Iraq Crisis

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) strongly supports the Administration’s efforts to bring about Iraqi compliance with United Nations resolutions adopted in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Kuwait and Israel. An agreement was reached yesterday between United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Iraq’s leadership which President Clinton believes might serve as an effective vehicle for achieving this objective. 

The cease-fire arrangement ending the 1991 Gulf War included Iraq’s unconditional agreement to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. Under authority of the U.N. Security Council, a special commission of inspectors, Unscom, was established to oversee the destruction of Iraq’s missile, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Notwithstanding Iraq’s refusal to comply fully with the U.N. mandate, the Unscom inspectors have succeeded in finding and destroying many of the illegal weapons. However, the assignment has not yet been completed. Since November 1997, the U.N. inspectors have been barred from Saddam Hussein’s so-called presidential sites. 

Consistent with the U.N. Security Council mandate, Unscom is fully justified in demanding and an end to Saddam Hussein’s flouting of international norms and unfettered access to all Iraqi locations. We trust that the Administration – in cooperation with the international community – will closely monitor Iraq’s fulfillment of its obligation to permit such access. 

We congratulate U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for his efforts that appear to have averted the need for military action. However, the JCPA stands with the U.S. Administration in its decision to maintain military preparedness as may be needed.