U.N. Security Council a tribunal for alleged war crimes by Saddam Husayn and his regime in connection with the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. U.N. Security Council Resolution 674 calls on all states or organizations with substantiated information of Iraqi atrocities to provide such information to the U.N. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, the U.S. Army conducted research into possible war crimes associated with the crisis but the report was not released until March 19, 1993, after Clinton took office. The Clinton Administration supports the establishment of a U.N. commission to investigate Iraqi war crimes and crimes against humanity, but it has thus far found insufficient international support for such an investigation.

Sanctions Enforcement

International and U.S. trade sanctions against Iraq have been amended to reflect the requirements of the U.N. oil sale plan (when implemented). Shipments of medicine and health supplies to Iraq are exempt from U.N. sanctions, food shipments are permitted with notification to the U.N. Sanctions Committee, and supplies for "essential civilian needs" require approval by the Sanctions Committee. Under the new U.S. regulations written for the U.N. oil sale plan, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will approve contracts between U.S. persons and the Iraqi government for the purchase of Iraqi oil and sales to Iraq of humanitarian goods and permitted oil pipeline parts and equipment. Informational items may not be exported to Iraq by U.S. citizens. As of September 1996, OFAC had issued 630 specific licenses pertaining to Iraq, for such purposes as humanitarian (mostly medical) exports and legal actions and representations. Flights into, out of, or within Iraq are prohibited without permission of the Sanctions Committee; the Committee recently allowed some flights to Iraq from Pakistan.

Since the passage of U.N. Resolution 778, Iraq is no longer allowed to use its assets abroad to purchase humanitarian goods, and must rely solely on its gold and currency reserves. Nonetheless, it is widely believed that Iraq still has a large reserve of undisclosed and undiscovered assets abroad. Iraq has consistently failed to make the required monthly statements to the U.N. or the International Monetary Fund on its gold and foreign currency reserves.

Jordan. Since mid 1992, Jordan's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime on Iraq has improved significantly. Shipments through Jordan are subject to a land-based inspection system conducted by agents of Lloyd's Registry, a subsidiary of Lloyd's of London, which took effect in late August 1994. Lloyd's can release goods if the exporter can demonstrate that the goods are bound for Jordan, not Iraq, leaving the ultimate enforcement to Jordanian border authorities. The FY1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 foreign aid appropriations laws (P.L. 103-87, P.L. 103-306, P.L. 104-107, and P.L. 104-208 respectively) deny funding to any country that does not comply with the sanctions against Iraq, though they do not mention Jordan specifically. The Sanctions Committee "takes note of" Jordan's purchases of 75,000 barrels per day of Iraqi oil (at a major discount to world oil prices), the proceeds of which fund food and medicine for Iraq.

King Hussein has publicly distanced himself from the Iraqi regime. His permission for Saddam's two high ranking sons-in-law and their wives to defect to Jordan in August 1995 signalled a growing rift with the Iraqi leader, as did his subsequent criticism of the Iraqi regime, the hosting of a small opposition group, the Iraqi National Accord; and the stationing during April and May 1996 of 34 U.S. F-15's and F-16's in Jordan, which patrolled the southern no-fly zone. Jordan reportedly tightened controls on the border and cut trade with Iraq in half. Some Jordanian officials appear to differ with the King's shift against Iraq and are working to recapture some trade that will result from the implementation of the U.N. oil sale plan. Iraq has shifted much of its imports to its Gulf ports via the UAE, which favors easing sanctions. (See CRS Issue Brief 93085, Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues.)

Turkey. Turkey has played a key role in enforcing U.N. sanctions through continued closure of the oil pipeline from Iraq through Turkey to the Mediterranean and its hosting of Operation Provide Comfort. However, Turkey, which reopened its embassy in Baghdad in March 1993, estimates it has lost $3 billion per year as a result of the sanctions and has called for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Iraq. On August 31, 1994, Turkey reopened the Habur border crossing with Iraq, through which about 1,000 Turkish trucks per day deliver goods (especially much needed flour and sugar) into Iraq and carry back 3.5 tons of Iraqi diesel fuel in spare fuel tanks. The Turkish government reportedly turns a blind eye to the illicit trade, which U.S. officials acknowledge violates the U.N. ban on Iraqi oil sales. Oil industry experts believe Iraq can export the equivalent of 100,000 barrels per day of oil through this Turkish trade, although the Iraqi government ultimately receives a small percentage of the proceeds. Iran/Persian Gulf. In enforcing the embargo, the United States leads a Multinational Interdiction Force (MIF) that conducts maritime searches in the Persian Gulf. As of October 1996, the MIF has seized 76 vessels suspected of sanctions violations since it was established in 1990. The United States believes Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been helping Iraq smuggle out oil exports and import contraband goods in exchange for payments or shares of the earnings. Iranian-Iraqi relations have improved in 1995 and 1996, including high level talks to discuss outstanding Iran-Iraq war issues (remaining prisoners: 700 Iranians held by Iraq; 12,000 Iraqis held by Iran) as well as broader cooperation. However, long-standing disputes that limit the potential for Iran and Iraq to ally against the West.

Issues for U.S. Policy

Economic Sanctions

A major issue for the Clinton Administration is whether or not to agree to further easings of economic sanctions if and when other U.N. Security Council members press for such easings. U.S. officials have been lobbying other U.N. Security Council members not to permanently ease sanctions until Iraq complies with all cease-fire obligations. The Administration considers human rights requirements contained in Resolution 688 as a requirement for easing sanctions, although Iraq-related U.N. resolutions do not explicitly make such a link. President Clinton has said the United States is prepared, if necessary, to veto a Security Council resolution that permanently eases sanctions. However, UNSCOM chief Rolf Ekeus says it is his understanding that Paragraph 22 of Resolution 687 provides for Iraq to resume oil sales once it complies with the disarmament provisions of that resolution. Even if the embargo on Iraqi exports is lifted on UNSCOM's recommendation, its imports would still be restricted until it meets remaining requirements.

Other permanent members of the Security Council, particularly France, Russia, and China, reportedly are more willing than the United States to ease sanctions, although they back U.S. efforts to obtain compliance on all outstanding compliance issues. Russia, France, and China have substantial commercial interests in Iraq, including letters of intent to develop Iraqi oilfields once sanctions are lifted. France opened an interests section in Baghdad in March 1995.

In concert with the U.N. Sanctions Committee, the Clinton Administration has achieved some loosening in applying U.N. sanctions to the Kurdish regions, such as permitting exports into the Kurdish area of materials for reconstruction and road repair. A provision of the FY1994-95 State Department authorization bill (H.R. 2333, P.L. 103- 236) expressed the sense of Congress that there be a selective lifting, in the Kurdish areas, of the U.N. embargo against Iraq.

Protecting/Supporting Iraq's Opposition

Supporting Iraq's opposition in an effort to overthrow Saddam is an option that has been pursued with varying degrees of intensity since the Gulf war. The United States supports the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a large opposition coalition based in northern Iraq, as well as the Jordan-based Iraqi National Accord. The Washington Post reported June 23, 1996 that President Clinton released $6 million in covert funds to the Iraqi National Accord in January 1996 as part of a stepped up joint effort with Jordan to change the Iraqi regime. However, the INC's presence in northern Iraq was virtually eliminated in the September crisis. (For further background, see CRS Report 93-422, Iraq's Opposition.)

Military Action and Long-Term Containment

The allied coalition invokes U.N. Resolution 687 and the Safwan Accords -- the cease- fire agreements between Iraq and the coalition forces on March 3, 1991 that banned Iraqi interference with allied air operations -- to enforce "no-fly zones" in Iraq. The Clinton Administration maintains that there is sufficient authority in Resolutions 678 (authorizing use of force in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf conflict), 687 (the main cease-fire resolution), and 688 (demanding Iraq not oppress its people) -- and existing congressional actions -- for the President to strike Iraq because of actions such as its incursion into northern Iraq. Resolutions 678 and 687 were written under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, dealing with peace and security, and are interpreted as allowing military action to enforce these resolution. Resolution 688 was not written under Chapter VII, however. Congress, in P.L. 102-1, of January 12, 1991, authorized the use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Section 1095 of P.L. 102-190, the Defense Authorization Act for FY1992, signed December 5, 1991, expressed Congress' support for "all necessary means" to achieve the goals of U.N. Security Council Resolution 687.

The United States, maintains about 15,000 - 20,000 military personnel, 19 ships, and 200 combat aircraft in the Gulf region absent a crisis. Very little further U.S. military action has been taken against Iraq beyond the September 1996 cruise missile strikes even though, despite U.S. warnings, Iraq has rebuilt much of the air defense network hit by the cruise missiles. On November 2 and 4, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no fly zone launched missiles at Iraqi air defense sites in response to indications of being tracked by radars at those sites.

The United States also has forged strategic alliances with the Gulf states to help them defend against or deter Iraq (and Iran) over the long term. Iraq's army of about 400,000 is smaller than it was before the war but still retains "qualitative superiority" over its Gulf neighbors, including Iran. The United States has signed defense agreements with Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates for training, equipment prepositioning (Kuwait hosts a brigade's worth of U.S. armor and another brigade's worth is to be stationed in Qatar), and exercises, and has renewed an access agreement with Oman. In 1995, the U.S. Navy reactivated a U.S. 5th Fleet, responsible for the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, but deployment patterns and ship numbers have not changed. In late October 1996, Britain significantly increased its naval presence in the Gulf to "show Iran and Iraq that the United States was not policing the area alone," according to Britain's Minister of State for Armed Forces.

The GCC countries are sharing the burden of the new defense arrangements (in-kind payments such as fuel and facilities), including Operation Southern Watch. (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates contributed a total of $37 billion to the $61.1 billion in incremental costs of Desert Storm, all of which has been paid.) Kuwait is contributing both cash (about $250 million in FY1995) and in-kind payments for the cost of the U.S. troops there, facility construction, and joint exercises with U.S. troops (which cost about $10 million per exercise). Bahrain and Qatar have hosted U.S. combat aircraft during gaps in U.S. aircraft carrier coverage of the Gulf and a similar "Air Expeditionary Force" might be hosted by Oman in the near future. During the September 1996 crisis, Bahrain agreed to host a deployment of U.S. aircraft (air expeditionary force) and Kuwait accepted the dispatch of U.S. F-117 "Stealth" fighters and an additional 3,500 Army troops to participate in military exercises. Secretary of Defense Perry said November 29 the Stealth aircraft would remain in Kuwait but the U.S. Army troops would return to the United States by the end of 1996.

Despite their relations with the United States, several GCC states have called for better relations with Iraq. With the exception of Kuwait, the GCC states were generally silent on the September 1996 U.S. airstrikes that followed Baghdad's incursion into northern Iraq.

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