Title: "Iraq Warned to Keep Peace as Allies Depart." A residual force will remain to assure Iraqi compliance. (910712)
Translated Title: L`Irak ne devra pas violer la paix. (910712)
Author: CAREY, BRUCE (USIA STAFF WRITER)
07/12/91 HIRAQ WARNED TO KEEP PEACE AS ALLIES DEPART SH(Coalition will monitor Iraqi developments) (810) BYBy Bruce Carey BIUSIA Staff Writer
TWashington -- U.S. forces supporting humanitarian relief efforts in northern Iraq have finished their job and are pulling out with a clear warning to Baghdad against breaching the peace again in the region, the Defense Department says.
"The situation in northern Iraq has improved to the point where the coalition force can be redeployed," Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams declared July 12. "Coalition forces have been very successful in carrying out their humanitarian mission, and virtually all the Kurdish and other refugees who fled to the mountains on the Turkish border have returned to their homes."
Williams also told reporters that the coalition is setting up a residual force in the region to assure Iraqi compliance with the latest coalition demands, but he declined to say where the forces would be based.
Williams said that "by any definition, Operation Provide Comfort has been an outstanding success. The operation of the past three months has demonstrated the commitment and the unity of the international community in responding to this urgent need in northern Iraq.
"Redeployment starts today," he told reporters. "By July 15, coalition forces will be out of northern Iraq."
But Williams issued a clear warning to the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein not to renew any of the activities that drove the refugees from their homes in the first place.
"We have laid down a very clear marker to the Iraqis that they are not to interfere in any way with the humanitarian relief operations," he said. "The coalition retains a clear interest in peace within Iraq and is willing to respond militarily to Iraqi actions that disturb the peace.
"We have been quite explicit about what kind of behavior we expect" of Saddam Hussein's regime, he said.
Williams said that Iraqi officials have been informed of specific coalition demands: Iraqi aircraft are not to fly north of the 36th Parallel, even after coalition forces depart, and the Iraqi army, special police, and military border guards must remain outside the security zone.
"The coalition will undertake reconnaissance and other air operations above the 36th Parallel as needed" to enforce that, he said.
Meetings between representatives of the coalition and the Iraqi military will continue at least once a week in northern Iraq to avoid misunderstandings, he said.
Commenting on the residual force, Williams said, "The combined task force will maintain an appropriate level of air and ground forces in the region to see to it that the conditions which caused the Kurds and other refugees to flee from their homes do not recur, and to make certain that Iraq complies with the U.N. Security Council resolution that has to do with the refugees," he said.
Williams said that the United States is consulting with other coalition members, but he declined to say what coalition forces will become part of the residual force.
Describing the U.S. contingent, he said it will include about 2,500 men from a helicopter-borne battalion and a reinforced infantry battalion with heavy weapons, as well as air support from aircraft aboard an aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Currently, he said, the attack carrier USS Forrestal is in that area with its escort vessels. He said ground-based aircraft might also provide support from bases, which he did not identify, in the eastern Mediterranean.
"We will leave this force in place as long as we think it is appropriate," said Williams. "There should be no doubt of the residual force's...capability and willingness to deploy if the need arises."
Although the residual force is part of Operation Provide Comfort, whose humanitarian mission remains unchanged, the force could be enlarged, if necessary to keep the peace, he told reporters.
"We are not limited to just this residual force. In the event that we have to do something further, we have the assets for that, too," he said.
"We will continue to monitor events," Williams said. He added however that there is no contingency plan at present if Iraq ignores the warnings.
Asked whether a reply had been received from Baghdad, the spokesman said: "This is not anything for them to respond to; this is something for them to be informed of."
But Williams predicted that Saddam Hussein will cooperate far better than he has with regard to granting access to international nuclear inspection teams.
"If I have to judge by past behavior, I don't anticipate a problem. He has been shifty all along on the extent of his nuclear capability. He has been hiding that and concealing that since last fall," the spokesman said.
But, Williams said, Saddam Hussein "has been consistently cooperative with the humanitarian effort in northern Iraq."
The coalition has had discussions with the Kurds on the matter, Williams noted. "I expect they would like us to stay forever," he said. But he added that "they understand what we are doing and they support it." NNNN
File Identification: 07/12/91, PO-504; 07/12/91, AE-510; 07/12/91, EP-514; 07/12/91, EU-503; 07/12/91, NE-503; 07/15/91, AF-105; 07/15/91, NA-106
Product Name: Wireless File
Product Code: WF
Languages: French; Arabic
Keywords: IRAQ-US RELATIONS; IRAQ/Defense & Military; FORCE & TROOP LEVELS; KURDS; REFUGEES; OPERATION PROVIDE COMFORT; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
Thematic Codes: 160; 6RE; 1UN
Target Areas: AF; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link: 190164; 189529