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Blix Assumes Charge of UNMOVIC; Security Council Debates Oil-for-Food

Matthew Rice

WITH NO END in sight to Iraq's opposition to renewed arms inspections, Hans Blix, executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), assumed his post March 1 and began work on an organizational plan for the fledgling organization. At a press conference the same day, Blix offered some details about the organization's potential makeup and his approach to re-establishing the inspections regime.

According to Blix, UNMOVIC will not adopt a less aggressive monitoring posture at the expense of onsite inspections. "The Security Council confirmed the right of UNMOVIC to unrestricted access to sites and to information and, indeed, I intend to exercise that," he said. The role of surprise inspections may be smaller, however. "I am also determined that our role is not to humiliate the Iraqis," Blix said.

Blix maintained that none of the weapons files are closed, but noted that while chemical and biological weapons issues have the most discrepancies to be accounted for, "total clarification" would be impossible. "There will always be a small residue of uncertainty…in a vast country there is no way you can be sure," he said.

Blix also clarified his position on hiring personnel from UNMOVIC's predecessor, the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), for his own staff. The likelihood that some UNSCOM inspectors would be included on the UNMOVIC team was high, he said, citing the necessity of retaining UNSCOM's institutional memory. But the positions will be open to outside competition and will require complete allegiance to UNMOVIC and the United Nations, eventually eliminating UNSCOM's practice of "borrowing" experts from member governments.

While the decision on the composition of the staff must await Blix's submission of an organizational plan, several faces were added to the UNMOVIC roster with the March 8 announcement of the organization's college of commissioners. (See listing.) The 17 commissioners (16 appointees plus Blix as chairman) will review UNMOVIC reports before they are submitted to the Security Council. In a shift from the composition of the UNSCOM college of commissioners, who were primarily experts on technical aspects of the verification process, the new body also includes several career diplomats. Blix emphasized that the college was an advisory body and that he would make all final decisions.

Looming over UNMOVIC's preparatory activities in New York is the question of when, if ever, Iraq will accept Security Council Resolution 1284, which established UNMOVIC and offers sanctions relief in exchange for Iraqi cooperation on arms inspections. (See ACT, December 1999.) During the press conference, Blix refused to speculate under what conditions, if any, Iraq would cooperate, stating simply that it was not UNMOVIC's role to "tempt" the Iraqis into allowing inspectors to start their work. Sanctions relief alone should be enough of an inducement, he said.

Other experts expressed less confidence in the wait-and-see approach. Asked whether UNMOVIC was likely to begin inspections in the near future, Charles Dulfer, former deputy chairman of UNSCOM, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 22, "Frankly no…. Iraq got a clear message that there is no strong consensus in the council on this…[and] if they don't believe the council is serious, they're not going to comply."

The clearest evidence of rifts remaining in the Security Council continues to be the disagreement over sanctions and the humanitarian situation in Iraq. On March 24, the council engaged in a rancorous debate on the efficacy of the oil-for-food program, the poor state of Iraq's oil production infrastructure, and the role of the UN Sanctions Committee, which reviews requests from Iraq for dual-use items.

While the debate did not break significant new ground in either strengthening or weakening the regime the U.S. representative, James Cunningham, asked the council not to ignore continuing U.S. efforts to improve the responsiveness of the oil-for-food program despite Iraqi intransigence and oil smuggling. Responding to charges that the United States places undue holds on dual-use contracts, Cunningham said, "In reviewing oil-for-food contracts, the United States has acted, and will continue to act, strictly and objectively in accordance with the arms control policies defined by the council…. Our holds are not politically motivated, nor are they driven by calculations of commercial prospect or gain."

UNMOVIC College of Commisioners

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Hans BLIX, Sweden, executive chairman, UNMOVIC

Gunterio HEINEKEN, Argentina, technical adviser, Applied Chemistry Department, Technical and Scientific Research Institute of the Armed Forces

Roque MONTELEONE NETO, Brazil, technical adviser on the Biological Weapons Convention

Ronald CLEMINSON, Canada, former UNSCOM commissioner

Cheikh SYLLA, Senegal, ambassador to Burkina Faso

CONG Guang, China, deputy director, Political Division, Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Takanori KAZUHARA, Japan, former ambassador

Malmi Marjatta RAUTIO, Finland, former UNSCOM


Thérèse DELPECH, France, director for strategic affairs, Atomic Energy Commission

Reinhard BÖHM, Germany, chair of environmental and animal hygeine, University of Hohenheim

Annaswamy Narayana PRASAD, India, former director, Bhabha Atomic Research Center

Adigun Ade ABIODUN, Nigeria, senior special assistant to the president on space, science, and technology

Yuriy FEDOTOV, Russia, director, International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kostyantyn GRYSHCHENKO, Ukraine, member, UN Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters; ambassador to the United States

Robert EINHORN, United States, assistant secretary for nonproliferation, Department of State

Hannelore HOPPE, Germany, senior political affairs officer, UN Department for Disarmament Affairs

Paul SCHULTE, United Kingdom, director, Proliferation and Arms Control, Ministry of Defense

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Blix Assumes Charge of UNMOVIC; Security Council Debates Oil-for-Food

Iraq Again Rejects 1284 While Pressures Build on Sanctions

Matthew Rice

AMID GROWING INTERNATIONAL concern about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, Baghdad reiterated its rejection of the UN Security Council's new weapons inspection organization, the United Nations Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC), which was created last December under Resolution 1284. On February 10, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan declared, "The so-called inspection teams would not be allowed to return to Iraq because we rejected spies entering under such cover," according to the official Iraqi News Agency.

The statement was made during the visit of Russian envoy Nikolai Kartuzov, former ambassador to Iraq, who reportedly attempted to persuade Iraq to accept the Security Council mandate. Russia, Iraq's strongest ally on the Security Council, had previously stated that its abstention from voting on Resolution 1284 relieved it of the obligation to ensure its full implementation.

In a flurry of interviews over the next few days, Nizar Hamdoon, undersecretary of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, was slightly more conciliatory than Ramadan. "Compromise will only be done when the council itself gets engaged with Iraq in a discussion," Hamdoon told the CNN on February 11.

UN officials did not appear concerned by the Iraqi statements, noting that Hans Blix, the newly appointed executive chairman of UNMOVIC, has yet to begin work. "There isn't an inspection mechanism up and functioning at the moment, knocking on the door, asking to go into Iraq," said John Mills, associate spokesman for the office of the UN secretary-general. Once Blix assumes his post on March 1, he will have 45 days to submit an organizational plan for UNMOVIC to the secretary-general and the Security Council.

Sanctions Regime Targeted

The profile of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq was raised this month when two high-level UN officials in charge of administering the humanitarian program in Iraq resigned. Hans von Sponeck, UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, and Jutta Burghardt, Iraq representative for the World Food Program, both announced their resignations in mid-February, complaining that improving the lives of Iraqis was impossible under the continuing sanctions regime. Von Sponeck also announced his intention to submit a report detailing the impact of the continuing U.S.-British bombing operations on the Iraqi people. A February 1999 report on the same subject brought harsh criticism from the United States, which accused von Sponeck of blindly accepting Iraqi statistics.

In the United States, 70 congressmen sent a letter to President Clinton on February 1 urging him to "de-link" military and economic sanctions on Iraq, noting that they have "failed to remove Saddam Hussein from power or even ensured his compliance with his international obligations, while the economy and people of Iraq continue to suffer." State Department spokesman James Rubin dismissed the suggestion that the sanctions were to blame. "They should direct their concern and their blame-casting at the Iraqi regime, which refuses day after day, time after time, to spend its hard currency helping its own people," he said.

The United States also dismissed suggestions, reported in The Washington Post on February 25, that the growing international attention and domestic pressure was pushing the administration to reconsider its hard line on dual-use imports. In its role on the UN sanctions committee, which reviews and may refuse Iraqi import requests, the United States has often denied Iraq's applications for dual-use items. "We are working constantly on using the oil-for-food program to provide humanitarian relief…. We will not clear what we view as dangerous dual-use products to Iraq. That policy has not changed; that policy is not under review, as is our sanctions policy not under review," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

Shifting Priorities: UNMOVIC and the Future of Inspections in Iraq: An Interview With Ambassador Rolf Ekeus

Rolf Ekeus, Sweden's ambassador to the United States and former executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), was in the headlines this January when UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan nominated him to head the newly created United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Despite strong support by the United States, his nomination did not receive the approval of the Security Council, whose members finally settled on Hans Blix, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to lead the new organization. (See ACT, January/February 2000.)

Ekeus led UNSCOM from its inception at the end of the Persian Gulf War until mid-1997, when he stepped down to assume his current post. UN Security Council Resolution 687, adopted at the conclusion of the war, had created the inspection body and charged it with discovering and destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. The organization operated until December 1998, when all inspections were suspended following the U.S.-British airstrikes against Iraq. After a year of negotiations, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1284 on December 17, 1999, replacing UNSCOM with UNMOVIC and opening the door for new inspections and the possibility of sanctions relief. (For the full text of the resolution, see ACT, December 1999.)

On February 24, Arms Control Today Editor J. Peter Scoblic and Research Analyst Matthew Rice met with Ekeus in Washington to discuss Resolution 1284, Iraq's weapons programs, the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and the political climate in the Security Council. The following is an edited version of their conversation.

ACT: How would you characterize the differences between UNMOVIC and UNSCOM?

Rolf Ekeus: Resolution 687 outlined two principal tasks. One was for Iraq to declare, and for UNSCOM to verify and supervise the elimination of, its prohibited weapons. To make it more clear, it was a sort of search and destroy mission. Iraq's capabilities should be found and should be eliminated. That was task number one. Equally important was task number two—to establish some monitoring of Iraq's capabilities so that no new WMD [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities would be created.

The new resolution refers back to 687, so the elimination element is still there, but the emphasis is now on monitoring. Resolution 1284 gives the impression that the matter of past weapons, which was the focus of 687, is no longer as significant. The new resolution doesn't indicate that there are any existing weapons in Iraq. The emphasis is on monitoring, and by implication that gives the impression that the Security Council is no longer concerned with existing capabilities but more concerned about Iraq's intentions.

ACT: Do you think the Security Council is right to make the assumption that the existing programs are no longer a threat? Absent inspections, what do we know about the nature of Iraq's activities?

Ekeus: UNSCOM was highly successful in identifying and eliminating Iraq's prohibited weapons—but not to the degree that everything was destroyed. The loopholes in the presentation by Iraq and the contradictions in Iraq's declarations mean there is reason to be careful. Iraq did not make a coherent presentation in the biological field or in the chemical field. There was a slightly better one in the missile field, and there was a coherent presentation with regard to the nuclear program.

Without inspectors one cannot be sure. But there is recent information that gives one the impression that something is going on. First of all, the UNSCOM inspectors have solid knowledge of the structure of Iraq's programs and the personnel involved. They are also aware of what was not sorted out in the Iraqi presentations.

You then add information from at least two types of sources. First, new information about procurement efforts by Iraq. The procurement efforts at least indicate in which direction Iraq is looking: what type of items, what type of equipment, what type of machinery, and what type of commodities they are buying or asking for. You get a pattern of what the procurement efforts are.

Secondly, there have been a number of people leaving the country, individuals who in their earlier activity have been involved in Iraq's program. Useful information has been picked up from them. These are the two main sources.

To that there can be added more marginal sources—overhead imagery and so on. If we take all of these data together and put good analytical minds to work, then we have at least a pattern that could be interpreted by people with experience.

That doesn't mean that one knows enough. In the long run, it is unsatisfactory, and it is a problem that there are no inspectors inside Iraq. But important conclusions can be drawn from the continued systematic work that UNSCOM has been doing. UNMOVIC, which according to Resolution 1284 is supposed to take over the assets of UNSCOM, will have access to all of this. I hope that UNMOVIC is wise enough to take on these capabilities and assets for the new organization.

In my view, there are no large quantities of weapons. I don't think that Iraq is especially eager in the biological and chemical area to produce such weapons for storage. Iraq views those weapons as tactical assets instead of strategic assets, which would require long-term storage of those elements, which is difficult. Rather, Iraq has been aiming to keep the capability to start up production immediately should it need to.

ACT: Given that assessment of the program, should the new organization have a stronger mandate than simply monitoring?

Ekeus: As Resolution 1284 is written, it is possible to carry out both elimination and monitoring tasks. It is just that the resolution is written in a way that gives the perception that one of the tasks, elimination, is not that important. In doing so, the resolution sends signals from the council to the new chairman indicating he shouldn't worry that much about it. But it is definitely not prohibited for UNMOVIC to search actively for prohibited capabilities. It is just so that the resolution stresses a strengthened monitoring system. The chairman will probably draw his conclusions when the first inspectors have made their first rounds.

ACT: As UNMOVIC begins work, one of the biggest points of contention will be the determination of disarmament tasks for Iraq. What do you think they will be?

Ekeus: The members of the Security Council appear to have different views. Some will say the tasks should be written in very general terms, say Iraq shall declare fully its past and ongoing biological, chemical and missile activities. Others will say that is too general. One should be more precise. The Security Council has had the same quarrel before. Even during my time, there were efforts by some permanent members to demand tasks that were more limited, time-wise and quantity-wise. I resisted a specific definition, which was also what Iraq wanted because it would make the tasks easier to fulfill. The problem with being too specific is that during the inspection process you detect new facts—the landscape changes with your investigation—so you can't say when you start out on your inspection trip exactly where it will lead you. With Resolution 1284, the Security Council is trying to force the organization to be more precise.

ACT: Some analysts have argued that in trying to resolve the Iraq situation we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, while others have said that watered-down inspections are worse than no inspections at all. Where do you fall in that argument?

Ekeus: It is important that high-quality, professional, competent inspectors carry out the work. In other words, one should not be sloppy. And the reason why is that we're talking about some of the most dangerous weapons—long-range missiles and warheads with biological and chemical agents. There is nothing humane in being generous to Iraq. You must have in mind the potential victims—there were victims of Iraqi chemical weapons before—the Iranians and the Kurds. So a humane position and sense of responsibility toward human suffering demands that you be strict and firm with regard to these capabilities. There is nothing won in being loose and incomplete in inspections.

ACT: Do you worry that if UNMOVIC adopts a monitoring posture instead of a search and destroy posture, it could generate a false sense of security that could actually be more dangerous than a stalemate in the Security Council?

Ekeus: Iraq has been stating that it has declared everything, that there is nothing of the prohibited capabilities left, that UNSCOM was 100 percent successful. UNSCOM people do not boast quite as much about what we did. We believe we did a good job, but I don't think that we were 100 percent successful. As I said, Resolution 1284 evokes that perception a little. However, I believe that one can do a full job of inspections within the parameters of the resolution, including search and supervised elimination. I don't think that it is correct to say 1284 is only about monitoring.

UNSCOM's monitoring operations, which were extensive, formed a highly effective system and did not really lead to any confrontations with Iraq. Monitoring had a routine character. You went to a facility you had been to many, many times before. The facility was known in detail. The production records were available, the inspectors had a detailed list of machines and machine tools, they knew the personnel, and they came and checked off that everything was normal. They looked upon the input and the output, they looked at the raw materials brought in as to how they had been disposed, and if they saw some new engineers or some engineers missing, for instance, they would inquire.

The confrontations were related to UNSCOM's search operations. Under these, UNSCOM inspected new facilities not declared by Iraq. When UNSCOM wanted to investigate the correctness of statements and investigate mobile capabilities and undeclared facilities, confrontations with Iraq occurred, as Iraq hindered the inspectors. The complaints and the difficulties with Iraq came out of the search and destroy task, while there were relatively few complaints about the daily monitoring.

So if you avoid those type of investigative inspections, you will probably have few problems, suggesting good cooperation, which will give the impression that the monitoring system is functioning well.

It is striking that 1284 says nothing about investigation and elimination. The words "elimination" and "destruction" don't appear at all. The reference to Resolution 687 in the beginning of 1284, however, means that everything is possible—by implication, all the rights and duties are the same—but 1284 is very polite. If it had mentioned elimination, it would have implied that there was something to be eliminated. The resolution is very careful not to upset and is phrased in a friendly fashion. It is not confrontational. Resolution 687 really implied that there was something wrong that had to be bettered. Resolution 1284 has no indication that there is anything missing.

ACT: Given the different tenor of Resolution 1284 as compared to Resolution 687 and given that the unity in the Security Council that existed at least early on in your tenure has disappeared, how is the role of the new executive chairman going to be different?

Ekeus: The chairman will have a very difficult task to start with because Iraq has not readmitted inspectors, so the key is to convince Iraq to allow inspectors to enter the country. And there I hope he will have the backing from the council—you have to recall that three permanent members abstained from voting on the new resolution. But I understand that they have declared that they intend to support the implementation of the resolution.

ACT: The secretary-general apparently considered some 25 or 30 names when he was trying to pick an executive chairman and either rejected them himself or was told by the Security Council that they would not be acceptable. Obviously your name was on that list. Why was it so difficult to find someone who would be acceptable?

Ekeus: This job, as it has turned out, is one of the most important in the international multilateral scene. It is of great significance to the UN's status and its role in the future. A failure would harm the organization. A wise decision with regard to the post of chairman is the first challenge.

But, secondly, the job is so difficult that no one wants it. With other high posts in the multilateral system—the heads of the World Health Organization, the UN Human Rights Commission or the World Bank—there is a tremendous line of candidates. Governments present their own best names, and they fight to get their choice into that job. With UNMOVIC, there were 25 names, say. Only one was proposed by his own government. Instead, governments pointed to people from other countries. The Swedish government didn't propose a Swede. The Dutch government didn't propose a Dutch. It showed how difficult this task is considered. It's so difficult that you don't want it. There was no candidate stepping up saying, "I would like the job," as you have on all other positions.

It's a special job because of its non-UN tradition, its non-UN culture. Namely, it has an element of enforcement. With the UN, almost everything—even 99 percent of Security Council work—is to serve the membership. For the International Labor Organization or the World Health Organization, your purpose is to help people. You help them with labor, you help them with food, you help them with medicine. What you're doing is positive. Even peacekeeping forces go in because both sides accept the peacekeepers. But UNSCOM was a counterculture operation. You implement and you enforce—that was Resolution 687. Of course, now the hard edges of 687 are taken away with 1284, but still the enforcement idea lingers.

The secretary-general's concern was also in light of the resolution, that he understands how important a successful dealing with the Iraq issue is. And how difficult it is politically, physically and in many other respects. But still it is important to the UN to demonstrate that it can handle this new task, that it can move into the new era that has such difficult jobs. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to international peace and security, and the UN should, in my opinion, have a major role in dealing with this threat.

The secretary-general's step in first proposing such an UNSCOM name was in a sense counter to the style of the resolution. He was trying to demonstrate that he didn't want the new organization to be less than UNSCOM was. Iraq is still a serious problem and must be dealt with in a serious manner. And I think he succeeded. I think people understood that he takes Iraq very seriously.

ACT: Why do you think that your nomination was not ultimately accepted?

Ekeus: Well, it is not for me to identify arguments against something containing my name. I can imagine some arguments that could be advanced. Some arguments were wrong, other arguments one can understand. There were many considerations. There was a new resolution and especially a new organization. Why then go back and take an UNSCOM hat? The nomination of Hans Blix, who was an excellent choice, brings someone very strongly associated with the old UNSCOM, but not totally an UNSCOM personality.

ACT: Would you have accepted the job?

Ekeus: I asked Kofi Annan not to put forward my name. But then he outlined what I just said. He said that it is so important that we succeed. In support of the secretary-general, I would have accepted it if the Security Council went along. But with the nomination of Hans Blix, who did an excellent job as director-general of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and who has also been in Iraq, UNMOVIC got someone who also has been around before and has some battle scars.

ACT: One of the reasons for making Resolution 1284 less confrontational was to create consensus within the Security Council. But France, China and Russia all abstained. Why did they do that, and do you think that abstention is the closest to consensus that the Security Council is going to get?

Ekeus: The abstention was a little odd because since the vote was taken, all of them have said that they support the resolution and that they will assist in its implementation. But I think the main problem for them was not the arms control aspect of the resolution but the link to the lifting of sanctions—it was not clear enough. They wanted to have language that was more distinct with regard to the lifting of sanctions. They had hardly any problem with the weapons part. My conviction is that these three major abstaining states all have serious concerns about Iraq's weapons. The Russian military is concerned—there is no Russian wish to have an Iraq with nuclear weapons. The French are concerned about weapons of mass destruction capabilities in Iraq. And the Chinese, too. The three of them all have a concern with Iraq's weapons. However, they also have a wish to get the sanctions lifted.

ACT: You said that Russia, China and France have said that they will help implement the resolution, but Russia has also said that it's not bound to help enforce the provisions of 1284 and the Chinese have said that, in the end, the Security Council is not going to be able to implement this resolution. Given those attitudes, what is the likelihood that there will be full implementation of Resolution 1284?

Ekeus: Even if you abstain on a Security Council vote, you are still bound by a Chapter 7 resolution. My sense is that their intention is to back it. Then it becomes a question of how strongly. And how much clout do they have in Baghdad—how much will their support matter? We don't know where Baghdad will end up, but it will probably begin bargaining over conditions for entering Iraq, and maybe the countries that abstained can help there.

ACT: So you think that Iraq will work with this resolution, that it will not just flatly refuse to accept 1284, which is what it has done publicly to date?

Ekeus: First of all, I believe that Iraq will accept 1284 after some friendly—or less friendly—persuasion from members of the Security Council. It depends a little bit on how Iraq interprets the idea of working with 1284. There is one distinct advantage in 1284. It takes away the ceiling on oil exports.

But Iraq is still not happy with the sanctions aspects of 1284, which do not speak of lifting sanctions but of suspending them. This will create problems for the Iraqi authorities' ability to plan ahead. The language of suspension injects an element of instability and insecurity. That is probably the major reason why Iraq has been withholding its approval of the resolution. In that respect, 1284 is not better than 687. From an Iraqi perspective, that part of the resolution is more negative than 687, which talked about lifting the sanctions. Now it discusses only suspension.

What is positive from Iraq's view is the softer language on the arms position. But, as I have said repeatedly, it is softened language, but that does not mean UNMOVIC is prevented from doing what is necessary because the references back to the old resolution and to the weapons issues give UNMOVIC considerable rights and capabilities to act.

Iraq is again confronted with a choice: does it get anything for cooperation, and is it worth cooperating if you don't get any positive fallout? If the suspension language is deemed okay by the leadership, Iraq will probably cooperate.

ACT: Hans Blix has said that UNMOVIC will be more of a "UN-style" organization. What does this mean?

Ekeus: I don't understand. UNSCOM was a creation of the UN Security Council after the Gulf War. It was a UN operation. Everything was operated under UN resolutions. The staff was, to a high degree, on loan from member governments. This had to do with not wanting to create a permanent bureaucracy. The Security Council wanted to have an efficient, cost-effective, high-quality operation. The people who came in were contracted by me as chairman and had exactly the same obligations under the contract as all other UN field operations staff. UNSCOM was financed in the beginning by frozen Iraqi assets and later by Iraqi money generated by oil sales. No resources were provided from the ordinary UN budget. And there are still not. UNMOVIC will not see one cent from the UN. Everything will come from Iraqi oil money. The new resolution states that the funding should come exclusively from Iraq—from oil money taken from the escrow account. UNMOVIC is identical to UNSCOM in this sense. So, we can say that it is a UN operation. But one should not say that it is more of a UN operation.

ACT: Earlier you said that the traditional UN culture was more cooperative than the culture of UNSCOM. Could Blix have been indicating that UNMOVIC was going to be more cooperative than confrontational?

Ekeus: Yes. Formally, there is no difference. But politically it can be a whole different thing. UNSCOM had the task to control, supervise and somewhat enforce the elimination of WMD capabilities. UNMOVIC is not directly asked to look for WMD. As I said, the language of Resolution 1284 is the language of no suspicion.

ACT: Do you think that it is important to include current UNSCOM inspectors in the new organization?

Ekeus: It is up to Hans Blix. There are those who are advising him not to take any UNSCOM inspectors, and there are those who are advising him to take all of UNSCOM. I can only say that I know the UNSCOM personnel, and they are of the highest quality imaginable. In talking about how staff is to be recruited, Resolution 1284 mentions experience, which suggests UNSCOM.

ACT: Since your tenure at UNSCOM, there has been an increasing attention to the humanitarian impact of the economic sanctions on the Iraqi population and in the last week, two top UN officials have resigned, saying the sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people. If Iraq does not cooperate with Resolution 1284, will the oil-for-food program and the other humanitarian programs in Iraq be sufficient?

Ekeus: There were a few reasons for the imposition of sanctions after the Gulf War. In 1991, we all felt that it was important that Iraqi oil go back on the market, but on the other side, it was felt that the Iraqis, with their gross violation, could not go on as if nothing had happened.

There was deep concern about the Iraqi weapons capability, and that concern only deepened because the problem turned out to be worse than we had expected. Sanctions were the way to convince Iraq to cooperate with inspectors. Why should Iraq have cooperated with inspectors if there was no carrot and no stick? And in this case it was a combined carrot-and-stick approach. Keeping the sanctions was the stick, and the carrot was that if Iraq cooperated with the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction, the Security Council would lift the sanctions. Sanctions were the backing for the inspections, and they were what sustained my operation almost for the whole time.

But there was care taken in humanitarian respects. Witness the resolutions opening up oil sales for food and medicine. The only problem was that Saddam and the Iraqi leadership didn't go along with it. It was offered, it was presented, it was asked, begged. I really have to salute [former UN Secretary-General Boutros] Boutros-Ghali. During his tenure, he spent several years trying to convince Saddam to accept the system of selling oil to buy food. He succeeded in the end, but the delay was exclusively Iraq's fault. I think it is important to remember that.

Under the sanctions as they function today, Iraq is allowed to sell unlimited amounts of oil, probably even if it has not accepted Resolution 1284. Theoretically, even under the earlier resolutions, it is $5.26 billion per six months, let's say $11 billion per year. But Iraq can get, just by saying yes, unlimited sales, as the market permits. But the thing is that payment for the oil sales goes into an escrow account, and from there Iraq can use money to import with some restrictions. The question is then if you lift the sanctions, and give the funds directly to the leadership of Iraq, does it mean that Iraq will use this for food and medicine for its people? I haven't met anyone who believes that the money will be used for the same purpose as dictated by the UN. And that is the message for those who are critical of the sanctions. They have to make the case that if you lift the sanctions system, the Iraqi people will be better off. That the $11 billion will be used to get food and medicine to the people. That is the problem.

It is a problem to get Iraq back to being a normal country. It is an enormous problem, but in the meantime, it is not humane to cancel the oil-for-food program.

ACT: For years, UNSCOM was held up as a model for what collective security and intrusive inspections could accomplish for arms control. But UNSCOM's use as a model seems to have been tarnished by Iraq's apparent ability to outlast the Security Council just in terms of sheer political will. What lessons can we draw from that and apply to UNMOVIC?

Ekeus: There is a simple reason why UNSCOM was a success. The success was due to the quality of the people and to the political element. So that is how it worked: the combination of high-quality practice methods, high technology, wonderful personnel and science. It was the brainpower, not muscles, plus the political backing that gave results. What in the end created problems was not the professional quality of UNSCOM, but problems on the political side. That is the single, dominant and only reason that it failed.

The unity of the Security Council was the political fact that sustained the UNSCOM operation and helped its success. The failure to maintain that unity undermined it. Now the Security Council members are trying to restore unity. The adoption of Resolution 1284 was a first step. The implementation of it will be the first test.

Interviewed by J. Peter Scoblic and Matthew Rice

Toward a Consensus on Iraq

How to deal with a scofflaw Iraq remains a pivotal issue in determining the future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Saddam Hussein's flagrant violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) prior to the Persian Gulf War and his subsequent failure to comply with UN Security Council resolutions mandating the verified destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, culminating in his refusal to accept inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), constitute a brazen challenge to both the NPT and the Security Council. After almost a year of heated bickering, the Security Council has agreed to replace UNSCOM with a new organization, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Unless the new organization succeeds, Saddam will have shown the world that even in defeat a nation can successfully flaunt its legal obligations under the NPT and Security Council resolutions.

In dealing with the new organization, the United States must recognize that a successful policy toward Iraq demands achieving a broad consensus, including among the five permanent Security Council members, on objectives and tactics. Without such a consensus, sanctions cannot be successfully enforced or more forceful actions contemplated.

To this end, the United States should make preventing Iraq from attaining the capability to use nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction its primary objective-a goal that serves the security interests of the other permanent members and all other states of the region. This objective, while more important, is less demanding than the requirement in Security Council Resolution 687 calling for the verified complete elimination of Iraq's former programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. Although Resolution 687 is recognized in UNMOVIC's charter, it is probably unattainable without complete Iraqi cooperation, which is unlikely, and should not be allowed to prevent fulfillment of the more fundamental objective of containing Iraq's future capabilities.

The argument is made that Saddam will never accept UNMOVIC inspections, and this may well be the case. However, in the absence of a new organization, Saddam would certainly not accept inspectors and would rely on hiding behind differences among the permanent members. But, if France, Russia and China can persuade Saddam to accept the new arrangement, the broader objective will be greatly facilitated; if they fail, there will be a new rationale for enforcing sanctions and ultimately employing force if evidence of capabilities to use weapons of mass destruction becomes apparent.

The suggestion has been made that even if Saddam accepts inspections, they would be worse than useless because, in the absence of complete transparency, he could manipulate access to create the illusion of compliance. In the real world, so much is known about the Iraqi programs from UNSCOM and U.S. national intelligence that the inspection of selected suspicious sites would reveal ongoing programs; and if inspections were denied, it would provide cause for further action.

The fact that the new organization will be under the UN secretary-general, and therefore elicit greater international participation, should be looked on as a positive move toward strengthening the international consensus, which was weakened by charges of U.S. domination. While not as closely tied into day-to-day operations, the United States can continue to make information available, as is done with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), without creating the destructive perception that the inspection process is being used by the United States to collect information for its own purposes.

After a difficult selection process, the Security Council wisely agreed upon Hans Blix, former head of the IAEA, to lead UNMOVIC. Charges that he was responsible for the failure to discover Iraq's nuclear program are absurd. At the time, the IAEA was essentially constrained to the inspection of declared facilities. Although special inspections were possible in principle, the United States had apparently chosen not to share its extensive pre-Gulf War knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear program with the IAEA. Subsequently, utilizing U.S. intelligence, Blix brought North Korean violations of the NPT to the Security Council's attention and championed the IAEA's "93+2" improvement program, which confirms the agency's access to suspect sites as well as its use of national intelligence.

The international community has agreed that it must deal with Iraq's transgressions. The administration must now make every effort to assist the new organization as a multinational effort and not compromise it by attempting to micromanage or overburden its operation. The objective now is not to find the last piece of undeclared equipment, but to build a strong international consensus that Iraq will not be allowed to emerge as a nuclear threat to its region and the world.

Toward a Consensus on Iraq

Toward a Consensus on Iraq

Wade Boese

FEWER COUNTRIES VOLUNTEERED reports on their exports and imports of major conventional weapons to the 1998 UN Register of Conventional Arms than in any previous year of the register's operation. Yet, the register, dated August 13 with an addendum of October 7, covered much of the 1998 arms market, as most major arms exporters, with the key exception of China, submitted weapons trade data. (Russian data, submitted October 15, was not yet available.) The United States accounted for nearly half of all reported 1998 arms exports worldwide.

Aimed at revealing build-ups of conventional arms, the voluntary register calls on countries to annually report their imports and exports of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile launchers. Countries may also provide information on their military holdings and domestic weapons procurement, as well as relevant arms trade policies. Iraq's acquisition of large stocks of conventional weapons prior to its invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent 1990-91 Persian Gulf War served as the impetus for establishing the register in January 1992.

Annual register participation has generally exceeded 90 countries, but this year only 74 have reported to date. Many of the countries not participating in the 1998 register that have in previous years are those that submit "nil" reports for both imports and exports. Some are suspected of merely being late with their replies, which is common. Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic participated for the first time.

Only two countries, Israel and Iran, reported from the Middle East, while Lesotho, Madagascar and South Africa were the only African countries to take part. Arab states typically boycott the register, charging that it is inadequate because it fails to account for weapons of mass destruction. African states, on the other hand, largely abstain from the register for its lack of small arms categories. In addition, less than a third of Latin American and Caribbean states reported on their arms deals or lack thereof.

China suspended its register participation indefinitely last year to protest U.S. inclusion of arms shipments to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. For 1998, Washington reported 355 weapons exports to Taipei.


A total of 22 countries, including 18 European states, reported 5,622 exports, the lowest export total during the register's seven years of operation. The lack of Russian and Chinese data and the completion of most of the arms deliveries for agreements signed during the post-Gulf War weapons-buying boom account for much of the reduced export total from past registers, which generally totaled more than 7,500 weapons.

The United States ranked first with 2,713 exports, equaling the combined export totals for the next 10 highest weapon suppliers. (The United States revised its data upward from the original submission of 2,700 exports made in May.) Poland moved into second place with a total of 1,018 exports, which was a shipment—initially imported from Bulgaria—comprising 18 120mm mortars and 1,000 mortar rounds to the Congo. The United Kingdom held the third spot with 594 exports, 416 of which were cruise missiles to the United Arab Emirates.

Exporter data revealed Europe as the top destination of arms shipments with a total of 1,625, while the Middle East, including Egypt, received a total of 1,423 weapons. Five exporters—the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Canada—accounted for all the reported exports to the Middle East. Iran claimed 11 weapon imports from Russia.

Missiles and missile launchers (2,465) accounted for 43 percent of the reported weapons exports. In the Middle East, missile deliveries to eight countries accounted for two-thirds of reported arms shipments. Missile systems, according to exporter data, also constituted approximately 55 percent of all Asian and European imports.


Thirty-nine countries reported more than 4,866 total arms imports. (Australia and Singapore listed "several" for their missile imports.) Discounting Poland, which exported its import of 1,018 artillery items, Bangladesh ranked as the top importer with 825 weapons. Bangladesh cited Italy, Yugoslavia, China and France with supplying a total of 465 artillery pieces and China with 232 tanks. Other leading importers included South Korea, which totaled 530 missile systems from the United States, Thailand (359 imports) and Chile (330 imports).

As in past years, little of the exporting and importing data corresponded. For example, the United States claimed exporting only 27 missiles to South Korea. Many of the discrepancies stem from a lack of importing data or differing national accounting procedures for imports and exports. Whereas some countries count an export as physical departure from its territory, others may base it on title transfer.

UN Security Council Says 'No' to Ekeus, Agrees on Blix to Head UNMOVIC

A quarreling United Nations Security Council finally came to a consensus on an executive chairman to lead the newly created UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC), unanimously supporting the nomination of Hans Blix, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. representative to the UN and the council's acting president, made the announcement January 26, ending an impasse over the previous nominee, Rolf Ekeus.

The selection of an executive chairman was the first step toward implementation of the most recent Security Council resolution on Iraq. Resolution 1284, adopted unanimously but with key abstentions by Russia, China and France, authorized the creation of UNMOVIC to replace the embattled UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) while promising relaxation of economic sanctions for demonstrated Iraqi cooperation. (See ACT, December 1999.)

The January 17 nomination of Rolf Ekeus, former head of UNSCOM, concluded a grueling month of consultation between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council over the selection of an agreeable candidate. A UN source said that "lacking consensus on any of the 25 names submitted to the Security Council, the secretary-general nominated the man that he felt was the best for the job." As its executive chairman from 1991-1997, Ekeus directed the lion's share of UNSCOM's identification and destruction of prohibited weapons activities in Iraq.

The Ekeus nomination was short-lived, however. Representatives from Russia, China and France each registered their disapproval of Annan's choice. Noted Qin Huasun, China's permanent representative to the UN, "Candidates from developing countries, who may be better positioned to convince Iraq to cooperate with the council, should be given more attention and consideration." Other members offered less explanation for their opposition. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian representative, stated simply, "The Russian Federation cannot agree with the proposal." Overriding concerns appeared to be a desire to make a clean break from UNSCOM and the likelihood of an Iraqi refusal to cooperate with an UNMOVIC headed by Ekeus.

U.S. officials derided the notion of an "Iraqi veto" over the process, expressing strong support for the confirmation of Ekeus as late as January 24. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, criticizing council resistance, said, "We consider Ambassador Ekeus as so qualified, as somebody who knows the issues very well...and has the respect of the international community."

The Security Council never officially rejected Ekeus, but in subsequent discussions Blix emerged as a compromise acceptable to all sides. With his announcement of the nomination, Holbrooke made clear that the U.S. supported the Blix nod: "As the American representative, let me make clear that we are pleased with his nomination. We think he is an excellent choice." Holbrooke also emphasized that council unanimity should push Iraq closer to cooperation instead of the "very dangerous and ultimately self-damaging role" that it has played in the past.

Hans Blix, longtime Swedish diplomat, headed the IAEA from 1981 to 1997 and has extensive first-hand experience with the Iraq problem, having overseen the first six years of IAEA investigations into Iraq's nuclear program at the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War. During his tenure, the IAEA came under fire after the discovery of an extensive Iraqi crash program to build nuclear weapons that had gone undetected by annual IAEA inspections before the war. The IAEA safeguards system has since been strengthened.

Blix's first task is to develop an organizational plan for UNMOVIC and prepare to begin work in Iraq within 45 days after officially assuming his role as executive chairman. Important decisions will need to be made about the composition of the UNMOVIC team and the degree to which it will rely on the expertise of former UNSCOM staff. Perhaps the most challenging hurdle will be to outline the commission's work plan and the key disarmament tasks for Iraq to address before UN sanctions can be lifted. Because each step requires the approval of the Security Council, the battle over UNMOVIC's executive chairman may foreshadow additional struggles as the fledgling organization attempts to define itself.

In addition, though Iraq is legally obligated to comply with Resolution 1284, UNMOVIC's work ultimately depends on Iraqi accession to additional inspections. While Iraq did not condemn Blix with the same ferocity that it rejected the nomination of Ekeus, Iraqi UN Representative Saeed Hassan immediately dismissed the possibility of change in the Iraqi position. "Devil or angel, the new chairman will not change much.... This resolution is not implementable, is not working and will not work," he said. Iraq has long demanded a lifting of sanctions as a prerequisite to future cooperation with disarmament teams.

Iraq Accepts IAEA Inspection Team

However, Iraq did allow the first inspections of any kind since the U.S. and British airstrikes in December 1998, granting an IAEA inspection team access to Iraqi nuclear facilities from January 22-25. As a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iraq has agreed to allow annual inspections of its declared nuclear facilities to ensure compliance with the treaty's prohibitions on nuclear weapons programs. A source close to the UN emphasized that there was no connection between Iraqi acceptance of limited IAEA nuclear inspections and the broader question of accepting UNMOVIC's more intrusive mandate.

The inspection team visited the Iraqi nuclear site at Tuwaitha, a facility containing low-grade nuclear material that housed uranium enrichment and reprocessing facilities prior to the Gulf War. The IAEA reported that Iraq "provided the necessary cooperation for the inspection team to perform its activities effectively and efficiently," but noted that the limited nature of its mandate under the NPT Safeguards Agreement "cannot serve as a substitute for the IAEA's activities under the relevant Security Council resolutions."

A 1997 IAEA report to the Security Council stated, "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."

Security Council Replaces UNSCOM; Paves Way for Inspections, Sanctions Relief

NEARLY A YEAR to the day after Iraq ended its cooperation with UN weapons inspections following the initiation of punitive air strikes by the United States and Britain, the Security Council paved the way for renewed inspections and a measured suspension of economic sanctions, in place since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Resolution 1284, adopted on December 17 after months of diplomatic squabbling, outlines in broad terms a plan that proponents hope will promote Iraqi cooperation and defuse the rising tension between ensuring the complete destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and growing concern about the humanitarian impact of the sanctions regime.

The resolution broadly outlines the structure and responsibility for a new inspection organization, to be known as the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the now all-but-defunct United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). Iraq is instructed to allow UNMOVIC "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transport which they wish to inspect." (See full text of the resolution.)

While UNMOVIC will be charged with the same tasks as its predecessor, namely overseeing and verifying Iraq's compliance with the previous Security Council resolutions that specify its disarmament responsibilities, the particulars of the leadership, organization and mission of the new inspection group were left deliberately ambiguous and will be worked out in the coming months. On December 15, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan began a search, which must be completed by January 17, for an executive chairman to head up the organization. Once appointed, the executive chairman will have 45 days to develop and submit an organizational plan to the Security Council. Details of the work program and the "key disarmament tasks to be completed by Iraq" will be concluded in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) once inspectors are on the ground.

The definition of "key disarmament tasks" is certain to be a point of contention. Critics of UNSCOM argued that there would be little incentive for Iraq to cooperate if it could not, as Chinese Representative Qin Huasun put it, "see the light at the end of the tunnel." The key disarmament tasks, while not changing Iraq's disarmament responsibilities as defined by Resolution 687, are intended to set milestones by which Iraq's cooperation with the UNMOVIC inspectors can be measured. One concern is how to define the tasks with enough specificity to convey the Security Council's expectations while leaving flexibility for inspectors should they encounter unforeseen situations.

A second issue regards the transfer of expertise from UNSCOM to its successor. UNSCOM experts continue to work to make data collected during their tenure useful for the new monitoring team, but there are worries that the ability to identify disparities in Iraqi declarations will suffer with the loss of UNSCOM's institutional memory. While it remains to be seen whether UNSCOM inspectors will be hired to the UNMOVIC team, language explicitly allowing their employment was removed from the final draft of Resolution 1284. UNSCOM relied on arms and intelligence experts on loan from and paid by member states, but concerns spawned by allegations last year of improper dissemination of UNSCOM-collected intelligence may encourage a staff comprised of UN-payrolled inspectors.

Finally, the resolution calls for the creation of a "College of Commissioners" to advise UNMOVIC, review the organization's progress and "provide professional advice and guidance" to the executive chairman. The size and composition of this committee will largely determine its impact. One possibility is that the commissioners will serve as envoys between council members and the commission, defusing potential conflicts before they reach the council floor and possibly providing a way for the Security Council to directly influence UNMOVIC activities.

Resolution 1284 also moves further toward the relaxation of economic sanctions. The resolution lifts the $5.26 billion cap on oil sales under the oil-for-food program, simplifies the approval process for the purchase of most humanitarian goods and outlines conditions for the temporary but renewable relaxation of economic sanctions, contingent on Iraqi cooperation with the arms verification process. Once Iraq has cooperated for 120 days with both UNMOVIC and the IAEA, the sanctions may be lifted for 120 days. Continued progress toward defined disarmament goals will allow sanctions relief to continue in 120-day increments. These extensions are subject to veto by any of the permanent Security Council members, and sanctions relief may end within days if UNMOVIC reports Iraqi non-compliance.


Uncertainties Remain

The resolution passed unanimously (11-0), but the abstention of key members critical of the sanctions regime—Russia, France and China—raises questions about the prospects for full implementation of the council's mandates. Following the vote, Ambassador Peter Burleigh, the U.S. deputy permanent representative to the UN, said that "no council member would say that Iraq has met its obligations...we expect all members of the council, regardless of their vote on this resolution, to join in pressing Iraq for full and immediate implementation." But Sergey Lavrov, Russia's representative to the Security Council, stated that Russia's abstention "should not be taken to indicate that we are obliged to play along with attempts to impose its forceful implementation." Chinese Representative Qin concurred: "The implementation of this draft resolution before us is highly questionable."

Early reactions from Baghdad to the resolution have not been encouraging. Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister, said that the Security Council's "rewriting of Resolution 687" fell short of "Iraq's legitimate demand to lift the embargo." Iraq has insisted upon an easing of sanctions prior to the readmission of UN inspectors, but given its history of slow acceptance of Security Council resolutions (Iraq waited a year before accepting the oil-for-food program), Iraq's initial posturing has not been taken as a sign of permanent rejection.

Security Council Replaces UNSCOM; Paves Way for Inspections, Sanctions Relief

UN Resolution 1284

After months of diplomatic bickering over the appropriate next step in United Nations policy toward Iraq, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1284 (1999) on December 17 by a vote of 11-0-4. (Russia, France, China and Malaysia abstained.) The resolution outlines in broad terms a compromise between those who have insisted that Iraq fulfill its previously imposed disarmament obligations (primarily the United States and Britain) and those who have called for lifting the economic sanctions that have been in place since the end of the Gulf War (primarily France and Russia). The resolution authorizes the creation of a new inspection organization, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and details the conditions upon which the council will consider the temporary relaxation of economic sanctions. (See news story.)

While the process by which the organization is to be created and by which Iraqi cooperation is to be judged are relatively clear, the definition of several key terms, including "key remaining disarmament tasks" (paragraph 7) and "cooperated in all respects" (paragraph 33), have been left for future discussions and will dramatically affect the resolution's impact on the verification of Iraq's compliance and on the prospects for the lifting of sanctions. The following is the unabridged text of the resolution.

Adopted by the Security Council at its 4084th meeting, on 17 December 1999

The Security Council

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 699 (1991) of 17 June 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1051 (1996) of 27 March 1996, 1153 (1998) of 20 February 1998, 1175 (1998) of 19 June 1998, 1242 (1999) of 21 May 1999 and 1266 (1999) of 4 October 1999,

Recalling the approval by the Council in its resolution 715 (1991) of the plans for future ongoing monitoring and verification submitted by the Secretary-General and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in pursuance of paragraphs 10 and 13 of resolution 687 (1991),

Welcoming the reports of the three panels on Iraq (S/1999/356), and having held a comprehensive consideration of them and the recommendations contained in them,

Stressing the importance of a comprehensive approach to the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq and the need for Iraqi compliance with these resolutions,

Recalling the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons as referred to in paragraph 14 of resolution 687 (1991),

Concerned at the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and determined to improve that situation,

Recalling with concern that the repatriation and return of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals or their remains, present in Iraq on or after 2 August 1990, pursuant to paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991 and paragraph 30 of resolution 687 (1991), have not yet been fully carried out by Iraq,

Recalling that in its resolutions 686 (1991) and 687 (1991) the Council demanded that Iraq return in the shortest possible time all Kuwaiti property it had seized, and noting with regret that Iraq has still not complied fully with this demand,

Acknowledging the progress made by Iraq towards compliance with the provisions of resolution 687 (1991), but noting that, as a result of its failure to implement the relevant Council resolutions fully, the conditions do not exist which would enable the Council to take a decision pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) to lift the prohibitions referred to in that resolution,

Reiterating the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait, Iraq and the neighbouring States,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking into account that operative provisions of this resolution relate to previous resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter,

A. 1. Decides to establish, as a subsidiary body of the Council, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) which replaces the Special Commission established pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) of resolution 687 (1991);

2. Decides also that UNMOVIC will undertake the responsibilities mandated to the Special Commission by the Council with regard to the verification of compliance by Iraq with its obligations under paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of resolution 687 (1991) and other related resolutions, that UNMOVIC will establish and operate, as was recommended by the panel on disarmament and current and future ongoing monitoring and verification issues, a reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification, which will implement the plan approved by the Council in resolution 715 (1991) and address unresolved disarmament issues, and that UNMOVIC will identify, as necessary in accordance with its mandate, additional sites in Iraq to be covered by the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification;

3. Reaffirms the provisions of the relevant resolutions with regard to the role of the IAEA in addressing compliance by Iraq with paragraphs 12 and 13 of resolution 687 (1991) and other related resolutions, and requests the Director General of the IAEA to maintain this role with the assistance and cooperation of UNMOVIC;

4. Reaffirms its resolutions 687 (1991), 699 (1991), 707 (1991), 715 (1991), 1051 (1996), 1154 (1998) and all other relevant resolutions and statements of its President, which establish the criteria for Iraqi compliance, affirms that the obligations of Iraq referred to in those resolutions and statements with regard to cooperation with the Special Commission, unrestricted access and provision of information will apply in respect of UNMOVIC, and decides in particular that Iraq shall allow UNMOVIC teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transport which they wish to inspect in accordance with the mandate of UNMOVIC, as well as to all officials and other persons under the authority of the Iraqi Government whom UNMOVIC wishes to interview so that UNMOVIC may fully discharge its mandate;

5. Requests the Secretary-General, within 30 days of the adoption of this resolution, to appoint, after consultation with and subject to the approval of the Council, an Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC who will take up his mandated tasks as soon as possible, and, in consultation with the Executive Chairman and the Council members, to appoint suitably qualified experts as a College of Commissioners for UNMOVIC which will meet regularly to review the implementation of this and other relevant resolutions and provide professional advice and guidance to the Executive Chairman, including on significant policy decisions and on written reports to be submitted to the Council through the Secretary-General;

6. Requests the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, within 45 days of his appointment, to submit to the Council, in consultation with and through the Secretary-General, for its approval an organizational plan for UNMOVIC, including its structure, staffing requirements, management guidelines, recruitment and training procedures, incorporating as appropriate the recommendations of the panel on disarmament and current and future ongoing monitoring and verification issues, and recognizing in particular the need for an effective, cooperative management structure for the new organization, for staffing with suitably qualified and experienced personnel, who would be regarded as international civil servants subject to Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations, drawn from the broadest possible geographical base, including as he deems necessary from international arms control organizations, and for the provision of high quality technical and cultural training;

7. Decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA, not later than 60 days after they have both started work in Iraq, will each draw up, for approval by the Council, a work programme for the discharge of their mandates, which will include both the implementation of the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification, and the key remaining disarmament tasks to be completed by Iraq pursuant to its obligations to comply with the disarmament requirements of resolution 687 (1991) and other related resolutions, which constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance, and further decides that what is required of Iraq for the implementation of each task shall be clearly defined and precise;

8. Requests the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA, drawing on the expertise of other international organizations as appropriate, to establish a unit which will have the responsibilities of the joint unit constituted by the Special Commission and the Director General of the IAEA under paragraph 16 of the export/import mechanism approved by resolution 1051 (1996), and also requests the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, in consultation with the Director General of the IAEA, to resume the revision and updating of the lists of items and technology to which the mechanism applies;

9. Decides that the Government of Iraq shall be liable for the full costs of UNMOVIC and the IAEA in relation to their work under this and other related resolutions on Iraq;

10. Requests Member States to give full cooperation to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates;

11. Decides that UNMOVIC shall take over all assets, liabilities and archives of the Special Commission, and that it shall assume the Special Commission's part in agreements existing between the Special Commission and Iraq and between the United Nations and Iraq, and affirms that the Executive Chairman, the Commissioners and the personnel serving with UNMOVIC shall have the rights, privileges, facilities and immunities of the Special Commission;

12. Requests the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC to report, through the Secretary-General, to the Council, following consultation with the Commissioners, every three months on the work of UNMOVIC, pending submission of the first reports referred to in paragraph 33 below, and to report immediately when the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification is fully operational in Iraq;

B. 13. Reiterates the obligation of Iraq, in furtherance of its commitment to facilitate the repatriation of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals referred to in paragraph 30 of resolution 687 (1991), to extend all necessary cooperation to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and calls upon the Government of Iraq to resume cooperation with the Tripartite Commission and Technical Subcommittee established to facilitate work on this issue;

14. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every four months on compliance by Iraq with its obligations regarding the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals or their remains, to report every six months on the return of all Kuwaiti property, including archives, seized by Iraq, and to appoint a high-level coordinator for these issues;

C. 15. Authorizes States, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs 3 (a), 3 (b) and 4 of resolution 661 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions, to permit the import of any volume of petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iraq, including financial and other essential transactions directly relating thereto, as required for the purposes and on the conditions set out in paragraph 1 (a) and (b) and subsequent provisions of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions;

16. Underlines, in this context, its intention to take further action, including permitting the use of additional export routes for petroleum and petroleum products, under appropriate conditions otherwise consistent with the purpose and provisions of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions;

17. Directs the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to approve, on the basis of proposals from the Secretary-General, lists of humanitarian items, including foodstuffs, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, as well as basic or standard medical and agricultural equipment and basic or standard educational items, decides, notwithstanding paragraph 3 of resolution 661 (1990) and paragraph 20 of resolution 687 (1991), that supplies of these items will not be submitted for approval of that Committee, except for items subject to the provisions of resolution 1051 (1996), and will be notified to the Secretary-General and financed in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 8 (a) and 8 (b) of resolution 986 (1995), and requests the Secretary-General to inform the Committee in a timely manner of all such notifications received and actions taken;

18. Requests the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to appoint, in accordance with resolutions 1175 (1998) and 1210 (1998), a group of experts, including independent inspection agents appointed by the Secretary-General in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 986 (1995), decides that this group will be mandated to approve speedily contracts for the parts and the equipments necessary to enable Iraq to increase its exports of petroleum and petroleum products, according to lists of parts and equipments approved by that Committee for each individual project, and requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide for the monitoring of these parts and equipments inside Iraq;

19. Encourages Member States and international organizations to provide supplementary humanitarian assistance to Iraq and published material of an educational character to Iraq;

20. Decides to suspend, for an initial period of six months from the date of the adoption of this resolution and subject to review, the implementation of paragraph 8 (g) of resolution 986 (1995);

21. Requests the Secretary-General to take steps to maximize, drawing as necessary on the advice of specialists, including representatives of international humanitarian organizations, the effectiveness of the arrangements set out in resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions including the humanitarian benefit to the Iraqi population in all areas of the country, and further requests the Secretary-General to continue to enhance as necessary the United Nations observation process in Iraq, ensuring that all supplies under the humanitarian programme are utilized as authorized to bring to the attention of the Council any circumstances preventing or impeding effective and equitable distribution and to keep the Council informed of the steps taken towards the implementation of this paragraph;

22. Requests also the Secretary-General to minimize the cost of the United Nations activities associated with the implementation of resolution 986 (1995) as well as the cost of the independent inspection agents and the certified public accountants appointed by him, in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 7 of resolution 986 (1995);

23. Requests further the Secretary-General to provide Iraq and the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) with a daily statement of the status of the escrow account established by paragraph 7 of resolution 986 (1995);

24. Requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements, subject to Security Council approval, to allow funds deposited in the escrow account established by resolution 986 (1995) to be used for the purchase of locally produced goods and to meet the local cost for essential civilian needs which have been funded in accordance with the provisions of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions, including, where appropriate, the cost of installation and training services;

25. Directs the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to take a decision on all applications in respect of humanitarian and essential civilian needs within a target of two working days of receipt of these applications from the Secretary-General, and to ensure that all approval and notification letters issued by the Committee stipulate delivery within a specified time, according to the nature of the items to be supplied, and requests the Secretary-General to notify the Committee of all applications for humanitarian items which are included in the list to which the export/import mechanism approved by resolution 1051 (1996) applies;

26. Decides that Hajj pilgrimage flights which do not transport cargo into or out of Iraq are exempt from the provisions of paragraph 3 of resolution 661 (1990) and resolution 670 (1990), provided timely notification of each flight is made to the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), and requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements, for approval by the Security Council, to provide for reasonable expenses related to the Hajj pilgrimage to be met by funds in the escrow account established by resolution 986 (1995);

27. Calls upon the Government of Iraq:

(i) to take all steps to ensure the timely and equitable distribution of all humanitarian goods, in particular medical supplies, and to remove and avoid delays at its warehouses;

(ii) to address effectively the needs of vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly and the mentally ill among others, and to allow freer access, without any discrimination, including on the basis of religion or nationality, by United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations to all areas and sections of the population for evaluation of their nutritional and humanitarian condition;

(iii) to prioritize applications for humanitarian goods under the arrangements set out in resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions;

(iv) to ensure that those involuntarily displaced receive humanitarian assistance without the need to demonstrate that they have resided for six months in their places of temporary residence;

(v) to extend full cooperation to the United Nations Office for Project Services mine-clearance programme in the three northern Governorates of Iraq and to consider the initiation of the demining efforts in other Governorates;

28. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the progress made in meeting the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people and on the revenues necessary to meet those needs, including recommendations on necessary additions to the current allocation for oil spare parts and equipment, on the basis of a comprehensive survey of the condition of the Iraqi oil production sector, not later than 60 days from the date of the adoption of this resolution and updated thereafter as necessary;

29. Expresses its readiness to authorize additions to the current allocation for oil spare parts and equipment, on the basis of the report and recommendations requested in paragraph 28 above, in order to meet the humanitarian purposes set out in resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions;

30. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a group of experts, including oil industry experts, to report within 100 days of the date of adoption of this resolution on Iraq's existing petroleum production and export capacity and to make recommendations, to be updated as necessary, on alternatives for increasing Iraq's petroleum production and export capacity in a manner consistent with the purposes of relevant resolutions, and on the options for involving foreign oil companies in Iraq's oil sector, including investments, subject to appropriate monitoring and controls;

31. Notes that in the event of the Council acting as provided for in paragraph 33 of this resolution to suspend the prohibitions referred to in that paragraph, appropriate arrangements and procedures will need, subject to paragraph 35 below, to be agreed by the Council in good time beforehand, including suspension of provisions of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions;

32. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of paragraphs 15 to 30 of this resolution within 30 days of the adoption of this resolution;

D. 33. Expresses its intention, upon receipt of reports from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and from the Director General of the IAEA that Iraq has cooperated in all respects with UNMOVIC and the IAEA in particular in fulfilling the work programmes in all the aspects referred to in paragraph 7 above, for a period of 120 days after the date on which the Council is in receipt of reports from both UNMOVIC and the IAEA that the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification is fully operational, to suspend with the fundamental objective of improving the humanitarian situation in Iraq and securing the implementation of the Council's resolutions, for a period of 120 days renewable by the Council, and subject to the elaboration of effective financial and other operational measures to ensure that Iraq does not acquire prohibited items, prohibitions against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq, and prohibitions against the sale, supply and delivery to Iraq of civilian commodities and products other than those referred to in paragraph 24 of resolution 687 (1991) or those to which the mechanism established by resolution 1051 (1996) applies;

34. Decides that in reporting to the Council for the purposes of paragraph 33 above, the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC will include as a basis for his assessment the progress made in completing the tasks referred to in paragraph 7 above;

35. Decides that if at any time the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC or the Director General of the IAEA reports that Iraq is not cooperating in all respects with UNMOVIC or the IAEA or if Iraq is in the process of acquiring any prohibited items, the suspension of the prohibitions referred to in paragraph 33 above shall terminate on the fifth working day following the report, unless the Council decides to the contrary;

36. Expresses its intention to approve arrangements for effective financial and other operational measures, including on the delivery of and payment for authorized civilian commodities and products to be sold or supplied to Iraq, in order to ensure that Iraq does not acquire prohibited items in the event of suspension of the prohibitions referred to in paragraph 33 above, to begin the elaboration of such measures not later than the date of the receipt of the initial reports referred to in paragraph 33 above, and to approve such arrangements before the Council decision in accordance with that paragraph;

37. Further expresses its intention to take steps, based on the report and recommendations requested in paragraph 30 above, and consistent with the purpose of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions, to enable Iraq to increase its petroleum production and export capacity, upon receipt of the reports relating to the cooperation in all respects with UNMOVIC and the IAEA referred to in paragraph 33 above;

38. Reaffirms its intention to act in accordance with the relevant provisions of resolution 687 (1991) on the termination of prohibitions referred to in that resolution;

39. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter and expresses its intention to consider action in accordance with paragraph 33 above no later than 12 months from the date of the adoption of this resolution provided the conditions set out in paragraph 33 above have been satisfied by Iraq.

Security Council Unable to Reach Consensus On Iraq for Genereal Assembly Meeting

DESPITE CONCERTED DIPLOMATIC efforts surrounding the September 22 opening of the 54th session of the UN General Assembly, the permanent five members of the Security Council (P-5) could not reach a consensus on resuming weapons inspections in Iraq or lifting economic sanctions. Senior officials from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States met in London September 15 and in New York September 20. A September 23 meeting between the P-5 foreign ministers and the UN secretary-general resulted only in a bland statement calling for "the full implementation of the relevant Council resolutions."

UN weapons inspections and verification efforts ceased in December 1998 when Iraq broke off cooperation with the UN after four days of punitive air and missile strikes by the United States and Britain. Prompted by frustration with Baghdad's "cheat-and-retreat" strategy to prevent the elimination of its proscribed weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the U.S.-British strikes fractured the Security Council's 1991 consensus to compel Baghdad to disarm in compliance with Resolution 687 before it would lift the economic sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Since the strikes, Baghdad has maintained that it will not consider further UN weapons inspections or verification activities until economic sanctions are eased. UN officials in Iraq have reported an ongoing humanitarian crisis, which they have attributed to the sanctions. A September 13 report by the State Department, however, asserts that under the UN's oil-for-food program Iraq is importing more food than before the Persian Gulf War, and that Baghdad's politically inspired misallocation of food and medicine is responsible for the population's suffering. (To compensate for previous revenue shortfalls due to low oil prices, the Security Council decided October 4 to lift the current half-year ceiling on Iraqi oil sales from $5.256 billion to $8.296 billion.)

Since the December raids, Iraq's case for sanctions relief has been made with increasing vigor by France, Russia and China. Resolutions offered by Paris, Moscow and Beijing have proposed quick relief from most import and all export sanctions for Iraq, together with the creation of a monitoring system to prevent large-scale re-establishment of Baghdad's weapons programs.

The United States continues to insist that demonstrable cooperation from Iraq on revived weapons inspections must precede any sanctions relief; that Iraq must meet the Security Council's existing standards for disarmament; that relief from sanctions should be temporary, requiring regular council re-approval; and that sanctions relief should be limited to exports and investments in Iraq's oil-producing capabilities. Washington backs a proposal sponsored by Britain and the Netherlands, which has reportedly won the support of all Security Council members except France, Russia, China and Malaysia. A resolution of the situation is not expected in the near future.

The Lessons and Legacy of UNSCOM: An Interview With Ambassador Richard Butler

June 1999

Interviewed by J. Peter Scoblic

After two years as the United Nations' chief arms inspector in Iraq, Ambassador Richard Butler resigned June 30 as the executive chairman of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). Butler's departure from UNSCOM, whose operations in Iraq have been suspended since the U.S.-British air and missile attacks in December 1998, coincides with the apparent demise of UNSCOM due to Baghdad's continuing refusal to fulfill its disarmament obligations and the widening rift within the UN Security Council as to how to deal with the government of Saddam Hussein.

During Butler's tenure, UNSCOM faced a number of crises that moved the spotlight away from Iraq's non-compliance and onto the commission and its executive chairman. Among them were the highly publicized resignation of American Scott Ritter, the former UNSCOM inspector who criticized U.S. policymakers for contributing to Iraq's ongoing defiance, and charges that U.S. intelligence services conducted their own operations against Iraq under the guise of providing intelligence support to UNSCOM. Butler's tenure also saw an increasingly divided Security Council, which has so far been unable to decide the fate of the UN-mandated disarmament regime in Iraq.

Butler is currently diplomat-in-residence at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where he is writing a book about his experiences with UNSCOM and the disarming of Iraq. A native Australian and a career diplomat with extensive arms control experience, Butler spent five years as Australia's permanent representative to the United Nations immediately prior to joining UNSCOM. In 1983, he was appointed Australia's first ambassador for disarmament, and subsequently served as ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia. He holds degrees from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.

On July 19, Arms Control Today managing editor J. Peter Scoblic met with Ambassador Butler in New York City to discuss the implications of UNSCOM's withdrawal from Iraq, the current proposals before the Security Council and the future of arms control. The following is an edited version of their conversation.

Arms Control Today: What are the broader ramifications of UNSCOM's removal from Iraq for arms control?

Richard Butler: The Security Council-mandated effort to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction is the major test case for the world's attempt to prevent the spread of those weapons. Since the current crisis started last year on August 3 when Iraq decided to stop all of our disarmament work, I have said many times—to the Security Council, in public lectures, in private conversations and to the media—that the issue of Saddam Hussein is far bigger and larger than his own attachment to weapons of mass destruction.

In the last month or so, that view has strengthened. When I was dealing directly with Iraq, I felt strongly about the deceit we were faced with and about the attacks that were made upon us by Iraq and its supporters, many of which rested on falsehoods that were very damaging. That made me feel strongly about getting the job done with Iraq, but I also felt very definitely that Iraq was a paradigm case for something the world has been trying to do since the mid-'60s when the modern attempt to restrain the spread of weapons of mass destruction began—the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and so on.

ACT: What made Iraq the paradigm case for arms control?

Butler: The Iraq case had three elements. First, above all else, there was cheating from within the arms control regimes. The biggest nightmare of parties to these treaties is that a treaty partner will sign up but cheat. Iraq is a party to NPT and a party to the Biological Weapons Convention. It hasn't ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, but after the 1925 [Geneva] Protocol no state was supposed to use chemical weapons.

Secondly, it was given the highest form of command in international law—namely Security Council resolutions, which are binding on all states under Article 25 of the UN Charter—to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction.

And finally, Iraq constituted one of the most conspicuous cases in modern times of rejection of the world's assertion that no one should have weapons of mass destruction—something of indisputable importance.

ACT: Did the UN understand in 1991 that Iraq would be seen as a test case for enforcement of the arms control regime?

Butler: Well, let me put it this way. The Security Council didn't attach sanctions to Iraq's promise never to invade anyone again or to the promise of being peaceful in the future. It very specifically attached future relief of oil and financial sanctions to Iraq completing its disarmament tasks. If you look at Resolution 687, that's what you see. So my answer is yes.

Now, people may have had other motives as well. Some people have an intense dislike of Saddam Hussein and his regime. Some people felt very deeply that the regime behaved with dreadful brutality in Kuwait and elsewhere. Some Middle East politics were involved. I will not comment on those things. But the Council attached relief of the main sanctions to completion of disarmament tasks. That's unique.

That's why I argued for the last year that it was essential to win the case against Iraq and its weapons because of what was at stake in the larger sense: the authority of the Council, the willingness of the Council to enforce the regimes of non-proliferation, the viability of those regimes, the moral standard that they represented. Those things are truly important. If Iraq succeeds in facing down the Security Council, what will be at issue is not that one rogue state will have gotten away with its wicked ways, but something far larger than that.

Put that alongside the other developments in the world and I see a confluence of events that suddenly relegates arms control to a secondary or even tertiary position in the thinking of those who run this world.

ACT: Describe the confluence of events that illustrates the diminished importance being given to arms control.

Butler: The nuclear non-proliferation regime is under threat from what both India and Pakistan have done, from what North Korea is doing, and from what it is suspected Iran is doing. There is good reason to think that absent UNSCOM Saddam Hussein is thinking again about re-creating nuclear weapons capability—he was only six months away in 1991. And a few weeks ago defense ministers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates visited Pakistan to look at its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

There is also the nuclear weapons states' intransigence in the face of justified criticism that they have slowed down their action on nuclear disarmament, something they promised to pursue in 1995 in the NPT review and extension conference.

Then there's the Missile Technology Control Regime. Notwithstanding that regime, states such as India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea are developing missile capability. As I left UNSCOM it was clear that Iraq was continuing to try to develop an illegal long-range missile capability.

Then there are all the problems of potential leakage from the former Soviet Union. Then there's what has emerged from the kind of military action that was taken against Yugoslavia, a deep attachment to high-tech weapons because only people on the other side get killed. And finally, there have been recent reports of the Russian military leadership admitting in public almost gaily that they just conducted war games that relied heavily on nuclear weapons. Why? Because their conventional forces are in such a pathetic state.

Putting all this together, I'm now alarmed—and I'm saying this publicly for the first time to your journal—that something which only a few years ago was axiomatic has been lost, that a train has been derailed, and that train is called arms control. Up to a few years ago there was a widespread and growing conviction in the international community that arms control was a good thing, that it was an integral part of a good security policy, that the smaller the weapons package you had to deal with in maintaining your own national security, the better, and that this required sacrifices by you as well as by others. Arms control was a going concern.

The alarm bell I want to ring is that arms control might be stopped dead in the water right now, that a confluence of events—and I haven't mentioned all of them—has had the result that arms control has hit the wall. If this is how we're going to answer the problems of the 21st century, then this planet has taken a wrong orbit.

And the Saddam Hussein case is central to this confluence. The Security Council is walking away from dealing with him and his weapons. They have decided it's too hard.

ACT: Are all members of the Security Council walking away from the problem, or are the United States and Britain trying to hold the line?

Butler: I would put the membership of the Security Council into three categories. One is those who have clearly and avowedly decided for whatever reason to bring about an end to the Iraq crisis. Either they're very friendly to Iraq, or they're of the view that enough's enough and we can't go any further with this. Russia, China, France and, in the present Security Council, Malaysia fall into that category.

The second category is made up of the United Kingdom, supported by the Netherlands and the United States, saying there remain disarmament obligations to be fulfilled, that we need ongoing monitoring in Iraq and that Iraq must accept these facts before any suspension or relief of sanctions. They're the harder-line states, and they're in the minority.

Then there are those who are attracted to finding some diplomatic solution to a problem that has gone on too long. If you scratch the surface, some of these states will actually admit that there remain serious ambiguities about Iraq's weapons status, but nevertheless they say this can't go on, we've got to find a solution. They are gravitating toward the second option.

ACT: What are your impressions of the specific draft proposals that are now being considered by the Security Council?

Butler: All of the proposals on the table involve some kind of diminution of the vigor with which the Council will pursue the disarmament of Iraq. The Russian-backed proposal would basically say that it's over, Iraq is disarmed, which is simply to call black white and they know it. Were they to say, "We've got other fish to fry, this continual pursuit of Saddam's arms is not as important to us as those other fish," they would be telling the truth. But when they argue it's over, there's nothing more to pursue in terms of disarmament in Iraq, they're not dealing with reality, and they know it.

The British proposal is far closer to the truth, far more robust, but it does involve some political concessions to Iraq's resistance to the Security Council. I don't think it involves capitulation on the arms control side, but it tries to find some other form of political concession to get Iraq to come back into cooperation with the Council. While I think their attempt is brave and I understand it, they've got to be very careful that it doesn't result in a lot of countries in the world thinking, "This is interesting, all you've really got to do with the Security Council is be prepared to wait, to tough it out for a long time, to take a few bombings, but to still say, 'No, we won't do what you say,' and in the end they'll cave in."

ACT: What are the members of the Security Council subordinating arms control to? What is their primary interest?

Butler: It depends on what country you're talking about. One could go through the motivations of each of the permanent members that is supportive of Iraq—Russia, France, China—and it wouldn't be an edifying spectacle. But I think the primary motivation is a political anxiety about the consequences of there being only one superpower in the world. That's something that those three in particular are uncomfortable with. Iraq policy is an area where they have doubts about the American position, and those doubts are, of course, supported by their own economic interests in the region. But I think at root there's an anxiety in the Security Council about the full range and consequences of a unipolar world.

ACT: Is that anxiety also the cause of the events that make up the confluence you mentioned? Was it behind India's testing, Pakistan's testing, North Korea's launches?

Butler: I'm not sure exactly why India decided to do it at that time. Pakistan's response to it was very hastily put together and was very much a response to India. So regional politics had the major part to play there. I think, too, that the pressures on India to sign the nuclear test ban treaty were becoming effective and that, together with a change in Indian domestic politics, led to the cockamamie idea that if they were going to sign this treaty they'd better test first to prove they could.

But yes, the confluence of events that I'm talking about is shaped, not exclusively but importantly, by this underlying anxiety about a unipolar world led by a state that is highly and capably armed. I think what Russia and China witnessed in Kosovo was very worrying to them, the idea that the United States and its friends could fight a distant, high-tech war and do it in the way that they did. B-2 bombers flying from the continental United States to Europe and back, for example. That had to worry them. That anxiety could be seen in the recent Russian military exercise, which included flying antiquated nuclear bombers to Norway, and in China's reaction to the bombing of their embassy in Belgrade—that had much deeper roots than the fact that the embassy was bombed.

And if what I'm saying is true, that a factor in this confluence of events is their anxiety about a unipolar world led by a country that is brilliantly and capably armed, then a key consequence for arms control is that the United States needs to step up to the plate.

ACT: What specific measures could the United States take?

Butler: One thing would be if the United States indicated that it was itself prepared to enter into significant arms reductions on a proper basis. At the time that the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency became a part of the Department of State about two months ago, I was asked to speak. And in my remarks I made several points to them.

First, insist that what you do is an integral part of national security policy. Secondly, do not allow the professional diplomats at State to use the "G.R." argument against arms control—that is, "good relations." "Our good relations with India demand that we go softly on complaining to them about their weapons control," for example. I heard the "G.R." argument many times in my career. The regional director or assistant secretary of state for Asia or whatever would always say, "Get those arms controllers out of my hair, I've got relationships to run here with India and Pakistan."

Finally, I said, remember this: the classic mistake that arms controllers make is that they characterize arms control as being about the other guy's weapons. I said it's actually also about yours. People say the world would be a whole lot better if those other people didn't have those weapons, but they don't say much about their own.

The only way that leadership by America will work is if it says, "The first contribution we will make to this whole deal is that we'll put certain weapons of ours on the table." Now that's really hard to do with Senator [Jesse] Helms and those types. But I ask you a question, do you know any other way of doing it? Look at NPT. The only thing that will save NPT is if nuclear arms reductions resume. And the key to that is the United States and Russia. They have to do that together with determination.

ACT: Would ratification of START II accomplish that?

Butler: It is essential, but if that's a problem, then the obvious thing to do would be to leap over it and go to START III, to go to new limits for the 21st century as was proposed by the Canberra Commission.

More immediately, the United States and Russia could de-alert significant quantities of their missiles—decouple the warheads from the launch vehicles, store them separately, and come down off this hair-trigger situation that the Russians put themselves back on in early July.

ACT: Do you feel that UNSCOM has, at this point, lost its viability as a tool for disarming Iraq?

Butler: UNSCOM has always remained the best instrument for disarming Iraq. Its track record has been terrific. What it has lost is the political support of the Security Council. And so according to the Russians, who are supported by the Chinese, UNSCOM is dead, and the job of monitoring Iraq's progress has to be done by someone else—UNSCOM II or another organization. It's pathetic—I want that on the record—pathetic. It flies in the face of the practical reality of what UNSCOM achieved. It focuses on the mechanism, not the problem.

The problem is what it always has been, which is the refusal of Saddam Hussein to stop making or secretly acquiring illegal weapons of mass destruction. It's absolutely simple. If the central government of Iraq were to decide, "We're out of this business, we're not going to do this anymore," it would be over. But because it's refused to do that and because UNSCOM has continued to battle with that refusal in ways that have brought about recurrent crises, Russia and some others have decided that the way to solve this problem is to remove the thorn from Iraq's side, namely UNSCOM, rather than insist that Iraq comply.

ACT: When UNSCOM was created, it was expected that Iraq would comply with Resolution 687. When it was realized that Iraq was not going to cooperate, should UNSCOM have been altered, should the inspection mechanism have been strengthened?

Butler: Theoretically, yes. But what happened was that UNSCOM did that to itself. It strengthened itself by trying different solutions to the same problem. Once it became clear that Iraq was determined not to comply, but to conceal and deceive, then it was clear that the fundamental operational assumption was wrong and UNSCOM had to deal with that.

ACT: What challenges did you face in balancing the work of UNSCOM with the delicate, complex politics of the Security Council?

Butler: "Complex" is an accurate way to describe the Council, but "delicate" certainly isn't. The word "delicate" doesn't sit well other than as an oxymoron for the somewhat thuggish behavior that is often seen inside the Council. The Council is a place where power is deployed rather unsentimentally, particularly by states that have the veto and that are prepared to throw their weight around—very often without getting to the meat of things in other than perfunctory terms. For example, if someone says to China, "Why do you want x?" the answer "Because I say so" is hardly an answer. It says, "Because I'm powerful." That's not a rational answer, and one hears answers like that. You hear a little bit more than that very often, a sort of papering over by saying that it would be bad for international peace and security if China or Russia, for example, didn't get its way.

But the real answer to your question is that, yes, it was difficult, and in doing my research and writing about it, I'm sure I'll find places where I would quite readily say, "Well, I made a mistake there." And I suspect that those mistakes will relate to telling the Council sometimes too plainly or too truthfully what the circumstances were. Very often there's a place in the Council for circumlocution rather than for plain speech, and I think one of the hallmarks of my reports to the Council is that they were very plain. They just said, "UNSCOM did x, Iraq did y. Figure it out for yourself," instead of dressing it up in more elaborate diplomatic language that gave people ways out.

So I think the largest challenge in the Council is truth telling. The basic function of the Council lies between the exercise of great power, which is typically exercised in terms of separate national interests, and the justification for it, which is supposed to be presented through the Council's reports in a way that demonstrates what was done was in fact good and right. And if those reports are not readily capable of ambiguous or elliptical interpretation, then the naked exercise of power, in terms of national interests, gets uncomfortably exposed. And I think that became characteristic of the last few years of UNSCOM.

ACT: What were your impressions when Operation Desert Fox began last December? Was the use of military force necessary at that point?

Butler: I was surprised when military action started. I genuinely didn't know what the decision would be. I was in the Council when it started happening—as we all were—and I remember thinking to myself, "Oh my God, they've really done it." And they had.

ACT: Was force needed at that point?

Butler: Not my call.

ACT: What did UNSCOM need if not a show of force to reinforce its position and its viability?

Butler: Unity in the Council would have helped.

ACT: But even with political unity in the Council, you would have been facing the same problems on the ground in Iraq. What else could have been done to bring the Iraqis into compliance?

Butler: Unity in the Council and a lot of political pressure from their friends the Russians. Who knows? Maybe military attack will have helped. Maybe, when the story is told, it will show that Desert Fox actually did have an impact on the Iraqis. There were reports that it had shaken them a lot. But that wasn't my call or my calculation.

There is no substitute for Iraq being in compliance with the law. That required a simple central government decision by them to get out of the business of making weapons of mass destruction. If they won't make that decision voluntarily, the theory is that they will be coerced into it through sanctions or threat of force. If that doesn't seem to work, then there's political pressure, waiting, maintaining a close watch on them.

ACT: Do you think that removing the sanctions would be enough to restore unity in the Security Council?

Butler: I don't know. I would be giving a merely speculative answer. It's a very theoretical question. One would have to think that Saddam Hussein would simply pocket that change and continue to make his weapons. It depends on how important we think sanctions are to them. I think sanctions are important, but I think in the future the Council needs to find a better way of getting states to comply with the law. Sanctions seem to hurt the wrong people and don't necessarily bring about compliance. But I can't fathom what the reaction would be.

ACT: Do you think that sanctions will remain the principal tool of the Security Council to compel Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations?

Butler: Yes. And therefore an a priori weakening of sanctions will make it less likely Iraq will comply with those obligations.

ACT: As UNSCOM's involvement with national intelligence agencies increased, did you become concerned for UNSCOM's independence and integrity?

Butler: This intelligence issue has been played with such dramatic success by Iraq and its friends, including in the Secretary General's office, that it's a travesty.

First of all, the fundamental legal requirement was for Iraq to tell the truth and to comply with the law. It never did. Never. You look at [former UNSCOM Chairman Rolf] Ekeus' reports and mine over the last nine years. It never did. What is more, through a major defection of Hussein Kamel in 1995 and some others, it became clear that Iraq had been playing an elaborate shell game with UNSCOM, a game to conceal weapons, the full extent of which is probably still not known.

There are U2 pictures that show things like 100 heavy trucks with Republican Guard markings gathered in the Iraqi desert, 100 kilometers from absolutely nowhere. They had been flushed out by UNSCOM inspectors and zipped off into the desert. And we happened to have our bird overhead and took photographs of this and said to Iraq, "What were those 100 trucks doing in the desert having disappeared from a place where we thought weapons materials were kept?" And Iraq looked us in the eye and said, "What trucks? There were no trucks." In the name of God, we had photographs of them. Iraq said it buried missiles in certain places. We took photographs of those places, no burial pits. But they were elsewhere, where we did find them. I could bore you to death going on like this. I could go on and on about the degree of deception, the elaborateness of Iraq's program to maintain its weapons capabilities. I have no doubt that it is Iraq's second-largest industry, after oil. It's what I call the anti-UNSCOM industry.

Second, the laws passed by the Security Council require all member states to give all possible assistance to UNSCOM, including the voluntary provision of all relevant information. We received legitimate assistance from some 40 states, including those who are now very supportive of Iraq. We received assistance from Russia and France, and when I was head, I invited the Chinese to come out with us.

My third point is that I have no doubt that when officials of states that later complained about UNSCOM worked with UNSCOM, they fully briefed their own governments on what they learned. The point I'm making is that when Russia, for example, says it's wicked that the Americans have done intelligence work through UNSCOM, it's shedding some crocodile tears.

Now, finally, as the wall of deceit got thicker, we did ask for more assistance, and my position on that is this: I did approve of some kinds of technical assistance from intelligence bodies to penetrate the wall of deceit that was put up to prevent us from doing our work. I also refused to authorize some suggestions that were made because they could have been misrepresented or compromised our integrity.

ACT: So that was something that was on your mind?

Butler: Absolutely. And toward the end of my time in the job, I would actually argue that your fundamental premise is wrong. Under me, I think there was less utilization of member states' intelligence assistance than there had been before. When I inherited the previous situation at the beginning of my term, I looked at it and decided to go ahead, to continue most of it. Intelligence assistance therefore in 1996 and '97 was at a higher level than it was in 1998, when I began to disapprove of possible operations. So your premise is wrong. It got smaller, not larger.

Now, UNSCOM was particularly hurt by Scott Ritter's carrying on. We can argue about what influenced the decisionmakers—there are different versions. But when you claim to be in the room when you weren't, when you claim to be part of the conversation when you weren't, when you claim that conversations took place that never did—the false assertion that I met [Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright in Bahrain in March 1998, for example—when you make those kinds of claims that are factually so wrong, that's very different from having a more honest argument about what went into certain decisions.

I don't know why he's behaved that way. Some say he's not just dishonest, but he's actually delusionary, that he actually thinks he was there. You know there was one inspection that he implied he was on, and it was canned by the Iraqis, and there was a big fuss. He wasn't ever on that inspection. He wasn't in country then. It's just wrong, but Ritter got to a point where he thought he was UNSCOM, that everything that happened there was him. And if you look at his interviews, you hear that coming through. He actually said on public television, thumping his fist on the table, "I was UNSCOM! I was it!" So, his claim late in 1998 that I somehow sold the store to the CIA is dramatically untrue. And on the contrary, as I said, I actually scaled down the extent to which we were using member states' intelligence input to do our work because I was concerned about what it could do to our reputation. I was concerned about protecting the independence of multilateral disarmament activities.

ACT: Are you aware of instances where member states took advantage of legitimate intelligence assistance for their own purposes?

Butler: Do I know of instances of malfeasance? Yes. Will I name them? No.

ACT: What sorts of malfeasance, specifically?

Butler: I am perfectly aware that people on my staff were reporting to their home governments, separate and apart from their responsibility to me. Now that's a low level of malfeasance. Ritter's stuff is more dramatic, that somehow the National Security Agency or some electronic agency piggybacked on us and listened to Saddam Hussein's private traffic. Am I aware of that? No. Had that happened, would I have approved of it? No. Because that would compromise our integrity as an arms control agency. But you gave me a terrific opportunity when you asked am I aware of any instances of malfeasance. Yes, I am. I am aware that members of UNSCOM's staff were leaking assessments and reports and information to their sending governments. And I'm not talking about Americans. I'm talking about other nations. I'm trying to get away from this single focus that somehow we got done over by the United States.

ACT: That you were co-opted by the United States.

Butler: What a belly laugh. How would I have been? I mean, I've never particularly felt the need to robustly address some of these charges because I find them quintessentially ludicrous. I'm also aware that if I go orbital about them in public, it will actually draw attention to them.

As recently as today I read an Iraqi report saying that the UN is a nest of spies and put special germs in Iraq to infect the Iraqi people and stuff like that. In the name of God, what do you want me to do with propaganda like that? Call up CNN and say I'm prepared to make a statement about how we didn't put germs in Iraq? So I have not felt the need to respond to things that are so ludicrous, and I would put in that same category the notion that I have been co-opted by the United States government.

I'm sure the Americans have some wonderful stuff in their files on me. It was an act of great generosity that the U.S. agreed to my appointment because years ago we were at real loggerheads over its opposition to a nuclear test ban treaty. Ken Adelman, who used to be head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, used to call me "Red Richard." The very idea that I'd be co-opted by the United States government is a joke.

ACT: Have any illegitimate uses of your access between minor incidents and what is absurd come to your attention?

Butler: It's been credibly argued that there was an attempt to piggyback on us, that in giving us some technical assistance an extra circuit might have been added to monitor some extra traffic. But I've already said many times in public, I know what I approved of, I cannot know what I didn't know. I know what I disapproved of. Was there something done behind my back? I don't know. All I can say, as Rolf Ekeus has said and in his own way [UN Secretary General] Kofi Annan has said, is that were it to be the case, it would have serious implications for the independence of multilateral arms control work. And I would lament that. But to pursue this further, you would have to ask U.S. authorities.

ACT: What lessons does UNSCOM's experience with national intelligence agencies hold for multilateral inspections teams in the future?

Butler: Great care will have to be taken to be sure that any intelligence given is given for the service of the mandate involved, the disarmament mandate, and not for the service of any other purpose.

ACT: UNSCOM has had great successes, and yet Iraq is not fully disarmed and we no longer have a presence there. Do you think the experience of UNSCOM, on balance, did more to advance or to degrade the idea of multilateral inspections as a tool of arms control?

Butler: I think there's no clear answer, the jury is out on that one, but I think it's a valid question. This kind of work is needed and it should be expanded. You think of what there is now: there's the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectorate, there's the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons inspectorate, there should be one—I hope in the not-too-distant future—on biological weapons. This is work that needs to be done. It's a necessary part of giving treaty partners assurance that there isn't cheating from within and that people are keeping their obligations.

UNSCOM was the most ambitious of such inspectorates ever created, but the anti-UNSCOM period over the last year or so and the associated propaganda has been very successful. Harm has been done to this kind of effort by that propaganda, including, quite frankly, by some of the things that Ritter has said and done, which is really tragic because as he left he actually told me that his basic purpose was to defend the kind of effort that UNSCOM had made.

So I think if the Council were asked to devise something similar to UNSCOM today—and in a sense it has been—their wiggle room would be smaller because those memories of this period are fresher. The earlier period with all the success is less fresh. But a few years from now, there will be a more balanced view. I hope the book that I write will land on that view and point to how we can do this better in the future because, sure as hell, we will have to do it. UNSCOM was a fantastic experiment, did a lot of good, and there are a lot of good things that can be learned from it.

ACT: What are the most important lessons that can be drawn from UNSCOM's experience?

Butler: One of the lessons here is that the lawmaker shouldn't make laws that it won't be willing or able to enforce in the future.

Secondly, in the future the lawmaker might want to take more care about the impositions it puts upon a sovereign state in the position Iraq found itself—UNSCOM was given quite extreme, almost draconian powers.

I also think there is a need for the Security Council to reach an agreement on the uses to which the veto can be legitimately put. Specifically, I say a permanent member should not use it to defend a state because it's a friend when that state is seen to be violating its arms control obligations. It shouldn't be valid for a state to step in on a national interest basis to defend a state that is objectively in violation of the very agreements of which the Council is supposed to be the protector.

ACT: In terms of Iraq's proscribed weapons activities, what do you believe the Iraqi government has been able to achieve during the seven months since UN inspectors have been in the country?

Butler: I believe they have worked hard on increasing their missile capability, the range of those missiles and probably the number of them. I'm sure they've asked their nuclear team to start meeting again, and I feel certain, too, that they have commenced work again on making chemical and biological warfare agents.

ACT: How close could they be to a nuclear, biological or chemical capability?

Butler: Not sure. Nuclear relies very much on access to weapons-grade fissile material, in which they're very poor. In chemical and biological, they're really quite skilled, and I don't think there's any particular barrier to progress there. It's a question of what they choose to do. The missile field is an area where they lack certain machines and equipment, but there's reason to think they've been out in the world trying to procure those covertly. Now, how long all that will take, I'd only be guessing because we're not there and we can't see what they're doing.

ACT: Is Iraq transferring materiel, personnel and technology to other states in efforts to protect its weapons programs?

Butler: I don't know. There were reports in the past of some such transfers, but to be truthful, I don't know what the situation is today.

ACT: In the course of UNSCOM's inspections, what did you learn to that effect?

Butler: We saw critical information that there had been such transfers.

ACT: Can you say to which states?

Butler: No, I won't.

ACT: Is it better to have some sort of inspection mechanism in Iraq, even if it is not as strong as UNSCOM? Is something better than nothing?

Butler: That's a highly theoretical question. I don't honestly know the answer. There's a great temptation to say yes, something is better than nothing, but I have a deep-seated feeling that this could create illusory inspections—inspections that give the appearance of being sound when they aren't. It could be that, in this sort of arms control work, something could be worse than nothing because it could provide a false sense of security.

ACT: Even given ideal circumstances, is it possible for an inspection team to disarm a non-compliant state with 100 percent certainty?

Butler: The answer lies in finding the point of intersection between the highest possible degree of objective verification and agreement on the desirability of no one being armed with weapons of mass destruction. What I'm saying is that objective verification, by scientific and technical means, can always be cheated on. What fills that gap, whether it's a 5 percent gap or whatever, is the political commitment of states not to acquire weapons and of the enforcers to enforce the law. This is somewhat theoretical, but it adds up to the functional equivalent of something like 100 percent.

Iraq is a good case in point there. The means of verification and the work of UNSCOM has been very successful, but it won't hit 100 percent. For a while the Security Council was committed and that made the job broadly successful. But what was absent from the Iraq case from the beginning was a decision by the central government of Iraq not to comply with the resolutions. Absent that, there's always going to be a shortfall. The critical question then and now is, what is that shortfall? How many hidden missiles does it represent with what agents to be carried in the warhead and when will one of those warheads actually contain a nuclear explosive device? Those are the critical questions left by this breakdown when UNSCOM was halfway down the straight on the last lap of this race. That's what we don't know.

Interviewed by J. Peter Scoblic


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