News

Clinton Signs Iraq Liberation Act

Iraq News, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1998

By Laurie Mylroie

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



I. CLINTON SIGNS IRAQ LIBERATION ACT, WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT, OCT 31
II. '99 APPROPRIATIONS BILL, IRAQ OPPOSITION, SIGNED BY CLINTON OCT 21
III. INC WELCOMES IRAQ LIBERATION ACT, PRESS STATEMENT, OCT 31

Today is the 89th day without weapons inspections in Iraq and the first 
day without UNSCOM monitoring.

 "Iraq News" is preparing an issue on Iraq's decision to suspend UNSCOM 
monitoring.  Meanwhile, this issue deals with the developments 
regarding the policy promoted by Congress to deal with the Iraqi threat, 
namely to overthrow Saddam.  

  On Oct 30, Radio Free Iraq began broadcasting.  In an Oct 30 press 
statement, David Newton, head of RFI, explained "that in addition to 
local news about Iraq, programs will focus on democracy, free speech and 
human rights. 'Under the dictatorship of President Saddam Hussein, 
people in Iraq never a chance to hear about these issues,' said Newton, 
a former US ambassador to Iraq.  He says broadcasts to Iraq will 
eventually expand to six hours a day, airing in the Arabic as well as 
Kurdish languages."  Transcripts and RealAudio of the broadcasts will be 
available at http://www.rferl.org

   Yesterday, Clinton signed into law HR 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act 
of 1998."  In a presidential statement, issued by the White House, 
Clinton said, "This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress 
that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi 
opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the 
bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the 
current regime in Baghdad now offers. . . . On October 21, 1998, I 
signed into law the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental 
Appropriations Act, 1999, which made $8 million available for assistance 
to the Iraqi democratic opposition. . . My Administration, as required 
by that statue, has also begun to implement a program to compile 
information regarding allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, 
and war crimes by Iraq's current leaders as a step towards bringing to 
justice those directly responsible for such acts."
  Indeed, Sec 590 of the omnibus appropriations bill stated that "not 
less than $8,000,000 shall be made available for assistance to the Iraqi 
democratic opposition.  Of this amount, not less than $3,000,000 should 
be made available as a grant for the Iraq National Congress.  The 
conferees also direct the Administration to provide not less than 
$3,000,000 as a grant to the Iraqi Campaign to Indict Iraqi War 
Criminals to be used to compile information to support the indictment of 
Iraqi officials for war crimes.  The conferees direct the Administration 
to provide not less than $2,000,000 for the conduct of activities by the 
Iraqi democratic opposition inside Iraq."
  The president of the INC's Executive Council welcomed Clinton's 
signature of the Iraq Liberation Act, in an Oct 31 statement that began 
by condemning Saddam's suspension of UNSCOM monitoring, while hailing 
the president's signing of the legislation and thanking the US Congress. 
The statement concluded, "Saddam is the problem and he cannot be part of 
any solution in Iraq.  Therefore, President Clinton's action today is 
the most appropriate response to Saddam.  Let him know that Iraqis will 
rise up to liberate themselves from his totalitarian dictatorship and 
that the US is ready to help their democratic forces with arms to do so. 
Only then will the trail of tragedy in Iraq end.  Only then will Iraq be 
free of weapons of mass destruction."

I. CLINTON SIGNS IRAQ LIBERATION ACT
October 31, 1998
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 31, 1998
Statement by thePpresident
      Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 
1998."  This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that  
the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition
that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality 
of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime 
in Baghdad now offers.
       Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are:
       The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a 
freedom-loving and law-abiding member.  This is in our interest and that 
of our allies within the region.
       The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom 
at  home.  I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable 
due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up.  Iraqis 
deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.
       The United States looks forward to a democratically supported 
regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the 
reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.
       My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these 
objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations 
Security Council resolutions.  The evidence is overwhelming that such 
changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.
       In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the 
Security Council's efforts to keep the current regime's behavior in 
check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of 
the Iraqi people.  The United States is providing support to opposition 
groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a 
popularly supported government.
       On October 21, 1998, I signed into law the Omnibus Consolidated 
and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, which made $8 
million available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition.  
This assistance is intended to help the democratic opposition unify, 
work together more effectively, and articulate the aspirations of the 
Iraqi people for a pluralistic, participatory political system that will 
include all of Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious groups.  As required 
by the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY 1998 (Public Law 
105-174), the Department of State submitted a report to the Congress on 
plans to establish a program to support the democratic opposition.  My
Administration, as required by that statute, has also begun to implement 
a program to compile information regarding allegations of genocide, 
crimes against humanity, and war crimes by Iraq's current leaders as a
step towards bringing to justice those directly responsible for such 
acts.
       The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 provides additional, 
discretionary authorities under which my Administration can act to 
further the objectives I outlined above.  There are, of course, other 
important elements of U.S. policy.  These include the maintenance of 
U.N. Security Council support [for] efforts to eliminate Iraq's 
prohibited weapons and missile programs and economic sanctions that 
continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute those threats to 
international peace and security.  United States support for the Iraqi 
opposition will be carried out consistent with those policy objectives 
as well.
  Similarly, U.S. support must be attuned to what the opposition can 
effectively make use of as it develops over time.  With those 
observations, I sign H.R. 4655 into law.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 31, 1998

II. '99 APPROPRIATIONS BILL, IRAQ OPPOSITION
Sec. 590. Iraq Opposition 
   The conference agreement includes a provision proposed by the Senate 
that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, of the funds made 
available in this Act and any prior Acts making appropriations for 
foreign operations, not less than $8,000,000 shall be made available for 
assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition. Of this amount, not less 
than $3,000,000 should be made available as a grant for the Iraqi 
National Congress. The conferees also direct the Administration to 
provide not less than $3,000,000 as a grant to the Iraqi Campaign to 
Indict Iraqi War Criminals to be used to compile information to support 
the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes. The conferees direct 
the Administration to provide not less than $2,000,000 for the conduct 
of activities by the Iraqi democratic opposition inside Iraq. The 
conferees also direct the Secretary of State to submit a detailed report 
to the Committees on Appropriations thirty days after the enactment of 
this Act on the implementation of these activities.

III. INC WELCOMES IRAQ LIBERATION ACT
INC Welcomes President Clinton's Signature of the Iraq Liberation Act
London (October 31, 1998)
Following is a statement by Ahmad Chalabi, President of the Executive 
Council of the Iraqi National Congress.
   Saddam has shown once again that he is irredeemable. His defiance of 
the United Nations Security Council and his rejection of all reasonable 
attempts to resolve the impasse, which he made, demonstrate that he has 
no concern for the well being of the Iraqi people. He puts his power 
megalomania above the life and happiness of the Iraqi people.
   The Iraqi people are the first to suffer from the expulsion of UNSCOM 
and the cessation of all its activities. They have repeatedly been the 
victims of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. They call for the 
elimination of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.
   Saddam has pushed further the day when sanctions on Iraq would be 
lifted. He has challenged the combined will of the international 
community and thus he has opened the door for UN action against Iraq 
under Chapter VII resolutions. He is responsible.
   Today, October 31, 1998 is a great day for the Iraqi people. Today 
President Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. The 
American people have given their support for the end of dictatorship and 
for democracy in Iraq. The INC welcomes this courageous and historic 
action by President Clinton and thanks him for it.
   I will begin immediate consultations with leaders in the INC and 
others to work for a united response on how best to take advantage of 
the provisions of the Iraq Liberation Act. We will present a united 
front to maximize the chances of success. We look to President Clinton 
to support and work with a united INC to achieve our common goals.
   The INC has worked long and hard to energize the conscience of world 
to the decades long suffering of the Iraqi people. We have worked hard 
to persuade the US Congress for action to help the Iraqi people to 
liberate themselves. We thank with gratitude the US Congress for their 
support of democracy in Iraq. They have created a strong bond between 
the people of the US and the people of Iraq in the pursuit of liberty.
   Saddam is the problem and he cannot be part of any solution in Iraq. 
Therefore, President Clinton's action today is the most appropriate 
response to Saddam. Let him know that Iraqis will rise up to liberate 
themselves from his totalitarian dictatorship and that the US is ready 
to help their democratic forces with arms to do so. Only then will the 
trail of tragedy in Iraq end. Only then will Iraq be free of weapons of 
mass destruction.