News Release

Why Has It Taken Iraq 12 Years to Disarm?


In his presentation before the Security Council on Friday, Hans Blix claimed: “If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament — under resolution 687 — could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided.”

However, an examination of U.S. policy indicates that for the last 12 years the U.S. government has maintained the economic sanctions regardless of Iraqi actions towards the weapons inspectors, creating a disincentive for compliance — and helping to explain why Iraq has taken so long to comply:

April 3, 1991: U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 687, the “cease fire” resolution. It includes many demands but states that once Iraq complies with the weapons inspection regime, the economic sanctions “shall have no further force or effect.”

May 20, 1991: President George Bush: “At this juncture, my view is we don’t want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.”

March 26, 1997: Madeleine Albright, in her first major foreign policy address as Secretary of State: “We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.”

Mid-Dec., 1998: A widely-criticized report is issued by UNSCOM head Richard Butler who, under U.S. pressure, withdraws UNSCOM inspectors, and the U.S. begins the Desert Fox bombing campaign on the eve of President Clinton’s scheduled impeachment vote.

Jan. 1999: U.S. media report that, contrary to U.S. denials, UNSCOM was used for espionage.

Oct. 1, 2002: Just as Iraq is deciding whether or not to let inspectors have total access to presidential palaces, Ari Fleischer talks of “the cost of one bullet” being less than the cost of invasion.

Early March, 2003: As Iraq is destroying Al-Samoud missiles, U.S. escalates its bombing of “no-fly” zones.

March 3, 2003: Richard Boucher, State Department spokesperson, claims: “We have made clear all along that the goal was disarmament.”

March 6, 2003: President George W. Bush: “We will be changing the regime of Iraq.”

Sacks has been to Iraq nine times, most recently with Rep. Jim McDermott.
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Director of the Southern Peace Research and Education Center, Masri has written extensively on Iraq.
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Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy — and author of the recent article “Follow the Policy: Why So Long for Iraq to Comply?” — Husseini said today: “Taking a clear-eyed look at U.S. policy not only explains why Iraq has taken this long to comply, it raises extremely troubling questions about the actual — as opposed to stated — goals of U.S. foreign policy through three administrations.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167