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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

[CRS Issue Brief for Congress]

CRS Issue Brief

Iraqi Compliance with Cease-Fire Agreements

Kenneth Katzman
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

Updated November 27, 1998





Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
..........Winter 1997-98 Crisis
..........U.N.-Iraq Agreement
..........New Crisis
.....Nuclear Program
.....Chemical Weapons
.....Biological Weapons
.....Ballistic Missiles

Humanitarian and Protective Efforts/Aid Programs
..........War Crimes Trial
.....U.N./U.S. Efforts in Iraq
..........Kurds/Operation Northern Watch
..........Shiite Muslims/Operation Southern Watch
.....Aid to the Iraqi People
..........U.N. "Oil-for-Food" Programs

Resettlement of Iraqi Refugees

Iraqi Support for International Terrorism

Iraq-Kuwait Issues
.....Border Delineation and Security/Kuwaiti Sovereignty
.....Return of Kuwaiti Missing Persons and Property

Compensation Claims

Sanctions Enforcement
.....Iran/Persian Gulf States

Issues for U.S. Policy
.....Economic Sanctions
.....Protecting/Supporting Iraq's Opposition
.....Military Action and Long-Term Containment Costs


The United Nations, the Clinton Administration, and Congress have demanded that Iraq fully 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 it cannot verify Iraq's claim that it has destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction or associated equipment. During March 1996-February 1998 and again during August-November 1998, Iraq has hampered the efforts of U.N. inspectors on numerous occasions or ended cooperation altogether, prompting Security Council condemnations, resolutions imposing further sanctions, and threats of military action.

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 cooperate on accounting for Kuwaitis missing since the 1991 war, although there has been very little progress on this issue over the past few years, or on the return of Kuwaiti property. Iraq rejected 1991 U.N. plans to allow it to sell oil to fund humanitarian aid for the Iraqi people, but it later accepted a version of that plan, which became operational in December 1996. 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. A U.S.-led air exclusion zone in southern Iraq for Iraqi Shiites, who, according to U.N. officials, are victims of repression, was expanded in 1996. Iraq nonetheless maintains a substantial presence of regular troops and security forces in the south.

The major issue for the Clinton Administration is how to keep Iraq contained and force its full compliance while at the same time helping alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. Although the Administration insists that Iraq is well contained, many experts believe that Iraq has made progress since 1996 toward breaking out of its international isolation. Some in Congress are urging the Administration to take new steps or accelerate existing measures against Iraq, including expansion of the no-fly zones to all of Iraq, the formation of military or heavy weapons exclusion zones, a war crimes trial for the Iraqi leadership, and provision of aid to the Iraqi opposition. However, the Administration, faced with waning international support for military action against Iraq, appears to be moving to more of a "deterrence" posture intended to respond only to clear security threats by Iraq. A U.S. diplomatic dialogue with the current regime (the United States suspended relations with Iraq in January 1991) does not appear to be under consideration.


After failing to gain any concessions from the Security Council, on August 5, Saddam Husayn said Iraq would not allow any new UNSCOM inspections. On October 31, Iraq cut off all remaining cooperation with UNSCOM. The United States and Britain went to the verge of launching military strikes on Iraq before Iraq, on November 15, publicly and unconditionally pledged to resume full cooperation with UNSCOM. As UNSCOM began returning to Iraq on November 17, the United States remains poised to strike Iraq if it does not fulfill this pledge. Tensions remain over Baghdad's refusal to hand overall weapons related documents sought by UNSCOM, but this issue is not believed sufficiently serious, by itself, to lead to military action against Iraq. (See also CRS Report 98-179, Iraq's Opposition Movements and, for more information on military options, see CRS Issue Brief 94049, Iraq-U.S. Confrontations.)


After forty reviews (at 60 day intervals) of Iraqi compliance, most recently on August 20, 1998, the U.N. Security Council has maintained international economic sanctions on grounds that Iraq has not sufficiently complied with relevant U.N. resolutions. The primary ceasefire resolution is 687 (April 3, 1991), requiring Iraq to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs, recognize Kuwait and locate and return missing Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti property, and end support for international terrorism. Iraq is required by Resolution (688) to end repression of its own people.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UNSCOM, chaired as of July 1, 1997 by Australian disarmament official Richard Butler (succeeding Rolf Ekeus), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are attempting to verify that all Iraq's prohibited WMD programs have ended and to maintain a long-term monitoring program (Resolution 715, October 11, 1991) to prevent a restart of those programs. After more than seven years of inspections, the October 6, 1998 UNSCOM report to the Security Council said UNSCOM had come close to clearing up outstanding questions on Iraq's chemical and missile programs, but not on biological issues. A simultaneous IAEA report, as did that agency's report in April 1998, gave Iraq a virtual "clean bill of health" on nuclear weapons capabilities. The long-term monitoring program, which has been operational since early 1995, includes intrusive and sophisticated electronic surveillance (remote cameras, sensors, seismic devices and other technology) and ongoing on-site inspections by over 100 international experts based in Baghdad, and overflights of about 300 industrial sites. Monitoring teams have visited over 4,000 sites since the program became operational. Under a system adopted in Resolution 1051 (March 27, 1996), UNSCOM inspects authorized Iraqi imports of dual use items, such as computers.

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, UNSCOM inspectors, equipment, and logistical support. This support costs the United States about $10 million per year. Beyond member state in-kind contributions, UNSCOM requires about $3 million per month for its operations, now paid out of revenues from a U.N. oil sale plan.

Since the weapons inspection program began in mid 1991, periodic confrontations have flared between Iraq and the allied coalition over UNSCOM access to potential weapons sites. Following the earliest confrontations just after UNSCOM began its operations in April 1991, Resolution 707 (August 15, 1991) was adopted, requiring Iraq to allow UNSCOM unfettered access to all sites. On about 25 occasions during March 1996 to October 1, 1997, Iraq impeded so-called "concealment inspections," (headed by American Scott Ritter) from entering Iraq security service and military facilities and it interfered with UNSCOM air operations over such sites. These actions prompted Resolution 1060 (June 12, 1996) and other Council statements, such as one on June 13, 1997, demanding Iraq cease such obstructions. Resolution 1115 of June 21, 1997, threatened sanctions against Iraqi officials responsible for the obstruction. Resolution 1134 (October 23, 1997) again threatened travel sanctions if Iraq did not cooperate and suspended further sanctions reviews until April 1998. Permanent members France, Russia, and China - along with Egypt and Kenya - abstained on the vote. (For information on past UN./U. S. -Iraq confrontations, see CRS Report 98386, Iraq: Post War Challenges and U S. Responses, 1991-1997.)

Winter 1997-98 Crisis. On October 29, 1997, sensing divisions in the coalition, Iraq announced that it would no longer allow Americans to participate in UNSCOM monitoring or inspection missions. Resolution 1137 (adopted unanimously November 12, 1997), imposed the travel ban mentioned above. In response, Iraq expelled U.S. UNSCOM inspectors on November 13, and most other UNSCOM personnel were withdrawn from Iraq. (On November 13, 1997, the House adopted a sense of the House resolution, H.Res. 322, backing unilateral U.S. military action as a last resort to resolve the crisis. The Senate did not act on a resolution, S.Con.Res.71, urging the President to take "all necessary and appropriate means" to respond to the Iraqi threat.) On November 20, 1997, a Russian-brokered plan enabled UNSCOM to resume work in Iraq, but the crisis flared again after Iraq refused to grant unconditional access to sensitive sites, prompting UNSCOM Chairman Butler to tell the Security Council (January 22, 1998) that UNSCOM could no longer perform its mission.

U.N.-Iraq Agreement. The United States and United Kingdom built up forces in the Gulf, but many Arab and other states opposed the use of force. After mediation efforts by Russian and others officials, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan successfully negotiated a February 23, 1998 memorandum of understanding providing for unfettered access to all sites by a "special group" of UNSCOM inspectors and diplomatic chaperones. The Clinton Administration backed Security Council adoption of Resolution 1154 (March 2, 1998), which accepted the Annan agreement but threatened "the severest consequences" if Iraq does not uphold it.

Iraq initially complied with the February agreement. An initial special inspection of the eight presidential sites (1,058 buildings) took place March 26-April 3 without major incident. On April 30, President Clinton said he was encouraged by the Iraqi cooperation. The Administration also agreed to a May 7,1998 Security Council decision to allow the Iraq travel ban (Resolution 113 7, see above) to lapse and to resume reviewing Iraq sanctions on a 60-day basis. Butler visited Baghdad (June 12-13, 1998) to present a "roadmap" for Iraq to follow to complete the task of disarmament. Iraq accepted the roadmap in principle, but began placing conditions on its implementation. On July 31 and August 3, respectively, the House and Senate passed a resolution (S.J.Res. 54) that said Iraq is in "material breach" of the ceasefire and directed the President to act accordingly. The President signed the bill August 14 (P.L. 105-235).

New Crisis. On August 5, one day after UNSCOM Chairman Butler cut short a visit to Baghdad due to lack of progress on the "roadmap" plan, Saddarn Husayn said UNSCOM could no longer inspect any new facilities, but that UNSCOM could continue its long term monitoring program. An August 6 Security Council statement called Iraq's actions unacceptable. On August 12, UNSCOM and the IAEA presented letters to the Security Council saying they were unable to conduct inspections due to Iraqi non- cooperation, but an August 18 Security Council letter pledged full support for the two bodies if they tried to conduct new inspections. On three occasions in August and September, Iraq prevented inspections of previously-visited facilities under monitoring. (On August 26, American UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter resigned from UNSCOM on the grounds that UNSCOM was receiving insufficient Council support, especially from the United States.)

In response to Iraq's non-cooperation, on September 9, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1194, suspending any further sanctions reviews unless Iraq resumes its cooperation with UNSCOM. After that, Iraq and U.N. officials discussed a compromise under which Iraq would resume full cooperation with inspections in exchange for a subsequent "comprehensive review" of outstanding issues. On October 30, the Security Council offered Iraq a two-stage comprehensive review plan that would make lifting any sanctions contingent on Iraqi fulfillment of WNID and other requirements (Kuwaiti missing, terrorism, human rights, etc.)

The next day (October 31), Iraq announced it would end all cooperation with UNSCOM including long- term monitoring operations, because the comprehensive review plan linked easing sanctions to compliance on all issues, not just disarmament. Iraq said that the IAEA could continue monitoring nuclear related facilities. Later that day, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the Iraqi action and calling it a "flagrant violation" of the February Annan-Iraq agreement. A Security Council Resolution (1205) to that effect was adopted unanimously on November 5, and U.S. officials said that all options, including military force, remained open. During early November, Secretary of Defense William Cohen visited U.S. allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf to consult about the possibility of military action, and new U.S. deployment orders were issued November 11.

With near unanimous condemnation of its non-cooperation and the United States on the verge of military strikes, during November 14-15 Iraq yielded to U.S. demands that it authoritatively, publicly, and unconditionally resume cooperation with UNSCOM. The United States defined this cooperation, as permitting even intrusive UNSCOM inspections and providing WMD-related documents long sought by UNSCOM. The United States then froze any further force buildups and weapons inspectors and humanitarian workers returned to Iraq, but the United States warned that any Iraqi non-cooperation would result in airstrikes without warning. In accepting Iraq's promises, President Clinton, on November 15, also said the United States would work more diligently with forces seeking political change in Iraq. The Security Council and the United States have not threatened force in response to Iraq's subsequent refusal to turn over 12 documents requested by UNSCOM immediately after the return of the inspectors. Iraq argued that most of the requested documents no longer exist, but pledged to turn over a few of them. On November 24, the Security Council was unable to agree on how to respond to the Iraqi response on the documents request. UNSCOM is expected to further test Iraq the week of November 30 with a series of intrusive inspections. (See also CRS Issue Brief 94049, Iraq-U S. Confrontations, for more information on military deployments and capabilities, and CRS Report 98-393 F, Iraq: U.S. Policy Options, for more information on future options toward Iraq).

Nuclear Program

During 1991-94, UNSCOM/IAEA uncovered and dismantled a previously-undeclared network of about 40 nuclear research facilities, including three clandestine uranium enrichment programs (electromagnetic, centrifuge, and chemical isotope separation) as well as laboratory-scale plutonium separation program. Inspectors found and dismantled (in 1992) Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons development program, and they found evidence of work and testing of a radiological weapon that scatters nuclear material without producing an explosion. (Iraq initially declared to UNSCOM/IAEA that it had no nuclear weapons research facilities or unsafeguarded nuclear material.) All discovered 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.

The IAEA's April and October 1998 reports gave Iraq a virtual "clean bill of health" on nuclear issues, and the IAEA has said it has assembled a picture of Iraq's nuclear suppliers but has kept 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 expertise (including 7,000 nuclear scientists and engineers) and intentions to rebuild a nuclear program. A May 15 Security Council presidential statement reflected a U.S.-Russian agreement to consider Iraq in compliance on nuclear issues at the October 1998 sanctions review, if Iraq provides answers to remaining IAEA questions about its past nuclear program. However, an IAEA report of July 27, 1998 was not favorable enough to permit Russia to succeed in gaining adoption of a draft resolution declaring the nuclear file closed. UNSCOM/IAEA said they have no corroboration for reports (Washington Post, September 30, 1998) that Iraq has three nuclear devices lacking only fissile material.

Chemical Weapons

UNSCOM has destroyed all Iraqi chemical weapons uncovered - 38,500 chemical munitions, 690 tons of chemical weapons agents, 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals, and 426 pieces of chemical production equipment items - and the destruction operation was formally ended on June 14, 1994. However, UNSCOM said February 28, 1998 that it had found that shells taken from Iraq in 1996 contained 97% pure mustard gas, raising questions of whether or not it was produced after 1991. UNSCOM's October 6, 1998 report said that some further progress had been made but that Iraq refused to give UNSCOM an Air Force facility documentation that could explain the fate of all of the 100,000 chemical munitions produced for use in the Iran-Iraq war. Iraq did allow UNSCOM to take notes from the document, which was found July 18, 1998, but UNSCOM wants to take possession of the document. About 170 chemical sites are under long term monitoring. Iraq has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention that took effect April 29, 1997.

The primary remaining area of chemical weapons inquiry is production of VX nerve agent, and September 1998 technical talks confirmed that Iraq has not cleared up remaining questions in this area. Iraq did not include VX in its initial postwar declarations, and, until 1995, denied having produced any VX. No VX stockpile has been found but Iraq has admitted to producing over 4 tons of VX. Unaccounted for is 600 tons of VX precursors -enough to produce 200 tons of VX. In late June 1998, UNSCOM revealed that some unearthed missile warheads, tested in a U.S. Army lab, contained traces of VX, contradicting Iraq's repeated assertions that it had not succeeded in weaponizing the agent. An UNSCOM report of October 26 on the VX issue did not contradict the U.S. findings, but it indicated that French and Swiss sampling of the warheads did not find conclusive evidence that the warhead samples tested by their labs contained VX. (For further information, see CRS Report 98-129, Iraqi Chemical and Biological Weapons Capabilities, by Steve Bowman.)

Biological Weapons

Iraq did not declare any biological materials, weapons, research, or facilities in its initial declaration to UNSCOM in April 1991, and no biological stockpile has been uncovered. UNSCOM focused 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 (dismantled by UNSCOM June 20, 1996). In August 199 1, under pressure from UNSCOM, Iraq admitted that it had a biological weapons research program. In July 1995, Iraq admitted having had an offensive biological weapons program, and has admitted to producing 19,000 liters of botulinum, 8,400 liters of anthrax, and 2,000 liters of aflatoxin and clostridium. In August 1995, Iraq admitted to having weaponized biological agents and having filled 191 bombs (including 25 missile warheads) with anthrax, botulinum, and aflatoxin for use in the Gulf war, but Iraq said it was deterred from using them by the United States and destroyed them after the Gulf conflict. Provisional monitoring of 86 sites capable of producing biological weapons began in December 1994.

UNSCOM's position, restated in its October 6, 1998 report, is that Iraq's biological capability is the area in which the most work remains to be done. UNSCOM finds Iraq's biological declarations thus far neither credible nor verifiable. Technical talks in March 1998 backed up that conclusion. According to a State Department fact sheet (November 16, 1998), Iraq imported a total of 34 tons of growth media for producing biological agents during the 1980s, but 4 tons remains unaccounted for. UNSCOM still lacks information on Iraq's development of drop tanks and aerosol generators for biological dissemination. UNSCOM says that biological agents are so easy to produce that it might not be possible to account 100% for Iraq's biological capabilities.

Ballistic Missiles

U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 requires the destruction of all Iraqi ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers. UNSCOM has destroyed 48 declared Scud-type missiles that survived the war, along with 14 mobile launchers and 60 fixed launch pads. However, UNSCOM determined that at least 131 Scud-variant missiles survived the war. The study in the United States and in France of 130 missiles - unearthed and brought out of Iraq after a February 1997 agreement between Iraq and UNSCOM - have helped UNSCOM account for 817 of the 819 Soviet-supplied Scud missiles. (U.S. and British analysts, contrary to UNSCOMs assessments, believe Iraq might be concealing ten to 12 Scud-type missiles supplied by Russia.) UNSCOMs October 1998 report said it had been able to account for 43 to 45 of the 45 chemical and biological (CBW) warheads Iraq said it unilaterally destroyed in 1991. (The warheads were unearthed in mid- 1998.) An additional 30 chemical warheads were previously destroyed under UNSCOM supervision. UNSCOM also has accounted for conventional Scud warheads, although 50 conventional warheads remain unaccounted for, and UNSCOM says progress has been achieved in establishing a material balance for Scud engine production components. However, gaps remain in accounting for missile program documentation, 300 tons of special missile propellant, and Iraq's indigenous missile production capabilities (30 indigenously- produced warheads and seven missiles are unaccounted for).

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. (In December 1995, prohibited missile guidance gyroscopes -suitable for a 2,000 mile range missile, were retrieved from Iraq's Tigris River. Iraq apparently procured the components from middlemen with connections in Russia's defense-industrial establishment.) UNSCOM also has evidence that Iraq, after the Gulf war, conducted secret flight tests and conducted research on missiles of prohibited ranges. Iraq is continuing to develop and test short-range (under 150 km) missiles, and UNSCOM is monitoring about 63 missile sites and 159 items of equipment, as well as 2,000 missiles of permitted range (Ababil and Samoud missile programs).

Humanitarian and Protective Efforts/Aid Programs

U.N. Security Council Resolution 688 (April 5, 1991) demanded that Iraq end repression of its citizens and insisted that Iraq allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations. The U.S. human rights report for 1997, as well as the U.N. human rights Rapporteur for Iraq, Max Van der Stoel, most recently in an October 1998 report, have accused Iraq of egregious human rights violations. The latest U.N. report said the government is behind an intimidation campaign against leading Shiite Muslim clerics in southern Iraq and might be steering food and medicine imports to regions sympathetic to the regime. 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. Van der Stoel's February 1994 report said that Convention might be violated by Iraq's abuses against the Shiite "Marsh Arabs" in southern Iraq, including drainage of the marshes where they live. (See CRS Report 94-320, Iraq: Marsh Arabs and U.S. Policy) On the other hand, the Iraqi National Assembly has become more aggressive in questioning government performance and the press has been permitted to open up slightly.

War Crimes Trial .U.N. Security Council Resolution 674 (October 29, 1990) calls on all states or organizations with substantiated information of Iraqi atrocities to provide such information to the U.N. Such atrocities include -- in addition to the treatment of the Marsh Arabs (above) -the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilian opponents at Halabja (March 16, 1988) in which 5,000 Kurds died and February 1988 forced relocation of Kurds (Anfal campaign) which killed an estimated 50,000 to 182,000 Kurds. Iraq also used chemical weapons (sarin) against Iran (and vice versa, to a lesser extent) in the Iran-Iraq war.

In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, the U.S. Army conducted research into possible war crimes but the report was not released until March 19, 1993, after Clinton took office. Section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY1992, (P.L. 102-138, signed October 28, 1991) stated the sense of Congress that the President should propose to the U.N. Security Council a war crimes tribunal for Saddam Husayn and his regime. On April 16, 1997, the Administration announced its support for an effort, known as INDICT, by Iraqi oppositionists and non-governmental organizations, to document Iraqi war crimes. H.Con.Res. 137, calling for the President and Secretary of State to push for a war crimes tribunal for Saddam and his associates, passed the House on November 13, 1997. A similar resolution, S.Con.Res.78, passed the Senate on March 13, 1998. A new overt U.S. plan to assist the Iraqi opposition will focus partly on documenting Iraqi war crimes, and the omnibus appropriation for FY1999 (P.L. 105-277) provides $3 million for the INDICT effort.

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

A basis for the U.N. humanitarian 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 U.N. relief workers and security guards for the humanitarian effort - targeted at some 650,000 residents of northern Iraq during the winter. This MOU lapsed on June 30, 1992, although U.N. operations continued. Many NGO relief workers, especially Americans or employees of U.S.-based NGO's, fled northern Iraq following the August 1996 Iraqi incursion there. The U.N. program in the north has since consisted primarily of distributing humanitarian supplies generated by the oil-for-food program.

Kurds/Operation Northern Watch. The protection regime set up by the allies in April 1991 to protect the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq continues -- primarily in the form of a no fly zone north of the 36th parallel. (This operation incurs about $110 million per year in incremental costs.) Humanitarian aspects of the protection effort were ended after the September 1996 Iraqi incursion into northern Iraq, and France pulled out of the overflight mission. On June 30, 1998, the Turkish parliament voted to renew for six months basing rights at Incirlik Air Base for the 24 American aircraft and about 1,3 00 U.S. forces (plus allied forces) there. Operation Northern Watch (the overflights) 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. Since February 1993, Iraq has not participated in military deconfliction talks with the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, in northern Iraq. Many Turkish officials believe the overflights and Iraqi Kurdish infighting have contributed to a power vacuum in northern Iraq which benefits its opposition Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). To blunt that perceived threat, Turkey has launched several major anti-PKK incursions into northern Iraq since May 1997, increasingly allied with the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

The two leading Iraqi Kurdish parties, the KDP led by Mas'ud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani, agreed in May 1992 to share power after inconclusive parliamentary and executive elections. In May 1994, tensions between them flared into clashes; the PUK subsequently began developing close ties to Iran and the KDP improved its relations with Baghdad. In August 1996, the KDP requested Iraqi support to capture Irbil on August 31, 1996. (For further information, see CRS Report 96-739, Iraq: Attack on Kurdish Enclave and the US. Response.) With U. S. mediation, the Kurdish factions agreed on October 23, 1996 to a cease-fire and, subsequently, to the formation of a 400-man peace monitoring force composed of Turkmens (75% of the force), Assyrians, and some Kurds. The United States funded the force with FY1997 funds of $3 million for peacekeeping (pursuant to Section 451 of the Foreign Assistance Act), plus about $4 million in DoD drawdowns for vehicles and communications gear (pursuant to Section 552 of the FAA). No funds for the monitoring force were requested for FY1998 or FY1999. There is also a peace supervisory group consisting of the United States, Britain, Turkey, the PUK, the KDP, and Iraqi Turkmens. After further fighting, a tenuous cease-fire has held since late November 1997, and, in Washington on September 17, the leaders of the two groups signed an agreement to work toward resolving the main outstanding issues, such as sharing of revenues and control over the Kurdish regional government. However, both factions maintain contacts with Baghdad.

Shiite muslims/operation Southern Watch. Shiites constitute a majority in Iraq but historically have been repressed. 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 and movements. (This operation incurs U.S. incremental costs of about $590 million per year.) The United States and the United Kingdom expanded the zone up to the 33rd parallel on September 4, 1996. (France patrols only the original southern 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 delivered a dernarche to Iraq to that effect.

Aid to the Iraqi People

Although Iraq often distorts the effect of international sanctions on its population, there has been a consensus in the international community that the Iraqi people urgently need humanitarian aid. The suffering of the Iraqi people prompted an October 6, 1998 letter to President Clinton, signed by 44 House Members and 2 Senators, calling for the easing of sanctions on Iraq. (See CRS Report 98-680 E Iraq: Humanitarian Needs, Impact of Sanctions, and "Oil-for-Food" Program. August 13, 1998, by Lois McHugh). Until September 1996, the United States provided humanitarian assistance to northern Iraq as part of OPC, and other donors channeled aid to the rest of Iraq through the United Nations and non-governmental organizations NGO's. Since then, the United States has made occasional contributions to U.N. relief efforts, including a November 15, 1996 pledge of $11 million and a donation of $4 million (for PUK-controlled areas) in conjunction with an August 1, 1997 visit to Washington by PUK-leader Talabani. Iraq has consistently failed to make the required monthly statements to the U.N. or the IMF on its gold and foreign currency reserves. Iraq owes $44 million in arrears to the M, but it has never borrowed from the body. However, the IMF says it will visit Iraq in February 1999 after Iraq requested IMF help in rebuilding Iraq's administrative and currency systems. (H.R. 3599, introduced March 30, 1998, bans U.S. contributions to the IMF until it expels Iraq. )

Prior to the "oil-for-food program," additional aid funds (as well as funds for compensation, UNSCOM and Kuwait property returns) were drawn from frozen Iraqi assets transferred - or direct contributions - to a U.N. escrow account pursuant to Resolution 778. Total U.S. transfers to the escrow account, which matched contributions from other countries, reached $200 million - the maximum required of any state under Resolution 778. An additional $30 million in interest accrued was transferred in December 1996. About 55% of these funds went to humanitarian aid to all groups throughout Iraq. These monies are being refunded to the United States from the proceeds of the oil-for-food program.

Donations of food and medicine are another source of aid to the Iraqi people. Under Resolution 670 (September 25, 1990), flights into or out of Iraq are prohibited, unless those flights are carrying medicine or permitted foodstuffs in humanitarian circumstances. On a case by case basis, the Sanctions Committee allows humanitarian flights, and more than a dozen humanitarian flights into Baghdad's international airport have been permitted in 1998, compared with only a few flights for all the years prior. On April 28, 1998, with the approval of the Administration, the U.S.-based Americare organization delivered about 45 tons of medicine and medical supplies to Iraq.

U.N. "Oil-for-Food" Programs. Temporary oil sale plans have been adopted by the U.N. Security Council to ease suffering and fund implementation of the cease-fire terms. Security Council Resolution 986 (April 14, 1995) modified an earlier plan (Resolution 706 and 712, rejected by Iraq, to allow Iraq to sell $1 billion in oil every 90 days, and renewable every six months, with 30% deducted for compensation and additional deductions made for U.N. expenses in Iraq. (For details of the 986 plan, see CRS Report 96-501, Iraq: Oil Exports Resume.)

After a May 20, 1996 U.N.-Iraq memorandum of understanding on the plan, as well as several additional months of negotiations on implementation, Iraq began pumping oil on December 10, 1996. Proceeds from the sales are held by a U.N. escrow account managed by the New York Branch of France's Banque Nationale de Paris, and humanitarian import distribution is monitored by 151 U.N. personnel in Baghdad-controlled Iraq. 64 U.N. distributors (accompanied by 130 U.N. security guards) distribute supplies in the three Kurdish-controlled provinces, and U.N. teams funded by the plan are removing mines (about 10 million) scattered throughout northern Iraq. All imports are being checked by 42 point-of-entry monitors from Lloyd's Registry, including at a border entry point between Iraq and Syria, which opened in early September 1997 but is still underutilized. Resolution 1111 (June 4, 1997) and Resolution 1143 (December 4, 1997) extended the plan at the $2 billion level, with intervening Resolutions 1129 (September 12, 1997) and 1158 (March 5, 1998) that temporarily adjusted the programs second phase so Iraq could meet the oil sale targets.

To address the continuing humanitarian problem, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1153 (February 20, 1998), accepting the U.N. Secretary-General's recommendations by permitting $5.256 billion in oil sales every six months. This fourth phase began after an aid distribution plan, which provides for imports to rebuild the education, power, sanitation, and other infrastructure systems (including $300 million in equipment to repair Iraq's oil infrastructure), was approved on May 29, 1998. Resolution 1153 also alleviated the requirement for revised distribution plans for each subsequent phase of the oil-for-food program. Iraq exported only about $3 billion in the fourth phase because of falling oil prices and a dilapidated oil infrastructure.

The United States says 95% of all contracts for imports under the plan have been approved since the oil-for-food program began, and that Iraq has reduced its own food purchases by $300 million - $500 million per year, rather than adding the oil plan imports to previous import programs. Some Members are concerned that, under the loosened 986 plan import regulations, Iraq is importing such items as computers, telecommunications, and tugboats, which can have non-civilian uses. A fifth phase was approved by the Security Council on November 24 (Resolution 1210) and Iraq provided a distribution plan on November 27.

Resettlement of Iraqi Refugees

Desert Storm and postwar rebellions against Saddarn 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. Total U.S. admissions since the program are about 13,800 Iraqis resettled from Saudi Arabia, plus another 10,000 from other admission points, of which about 3,500 were ex-soldiers. About 6,800 Iraqis remained in the Raflia camp at the end of 1997, but in August 1998 Iran agreed to resettle 3,500 Shiite Iraqis from the camp. The FY1994 defense authorization (P.L. 103-160) stated the sense of the Senate that there be no admissions of Iraqi ex-soldiers unless they are certified to have assisted coalition forces after defecting and have not committed any war crimes. The Administration says these criteria were met. (See CRS Report 93-893, Iraq: Admission of Refugees into the United States.) In the wake of the September 1996 northern Iraq crisis, 5,900 Kurds who worked for U.S. relief operations or U.S.-funded or U.S.-based NGO's in northern Iraq, as well as 650 opposition activists, were evacuated to Guam were resettled in the United States under the Attorney General's parole authority.

Iraqi Support for International Terrorism

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. Although not related to terrorism directly, Iraq condemned the October 23, 1998 Israeli-Palestinian Wye River Memorandum. For information on Iraq and international terrorism, see CRS Report 98-722 F, Terrorism: Middle Eastern Groups and State Sponsors, 1998.)

Iraq-Kuwait Issues

Border Delineation and Security/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. Security Council Resolution 773 (August 26, 1992) endorsed border decisions taken by the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission (established May 2, 199 1), and on November 23, 1992, the Commission finished demarcating the Iraq-Kuwait boundary as described in the October 1963 "Agreed Minutes" between Iraq and Kuwait. 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 the Commission's final report was accepted by the U.N. Secretary General on May 20, 1993. Resolution 833 (May 27, 1993) demanded that Iraq and Kuwait accept the final border demarcation. Although many observers believe Iraq still harbors ambitions against Kuwait, 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.

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 I I personnel to the 193 observers in UNIKOM, which is commanded (as of December 1, 1997) by a Finnish officer and is considered a U.N. peacekeeping operation. Under Resolution 806 (February 5, 1993), passed after Iraqi incursions into the demilitarized zone in January 1993 (and other incidents), 767 soldiers from Bangladesh joined the UNIKOM observers in the DMZ. Kuwait furnishes equipment for the Bangladeshi unit, as well as two thirds of UNIKOM's $51 million per year budget.

Return of Kuwaiti Missing Persons and Property

Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687 address Iraq's obligations toward Kuwaiti and other nationals detained in Iraq during the Persian Gulf crisis. On July 1, 1994, after a three year hiatus, Iraq resumed attending ICRC-sponsored multilateral meetings on the fate of the missing Kuwaitis. 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. Of an initial 625 Kuwaiti cases, 605 are unresolved (550 Kuwaiti citizens and 54 residents of Kuwait who are not citizens), as are 24 Saudi cases. Iraq has provided to Kuwait files on 128 missing Kuwaitis, but says they disappeared in the chaos following the end of the Gulf war. Of the latest cases resolved, on October 11, 1995, Iraq returned the remains of one Kuwaiti, and one woman was found living in Iraq. Iran and Iraq conducted a large prisoner release (6,000 exchanged) in April 1998 and are discussing release of all remaining POW's from their eight year war.

U.N. Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687 require Iraq to return all property seized from Kuwait. In the first few years after the cease-fire, Iraq returned some Kuwaiti civilian and military equipment, including U.S. -made Improved Hawk air defense missiles. However, since 1994, U.S. officials have accused Iraq of returning to Kuwait some captured Iranian equipment that was never part of Kuwait's arsenal, and of using Kuwaiti missiles and armored personnel carriers during Iraq's October 1994 troop move toward the Kuwait border. 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 materiel was left behind or destroyed when Iraq evacuated Kuwait.

Compensation Claims

The U.N. Security Council has set up a mechanism for compensating the victims (individuals, governments, and corporations), using 30% of the proceeds from Iraqi oil sales. As of September 30, 1998, the Compensation Commission has paid $690 million in claims. On June 27, 1998, four corporations were awarded relatively small percentages of their damage claims. About $750 million in individual claims also were awarded. On September 30, $100 million was awarded for government claims and $11 million was awarded for individual claims. S.1794 and H.R. 3484, both introduced March 18, 1998, provide for payment of some U.S. claims against Iraq using about $2 billion in assets frozen in U.S. accounts. Similar legislation in the past has not been passed and signed, leaving the Iraqi assets still frozen. (For further information, see CRS report 98-240, Iraq: Compensation and Assets Issues.)

Sanctions Enforcement

International and U. S. trade sanctions against Iraq in place since 1990 have been amended to reflect the requirements of the Resolution 986 plan. As was the case prior to the plan, international 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 other supplies for "essential civilian nee&' require approval by the Sanctions Committee. Under the U.S. regulations written for the 986 plan, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) approves contracts between U.S. persons and the Iraqi government for the purchase of Iraqi oil and sales to Iraq of humanitarian goods. Informational items may not be exported to Iraq by U. S. citizens. On November 10, OFAC eased the procedures for U.S. oil firms to supply parts to rebuild Iraq's oil industry, and, as of September 3, 1998, U.S. firms have exported to Iraq over $165 million in goods since 986 began. During January - September 1998, the United States imported over 70 million barrels of Iraqi oil, making Iraq the United States' ninth largest supplier.

U.S. sanctions enforcement efforts have focused largely on ensuring that other countries do not help Iraq violate the international sanctions regime, although Iraq has been improving its relations in the region over the past few years.

Jordan. Since mid-1992, Jordan's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime on Iraq has improved significantly, although King Husayn supported Iraq in the Gulf crisis and has maintained ties to Saddam since, despite frequent differences and several downturns in relations. Shipments to Iraq 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. Every year since FYI 994, foreign aid appropriations laws (P.L. 103-87, P.L. 103-306, P.L. 104-107, P.L. 104-208, P.L. 105-118, and P.L. 105-277) have denied U.S. aid to any country that does not comply with the sanctions against Iraq, though these laws do not mention Jordan specifically. Since the war ended, the Sanctions Committee has "taken note of' Jordan's purchases of 75,000 barrels per day of Iraqi oil (at a major discount to world oil prices). In late December 1997, Iraq and Jordan agreed to an increase in the shipments to about 96,000 barrels per day, and the two countries continue to discuss construction of a joint oil pipeline. (See CRS Issue Brief 93085, Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues.)

Turkey. Turkey, which upgraded relations with Iraq in September 1998, estimated in November 1997 that it has lost $35 billion as a result of the sanctions, and it is now discussing with Iraq an additional oil pipeline as well as natural gas development and an associated gas pipeline from Iraq to Turkey. The government, apparently with some degree of U.S. acquiescence, turns a blind eye to the illicit importation of about $ 100 million per year in Iraqi energy products by Turkish truck drivers entering Iraq. Turkey, too, is discussing joint energy products with Iraq.

Iran/Persian Gulf States. In enforcing the embargo, two U.S. ships lead a Multinational Interdiction Force (MIF) that conducts maritime searches in the Persian Gulf to prevent the smuggling of oil and other high value exports through the Gulf The United States has asserted that Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been helping Iraq smuggle out the oil exports in exchange for "protection fees." As of late April 1998, reduced Iranian cooperation in the smuggling had cut the illicit exports to about $6 million per month from its high in late 1997 of $18-20 million per month, according to Defense Department officials. Iranian-Iraqi relations have improved since 1995, including talks between Iraq's Vice President and Iranian President Mohammad Khatemi at the margins of the summit in Tehran (December 9-11) of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). In late September 1998, Iraq began discussing increased trade with Iran, and signed its first trade deal with Saudi Arabia since the Gulf war. On November 7, a new ferry service between the United Arab Emirates and Iraq began operations.

Syria/Lebanon. According to U.S. officials, Syria has assured the United States that, despite recent improvements in its relations with Iraq and the opening of their border, Syria will not help Iraq violate the U.N. sanctions regime. On July 14, 1998, the two announced the reopening of the Iraq-Syria oil pipeline, closed since 1982. The United States says use of the pipeline requires further U.N. approvals, and an oil export monitoring mechanism would have to be set up if the pipeline is used to export oil under the oil-for- food program. The pipeline has a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day, but restoring full capacity would require about $80 million in spare parts. Lebanon restored diplomatic relations with Iraq October 23, 1998, after a 4-year break.

Issues for U.S. Policy

Economic Sanctions

A major issue for the Clinton Administration is how to keep Iraq contained while preserving the cohesion of the coalition that confronted Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people. President Clinton has said since 1994 that the United States is prepared, if necessary, to veto a Security Council resolution that permanently lifts the ban on Iraqi exports, unless and until Iraq fully complies with all Gulf war-related resolutions. The U.S. position is that Iraq must comply on all issues (Kuwait issues, human rights issues, in addition to disarmament) before any sanctions can be lifted. In a March 26, 1997 speech, Secretary of State Albright said that, as long as Saddam is in power, Iraq almost certainly will not be able to demonstrate its peaceful intentions sufficiently to warrant a change in U.S. policy toward Iraq.

France, Russia, and China, among other Security Council members, interpret the resolutions as providing for graduated sanctions relaxation in return for Iraqi compliance. These countries generally have opposed immediate military action to resolve inspection crises. They prefer to give Iraq "light at the end of the tunnel" to encourage Iraqi compliance and side with Iraq in maintaining that Paragraph 22 of Resolution 687 provides for the ban on Iraqi exports to end once Iraq complies with the WMD disarmament provisions of that resolution. They interpret 687 as restricting Iraq's imports until it meets remaining requirements of the resolution (Kuwait issues, terrorism). The United States maintains that lifting the oil embargo outright would enable Iraq to control sufficient funds to import virtually any materiel -- whether banned or permitted. However, in the crisis triggered by Iraq's October 31, 1998 declaration of non-cooperation with UNSCOM, even Iraq's supporters in and outside the Security Council were less vocal in opposition to U.S. use of force against Iraq.

Protecting/Supporting Iraq's Opposition

In accepting Iraq's pledges that defused the November 1998 crisis, President Clinton, on November 15, said the United States would intensify its work with opposition groups that want to change the government of Iraq. Monies for the Iraqi opposition were provided in FY1998 and end of the session FY1999 legislation. However, the New York Times reported November 5, 1998 that the congressional intelligence oversight committees had rejected an Administration plan to restart a proposed covert operation against the Iraqi regime. In late November, Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk began visits to London and the Middle East in an effort to encourage opposition unity and demonstrate U.S. support for it. On November 20, the Administration said it would soon name a representative to work with the opposition. (See CRS Report 98- 179. Iraqs Opposition Movements, and CRS Report 98539 E Radio Free Iraq and Radio Free Iran: Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues for Congress.)

Military Action and Long-Term Containment

The allied coalition invokes U.N. Resolution 687 and the Safwan Accords - the March 3, 1991 cease- fire agreements between Iraq and the coalition forces that banned Iraqi interference with allied air operations - to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. To legally justify striking Iraq for non- compliance with UNSCOM, the Administration maintains that there is sufficient authority in Resolutions 678 (November 29, 1990) authorizing use of force in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf conflict, and 687 (the main cease-fire resolution), and existing congressional actions (primarily P.L. 102-1 of January 12, 1991 authorizing military action to expel Iraq from Kuwait). 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 (human rights) was not written under Chapter VII, however. In the future, the Administration could derive additional justification from Resolution 1154 (see above), which warned of "the severest consequences if Iraq did not comply with the February 1998 memorandum of understanding with U.N. Secretary General Annan. 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.

To deter Iraq, the United States maintains about 20,000 military personnel, 15 ships (including at least one aircraft carrier two thirds of the year), and 200 combat aircraft in the Gulf region absent a crisis. Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili told the House National Security Committee in February 1997 that Iraq's forces (about 400,000 troops) are about half as large as they were before the war. However, this reduced force is still considered militarily superior to Iraq's neighbors, including Iran.

Since the Gulf war, 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, another brigade's worth is to be stationed in Qatar, and other U.S. ground equipment is on ships in the Gulf), and exercises, and has renewed an access agreement with Oman. 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 contributes about $350 million per year (in recent years), including both cash and in-kind payments for the cost of the U.S. troops there, facility construction, and joint exercises with U.S. troops. Qatar and Bahrain have twice each hosted U.S. combat aircraft (Air Expeditionary Forces) during gaps in U.S. aircraft carrier coverage of the Gulf, and another AEF deployed to Bahrain during November 1997 - June 1998.

Costs. A provision of P.L. 105-174 says the President should encourage U.S. allies to contribute to efforts to contain Iraq; the United States bore all the costs of its buildup in the 1997-98 crisis. According to Department of Defense figures, as of early November 1998, the United States has spent about $6 billion to contain Iraq since the end of the Gulf war, including no-fly zone enforcement and incremental costs associated with the confrontations with Iraq.


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