“I also want to thank Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for allowing me to address all of you today and for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war.”

– Joseph Biden, Jr.
January 28, 2004

Oil-for-Food Extended, Goods Review List Revised

Paul Kerr

On December 30, the UN Security Council voted 13-0 to expand the list of items that a UN committee can prevent Iraq from importing. The changes, which were proposed by the United States and are contained in Resolution 1454, are intended to further limit Iraq’s ability to acquire items of military significance.

Resolution 1454 adds items to the Goods Review List (GRL), which contains items with both military and civilian applications. The UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review proposed contracts with Iraq, and for additional scrutiny they send items on the GRL to a UN committee, which has the power to block exports to Iraq.

The GRL was adopted by Security Council Resolution 1409 in May 2002 as a modification to the oil-for-food program to speed the system for approving goods going to Iraq. The United Nations established the oil-for-food program in 1995 in response to widespread concerns that economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 were seriously hurting the country’s civilian population. The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to purchase food, medicine, health supplies, and other civilian goods with proceeds derived from oil sales, which are held in a UN escrow account.

Resolution 1409 streamlined the process for approving exports to Iraq to further ease sanctions’ effects on civilians, but it created the GRL to keep items with potential military uses out of the country. Iraq is now allowed to import most civilian goods, but sanctions on military items remain in effect. (See ACT, June 2002.)

The United States had been pushing to expand the GRL because it was concerned that Iraq was importing goods not on the list, such as atropine, and using them for military purposes. Atropine is a drug with legitimate medical purposes that can also be used as an antidote to nerve gas. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said in a December 13 statement that Baghdad’s effort to acquire atropine gives the United States concerns “about Iraq’s development of chemical weapons.”

Washington’s initial efforts to persuade the Security Council to accept changes to the GRL met with difficulty. Resolution 1409 had extended the oil-for-food program until the end of November 2002 and mandated a review of the GRL by that time. According to a U.S. official interviewed January 7, in November the United States linked its support for the program’s renewal to a Security Council review of the GRL, with the aim of incorporating Washington’s suggested additions. Other Security Council members, however, wanted to renew the oil-for-food program for six months without reviewing the list, he said.

Security Council members eventually reached a compromise: on December 4 the council unanimously passed Resolution 1447, which extended the oil-for-food program for 180 days and said the council would “consider” adjustments to the GRL that would be adopted within 30 days. That led to the passage a few weeks later of Resolution 1454. Resolution 1447 requests that the UN secretary-general assess and report on the implementation of the GRL before the oil-for-food program expires in June.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations James Cunningham called the passage of Resolution 1454 a diplomatic victory, saying December 30 that the resolution meets U.S. goals.

According to a December 31 report from the UN Office of the Iraq Program, Resolution 1454 requires that the UN secretary-general establish import quotas within 60 days for items such as atropine, in order to prevent Iraq from stockpiling them. Requests to export quantities exceeding these quotas to Iraq must be referred to the UN committee, the report said. The text of the resolution also places imports of concentrated atropine on the GRL; atropine was previously not on the GRL.

Iraq’s state-run newspaper Al-Jumhuriya criticized the resolution January 2, arguing that it will cause “deliberate harm and damage” to Iraq, according to a January 2 Associated Press report.

Only Russia and Syria abstained from the resolution. Syria argued that it was too restrictive, given Iraq’s cooperation with UN weapons inspectors, according to a January 1 report from the official Syrian Arab News Agency. The Russian Foreign Ministry said December 31 that Moscow abstained because the resolution’s restrictions on heavy trucks were too severe and would adversely affect the distribution of goods in Iraq. Russia exports heavy trucks to Iraq, a U.S. Official said in a January 7 interview.

On December 30, the UN Security Council voted 13-0 to expand the list of items that a UN committee can prevent Iraq from importing.

PAC-3 Production to Pick Up

Wade Boese

With the prospect of another war with Iraq looming, a top Pentagon official approved a decision December 2 to accelerate acquisition of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles. As a result, the Army is projected to receive a total of 238 PAC-3 missiles, as opposed to 179, by the end of 2004.

Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, signed the order authorizing the Pentagon to speed up production of PAC-3 missiles, which are designed to destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles by colliding with them. By the end of 2002, the Army had received 53 PAC-3s for deployment.

The order, called an acquisition decision memorandum, also directed the Army to prepare a plan for taking over responsibility of the PAC-3 program from the Missile Defense Agency, which oversees U.S. missile defense research and development. Congress has blocked earlier attempts to transfer the program.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz foreshadowed the PAC-3 procurement decision in an October 24 speech. “We are looking at ways to accelerate the production of PAC-3 out of concern for near-term vulnerability,” he said. A week later, a group of senior Pentagon officials involved in procurement decisions arrived at an initial agreement to quicken PAC-3 production.

The PAC-3 performed well in early developmental testing, striking nine out of 10 targets, but in four operational tests involving multiple interceptors and targets conducted from February through May 2002, the PAC-3 system did not do nearly as well. Out of seven PAC-3 missiles to be fired, just two destroyed their targets, while three did not even launch. Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said December 17, “We know why [the PAC-3s] missed, and we will fix those.”

Top Pentagon officials have maintained that the PAC-3 is ready for deployment, and the Pentagon identified the PAC-3 as part of the initial missile defense capabilities the United States plans to field in 2004 and 2005. (See ACT, January/February 2003.) The next PAC-3 test is tentatively scheduled for this coming summer.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Pentagon deployed an early version of the Patriot missile to protect Israel and U.S.-led coalition forces from Iraqi Scud missile attacks. Despite initial claims of success, later analysis revealed that Patriots intercepted few if any Scuds.

With the prospect of another war with Iraq looming, a top Pentagon official approved a decision December 2 to accelerate acquisition of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles. 

Analysis and Resources on Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction


For Immediate Release: December 9, 2002

Press Contacts: Paul Kerr, (202) 463-8270 x102 or Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): From 1991 to 1998, United Nations weapons inspectors worked to rid Iraq of much of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which Baghdad pursued in violation of international nonproliferation agreements. But since the inspectors left in December 1998, Iraq has been free to resume its WMD programs unchecked.

UN weapons inspectors are now back in Iraq, seeking to verify Iraqi claims that it no longer has weapons of mass destruction. UN Security Council Resolution 1441 gives weapons inspectors a strong mandate to carry out their mission, including unconditional access to Iraq's previously restricted presidential sites. Washington has supported the resolution and the inspections process, but the depth of its support is unclear. The Bush administration has reserved the right to take unilateral military action in the event that it is dissatisfied with the UN process, although the administration has not yet clearly described the circumstances under which it might act. The rest of the international community is united in demanding that the inspection process be given the time to produce results and for Iraq to fully cooperate with the inspectors.

ACA Resources on Iraq

The ACA Web site includes important analysis from leading experts on options and challenges for containing Iraq's WMD programs. An online resource guide contains a series of authoritative Arms Control Today interviews with former weapons inspectors, as well as detailed news reports and commentaries dating back to 1997. These resources are available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/country/iraq/.

Some key examples of Association materials on Iraq are:

  • An October 2002 ACA press conference, "Disarming Iraq: How Weapons Inspections Can Work," featuring Robert Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; Jessica Matthews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Jonathan Tucker, senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The panelists discussed the successes and shortcomings of earlier weapons inspections and ways to strengthen future inspections.
  • ACA's special October report, "Iraq: A Chronology of UN Inspections in Iraq and an Assessment of Their Accomplishments." This report is a comprehensive guide to the history of inspections in Iraq from the beginning of the Persian Gulf War to present.
  • "Disarming Iraq: Nonmilitary Strategies and Options," a September 2002 article by David Cortright of the Fourth Freedom Forum and George Lopez of the University of Notre Dame. The authors call for a credible, coercive Iraq policy that consists of "continuing revenue controls, intensive diplomatic efforts to resume weapons inspections, and the creation of an enhanced containment system through strengthened border monitoring."
  • "The Inevitable Failure of Inspections in Iraq," a September 2002 article by the former deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM, Charles Duelfer. He outlines the limitations of past weapons inspection efforts, writing that "any weapons inspectors sent into Iraq under the existing UN Security Council resolutions are doomed to fail." He argues that "permanent disarmament goals imposed on Iraq were out of proportion with the inspectors' tools and the rewards and punishments the Security Council could practically impose."
  • Extensive interviews by Arms Control Today with the current chief of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix; chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) from 1997-1998, Ambassador Richard Butler; and the first chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter also provided his views on the past challenges and future prospects for successful inspections in Iraq in a June 2000 article.
  • Documents, fact sheets, and news reports from Arms Control Today on key developments.

# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. Established in 1971,the Association publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

Media Advisory

Country Resources:

UN Weapons Inspections Begin in Iraq

December 2002

By Paul Kerr

United Nations weapons inspectors returned to Iraq this month for the first time since December 1998 after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441 November 8 requiring Iraq to admit inspectors. Following months of debate over how to disarm Iraq, the Security Council approved the new resolution by a vote of 15-0, but differences remain between Washington and the United Nations over future Iraq policy.

The first team of UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Iraq November 25, with inspections scheduled to start November 27. The inspectors will update the Security Council on their progress 60 days later. Iraq must submit a “currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its [weapons of mass destruction] programmes” by December 8, according to the resolution.

The inspection teams have a strong mandate under the resolution, which specifies that Iraq must allow “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to “facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect.” To prevent Iraq from moving weapons materials, the resolution grants UN inspectors the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites to be inspected. Inspectors also have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish, including outside Iraq. Additionally, the resolution mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspections of such sites. (See ACT, November 2002.)

The new resolution also encourages governments to provide “any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates,” an apparent reference to national intelligence data.

Baghdad accepted the new resolution in a November 13 letter to Annan from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri despite an Iraqi parliament vote the day before to reject the new resolution. The letter included anti-American rhetoric and assertions that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Iraq sent a second letter, dated November 23, reiterating Iraqi charges that it has complied with weapons inspections in the past and that the United States is in violation of past UN resolutions. The letter also argued that Resolution 1441 simply provides cover for Washington to use force against Iraq.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a November 19 press conference that Iraqi officials agreed to comply with the resolution after he and UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix met with them in Baghdad November 18-19. ElBaradei added that UN economic sanctions on Iraq could be suspended within a year if Baghdad cooperates.

In a November 20 press conference, Blix said that Baghdad had agreed to submit the required declaration by December 8 although it is concerned about the short time frame and disclosing information about “peaceful industries.” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice suggested in a November 21 interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that an Iraqi denial that it possesses weapons of mass destruction would “be a signal that [Iraq is] not ready to cooperate.” Blix told the Security Council November 25 that Iraq maintains it does not have weapons of mass destruction programs.

“Material Breach” Still an Issue

The product of weeks of bargaining among Security Council members, the new resolution is different from a previous U.S.-U.K. draft resolution in several important ways. Some council members had balked at language that declared Iraq in “material breach” of past Security Council resolutions, fearing it could provide an automatic trigger for a military attack. As a result, Resolution 1441 declares that Iraq “remains in material breach” of past resolutions but explains that the council had decided to “afford Iraq…a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.”

Other language in the earlier U.S.-U.K. draft resolution was changed in an attempt to ensure that the Security Council has a significant role determining what constitutes an Iraqi violation of the resolution. Paragraph 4 of the earlier draft was amended to require that inspectors or UN member states report to the Security Council about potential Iraqi noncompliance that could constitute “material breach.” Additionally, a paragraph stating that “the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations” was moved from the beginning of the resolution’s mandates and placed after the paragraphs requiring the Security Council to reconvene.

Nevertheless, differing interpretations of the Security Council’s role in determining violations of the resolution remain. During a November 10 interview on FOX News Sunday, Rice said that, in the event that inspectors report instances of Iraqi noncompliance, the Security Council would meet “for a discussion of the circumstances” but that such a discussion would not be “about whether there has been a material breach…[but] a discussion of serious consequences following a material breach.” In a November 8 briefing, a senior administration official argued that the “facts” determine a material breach of the resolution but did not say who would determine the facts.

ElBaradei had a different interpretation. During a November 14 speech at a conference held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said that “the Security Council will decide…material breach.” The relevant portion of the resolution, paragraph 4, reads: “False statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq…and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with…this resolution shall constitute a…further material breach…and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12.” Those paragraphs state that inspectors are to report “any” instances of Iraqi noncompliance and that the Security Council should meet to “consider the situation.”

There are also differences over how serious and frequent Iraqi violations would have to be to constitute a “material breach.” “If we see a pattern of lack of cooperation, then we obviously have to report to the Security Council,” ElBaradei stated during the November 14 conference. A senior Bush administration official stated during the November 8 briefing that the Security Council should act if there is a “pattern of noncompliance” with the resolution. However, Rice stated in the November 10 interview that Washington needs to have a “zero-tolerance” policy.

The no-fly zones enforced by the United States and United Kingdom over Iraq could also provide a trigger for war. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France established the no-fly zones after the Persian Gulf War over the northern and southern thirds of the country. Iraq has fired repeatedly on coalition planes patrolling the zones since the UN resolution was passed, according to a November 20 Department of Defense briefing.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan said November 18 that firing on coalition aircraft is a “material breach” of the resolution. McClellan said that Washington reserves the right to take such incidents to the Security Council but had no immediate plans to do so. Annan stated that it was unlikely that the Security Council would consider shooting at U.S. planes a material breach of the resolution, according to a November 19 Associated Press report.

The United States argues that paragraph 8 of Resolution 1441 supports the U.S. case. That paragraph reads: “Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel…of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” Resolution 1441 does not specifically mention no-fly zones, however.

Washington argues that the no-fly zones implement Security Council resolutions because they protect Iraq’s minority populations, prevent Iraq from threatening its neighbors, and monitor cease-fire conditions on Iraq. Specifically, the United States cites Resolutions 678, 687, 688, and 949. This position is controversial; none of the resolutions mention no-fly zones, and Annan stated July 5 after a meeting with Iraqi officials that the no-fly zones are not Security Council policy. Iraq has long opposed the zones, saying they violate its sovereignty and the UN Charter.

Other Security Council members’ views on the matter are mixed. Russia argued in a November 19 statement from the Foreign Ministry that the zones are not covered by any Security Council resolutions and that Washington’s arguments with respect to Resolution 1441 “have no international-legal foundation.” A spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry would not take a position on the zones’ legality or Washington’s contention that Iraqi threats to coalition aircraft constitute a material breach of the resolution, according to a November 19 statement. China had no comment on Washington’s interpretation of the resolution, according to a November 21 Agence France-Presse report.

The use of intelligence is another potential area of controversy. Although the resolution allows for UN member states to provide intelligence data to inspectors, both Blix and ElBaradei expressed concern that the integrity of the inspections process be preserved. Blix stated in the November 14 issue of Time that “UNSCOM lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the world by [having] too close a relationship with the intelligence agencies.” He added, “We have to examine [intelligence data] critically because there’s a lot [of] disinformation around the world, and the more information you have, the better you’re able to compare.”

Washington’s Decision

Although the Bush administration praised the Security Council resolution, senior administration officials indicated during a November 8 background briefing that the United States retained the option of acting unilaterally, saying President George W. Bush “has given up none of his…authority to act to implement [Security Council] resolutions or to protect the United States working with like-minded nations.”

The status of the U.S. “regime change” policy remains unclear. The administration indicated last month that Iraq’s compliance with the UN resolution would be sufficient to meet Washington’s standard for regime change. McClellan said November 14 that Bush “seeks a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort.” A senior administration official indicated during the November 8 briefing that, “if the Iraqi regime did everything…to comply with all of the UN resolutions, it would be a changed regime.”

However, the official also indicated that other UN Security Council resolutions cover issues unrelated to weapons inspections, such as Baghdad’s human rights record and use of chemical weapons against Iraq’s Kurdish minority and Iran in the 1980s. Additionally, a senior administration official stated during the same briefing that Saddam Hussein could still be tried for war crimes, even if he complies with Resolution 1441. The officials also explained that the policy of regime change was “determined by the previous administration, and by the Congress” in 1998, an apparent reference to the Iraq Liberation Act, which says it is U.S. policy to replace the current government in Iraq.

UN Weapons Inspections Begin in Iraq

NATO Expands; Members Support Iraqi Disarmament

December 2002

By Wade Boese

At a November 21-22 summit marked by invitations to seven countries to join the alliance, NATO endorsed disarming Iraq, creating a military force capable of fighting anywhere in the world on short notice, and studying missile defenses against all ranges of ballistic missiles. Perfect harmony eluded the summit, however, as Germany and the United States squared off over what happens if Iraq refuses to disarm.

Meeting in Prague, the 19 leaders of NATO members invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to begin accession talks immediately with the goal of becoming full-fledged members by May 2004. Since its 1949 creation, NATO has expanded four times, the last being the 1999 addition of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

The seven new invitees combined have roughly 227,000 active military personnel and military budgets this year totaling $2.8 billion, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. By comparison, U.S. active duty strength numbers more than 1.4 million troops, and the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2003 is $355 billion.

President George W. Bush downplayed concerns that the seven new members might be unable to contribute much militarily to the alliance’s collective defense due to their small and mostly non-Western forces, saying November 18, “I do believe they can contribute something really important, and that is they can contribute their love for freedom.”

While moving the alliance closer to Russia’s borders and including for the first time a remnant of the former Yugoslavia—Slovenia—the new round of expansion was most notable because of the invitations to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the three Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union. The summit was the first time that NATO invited any country of the former Soviet Union to join the alliance.

Russia, NATO, and CFE

Moscow, which vigorously protested NATO’s last expansion and wrung pledges from the alliance in May 1997 that it had no intentions or plans to deploy nuclear weapons or permanently station substantial numbers of armed forces on new members’ territories, seemingly resigned itself to the latest expansion, issuing only periodic and muted objections.

Russia’s most common criticism was that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are not party to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which limits the deployment and stationing of conventional weaponry in Europe for 30 countries, including the United States. The three cannot join the CFE Treaty, however, because it does not allow countries to accede. Washington contends that NATO membership and CFE participation are two separate issues.

Nevertheless, the Baltic countries have reportedly indicated that they would favorably consider acceding to an updated version of the CFE Treaty negotiated in 1999 once it enters into force. But that treaty’s entry into force is stalled because NATO members have conditioned their ratification of the revised treaty, which requires all current CFE members to ratify it for it to become legally binding, on Russia fulfilling past pledges to shut down bases and withdraw its forces in Georgia and Moldova. The Kremlin is behind schedule in completing those commitments. (See ACT, September 2002.)

In their November 21 summit communiqué, NATO leaders appeared to suggest to Moscow that future Baltic CFE participation depended upon Russian compliance with its withdrawal commitments. The NATO statement read, “We welcome the approach of those non-CFE countries, which have stated their intention to request accession to the Adapted CFE Treaty upon its entry into force.” It further stated, “We urge swift fulfillment of [Russia’s] commitments on Georgia and Moldova, which will create the conditions for Allies and other States Parties to move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty.”

Hosting Bush in St. Petersburg a day after the expansion announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that Russia did not believe NATO enlargement was justified, but he added, “We do not rule out the possibility of deepening our relations with the alliance.”

NATO repeated that it would keep its door open for other European democracies to join and that Russia is no longer an enemy or threat, but Moscow has said it has no interest in becoming a member. Albania, Croatia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, however, were passed over on their membership requests.

United Front on Iraq for Now

Although largely devoted to expansion, much of the summit discussion focused on Iraq. NATO issued a statement declaring its support for UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and calling on Iraq to comply “fully and immediately.” The leaders further stated that NATO would take “effective action” to support the UN mission.

But fissures appeared in NATO’s stand, most sharply between the United States and Germany, regarding what would constitute effective action. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said November 21 that effective action would be “whatever it takes to make sure that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.” German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, however, said Germany would not support military action.

U.S. officials downplayed the rift, arguing that the important point is that all NATO members currently agree Iraq must disarm, and Rice said that “we’re not yet at the stage of talking about military action.” Just minutes earlier, however, Rice had told reporters that “the United States is at this point talking to countries, consulting about what might be necessary, what capabilities might be necessary if military action takes place.”

Preparing NATO to Fight

Despite the lack of unanimity over employing military force against Iraq, NATO leaders supported a U.S. initiative to create a roughly 21,000-troop NATO Response Force (NRF) capable of fighting around the globe on as little as seven days’ notice. Use of the force would require consensus by NATO’s decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council.

Expected to be initially ready by October 2004 and fully operational by October 2006, the force is to be comprised of sea, air, and ground assets and be able to operate independently for up to a month. NATO will rotate troops through the new force every six months.

Establishment of the NRF stems from the alliance’s shifting focus of defending against a massive conventional attack from the east to the more disparate and asymmetrical threats posed by rogue states and terrorism.

Also reflecting its changing threat assessment, NATO agreed to study missile defenses against all ranges of ballistic missiles. Before the U.S. June 13 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that barred defenses against strategic ballistic missiles, key NATO members had publicly opposed U.S. missile defense plans to protect against long-range ballistic missiles, but there is now growing acceptance of the concept.

NATO Expands; Members Support Iraqi Disarmament

UN Security Council Resolution 1441

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 by a vote of 15-0 on November 8, requiring Iraq to admit inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Baghdad accepted the new resolution November 13, and it must submit a declaration of its prohibited weapons programs by December 8, 2002. Inspections are scheduled to begin November 27, and the inspectors are required to update the Security Council on their progress 60 days later.

Resolution 1441 gives inspectors a stronger mandate than they had under previous Security Council resolutions. UN inspectors now have the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites they wish to inspect in order to prevent Iraq from moving weapons materials. Inspectors have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish, including outside Iraq.

The resolution also encourages governments to share intelligence data with inspectors. Additionally, it mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspections of those sites.

The product of weeks of bargaining among Security Council members, the new resolution is a compromise. (See ACT, November 2002.) France and Russia had been concerned that language originally proposed by the United States and the United Kingdom set an unacceptably low threshold for initiating military action against Iraq to enforce the resolution and minimized the role of the Security Council. The new resolution states that this is Iraq’s “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and requires that reports from inspectors and member states about Iraqi noncompliance that could constitute “material breach” of the resolution be referred to the Security Council.

The Security Council members continue to have different interpretations of exactly what Iraqi violations might justify military action against the country.

Weapons inspectors have not been able to work in Iraq since 1998, when Iraq stopped complying with monitoring activities and halted cooperation with weapons inspectors, then comprised of personnel from the IAEA and the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). The IAEA and UNSCOM withdrew their personnel in December 1998, just before the United States and the United Kingdom initiated three days of air strikes over Iraq. UNMOVIC was created in December 1999 by Security Council Resolution 1284 to replace UNSCOM.

Following is the text of the resolution:

Resolution 1441 (2002)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 4644th meeting, on 8 November 2002

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and all the relevant statements of its President,

Recalling also its resolution 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and its intention to implement it fully,

Recognizing the threat Iraq’s noncompliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,

Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area,

Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,

Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspectors, as required by resolution 687 (1991), and ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998,

Deploring the absence, since December 1998, in Iraq of international monitoring, inspection, and verification, as required by relevant resolutions, of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, in spite of the Council’s repeated demands that Iraq provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), established in resolution 1284 (1999) as the successor organization to UNSCOM, and the IAEA, and regretting the consequent prolonging of the crisis in the region and the suffering of the Iraqi people,

Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism, pursuant to resolution 688 (1991) to end repression of its civilian population and to provide access by international humanitarian organizations to all those in need of assistance in Iraq, and pursuant to resolutions 686 (1991), 687 (1991), and 1284 (1999) to return or cooperate in accounting for Kuwaiti and third country nationals wrongfully detained by Iraq, or to return Kuwaiti property wrongfully seized by Iraq,

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein,

Determined to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions and recalling that the resolutions of the Council constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance,

Recalling that the effective operation of UNMOVIC, as the successor organization to the Special Commission, and the IAEA is essential for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions,

Noting the letter dated 16 September 2002 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq addressed to the Secretary General is a necessary first step toward rectifying Iraq’s continued failure to comply with relevant Council resolutions,

Noting further the letter dated 8 October 2002 from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq laying out the practical arrangements, as a follow-up to their meeting in Vienna, that are prerequisites for the resumption of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and expressing the gravest concern at the continued failure by the Government of Iraq to provide confirmation of the arrangements as laid out in that letter,

Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighbouring States,

Commending the Secretary General and members of the League of Arab States and its Secretary General for their efforts in this regard,

Determined to secure full compliance with its decisions,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;

3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;

5. Decides that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC’s or the IAEA’s choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates; further decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government; and instructs UNMOVIC and requests the IAEA to resume inspections no later than 45 days following adoption of this resolution and to update the Council 60 days thereafter;

6. Endorses the 8 October 2002 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq, which is annexed hereto, and decides that the contents of the letter shall be binding upon Iraq;

7. Decides further that, in view of the prolonged interruption by Iraq of the presence of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and in order for them to accomplish the tasks set forth in this resolution and all previous relevant resolutions and notwithstanding prior understandings, the Council hereby establishes the following revised or additional authorities, which shall be binding upon Iraq, to facilitate their work in Iraq:

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall determine the composition of their inspection teams and ensure that these teams are composed of the most qualified and experienced experts available;

–All UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities, corresponding to those of experts on mission, provided in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have unrestricted rights of entry into and out of Iraq, the right to free, unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential Sites equal to that at other sites, notwithstanding the provisions of resolution 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programmes and the associated research, development, and production facilities;

–Security of UNMOVIC and IAEA facilities shall be ensured by sufficient UN security guards;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to declare, for the purposes of freezing a site to be inspected, exclusion zones, including surrounding areas and transit corridors, in which Iraq will suspend ground and aerial movement so that nothing is changed in or taken out of a site being inspected;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, including manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion verifiably to remove, destroy, or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof; and

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to free import and use of equipment or materials for inspections and to seize and export any equipment, materials, or documents taken during inspections, without search of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or official or personal baggage;

8. Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution;

9. Requests the Secretary General immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution, which is binding on Iraq; demands that Iraq confirm within seven days of that notification its intention to comply fully with this resolution; and demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;

10. Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA;

11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;

12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;

13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


Text Of Blix/El-Baradei Letter

United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, The Executive Chairman

International Atomic Energy Agency, The Director General

8 October 2002

Dear General Al-Saadi,

During our recent meeting in Vienna, we discussed practical arrangements that are prerequisites for the resumption of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA. As you recall, at the end of our meeting in Vienna we agreed on a statement which listed some of the principal results achieved, particularly Iraq’s acceptance of all the rights of inspection provided for in all of the relevant Security Council resolutions. This acceptance was stated to be without any conditions attached.
During our 3 October 2002 briefing to the Security Council, members of the Council suggested that we prepare a written document on all of the conclusions we reached in Vienna. This letter lists those conclusions and seeks your confirmation thereof. We shall report accordingly to the Security Council.
In the statement at the end of the meeting, it was clarified that UNMOVIC and the IAEA will be granted immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to sites, including what was termed “sensitive sites” in the past. As we noted, however, eight presidential sites have been the subject of special procedures under a Memorandum of Understanding of 1998. Should these sites be subject, as all other sites, to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access, UNMOVIC and the IAEA would conduct inspections there with the same professionalism.

H.E. General Amir H. Al-Saadi,
Presidential Office

We confirm our understanding that UNMOVIC and the IAEA have the right to determine the number of inspectors required for access to any particular site. This determination will be made on the basis of the size and complexity of the site being inspected. We also confirm that Iraq will be informed of the designation of additional sites, i.e. sites not declared by Iraq or previously inspected by either UNSCOM or the IAEA, through a Notification of Inspection (NIS) provided upon arrival of the inspectors at such sites.

Iraq will ensure that no proscribed material, equipment, records or other relevant items will be destroyed except in the presence of UNMOVIC and/or IAEA inspectors, as appropriate, and at their request.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA may conduct interviews with any person in Iraq whom they believe may have information relevant to their mandate. Iraq will facilitate such interviews. It is for UNMOVIC and the IAEA to choose the mode and location for interviews.

The National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) will, as in the past, serve as the Iraqi counterpart for the inspectors. The Baghdad Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Centre (BOMVIC) will be maintained on the same premises and under the same conditions as was the former Baghdad Monitoring and Verification Centre. The NMD will make available services as before, cost free, for the refurbishment of the premises.

The NMD will provide free of cost: (a) escorts to facilitate access to sites to be inspected and communication with personnel to be interviewed; (b) a hotline for BOMVIC which will be staffed by an English speaking person on a 24 hour a day/seven days a week basis; (c) support in terms of personnel and ground transportation within the country, as requested; and (d) assistance in the movement of materials and equipment at inspectors’ request (construction, excavation equipment, etc.). NMD will also ensure that escorts are available in the event of inspections outside normal working hours, including at night and on holidays.

Regional UNMOVIC/IAEA offices may be established, for example, in Basra and Mosul, for the use of their inspectors. For this purpose, Iraq will provide, without cost, adequate office buildings, staff accommodation, and appropriate escort personnel.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA may use any type of voice or data transmission, including satellite and/or inland networks, with or without encryption capability. UNMOVIC and the IAEA may also install equipment in the field with the capability for transmission of data directly to the BOMVIC, New York and Vienna (e.g. sensors, surveillance cameras). This will be facilitated by Iraq and there will be no interference by Iraq with UNMOVIC or IAEA communications.

Iraq will provide, without cost, physical protection of all surveillance equipment, and construct antennae for remote transmission of data, at the request of UNMOVIC and the IAEA. Upon request by UNMOVIC through the NMD, Iraq will allocate frequencies for communications equipment.

Iraq will provide security for all UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel. Secure and suitable accommodations will be designated at normal rates by Iraq for these personnel. For their part, UNMOVIC and the IAEA will require that their staff not stay at any accommodation other than those identified in consultation with Iraq.

On the use of fixed-wing aircraft for transport of personnel and equipment and for inspection purposes, it was clarified that aircraft used by UNMOVIC and IAEA staff arriving in Baghdad may land at Saddam International Airport. The points of departure of incoming aircraft will be decided by UNMOVIC. The Rasheed airbase will continue to be used for UNMOVIC and IAEA helicopter operations. UNMOVIC and Iraq will establish air liaison offices at the airbase. At both Saddam International Airport and Rasheed airbase, Iraq will provide the necessary support premises and facilities. Aircraft fuel will be provided by Iraq, as before, free of charge.

On the wider issue of air operations in Iraq, both fixed-wing and rotary, Iraq will guarantee the safety of air operations in its air space outside the no-fly zones. With regard to air operations in the no-fly zones, Iraq will take all steps within its control to ensure the safety of such operations.

Helicopter flights may be used, as needed, during inspections and for technical activities, such as gamma detection, without limitation in all parts of Iraq and without any area excluded. Helicopters may also be used for medical evacuation.

On the question of aerial imagery, UNMOVIC may wish to resume the use of U-2 or Mirage overflights. The relevant practical arrangements would be similar to those implemented in the past.

As before, visas for all arriving staff will be issued at the point of entry on the basis of the UN Laissez-Passer or UN Certificate; no other entry or exit formalities will be required. The aircraft passenger manifest will be provided one hour in advance of the arrival of the aircraft in Baghdad. There will be no searching of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or of official or personal baggage. UNMOVIC and the IAEA will ensure that their personnel respect the laws of Iraq restricting the export of certain items, for example, those related to Iraq’s national cultural heritage. UNMOVIC and the IAEA may bring into, and remove from, Iraq all of the items and materials they require, including satellite phones and other equipment. With respect to samples, UNMOVIC and IAEA will, where feasible, split samples so that Iraq may receive a portion while another portion is kept for reference purposes. Where appropriate, the organizations will send the samples to more than one laboratory for analysis.

We would appreciate your confirmation of the above as a correct reflection of our talks in Vienna.

Naturally, we may need other practical arrangements when proceeding with inspections. We would expect in such matters, as with the above, Iraq’s co-operation in all respect.

Yours sincerely,

Hans Blix,
Executive Chairman
United Nations Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission

Mohamed ElBaradei,
Director General,
International Atomic Energy Agency


North Korea Is No Iraq: Pyongyang's Negotiating Strategy

Leon V. Sigal

The revelation that North Korea is buying equipment useful for enriching uranium has led many in Washington to conclude that North Korea, like Iraq, is again making nuclear weapons and that the appropriate response is to punish it for brazenly breaking its commitments. Both the assessment and the policy that flows from it are wrong.

North Korea is no Iraq. It wants to improve relations with the United States and says it is ready to give up its nuclear, missile, and other weapons programs in return.

Pyongyang’s declared willingness to satisfy all U.S. security concerns is worth probing in direct talks. More coercive alternatives—economic sanctions and military force—are not viable without allied support. Yet, the Bush administration, long aware of North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile activities, has shown little interest in negotiating.

Recognizing that, both Japan and South Korea have refused to confront North Korea and instead have moved to engage it. Hard-line unilateralists in the Bush administration and Congress oppose such engagement. As they continue to get their way, they are putting the United States on a collision course with its allies, undermining political support for the alliance in South Korea and Japan and jeopardizing the U.S. troop presence in both countries.

The United States rightly wants to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear arms; prevent it from developing, testing, deploying and selling any more ballistic missiles; get rid of its biological and chemical weapons; and assure that, whatever happens internally in North Korea, the artillery Pyongyang has emplaced within range of Seoul is never fired in anger.

To achieve its aims, Washington has to understand that Pyongyang is seeking an end to its hostile relationship with the United States. When Washington fails to reciprocate, Pyongyang retaliates by breaking its pledges in a desperate effort to get Washington to cooperate.

Tit-for-Tat to End Enmity

In the late 1980s, then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung decided he had no better way to provide for his country’s security than to end its lifelong enmity with the United States, South Korea, and Japan. He reached out to all three, but in the early 1990s, the first Bush administration, determined to put a stop to Pyongyang’s nuclear arming before easing its isolation, worked to block closer South Korean and Japanese ties with the North. Concluding that Washington held the key to open doors to Seoul and Tokyo, Pyongyang engaged seriously with Seoul and Tokyo in the ensuing decade only when it was convinced Washington was cooperating.

Pyongyang also decided to trade in its nuclear arms program in return for an end to enmity. At the same time, it kept its nuclear option open as leverage on Washington to live up to its end of the bargain—initially by delaying international inspections to determine how much plutonium it reprocessed before 1992.

That trade became the basis of the October 1994 Agreed Framework, whereby the North agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear arms program in return for two new light-water reactors (LWRs) for generating nuclear power, an interim supply of heavy-fuel oil, some relaxation of U.S. economic sanctions, and—above all to North Korea—gradual improvement of relations. The accord stopped a nuclear program that had already produced five or six bombs’ worth of plutonium then lying in a cooling pond in Yongbyon and that by now would have been capable of reprocessing 30 bombs’ worth of plutonium a year.

In halting Pyongyang’s plutonium program, Washington got what it most wanted up front, but it did not live up to its end of the bargain. When Republicans won control of Congress in elections just a week later, unilateralists in the Republican Party denounced the deal as appeasement. Unwilling to challenge Congress, the Clinton administration shrank from implementation. Construction of the first replacement reactor was slow to begin—it was supposed to be ready by 2003 but is three years behind schedule—and the heavy-fuel oil was not always delivered on schedule. Above all, Washington did little to improve political relations with Pyongyang.

When the United States was slow to fulfill the terms of the 1994 accord, North Korea threatened to break it. In February 1997, Pyongyang began warning it would no longer be bound by the accord if Washington failed to uphold it. That played into growing suspicions in the U.S. intelligence community that an underground site at Kumchang-ni might be nuclear related. In late April 1998, the North stopped canning the plutonium-laden spent fuel at Yongbyon, and it threatened to reopen the reactor at Yongbyon for maintenance. Its decision to acquire equipment for enriching uranium probably dates back to this time.

Had North Korea wanted to break the 1994 accord, it could have resumed reprocessing. It did not. Instead, Pyongyang resolved to try again to end enmity, this time using its missiles as inducement. On June 16, 1998, Pyongyang publicly offered to negotiate an end to its development as well as export of ballistic missiles. Development meant not only tests but also production of missiles for testing. Pyongyang also warned that, if the United States was unwilling to declare an end to enmity, it would keep testing missiles—a threat it carried out on August 31, when it launched a three-stage rocket in an unsuccessful attempt to put a satellite into orbit.

Pyongyang’s bargaining tactics led many to conclude that it was engaging in blackmail in an attempt to obtain economic aid without giving up anything in return. It was not. It was playing tit-for-tat, cooperating whenever Washington cooperated and retaliating when Washington reneged, in an effort to end enmity.

On the Road to Reconciliation

The 1998 missile test prompted a policy review in Washington conducted by former Defense Secretary William Perry, who concluded that “the urgent focus of U.S. policy toward the D.P.R.K. [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must be to end its nuclear weapons and long-range missile-related activities.” In May 1999, Perry traveled to North Korea where he affirmed that the United States was ready to negotiate in earnest again and this time make good on its promises. Prior to Perry’s trip, North Korea let the canning of spent fuel at Yongbyon be completed. It also allowed visits to the Kumchang-ni site by U.S. inspectors, who found it was not nuclear related.

The Perry policy paid off that September when Pyongyang agreed to suspend its test-launching of missiles while negotiations proceeded. In return, Washington promised to end sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act, a pledge it was slow to carry out.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who had played a pivotal part in putting Washington back on the road to reconciliation with Pyongyang, was quietly arranging a summit meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il—a meeting the Clinton administration had helped make possible by showing its readiness to cooperate. In anticipation of high-level talks in Washington proposed by Perry, it had handed North Korea a draft communiqué in January 2000 declaring an end to enmity.

At their June 2000 summit meeting, the South and North pledged to reconcile, an irreversible step toward ending a half-century of internecine conflict. By reaching accommodation, the one-time foes would be realigning relations in all of Northeast Asia and opening the way to regional cooperation on security.

As soon as the summit ended, the Clinton administration carried out its promise to end sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Pyongyang also wanted Washington to end sanctions under U.S. antiterrorism laws. Instead, in a joint statement issued October 6, the North renounced terrorism, and both sides “underscored their commitment to support the international legal regime combating international terrorism and to cooperate with each other in taking effective measures to fight terrorism,” specifically, “to exchange information regarding international terrorism.”

These steps prompted Kim Jong Il to send his second-in-command, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, to Washington October 9, 2000. A joint communiqué issued October 12 read, “Neither government would have hostile intent toward the other.” In plain English, we are not enemies.

This declared end to enmity opened the way to a missile deal. Within two weeks, in talks with then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Il offered to end exports of all missile technology, including those in existing contracts, and to freeze testing, production, and deployment of all missiles with a range of 300 miles or more. That covered the Nodong; the Taepo Dong-1 and 2; and, arguably, the Scud-C. In return, the United States offered to arrange for the launch of two or three satellites a year. The North said it would accept compensation in kind, not cash, to replace revenue forgone by halting its missile exports. Though it did not say so at the time, Washington was prepared to arrange for $200-300 million a year in investment and aid.1

To turn the freeze into a verifiable ban, significant issues remained to be explored and resolved: “elimination” of North Korea’s missiles, on-site monitoring to verify the cessation of missile production and deployment (what negotiators called “transparency” and “confidence-building measures on missiles”), and extending the freeze to all missiles capable of a range of more than 180 miles, the standard set by the Missile Technology Control Regime.

The October 12 joint communiqué alluded to one way to verify the accord. “The sides agreed on the desirability of greater transparency in carrying out their respective obligations under the Agreed Framework,” it reads. “In this regard, they noted the value of the access which removed U.S. concerns about the underground site at Kumchang-ni.” North Korea had allowed U.S. inspectors to visit the site twice and even proposed permanent monitoring at the site in the form of a joint venture. Such transparency was needed at other suspect nuclear sites in the North, as well as for verification of a missile ban.

Above all, North Korea wanted President Bill Clinton to come to Pyongyang to seal the missile deal and place his imprimatur on the October 9 pledge, thereby consummating North Korea’s 10-year campaign to end enmity with the United States. Why would North Korea give up nuclear arms and missiles, never mind its artillery threat to Seoul, if the United States remained its foe?

Reconciliation Derailed

President Clinton decided not to travel to North Korea, and without his commitment to go, negotiations with the North stalled. On June 17, 2002, Clinton said as much to the Council on Foreign Relations: “We were very close to ending the North Korean missile program in the year 2000. I believe if I had been willing to go there, we would have ended it.”

Instead of picking up the ball where Bill Clinton dropped it, George W. Bush moved the goalposts when he assumed the presidency in 2001. In so doing, he picked a fight with ally South Korea. The White House broke with Kim Dae-jung in March 2001 by publicly repudiating Kim’s policy of reconciliation and privately discouraging the South from concluding a peace agreement with the North or providing it with electricity. Bush also disparaged Kim Jong Il, not a diplomatic way to address someone who had just offered to stop making and selling missiles.

After completing a review of policy toward North Korea, the Bush administration reneged on past U.S. commitments and reinterpreted agreements with the North unilaterally. First, it did not reaffirm the October 12, 2000, U.S.-North Korea pledge of no “hostile intent”—a pledge it would repudiate the next year when it labeled North Korea a member of the “axis of evil.” Second, the White House announced June 6, 2001, that it would seek “improved implementation” of the 1994 Agreed Framework—in effect, reinterpreting it to require prompt nuclear inspections without offering anything in return. Third, the administration wanted the North to adopt “a less threatening conventional military posture,” which Pyongyang believes it cannot do without reciprocity by Washington and Seoul, given its military inferiority. The White House also decided that, as a matter of policy, progress toward an agreement on missiles would depend on progress on other issues of concern. That assured no progress across the board.

In response to the June 6 White House statement, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on June 18 called on Washington to implement “the provisions of the D.P.R.K.-U.S. Agreed Framework and the D.P.R.K.-U.S. joint communiqué as agreed upon.” The North followed that up June 28 with the hint of a deal: it linked a U.S. demand for nuclear inspections with its own demand for electricity, which it sees as compensation for the delay in providing the first reactor promised under the Agreed Framework. At the same time, however, the North warned of tit-for-tat: “If no measure is taken for the compensation for the loss of electricity, the D.P.R.K. can no longer keep its nuclear activities in a state of freeze and implement the Agreed Framework.”2

Grinding Axes

Then came September 11. The next day, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman voiced regret and reiterated North Korea’s opposition to all forms of terrorism. On September 15, the head of a delegation from Pyongyang, arriving in Seoul for ministerial talks, also expressed regret. A senior Foreign Ministry official handed Sweden’s chargé in Pyongyang a note for the United States expressing condolences about the September 11 attacks—a signal of willingness to cooperate on terrorism.

Far from cooperating on terrorism or anything else, the Bush administration sounded like it was spoiling for a fight. Instead of reaffirming the declaration of no “hostile intent,” Bush repudiated it in his 2002 State of the Union address, when he said, referring to North Korea, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” He went on:

By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference could be catastrophic.

What began as the purple prose of speechwriters soon became administration policy—and not just toward Iraq. On May 6, in a reference that drew little public attention, Undersecretary of State John Bolton accused North Korea as well as Iraq of having “covert nuclear programs, in violation of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT].” Bolton’s statement was followed June 1 by Bush’s announcement of a new doctrine for combating states that are developing weapons of mass destruction by waging preventive war—without allies, without United Nations sanction, in violation of international law. “We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants who solemnly sign nonproliferation treaties, and then systematically break them,” he declared. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.”

Even though it was aware of North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile activities, the Bush administration made no effort to enter into negotiations. The administration had long said it would meet “anytime, anywhere,” but Pyongyang’s willingness to resume talks, conveyed to South Korean special envoy Lim Dong-won in early April 2002, caught it unprepared—mired in an internal struggle over whom to send and what negotiating position to take. On April 30, the administration offered dates for a resumption, but the ongoing internal struggle led it to seek a postponement. It cited the deadly July 2 naval clash between North and South Korea as a reason to postpone talks proposed for July 10-12 in Pyongyang, withdrawing the offer before North Korea had the chance to respond. Even after Secretary of State Colin Powell’s brief chat with Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Forum on July 31, Washington did not offer to set a date for the start of talks.

Meanwhile, hard-liners were trying to undermine the Agreed Framework, the basis for negotiations. Some Republicans in Congress had long pressed to halt heavy-fuel oil deliveries and reactor construction and abandon the Agreed Framework altogether. Taking a more moderate tone, the administration opted not to certify North Korea’s compliance with the accord, a requirement under U.S. law, while at the same time saying it would continue to abide by the accord’s provisions.

Some administration officials wanted to go further and accuse North Korea of “anticipatory breach” of the accord—on the grounds it had not allowed inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine how much reprocessing of plutonium it had done before 1991. A case could be made that the North has not permitted inspections that are mandated by the accord, for instance, at the isotope production laboratory at Yongbyon. But the inspections demanded by some Bush officials, however desirable, were not required by the text of the Agreed Framework, which reads: “When a significant portion of the LWR project is completed, but before delivery of key nuclear components, the D.P.R.K. will come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.” Nothing in the negotiating record obliges the North to act sooner.3

Pyongyang’s New Tack

Some hard-liners in the Bush administration claim its tough stance brought North Korea to seek accommodation with South Korea and Japan, but they’ve got it backward: it led Seoul and Tokyo to improve relations with Pyongyang in order to head off a crisis.

Pyongyang opened the way. Convinced it was getting nowhere with Washington, Pyongyang changed course in September 2001 and resumed ministerial-level talks with Seoul to implement agreements reached in the June 2000 summit. In secret talks in Beijing around the same time, North Korea began tiptoeing toward a resumption of normalization talks with Japan as well. This marked an important shift for Pyongyang, which for the past decade had engaged seriously with Seoul and Tokyo only when it was convinced that Washington was cooperating as well. It had finally concluded that the path to reconciliation with Washington runs through Seoul and Tokyo. It was also reducing the risk of renewed confrontation with Washington by persuading Seoul and Tokyo it was ready to deal.

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi’s September 17 summit meeting with Kim Jong Il was clear evidence of this. After the Bush administration spurned talks with Pyongyang, Tokyo tired of waiting for Washington. On February 18, less than three weeks after the “axis of evil” speech, Koizumi, with Bush at his side, said at a press conference in Tokyo, “Japan, through cooperation and coordination with the U.S. and Korea, would like to work on normalization of relations with North Korea.” Pyongyang did not take long to respond. It revived Red Cross talks and pledged to resume its search for the missing persons that Tokyo suspected it had kidnapped two decades ago.

Yet, it came as a shock to some when Koizumi announced August 30 that he would hold a summit meeting in Pyongyang. On the eve of the summit, in a written response to questions from Kyodo News Service, Kim Jong Il said that the time had come to “liquidate the past.” Japan had to “apologize sincerely” for its World War II occupation and “the issue of compensation must be correctly resolved.” Left unsaid was that he was about to acknowledge the fate of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea. An end to “abnormal relations,” Kim said, “will also dissipate the security concerns of the Japanese people.”4

The September 17 communiqué produced by the summit put security at the top of the agenda for Japan’s dialogue with North Korea. “In step with the normalization of their relations,” they agreed to hold parallel talks on “issues relating [to] security.” These talks would “underscore the importance of building a structure of cooperative relations” in Northeast Asia—a possible sign of Pyongyang’s support for Tokyo’s formula of six-party talks—and, in a joint signal to Washington, “promote dialogue among the countries concerned as regards all security matters including nuclear and missile issues.” North Korea committed itself to an indefinite extension of its moratorium on missile test launches. Whether Pyongyang also indicated willingness to eliminate its Nodong and longer-range missiles is not yet known.

The communiqué committed Tokyo and Pyongyang to resume normalization talks in October and “exert all efforts to establish diplomatic ties at an early date.” These talks would address economic assistance to the North, “including grants in aid, low-interest long-term loans and humanitarian aid through international organizations” and “loans and credits through the International Cooperation Bank of Japan.”

For Japan to act on its own was unprecedented. Since the start of the Cold War, it had deferred to the United States on security matters. Knowing North Korea wanted direct negotiations with the United States, Japan tried to coax Washington into engaging.

Unilateralists in Washington might have wanted to impede North Korea-Japan rapprochement, but others close to the president recognized that failure to re-engage could put the U.S. military presence in play in Japanese politics by alienating supporters of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and strengthening the hand of right-wingers who insist “Japan can say no” to the United States and look after its own security unbound by the alliance.

These concerns at last led the administration to hold the first substantive high-level talks with North Korea since November 2000. However, when the United States sent an emissary to Pyongyang for talks, the administration was in no mood to negotiate. Tokyo continues to push the United States toward engagement, and failing that, it may try to broker a deal between Washington and Pyongyang.

Tit-for-Tat on Enrichment

Having moved to accommodate Seoul and Tokyo, Pyongyang was ready for nuclear tit-for-tat with Washington when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly arrived October 3. A day after Kelly had confronted him with evidence of the country’s covert nuclear program, North Korean negotiator Kang Sok Ju acknowledged its existence. The admission was at once a threat to develop nuclear arms and an offer to stop. Kelly made it clear Washington did not want further talks; the North had to stop, or else.

“Program” has a range of meanings from seeking to acquire gas centrifuges and other matériel usable for enrichment to having produced quantities of highly enriched uranium. U.S. intelligence is said to have proof that the North succeeded in obtaining some gas centrifuges from Pakistan and “was trying to acquire large amounts of high-strength aluminum” to make more—from Japan, of all places. U.S. intelligence says it “recently learned that the North is contructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational, which could be as soon as mid-decade.” That leaves plenty of time to negotiate a verifiable end to the program.

The stunning revelation confirmed the worst suspicions of some, that North Korea had intended to dupe the United States all along by substituting a covert nuclear program for the one it allowed to be frozen. That contention does not seem plausible. After all, if North Korea had been determined to acquire nuclear arms early in the 1990s, it could have done so by shutting down its reactor at Yongbyon anytime between 1991 and 1994, removing the spent nuclear fuel, and reprocessing it to extract plutonium, then refueling the reactor to generate more plutonium. It could also have completed two more reactors then under construction. By now, it could have generated enough plutonium for more than 100 nuclear weapons. Why give up a Barry Bonds for a player to be named? And if North Korea was trying uranium enrichment because it was easier to hide, then why acknowledge that fact in talks with Kelly?

Two other interpretations seem more tenable. One is that after 1997 the North began hedging against U.S. failure to live up to the Agreed Framework but is now prepared to trade in that hedge. Another is that it is playing tit-for-tat to induce the United States to end enmity. These explanations seem to fit the data disclosed by U.S. intelligence, which dates the first enrichment activity back to 1998. After 2000, activity picks up again in highly visible ways. In other words, after North Korea warned of retaliation for what it called U.S. failure to live up to the Agreed Framework in 1997, it decided to shop for gas centrifuges for enriching uranium. It gave new impetus to the effort in 2001 and 2002 when the Bush administration’s hostility became apparent. It would be useful to know whether U.S. intelligence detected any attempted purchases in 2000 when Washington was being cooperative.

Either way, Pyongyang keeps signaling its desire for a deal with Washington—and not just on nuclear and missile issues. In a June 10 speech to the Asia Society, Powell set out a four-point agenda for talks: “First, the North must get out of the proliferation business and eliminate long-range missiles that threaten other countries.” Second, “it must make a much more serious effort to provide for its suffering citizens.” Third, “the North needs to move toward a less threatening conventional military posture” and “live up to its past pledges to implement basic confidence-building measures with the South.” “Finally, North Korea must come into full compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards that it agreed to when it signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.” In reply, Pyongyang accepted Powell’s agenda, suggesting a new or revised Agreed Framework to accommodate it. It also moved to set up a military hotline in the context of constructing a rail link to the South.

On August 29, Bolton gave a much-ballyhooed speech in Seoul. The North, he said, has “an active program” of chemical weapons; has “one of the most robust bioweapons programs on earth” and “is in stark violation of the Biological Weapons Convention”; is “the world’s foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials, and technical expertise”; and “has not begun to allow inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency to complete all of their required tasks. Many doubt that North Korea ever intends to comply fully with its NPT obligations.”

On August 31, 2002, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman recited all of Bolton’s concerns and said, “The D.P.R.K. clarified more than once that if the U.S. has a willingness to drop its hostile policy toward the D.P.R.K., it will have dialogue with the U.S. to clear the U.S. of its worries over its security.” It was putting biological, chemical, and conventional arms on the negotiating table—once the nuclear and missile deals are done. On October 20, Kim Young Nam, president of the Supreme People’s Assembly and titular chief of state, reiterated the August 31 formula in talks with Jeong Se-hyun, South Korea’s unification minister: “If the United States is willing to drop its hostile policy toward us, we are prepared to deal with various security concerns through dialogue.”5

In the talks with Kelly, Kang Sok Ju put the North’s covert nuclear program on the negotiating table. By Kelly’s own account, Kang laid out the terms of trade in general terms only. He asked for assurances the United States would not attack the North, would sign a peace agreement or declare an end to enmity, and would respect its sovereignty.6 A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman put the terms somewhat differently on October 25. North Korea, he said, “was ready to seek a negotiated settlement of this issue on the following three conditions: firstly, if the United States recognizes the D.P.R.K.’s sovereignty; secondly, if it assures the D.P.R.K. of nonaggression; and thirdly, if the United States does not hinder the economic development of the D.P.R.K.” He spoke of “a nonaggression treaty” between the two.

Already aware of the enrichment program, Seoul and Tokyo had moved to engage Pyongyang in diplomatic give-and-take. They have not been driven off course. After Kelly briefed them on his talks, Seoul went ahead with ministerial talks, and Tokyo moved up the date for resumption of normalization talks with the North. “I have decided to resume negotiations,” Koizumi said October 18, “because I judged that taking the first major step of moving from an adversarial relationship to a cooperative one would be in the best interests of Japan.” During his summit meeting with Kim Jong Il, he added, “I discerned their intention to seek a comprehensive promotion of talks on a number of issues, such as nuclear weapons development and other national security issues.”7 A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official explained Japan’s decision to Asahi Shimbun this way: “We cannot afford to have North Korea leave the negotiating table. If the United States takes a more hard-line stance, we have to mollify North Korea. The negotiations have definitely become much harder.”8

In its ongoing talks with South Korea and its responses to the Powell agenda, the Bolton list of concerns, and the Kelly accusation, North Korea has now said it is prepared to negotiate with the United States on all of Washington’s security concerns. Early in November, North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Han Song Ryol spelled that out for anyone who had missed the point. “Everything will be negotiable,” he said, including inspections of the enrichment program and shutting it down. “Our government will resolve all U.S. security concerns through the talks if your government has a will to end its hostile policy.”9

Negotiating a Way Out

Diplomatic give-and-take with North Korea could satisfy U.S. nuclear and other security concerns without a replay of the 1994 nuclear crisis. Then, like now, the United States had three options: impose sanctions, which were rightly deemed unlikely to be effective in curbing the North’s nuclear program; attack the nuclear sites at Yongbyon, which was not certain to eliminate all the nuclear material and sites in the North but certain to raise a political storm in the South; or negotiate. By refusing to negotiate, the administration might leave itself with no other option than to live with a nuclear-arming North.

The 1994 Agreed Framework is a basis for negotiating further inspections of nuclear activity by the North. Although the accord does not explicitly refer to uranium enrichment, it does say, “The D.P.R.K. will consistently take steps to implement the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It thereby incorporates the obligation under that declaration “not to possess facilities for reprocessing or enrichment” without providing for verification. The visits to the suspect site at Kumchang-ni under the Agreed Framework are useful precedents for that.

In a test of wills, North Korea does not lack leverage; it has yet to renounce the Agreed Framework, throw out the IAEA inspectors, reopen the plutonium-filled casks, or restart its Yongbyon reactor. Instead of trying to compel rightly reluctant allies to ratchet up the pressure on Pyongyang, President Bush needs to ask himself: Is the world’s only superpower tough enough to sit down and negotiate in earnest with North Korea?

U.S. hard-liners may want to use Pyongyang’s “confession” to punish the North, but the crime-and-punishment approach has never worked before, and there is no reason to believe that it will work now. Sooner or later, every administration since Ronald Reagan’s has given diplomatic give-and-take a try. Let’s hope this one does not have to undermine its alliances or go back to the brink of war before doing so.


The author would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation and the Ploughshares Fund for their generous support.

1. Michael R. Gordon, “How Politics Sank Accord on Missiles With North Korea,” The New York Times, March 6, 2001, p. A1.
2. These two statements and others issued by North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesmen can be found at www.kcna.co.jp.
3. Robert Gallucci, An ACA Press Conference, “Progress and Challenges in Denuclearizing North Korea,” Arms Control Today, May 2002, p. 16-17.
4. “N. Korea’s Kim Eyes Better Ties, Ready to Visit Japan,” Kyodo News, September 14, 2002.
5. Jay Shim, “N.K. Ready to Resolve Nuclear Crisis Thru Dialogue: Kim YN,” Korea Times, October 21, 2002.
6. Doug Struck, “Nuclear Program Not Negotiable, U.S. Told North Korea,” The Washington Post, October 20, 2002, p. A18.
7. “Suddenly, Japan Has a Lot on Its Plate,” Asahi Shimbun, October 19, 2002.
8. Tetsuya Hakoda, “Analysis: North Korea Plays Wild Card,” Asahi Shimbun, October 18, 2002.
9. Philip Shenon, “North Korea Says Nuclear Program Can Be Negotiated,” The New York Times, November 3, 2002, p. A1.

Leon V. Sigal is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project
at the Social Science Research Council.

U.S., U.K. Leave Ukraine With Few Answers

U.S. and British investigators have been unable to conclude whether Ukraine illegally supplied Iraq with an advanced early-warning system two years ago, according to their report on the alleged sale, which was delivered November 5 to Ukrainian officials. In September, Washington determined that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma had approved the deal, and it is pressing Ukraine to prove that it did not ship the system to Iraq in violation of a 1990 UN arms embargo. (See ACT, October 2002.)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters November 6 that Ukraine provided “mixed” cooperation with the investigators, who visited Ukraine for eight days in October. Boucher repeated his complaint a week later, stating, “We were disappointed that the team did not receive full cooperation and transparency that was promised by Ukrainian authorities.”

The system in question, known as the Kolchuga, is designed to pick up electronic signals sent out by potential targets. It can reportedly detect aircraft, possibly including stealth fighters and bombers if they are sending out electronic signals, at reported distances of 600-800 kilometers.

Ukraine continues to disavow any wrongdoing and has requested that the United Nations look into the matter, but the United States does not support a separate UN probe. Instead, the United States is urging Ukraine to provide answers to seven follow-up questions that Washington posed about the suspected deal.

Ukraine has not officially responded to the questions, which reportedly ask Kiev to provide information that it contends is secret, proprietary, and not related to Iraq. For instance, one of the questions reportedly asks Ukraine to provide the exact locations of four Kolchuga systems it exported to China. Given the context, the question appears to be aimed at verifying whether all systems reported as delivered to China are actually there and not in Iraq.

The United States, which suspended $54 million in aid to Ukraine two months ago, has hinted that U.S. ties with Ukraine could suffer further if Ukraine is not forthcoming. “We remain broadly committed to a robust relationship with Ukraine and a strong NATO-Ukraine partnership, but obviously these things and the cooperation has to be taken into account,” Boucher said November 13.

U.S., Security Council Debate

November 2002

By Paul Kerr

As weapons inspectors waited to enter Iraq, the United States submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council on October 25 that firmly calls for Iraq to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction but does not directly threaten the use of force if Baghdad fails to comply. Supporting a tough stance against Iraq, Congress passed a joint resolution, which President George W. Bush signed October 16, authorizing the use of force to compel compliance with UN resolutions.

The new resolution, submitted with the United Kingdom, declares Iraq to be in “material breach” of its obligations under “relevant” Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 687, which mandated in 1991 that Iraq give up its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and most missiles. It calls for Iraq to submit “a currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its [prohibited weapons] programs.”

The inspection teams would have a strong mandate under the resolution, which specifies that Iraq is to allow “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to “facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect.” To prevent Iraq from moving materials, the resolution grants UN inspectors the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites to be inspected. Inspectors would also have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish.

The resolution also mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspectors to such sites. Although the memorandum, which was endorsed by a Security Council resolution, did not give Iraq the right to impede inspections, some former UN inspectors have argued that these conditions could enable Iraq to conceal prohibited weapons activities.

Significantly, the new resolution gives the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the right to access “any information that any member state is willing to provide,” an apparent reference to sharing of national intelligence data.

UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix said during an October 28 briefing to the Security Council that access to intelligence about Iraqi weapons activities would be an important tool for UNMOVIC to perform effectively, but he emphasized that UNMOVIC would not give intelligence data to national governments. Allegations that UN weapons inspectors had been gathering intelligence in Iraq for their governments led to a controversy in 1999 that damaged UNSCOM, the previous inspection organization.

The resolution demands that Iraq “state its acceptance” of the resolution within seven days and submit declarations of its weapons programs within 30 days. UNMOVIC is to resume inspections no later than 45 days after the resolution is adopted and to update the council 60 days later.

Move Toward Compromise

The resolution differs in several respects from an earlier draft resolution that the United States circulated to permanent members of the Security Council in September, particularly in its provision for the use of force. The previous draft stated that failure “by Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully in accordance with” the resolution’s demands would “constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations” and authorize “all member states to use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in the area.”

The current resolution also says that Iraq’s failure to comply would be a “material breach,” but instead of directly threatening force, it merely “recalls” previous Security Council warnings that Iraq will face “serious consequences as a result of …continued violations of its obligations.” In the event that weapons inspectors report Iraqi noncompliance with the resolution, the new resolution requires the Security Council to meet “in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Security Council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” The previous draft did not include such a requirement.

The U.S.-British draft is an attempt at a compromise with other council members, particularly Russia and France, but neither country appears satisfied with the U.S. text. Both Moscow and Paris have composed their own draft resolutions but have not yet decided to submit them formally, according to an October 28 interview with a UN official. Both proposals omit the phrase “material breach,” believing that it sets the stage for the use of military force, according to U.S. sources. The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the U.S. law establishing the overthrow of the Iraqi government as U.S. policy, contains the same phrase.

The same sources also indicated that the Russian and French resolutions include somewhat less stringent standards for inspections, as well as assurances that Security Council members would discuss possible responses to Iraqi noncompliance before using force. These changes are consistent with previous Russian and French statements. For example, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov criticized the U.S. proposal’s “automaticity of the use of force” in an October 23 press conference following a Security Council meeting.

France had previously supported a two-resolution process, where one resolution would demand the return of weapons inspectors and the second would authorize necessary action. (See ACT, October 2002.) Russia had previously opposed a new resolution.

Inspections Without New Resolution

Whether weapons inspections would begin without a new resolution has been open to question. After Baghdad announced in September that it would accept weapons inspections “without conditions,” Iraqi representatives met with Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna from September 30 to October 1 to finalize necessary logistical arrangements.

The meeting resolved many key areas of potential disagreement, according to an October 8 letter from Blix and ElBaradei to an Iraqi official, but several issues are outstanding. In an October 15 briefing to the Security Council, Blix said that uncertainty remains regarding UNMOVIC’s use of helicopters, the presence of Iraqi officials during interviews of Iraqi citizens, inspectors’ right to supervise the destruction of weapons materials or documentation, and the use of aerial imagery.

Blix also indicated that UNMOVIC had been prepared to resume inspections on October 19 but had decided to wait for the Security Council to adopt a new resolution.

It is uncertain if Iraq will abide by the provisions of a new resolution. An October 24 letter from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri condemned the decision to wait for a new resolution and blamed the United States for blocking inspectors’ return. Iraq had stated in September that it would allow the inspectors access to any sites they wished to inspect, and Iraq agreed during the Vienna meeting to allow UNMOVIC access to previously restricted “sensitive sites.” Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz stated in an interview aired October 12 on Beirut television that inspectors would be allowed into presidential sites but that the inspectors should not be allowed repeat visits to them.

U.S. Response

Frustrated by delays in the process, the Bush administration has indicated that it may abandon the UN process if the Security Council does not vote for its resolution. On October 26, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Mexico, Bush stated that the United States would “lead a coalition to disarm” Iraq if its resolution failed to pass. A date for the vote has not yet been set, but White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters October 29 that “time is running out.”

After several weeks of debate about how much freedom to give the president, the House of Representatives passed a resolution October 8 providing Bush with the authority to use military force against Iraq. The Senate followed suit October 11, and Bush signed the resolution October 16.

The resolution expresses support for Bush’s efforts to work through the Security Council and authorizes the president to use force to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” and “enforce all relevant” Security Council resolutions. It also requires the president to notify Congress 48 hours after initiating the use of force, explaining his determination that a peaceful solution will not “adequately protect the national security of the United States” or enforce Security Council resolutions.

The Bush administration has been unclear about the conditions under which it would use military force against Iraq. Bush said in an October 7 speech that, in addition to dismantling its prohibited weapons programs, Iraq must end its support for terrorism, account for military personnel missing from the Persian Gulf War, and end human rights abuses. “Only by taking these steps [can] the Iraqi regime…avoid conflict,” he said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell contradicted Bush in an October 20 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” While pointing out that UN resolutions cover some of the issues Bush raised, he said “all we are interested in is getting rid of those weapons of mass destruction…there are many other resolutions that [Saddam Hussein] has violated…. All of those...have to be dealt with in due course, but the major issue before us is disarmament.”

It is also uncertain whether U.S. military action would attempt to overthrow Iraq’s government. Recent Bush administration statements suggest that a disarmed Iraq would be sufficient to satisfy Washington’s requirement for “regime change,” which the administration previously defined as a change in government.

The text of the 1998 legislation reads, “[I]t should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.” In his October 7 speech, however, Bush said that Iraq’s compliance with his demands would “change the nature of the regime.”

U.S., Security Council Debate

Serb Arms Companies in Illegal Deals With Iraq

November 2002

By Wade Boese

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) fired two public officials and launched a government investigation October 22 in response to evidence that Serbian companies have been illegally upgrading Iraqi combat aircraft. The United States, which recently suspended some U.S. aid to Ukraine for its president’s authorization two years ago of arms sales to Iraq, welcomed the Yugoslav moves and urged all countries to abide by the 1990 UN arms embargo on Iraq.

NATO troops conducted an October 11-13 inspection of the Orao aviation firm in the Republika Srpska, discovering contracts revealing unreported, illegal weapons exports. A NATO spokesperson refused to specify October 22 where the exports were going, but U.S. officials reported the deals were with Iraq and done in cooperation with Yugoimport, a company based in the FRY. An additional report appeared a few days later in The Washington Post, claiming that the United States also suspects FRY companies of helping Iraq develop cruise missiles, but U.S. officials refused to comment on the issue.

The FRY and the Republika Srpska, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are both predominantly Serbian entities of the former Yugoslavia. Republika Srpska is under the jurisdiction of NATO’s Stabilization Force, which was established in 1996 to oversee and help implement the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended fighting in the former Yugoslavia.

Responding quickly to the news, the FRY denied that the illicit Iraq activities were approved by the central government and removed the deputy minister of defense responsible for overseeing its weapons exports and the director of Yugoimport. A special committee was also formed to investigate the matter further.

The Republika Srpska has also reacted by removing three officials: the head of Orao, a top air force official, and the individual in charge of its arms trade. But Washington says Republika Srpska has not done enough because the evidence indicates a concerted program to aid Iraq. Bosnia and Herzegovina subsequently banned all arms exports and imports.

Unlike the case with Ukraine, the United States has not imposed sanctions on any of the Yugoslav entities or companies. Washington, however, encouraged both the FRY and Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their controls governing arms exports and, in the words of State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, “to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Yugoslav evidence became public the day after U.S. and British officials completed an eight-day visit to Ukraine investigating whether it had actually transferred early-warning systems to Iraq. The investigation team has not yet released a report on its findings.

Serb Arms Companies in Illegal Deals With Iraq


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