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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor

PREFACE: I responded to University of Utah law professor Chibli Mallat's misrepresentation of the grounds for OIF in his 09NOV15 The Guardian article, Ahmed Chalabi was right that Saddam Hussein had to be removed. Professor Mallat's e-mails in the exchange are omitted.

from: [me]
to: [Chibli Mallat]
date: Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 4:09 PM
subject: Your November 9 article in The Guardian misrepresents the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Professor Mallat,

Thank you for the reminder of Mr. Chalabi's worthy motivation to free Iraq and the just cause of deposing Saddam's regime.

At the same time, I would like to address your misrepresentation of the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), in particular that "WMD was the only common platform they could find" and the suggestion that a human-rights basis for the Iraqi regime change was rejected.

Relating a meeting you had with Bush officials in 2002, you state, "the path to war was set. WMD was the only common platform they could find within the administration". In other words, you suggest that the casus belli for OIF was formulated ad hoc in 2002. That suggestion is incorrect.

The reason the WMD issue was given the priority of place in the case against Saddam is the disarmament standard prescribed by UNSCR 687 (1991) was the principal condition of the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) mandated for the Gulf War ceasefire. The casus belli for OIF, i.e., Iraq’s material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire, was established long before George W. Bush was elected President of the United States - indeed, years before Ahmed Chalabi gave his lecture to Winep in the mid-1990s.

The priority conformed to the policy. The grounds for the Iraq intervention were not “the only common platform they could find within the administration”. Rather, they were "the only common platform" prescribed in the law and policy of the Gulf War ceasefire that was handed down to the Bush administration from the HW Bush and Clinton administrations.

Neither UN Security Council resolution 1441 (2002) nor Public Law 107-243 (2002) was novel. The 2002 documents reiterated the UN-mandated "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" and the US law and policy enforcing the UNSCR 660-series resolutions since 1990-1991. The additions in the 2002 documents were updates and enhancements to standing terms, not novel terms.

Although you recommended a worthy new approach for confronting Saddam in 2002, the Bush administration carried forward the standing basis for enforcing the Gulf War ceasefire that had been established since 1990-1991.

As such, the principal trigger for OIF was the March 2003 UNMOVIC report of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" in violation of UNSCRs 687 (1991) and 1441 (2002), which followed the precedent of the UNSCOM report that triggered Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.

I recommend this explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom drawn from the primary sources of the mission:[.]

You also suggest in the article that a human-rights basis for the Iraqi regime change was rejected by the Bush administration. That suggestion is also incorrect.

In fact, President Bush exercised a robust humanitarian policy on Iraq, which was carried forward from President[s] HW Bush and Clinton’s humanitarian policy on Iraq.

The evidence for your contention is your recommendation for a new "security council resolution based on the human rights record of the Iraqi dictatorship and the need to remove it, plus a security council plan to promote democracy through the deployment of human rights monitors" was turned down in 2002.

Again, the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" for the Gulf War ceasefire was established before 2002. In fact, the UN mandates already included a cornerstone humanitarian component: UNSCR 688 (1991). UNSCR 688 was recalled in UNSCR 1441.

The simplest reason that the disarmament mandates of UNSCR 687 were given the priority of place over the humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688 is UNSCR 687 is a Chapter VII resolution. UNSCR 688 is not a Chapter VII resolution and, thus, is subject to Article 2 Paragraph 7 of the Charter. (Note: The US controversially justified invasive enforcement measures for UNSCR 688, such as the northern safe zones and no-fly zones, by claiming UNSCR 688 was enforceable under UNSCR 678 (1990), which is a Chapter VII resolution.)

Most significantly, your proposal called directly for Iraqi regime change, which contradicted the operative enforcement framework for the Gulf War ceasefire. The relevant UNSCRs for Iraq - from the original 660 to 1441's "final opportunity to comply" - provided the opportunity for Saddam to prove compliance in order to switch off enforcement. None of the resolutions, including UNSCR 688, called directly for Iraqi regime change. Under the operative enforcement framework, an enforcement response such as OIF was predicated on confirmation of Iraq's noncompliance such as the March 2003 UNMOVIC report of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues".

That being said, distinct from the UN resolutions for Iraq, the humanitarian mandates were valued on par with the disarmament mandates in US law and policy. That meant that while the UN enforcement procedure prioritized the disarmament mandates of UNSCR 687 for the casus belli, the US also prioritized the humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688, which was reflected in President Bush's approach to the Iraqi regime change and the subsequent UNSC resolutions for the peace operations.

I recommend this selection of[from] the law and policy for the humanitarian grounds for OIF:[.]

I hope my explanation has helped you to better understand the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the response by Bush officials to your worthy recommendations in 2002.


from: [me]
to: [Chibli Mallat]
date: Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:29 PM
subject: Re: Your November 9 article in The Guardian misrepresents the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Professor Mallat,

Thank you for your attention to this issue. It's important, most of all for legal scholars, to set the record straight on the 'why' of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

If you were a proponent of the material breach argument in 1998, then President Bush followed your guidance in 2002-2003, to wit, "Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences" (Powell, 06[05]FEB03) and "The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable" (Bush, 12SEP02).

The view that "the war is being considered illegal, since WMD were found not to be in Iraq, officialy, by the Bush-appointed investigation" may be a popular one, but it is demonstrably incorrect on the law and the facts.

On the law, the assertion that "the war is being considered illegal" is incorrect according to the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441). UNMOVIC, not the post-war Iraq Survey Group, provided the determinative fact finding that triggered enforcement. The ISG investigation is post hoc to the decision point for OIF and thus irrelevant to the casus belli for OIF.

According to the law that controlled the operative enforcement framework - i.e., the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" mandated by UNSCR 1441 and enforced under Public Law 107-243 - the UNMOVIC inspections mandated by UNSCR 1441 confirmed that in "[Iraq's] final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations ... Iraq [has been and] remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 ... Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein" (UNSCR 1441).

The casus belli for OIF was established by the UNMOVIC report ("Unresolved Disarmament Issues Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes") that was conveyed to the Security Council on March 7, 2003 with the finding of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" in violation of UNSCR 687. The UNMOVIC findings are dispositive according to the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" for disarmament.

On the facts, the assertion that "WMD were found not to be in Iraq" is incorrect according to - again - the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" for disarmament. The Iraq Survey Group corroborated UNMOVIC's confirmation that Iraq was in violation of UNSCR 687 for casus belli. To wit, on January 28, 2004, David Kay, who preceded Charles Duelfer as head of the Iraq Survey Group, reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee:
"In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities -- one last chance to come clean about what it had. We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material."
In fact, the ISG findings are rife with disarmament violations, e.g., "the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) maintained throughout 1991 to 2003 a set of undeclared covert laboratories" and "From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency". In other words, ISG found an active program in the IIS that was proscribed under UNSCR 687. You would know better than I about the notoriety of the IIS for its principal role in Saddam's WMD program, terrorist network (which was also a violation of UNSCR 687), and abuse of the Iraqi people.

The political sleight-of-hand behind the popular view that "the war is being considered illegal, since WMD were found not to be in Iraq" is the misdirection from the actual legal-factual basis of the casus belli for OIF - i.e., Iraq's evident[ial] noncompliance with the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" - to focus inappositely on the predictive precision of the pre-war intelligence. However, the pre-war intelligence did not set the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" nor was it a legal element of the casus belli for OIF.

On the substance, Saddam was evident[ial]ly guilty of material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire, especially the disarmament mandates of UNSCR 687, terrorism mandates of UNSCR 687, and humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688. The real argument that OIF is illegal is not substantive, but rather based on the longstanding procedural dispute in the Security Council over the decision authority for enforcement with Iraq. The procedural dispute over OIF was the same Security Council procedural dispute over the no-fly zones and Operation Desert Fox.

I unpack this issue with greater depth in my answers to "Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?" [and] "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom legal?", starting at .

Okay. That's enough for one e-mail, Professor. I look forward to further unpacking the legal controversy over the decision for OIF if you'd like. As I said, it's important to set the record straight on the 'why' of OIF. Meanwhile, I recommend again that you review my OIF FAQ explanation of the law and policy, fact basis of the decision for OIF drawn from the primary sources of the mission.

I'll finish this e-mail with an observation: again, there wasn't a new and distinct "Republican platform" formulated in 2002.

Review the Clinton administration's enforcement record with Iraq. President Clinton, not President Bush, is actually the best source for understanding the 'why' of OIF. Bush's case against Saddam was really Clinton's case against Saddam, updated from 9/11. Likewise, Bush's enforcement procedure with OIF carried forward Clinton's enforcement procedure for Iraq, updated from Operation Desert Fox, the penultimate military enforcement step.

In that regard, the position in your November 9 article that the Bush administration dropped the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) is incorrect. PL 105-338 was raised in the preamble of the 2002 AUMF (Public Law 107-243). More significantly, in the operative portion of the 2002 AUMF, section 7 of PL 105-338 was raised in section 4 of PL 107-243.

As I said, the 2002 documents were not novel. UNSCR 1441 and PL 107-243 reiterated the standing terms of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement. The reason that section 7 rather than section 3 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 was raised in the operative portion of 2002 AUMF is President Bush pointedly did not call for direct Iraqi regime change, contrary to your impression from your 2002 meetings. The controlling law and policy are clear that Iraqi regime change would be triggered by confirmation of Iraq's material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.

That being said, after 12 years of Saddam's intransigence, your impression from your 2002 meetings follows that few US (and UN) officials realistically expected Saddam would reverse course by proving the "full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions" mandated by UNSCR 1441. Nevertheless, President Bush made sure that Saddam was provided a full "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441) in order to switch off enforcement. Unfortunately, Saddam, as expected, responded to his "final opportunity to comply" with "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" (UNMOVIC) in violation of UNSCR 687, which triggered the credible threat of regime change and then section 7 of PL 105-338 via section 4 of PL 107-243.


from: [me]
to: [Chibli Mallat]
date: Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:14 PM
subject: Re: Your November 9 article in The Guardian misrepresents the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Professor Mallat,

I'm hoping you will. [Note: I am responding to the remark, "You should consider writing a book about this."]

By showing you my work with the primary sources it's based on, I'm hoping to inspire you to invest your personage in setting the record straight on the why of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) for policy makers and the public.
In your November 9 article, you expressed that deposing Saddam's terrorist regime was right from a human-rights perspective (albeit you've evidently misunderstood the operative enforcement framework, including the humanitarian grounds, for the Iraq intervention). As a human-rights advocate, I trust you to understand why it's critical to de-stigmatize OIF in order to re-normalize the paradigm of 'strong horse' American leadership of the free world that manifested with OIF.

Excerpt from the answer to "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?":
"Misinformation and mischaracterization have distorted the public's understanding of the context, stakes, and achievements of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement that President Bush carried forward from President Clinton and the groundbreaking peace operations by the US military in post-Saddam Iraq. The corrupted public perception of the Iraq mission has enabled President Obama's elementary, catastrophic errors, undermined the enforcement of international norms, and curtailed the further development of peace operations."
In other words, there currently is a taboo bolted onto the 'strong horse' type of American leadership needed to enforce liberal standards in less-than-permissive situations like Saddam's Iraq. The taboo is premised on a stigma derived from demonstrably false premises about OIF, such as "the war is being considered illegal, since WMD were found not to be in Iraq". If you wish to break the taboo and free America to lead liberally again like we led against Saddam's terrorist regime, then it's critical for you to set the record straight on OIF at the premise level of the zeitgeist.

Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement

PREFACE: Under the guise of a fact check, Meme says Bill Clinton, George W. Bush had basically the same policy on Iraq, Politifact grossly misrepresented the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) in the US-led enforcement of Iraq's compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire. Politifact did not respond to my e-mail nor were the fundamental errors in the article corrected.

from: [me]
to: [Louis Jacobson], [Keely Herring],
cc: [Aaron Sharockman], [Angie Drobnic Holan]
date: Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 4:19 PM
subject: Regarding "Meme says Bill Clinton, George W. Bush had basically the same policy on Iraq"

Mr. Jacobson, Ms. Herring, and Politifact:

I am writing to you regarding your June 16 article, "Meme says Bill Clinton, George W. Bush had basically the same policy on Iraq", at

Your article addresses a subject I have studied with some depth.

Your article looks at two issues based on a meme about President Clinton and Bush's Iraq policies. The first issue compares Presidents Clinton and Bush's positions on Iraqi WMD. The second issue compares Presidents Clinton and Bush's positions on regime change for Iraq.

1. Your conclusion that "while it’s true that both Clinton and Bush mentioned weapons of mass destruction in relation to Iraq, Bush’s claim was much more expansive [with an addition of nuclear and biological weapons issues]" is incorrect.

In fact, Presidents HW Bush, Clinton, and Bush (and Obama) enforced the same "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) for the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire with emphasis on the disarmament and terrorism mandates of UNSCR 687 (1991) and the humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688 (1991) and related resolutions. See, in particular, paragraphs 8 to 13 of UNSCR 687 regarding Iraq's obligations on WMD.

To wit, preceding Operation Desert Fox on November 5, 1998, President Clinton referred to paragraphs 8 to 13 of UNSCR 687, "After the Gulf War, the international community demanded and Iraq agreed to declare and destroy all of its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capability and the missiles to deliver them, and to meet other U.N. Security Council resolutions. ... Now, the better part of a decade later, Iraq continues to shirk its clear obligations."

I am curious why the author of the meme chose to refer non-specifically to 1996 given that President Clinton was preoccupied with enforcing the UN mandates for Iraq for his entire presidency from 1993 to 2001. Clinton's enforcement efforts with Iraq peaked with correspondingly ominous statements in 1998.

Similarly, even granting the arbitrary limit of 1996, I am curious why Politifact chose to cite President Clinton's September 7, 1996 statement regarding the Chemical Weapons Convention to represent Clinton's position on Iraqi WMD. Clinton's September 7, 1996 statement on the CWC was not focused on Iraq's compliance with UNSCR 687 and, therefore, was not representative of Clinton's position on Iraqi WMD.

[Note: The 06MAY96 quote from President Clinton was italicized in the e-mail and block-quoted here.]

Meanwhile in 1996, per the periodic reporting mandate of Public Law 102-1 (1991), President Clinton made several statements focused on Iraq's noncompliance with UNSCR 687. For example, see
The Government of Iraq remains far from compliance with its obligations under applicable Security Council resolutions. The U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) Chairman Ekeus remarked recently in Washington that Iraq may be hiding up to 16 SCUD missiles, possibly armed with biological warheads. Iraqi officials blatantly violated Security Council resolutions in March when they repeatedly obstructed UNSCOM officials attempting to search buildings in Baghdad for weapons of mass destruction material. Iraqi officials may have removed or destroyed incriminating material during the delay. In a report released on April 11, UNSCOM expressed its concern that Iraq may still be engaged in weapons activities prohibited under Security Council Resolution 687. Iraq continues to evade its duty to return looted Kuwaiti property and help account for hundreds of civilians who disappeared in Kuwait during the occupation. Iraq still provides refuge for known terrorists.
President Clinton's 1996 reports on Iraq were not as detailed as his later [Public Law 102-1 mandated] reports to Congress on Iraq. Instead, Clinton's 1996 reports referred to UNSCOM's reports, which addressed the range of WMD-related mandates for Iraq, including the nuclear, biological, and chemical-related proscriptions under UNSCR 687. For UNSCOM's reports, see

A better detailed statement of President Clinton's position on Iraqi WMD is found in his March 3, 1999 letter to Congress that explained the justification for Operation Desert Fox: see

The March 3, 1999 letter to Congress is just one example of Clinton's position on Iraqi WMD from the last part of his administration before Clinton handed off the festering Saddam problem to his successor. See the primary sources for the "President Clinton Perspective" on Iraq compiled at

Contrary to Politifact's conclusion, Presidents Clinton and Bush shared substantially the same position on Iraqi WMD based on enforcing the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" for disarmament mandated by UNSCR 687 and related resolutions. In March 2003, the UNMOVIC Cluster[s] Document finding of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" confirmed "Iraq [has been and] remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687" (UNSCR 1441) and triggered Operation Iraqi Freedom in the same way that the UNSCOM Butler Report confirmed Iraq's material breach and triggered Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.

The differences between the presidents on Iraqi WMD are, one, the 9/11 attacks raised the urgency to make "Iraq fully comply with all of its obligations under Security Council resolutions" (Clinton) in light of Iraq's continued terrorism in breach of UNSCR 687 (see and, two, in his latter presentation of the public case against Saddam, President Bush deviated from President Clinton by citing to the intelligence in addition to Iraq's noncompliance, despite that the UNMOVIC confirmation of Iraq's "continued violations" (UNSCR 1441) - not the intelligence - established[confirmed "]material breach[" (UNSCR 1441)] of the ceasefire for casus belli. While President Clinton was privy to same or similar intelligence for Operation Desert Fox, Clinton's public case against Saddam for Operation Desert Fox had hewed to the law and policy of the Gulf War ceasefire by citing only to Iraq's noncompliance when Clinton judged, "This situation [ie, Iraq's noncompliance with UN mandates] presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere."

However, President Bush's error of presentation does not change that in Saddam's "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441), Iraq was in material breach across the board with the terms of ceasefire, especially the disarmament and terrorism mandates of UNSCR 687 and humanitarian mandates of UNSCR 688, for casus belli.

2. Your conclusion "Clinton did sign a law backing regime change in Iraq, but it was limited to assistance to homegrown opposition groups, not to a ground war aimed at toppling Hussein" is partially correct, but elides the ceasefire enforcement context for Public Law 105-338, ie, bringing Iraq into compliance with UN mandates.

[The common misconception that the scope of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 was restricted to aid to Iraqi dissidents is dispelled by scrutinizing the statute's construction. The law plainly established regime change and US-led peace operations with post-Saddam Iraq as the solution to the Saddam problem. And it did spell out measures to aid Iraqi dissidents. However, the statutory text, “[n]othing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces” (P.L. 105-338), is not a restriction. Aside from its enumerated measures, P.L. 105-338 was daisy-chained to the standing laws authorizing the "use of all necessary means" (P.L. 102-190) to "bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations" (P.L. 105-235).]

While the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 did not call for (nor bar) regime change by invasion, the statute effectively established that, due to Saddam's intransigence, the solution to the ongoing threat posed by Iraq's noncompliance was regime change, which the Clinton administration actively fostered. In fact, the policy of regime change had begun under President HW Bush who supported the Iraqi National Congress [and "homegrown opposition groups" within Iraq] before President Clinton. The statute also committed the US to assisting post-Saddam Iraq (see section 7 of Public Law 105-338 and section 4 of Public Law 107-243).

In context, President Clinton's policy of 'containment' was not meant to be a substitute for Iraqi compliance with the terms of ceasefire. The 'containment' was fashioned as an ad hoc stopgap until either Saddam fully complied with the terms of ceasefire (unlikely, since Saddam had rejected the UN mandates in Iraqi law) or regime change. Part of the 'containment' policy that Clinton conveyed to Bush was the contingency for military response if Iraq showed any sign of breaking 'containment', which was the situation with Iraq by 2001.

Together with the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 set the stage for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002-2003. President Clinton's December 16, 1998 announcement for ODF laid out the case for regime change, and the bombing campaign cleared the penultimate enforcement step. After ODF, the only enforcement step remaining was the threat of regime change. [The sanctions were de facto neutralized by 2000-2001 and Saddam's attack on Irbil in August 1996 effectively broke the US-backed threat of "homegrown opposition groups".] Hans Blix stated and the Iraq Survey Group confirmed that, by 2002-2003, the only enforcement measure remaining that could compel Saddam to cooperate at all with the UN weapons inspections, even deficiently, was the credible threat of regime change.

In the end, Saddam responded to his "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441) by calling our bluff with "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" (UNMOVIC Cluster Document) in breach of UNSCR 687. At that point, the alternative to Operation Iraqi Freedom was compromising "the governing standard of Iraqi compliance" in order to free a noncompliant, unreconstructed Saddam who had, one, evident[ial]ly not disarmed as mandated, and two, was confirmed by the Iraq Survey Group to be rearming in violation of UNSCR 687 with an active program in the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

In summary, the Politifact conclusion that Presidents Clinton and Bush held substantially different positions on Iraqi WMD is incorrect. Both presidents enforced Iraq's compliance with the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" for disarmament mandated by UNSCR 687 and related resolutions. Your citation of Clinton's September 7, 1996 statement on the Chemical Weapons Convention to represent Clinton's position on Iraqi WMD is a curious choice that overlooks the body of Clinton's statements, including from 1996, that focused on Iraqi WMD.

The Politifact conclusion that Presidents Clinton and Bush held different positions on regime change is partially correct, but overlooks the ceasefire enforcement context for the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, including the circumstances with Iraq's noncompliance in 2002-2003.

For more, see my explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom:[.]

Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weighing in on Iraq (2002)

PREFACE: I wrote this for my school newspaper column to record my opinion of the confrontation with Iraq. It still holds up well today.

My criticism of the writing is the point I tried to convey with "We thought we could use the same strategy of deterrence to maintain post-Soviet world stability" is unclear due to the preposition, of. 'Strategy for deterrence' or 'deterrent strategy' would have been better phrasing to clearly emphasize the particular strategy rather than ambiguously seemingly refer to the general policy of deterrence. With exposition in a column limited by a word count, confusion caused by a faulty word choice may not be mitigated by context.


Weighing in on Iraq
By [me]
November 27, 2002, 12:00am

The prospect of a war in Iraq is unsettling and scary. I worry for the persons in the military who will go to war if we should fail in our efforts to achieve Iraqi compliance. As bothered as I am by the possibility of war, however, I also recognize the need for the United States to reform its foreign policy. Before Sept. 11, our country failed to address the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and North Korea. We chose the wrong foreign policy path after the end of the Cold War, and we are only now beginning to evaluate the changes we need to make.

Ironically, the roots of our failure lie in our Cold War success. Americans are historically averse to war. Even the wars we fought during the Cold War were self-consciously limited--in both Vietnam and Korea, we sacrificed military exigency in favor of political expediency.

Luckily, the Soviet Union was also averse to war, which allowed the United States to defeat it with a strategy of deterrence and containment. By taking advantage of economic resiliency, savvy coalition building, strategic gamesmanship, and technological superiority, we were able to close the 20th century without a global conflagration.

Unfortunately, from the Cold War, we learned the wrong lessons. We wanted to believe that we had found a pristine alternative to military threat. We thought we could use the same strategy of deterrence to maintain post-Soviet world stability.

Common sense, however, tells us that each threat and opponent is different and, in hindsight, we can now recognize the foolishness of de-emphasizing our military. Even during the Cold War, American military strength was at the foundation of our foreign policy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union changed the dynamic of our coalitions, and without an equivalent world power on which to focus our attention, we floundered in our responsibility as the world's leader. Just when our allies needed the United States' leadership, we sought compromise and tried to blend into the world community. The result has been a decade-long void of leadership that is directly responsible for the dilemmas we face today.

The proper goal of any national leader is to enforce his nation's policies without subjecting his country to war. He does so by boosting international respect for his will and reinforcing the perception of his nation's military strength. Kennedy was able to find a diplomatic solution to the Cuban missile crisis only because Khrushchev believed in our capability to militarily enforce the president's decisions.

As early as the Gulf War, though, we undermined the perception of our military as enforcer by restricting our military involvement. During the war, the world watched as we defeated Saddam Hussein only to leave him in power in order to appease other nations. While our military earned respect, the United States lost ground as a world leader. The military solution--taking Baghdad and capturing Hussein--would have been decisive, yet we chose a more politically agreeable solution and surrendered the leverage earned by our military. Since then, economic sanctions, diplomacy, and limited military responses have failed to bring about the resolution that we could have implemented in Iraq over a decade ago.

Another failure of our foreign policy has recently come to light in North Korea. In the military intelligence community, we scoffed at the idea that military-dominated North Korea would cease developing nuclear weapons simply because we provided it with humanitarian aid and an alternative nuclear energy program. Appeasement does not work with despots like Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il. They only respect strong leaders and military strength. By seeking to gratify the world community with pusillanimous solutions, we have encouraged the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Sadly, Sept.11 was the consequence of the failure of our Gulf War-era policies. Events like the battle in Mogadishu, the first World Trade Center bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing, the African embassy bombings, and the attack on the USS Cole demanded severe American military responses to restore the perception of our nation's strength. Unfortunately, our reactions were again weakened by political motivations. By allowing the terrorist threat to escalate without military response, we showed the world that we were vulnerable.

War is terrible and I hope we don't go to war with Iraq, but the situation we face today is of our own making. I hope that our nation's military is still respected enough that Hussein will finally comply with the U.N. resolutions for disarmament of his weapons. Unfortunately, because of the weakness we exhibited in the Gulf War era, we likely will have to pay in blood to restore respect for our nation. Maybe then we can finally become an effective world leader and achieve the peace we desire.

Also see When Anti-war is Anti-peace (2007).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New York Times writer posits "Thank you for your service" is offensive to veterans. I disagree.

Byron Wong at bigWOWO asks:
Hey [me],

I just saw this:

I'd be interested in your opinion. Could you blog about it? (I usually don't request this, but I think lots of people might also be interested.) All considered, I think the vets are right about those who don't serve--it's what you're supposedly supposed to say, without any kind of thought.


I was a soldier and, thus, I will always be a veteran. I have advocated for veterans in the civilian-military context. I have been thanked for my military service, so I have some insight on the topic. That being said, I qualify my reactions to Matt Richtel's article with I am not a 9/11-generation war veteran and even if I were, veterans are opinionated individuals with diverse takes on being thanked for their military service.


_Mr. Richtel's article would have been better rounded had he teamed with a thoughtful veteran, preferably a contemporary 9/11-generation war veteran, as a co-author.

Nonetheless, the perfect is the enemy of the good. I encourage people like Mr. Richtel to explore, however imperfectly, veterans issues from the civilian side of the civilian-military divide. His article implies that veterans prefer a social firewall to shut off acknowledgement and conversation from civilians who are not members of the American military fraternity and lack the basic framework to understand it. Perhaps some veterans feel like that. Not all do. I don't believe most veterans feel like that. I take a different tack. In college, creating a vital civilian-military cultural interface was a foundational reason for starting MilVets. Bridging the civilian-military divide has carried forward as a core element of MilVets' mission on campus and, for years, the group has been almost entirely 9/11-generation war veterans.

_The response from Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried, highlights a key point that I feel strongly about, too: the politics of war matter to veterans.

We know when we volunteer that selfless service and sacrifice, potentially of our lives, are part of the deal. They're core elements of American military heritage. By oath, we trust up front that our nation's leaders will invest our lives in worthy causes. That doesn't mean, however, soldiers don't care about the politics of war. Of course they care; they live the wars and stake their lives in them. It mattered to me why my fellow American soldiers and I should potentially die defending Koreans from Koreans. The same question has been asked about the wisdom of Americans dying to defend Vietnamese from Vietnamese, Somalis from Somalis, Slavs from Slavs, Iraqis from Iraqis, Afghanis from Afghanis, and possibly someday, (Taiwanese) Chinese from (mainland) Chinese. The question really is one of fundamental premise: should America be a 'leader of the free world' at all that stakes the lives of America's sons and daughters for the sake of other peoples across distant shores.

Other than outliers like Ehren Watada, the politics of war take a backseat for soldiers while they're engrossed with the tasks, conditions, and standards of the mission at hand, and keeping their men, their buddies, and themselves sound. But the why and the outcome of the war matter very much to veterans when they reflect on their experiences, contextualize them in narrative form, and weigh the consequences for their own lives, their families, their comrades, their country, the people over there, and the world.

What categorically separates 'good' wars from 'bad' wars is the prevailing narrative of the why and outcome. While the wars viewed as honorable in the zeitgeist are just as harsh in their ground and personal effects as the wars viewed as dishonorable, the prevailing narrative sets the contextual frame that colors the social value of a veteran's military service. For that reason, it's critical for the sake of Iraq veterans to correct the political distortions of the law and policy, fact basis or justification - the why - of Operation Iraqi Freedom, more so since the long-term outcome of their mission has been thrown off track. Setting the record straight in the zeitgeist is most important for the young children of our KIA in Iraq who will only ever know their father or mother through the prism of the cultural legacy of the Iraq War.

_How have I personally felt when I've been thanked for my military service? A bit awkward.

The conventional responses to "Thank you", such as "No problem" or "You're welcome", don't squarely fit because overseas military service, generally speaking, is a national security action in the global context for the sake of the collective us. National security (i.e., national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests of the United States) is not the same thing as homeland security. Overseas military service is not a direct conveyance from American soldier to American (civilian) citizen, unlike say, a Coast Guard sailor or National Guard soldier who directly engages fellow Americans while serving on a search-and-rescue, peacekeeping, or disaster relief mission in the homeland. The good of my service in a national security mission in Korea to my fellow Americans was collective, indirect, and largely abstract.

As such, I would advise veterans who feel cynical like Hunter Garth to not interpret the statement, "Thank you for your service", from the viewpoint of their personal relationship with the thanker. Instead, they ought to adopt a more social view that a citizen on behalf of the nation is expressing civic appreciation to a soldier or veteran as a representative of the military's greater contribution to the collective us as the American nation.

The same civic concept underlies the "any soldier" letters from American schoolchildren that are distributed randomly to soldiers serving overseas. As a 20-something soldier in Korea, I felt awkward and vaguely objectified receiving a handwritten letter from a 4th grader in Ohio thanking me, too. The letter wasn't to me, though. It was to an American soldier serving over there and I was an American soldier serving over there.

I've summarized the abstract social value of military service and the civic appreciation thereof thus:
It truly is selfless service – a lot of love and pride goes into soldiering. It doesn’t matter why someone joins or where he came from, or how much he enjoys (or suffers) his duties. It doesn’t matter who’s making the tough decisions in the White House. Soldiers are part of a heritage that is older, deeper and more essential than the republic for which they sacrifice. Soldiers are of the people. They are the primal embodiment of the social contract we make with each other to be a civilization.

Now, and in all times, our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen deserve the American people’s gratitude and understanding.
The summary follows from the way I counseled the new soldiers assigned to my care: You're a professional soldier of the United States Army now. Never forget that on your chest, you are telling the world at all times what you represent - your country, your Army, your family.

In my opinion, when a veteran is being thanked for his service by someone who has not served, likely will never serve, and doesn't know what it's like, the proffer of gratitude is not attuned to the veteran's individual service experience. But the expression is not meaningless. The veteran is being thanked by a fellow countryman less for his own sake than as an affirmation of something essential the veteran is part of that is bigger, deeper, and older than himself, that in fact is deeper and older than the American nation. He should accept it as a civic cultural ritual and not reject it as an unintended affront. The thank-you is not personal. It's for "any soldier" and the veteran represents "any soldier" who has served bearing his country, his Army, his family name over his heart.

Perhaps formulating a ritualistic response for veteran thankees would help alleviate the awkwardness of being thanked for our service. I suggest responding with "It was an honor", which deflects the individual aspect and focuses the exchange, instead, on the timeless collective aspect of military service.


To expand a bit on my post, "Thank you for your service" is viewed properly as a civic cultural ritual rather than a unique transaction between individuals. As with any ritual, though, "Thank you for your service" functions only when the meaning and context of the ritual are mutually understood and the underlying ethic is shared by its participants. As ritual, the key pieces currently missing are, one, a common cultural understanding of "Thank you for your service" as an affirmation of a fundamental social value rather than a comment on an individual experience and, two, a formulaic ritual response by the veteran thankee. I suggest the response, "It was an honor", to focus on the timeless collective aspect instead of the particular individual aspect of the veteran's military service.

As analogy, the ritual of the Eucharist is not a quick, thoughtless, throwaway substitute for the spectrum of Catholicism. Rather, the brief ritual is an entry point for the larger clockwork of believing and practicing the faith. "Thank you for your service", properly understood and practiced, should function similarly within a larger clockwork of (secular) civilian-military relations. When the context of the ritual of the Eucharist is subtracted, then the Communion bread becomes just a piece of wheat bread. Ritual context should be added to "Thank you for your service".

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quick reaction to the proposed AUMF against ISIS

See Letter from the President -- Authorization for the Use of United States Armed Forces in connection with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, 11FEB15.

As previously discussed, the President already possesses the legal authority needed to conduct the anti-ISIS counter-terrorism campaign, which is not the same as a nation-v-nation war, such as Operation Iraqi Freedom. The President's counter-terrorism authority is rooted in Article II of the Constitution, not statutory authority, which has been affirmed by Congress since the Clinton administration. The proposed AUMF is for policy and political reasons, not for legal authority, although it may be legally useful for an anti-ISIS action on territory where the local nation opposes the action.

Repealing the 2002 AUMF (Public Law 107-243) would have limited impact since it was oriented on the threat posed by Iraq when Iraq meant Saddam's regime. At the same time, the 2002 AUMF was already redundant in terms of enforcing Iraq's compliance with the body of United Nations Security Council resolutions that set the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire. From the standpoint of the threat posed by Saddam's regime, there was closure on the 2002 AUMF since Saddam's regime is gone and the UN Security Council determined in 2010 that Iraq was largely in compliance with the UNSCRs. However, the UNSCRs for Iraq contain the overarching mandate to "restore international peace and security in the area" (UNSCR 678) and an argument can be proffered that UNSCR 2170 (2014) reactivated the authority of Public Law 107-243, which also contains a counter-terrorism character.

If the 2002 AUMF is repealed, the 1991 AUMF (Public Law 102-1) and sections 1095 and 1096 of Public Law 102-190 (1991) are still in effect. As far as I know, the UN authorization that P.L. 102-1 is predicated on, UNSCR 678 (1990), remains active, which means the US continues to be authorized "to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area" (UNSCR 678).

After the regime change of 2003, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338), which mandated the post-war peace operations, moved to the forefront, and since the end of 2008, the US-Iraq relationship has been guided by the 2008-2011 Status of Forces Agreement and the overarching guidelines of the long-term Strategic Framework Agreement. Notice that President Obama did not propose an end-date for the SFA nor whatever SOFA he adopted with Iraq in 2014. Iraq-specific Public Law 102-1, sections 1095 and 1096 of Public Law 102-190, Public Law 105-235 (1998), and Public Law 105-338, counter-terrorism statutes Public Law 104-132 (1996) and Public Law 107-40 (2001), and of course, Article II of the Constitution have not been repealed, either.

There will be no repeat of Operation Iraqi Freedom because this time, the US is working with Iraq as an ally, not resolving a threat by Iraq as an enemy with noncompliant Saddam. President Obama's depiction of the mission for US forces in the anti-ISIS campaign seems similar to the mission envisioned had a residual US force stayed in 2011 to assist Iraqi forces. It's like Obama is taking a mulligan on the error of prematurely removing US peace-operation forces from Iraq. Of course, Iraq's condition now is very different than it was before Obama disengaged from Iraq. What would have been sufficient from a residual US force to protect Iraq then is likely no longer sufficient now.

Add: Legal analysis of the proposed AUMF at National Review and Lawfare blog. A balanced look at the conflicted nature of the proposed AUMF.

Add: S.J.Res.21 - Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons, 06SEP13. Lawfare coverage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An appeal to indict the Saddam regime for genocide (1997)

Note: The below text is copied from here. I post it with the qualifications that there seems to be no web presence for the "Kurdish Organisation for Human Rights - UK" nor have I found an official citation of this appeal in searchable United Nations on-line records. Nonetheless, whether or not it was a formally entered appeal with the UN, the content is a useful reference.

An Appeal to Indict the Iraqi Regime for Crimes of Genocide


His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, New York.

Members of the Security Council:
Ambassador Juan Somavia (Chile)
Ambassador Qin Huasun (China)
Ambassador Fernando Berrocal Soto (Costa Rica)
Ambassador Dr Nabil A. Elaraby (Egypt)
Ambassador Alain Dejammet (France)
Ambassador Alfredo Lopes Cabral (Guinea-Bissau)
Ambassador Hishashi Owada (Japan)
Ambassador Njuguna M. Maahugu (Kenya)
Ambassador Dr. Z. Bigniew M. Wlosowicz (Poland)
Ambassador Pedro Catarino (Portugal)
Ambassador Park Soo Gil (Republic of Korea)
Ambassador Sergey V. lavrov (Russia)
Ambassador Peter Osvaald (Sweden)
Ambassador Sir John Weston (United Kingdom)
Ambassador Bill Richardson (USA)

The Iraqi regime has perpetrated many crimes against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, most of them are considered as crimes of genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9th December, 1948 which was approved by Iraq on 20th January, 1959. Some examples of the criminal acts committed by the Iraqi regime against the Kurdish people during the last three decades are the destruction of the Kurdish villages and the policy of ethnic cleansing, by the mass deportation of the Kurds and the settlement of Arab tribes in their place, public execution, mass murder, internment, the confiscation of property, torture, rape, large-scale disappearances, the systematic humiliation and demoralisation of individuals and groups of people and the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population.

This programme of destruction has been condemned by the international organisations concerned with human rights and especially those which have conducted research into the documents found in the Security Service and Intelligence departments in Kurdistan, after the uprising of March 1991. Several tons of these documents are in the library of the U.S. Congress in Washington.

The Security Council has already condemned the inhuman politics of the Iraqi regime in its Resolution No. 688 of 5th April 1991. The General Assembly of the U.N. has also passed many resolutions concerning the situation of human rights in Iraq, in particular Resolution No. 46/134, of 17th December 1991, Resolution No. 47/145 of 18th December 1992, Resolution No. 48/144 of 20th December 1993 and Resolution No. 49/203 of 23rd December 1994.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has also passed resolutions concerning the situation of human rights in Iraq:

1. E/CN. 1991/74, 6th March 1991.
2. E/CN. 1992/71, 5th March 1992.
3. E/CN. 1993/74. 10th March 1993.
4. E/CN. 4/1994/74, 9th March 1994.
5. E/CN. 4/1997/60, 9th March 1997.

The Sub-Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities also passed the following resolutions on the situation of human rights in Iraq:

1. E/CN. 4/1994/2, E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/1993/520, 20th August 1994.
2. E/CN. 4/1995/2, E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/1994/56, 25th August 1994.

Max van der Stoel, the special reporter for the Commission on Human Rights of the U.N. has submitted many reports which also condemn the Iraqi regime:

1. E/CN. 4/1992/31, 18th February 1992.
2. E/CN. 4/1993/45. 15th February 1993.
3. E/CN. 4/1994/58, 25th February 1994.
4. E/CN. 4/1995/56, 15th February 1995.
5. E/CN. 4/1997/57, 18th February 1997.

We can give here some examples of the criminal acts committed by the Iraqi regime which constitute genocide according to the international conventions:

A. The destruction of thousands of villages and small cities and the murder of their inhabitants.

The Iraqi regime began the destruction of the villages close to the Iranian border at the beginning of 1975, and followed this with the destruction of the villages near the Turkish border, and then those on the plains of Kurdistan which are far from the international border. The inhabitants of these villages and small towns were forced into concentration camps situated near the large cities or main roads. They were built especially for them and lacked even the barest necessities and facilities for basic living. These concentration camps were similar to those built by the Nazis during the Second World War which were administered by the Secret Services.

Those rural areas of Iraqi Kurdistan which were destroyed, represented more than 80% of the Kurdish agricultural land which supplied most of Iraq with food. The area was converted into a military zone "prohibited for security reasons". This operation was at its height during the years of the Anfal campaign. "Anfal" was the code-name given to the regime's policy of eliminating the Kurds and it was carried out in three stages during 1987 and 1988. The legal framework for the Anfal campaign was established in a decree, signed by Saddam Hussein, dated March 29th, 1987, in the name of the Revolutionary Command Council, which is the highest legislative and executive authority in Iraq and is composed of all the most powerful figures of the regime. This decree gave, to Ali Hassan Al-Majid, the cousin of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, absolute power over all civilian, military and security institutions and the authority to use chemical weapons. The aim of the Anfal campaign was to force the inhabitants of most Kurdish villages in the Governorates of Kirkuk, Sulaimania, Arbil, Duhok and the Kurdish districts in the Governorate of Mosul and Dyala to leave their villages and surrender themselves to the military or Secret Service. Orders were given to clear the area completely. To this end, any person encountered by the forces was to be immediately executed and any who surrendered were to be handed over to the Security Services. Some of the villagers managed to escape to the borders, but most were obliged to surrender. They were later taken to the desert in the south of Iraq where they were killed by machine-gun and buried alive. The number killed in the three Anfal operations is put at 182,000 Kurds. In May 1991, when asked by a Kurdish delegate to the peace negations in Baghdad, Ali Hassan Al-Majid nervously said, " it couldn't have been more than 100,000"!

These Anfal operations and other previous operations from the mid- 1970s resulted in the destruction of 3,839 Kurdish villages, including many Assyrian christian villages. There were, in these destroyed villages, 1757 primary schools and 2457 mosques, many old monasteries and churches and 271 clinics. 219,828 Kurdish and Assyrian families were deported and, in rural Kurdish society, a "family" would include at least five people. The magnitude of this destruction clearly demonstrates the intention of the Iraqi regime to destroy totally the Kurdish entity.

(B) The policy of ethnic cleansing by the Arabization of some regions of Kurdistan.

The Iraqi regime began its policy of ethnic cleansing in the Governorate of Kirkuk when the Ba'athist regime came to power in February 1963. This policy began in the Kirkuk region because of its oil fields and rich farm lands. It became the policy of each succeeding government and has been extended to include the region of Kanakeen (in Dyala Governorate) and Makhmur (in Arbil Governorate) and the Kurdish districts (in Mosul Governorate). It was carried out in a two-fold process, each stage complementing the other.

In the first phase of this process the Kurds were forced to move out of these areas. The second phase was accomplished by bringing thousands of Arab families from central and southern Iraq and settling them in these areas. They were provided with housing and were employed in various installations or in the repressive government machine, such as the military, the intelligence, the security service, the Ba'ath party organisation and the "Popular Army", etc..

Here are some examples of the policy as implemented in the Kirkuk Governorate:

1. The destruction of 13 Kurdish villages near the city of Kirkuk in mid-1963, in particular those near the oil fields.

2. The expulsion of all the Kurds living in 34 Kurdish villages which were under the jurisdiction of the sub-district of Dubz - now Arabized to Al-Dibiss - and the resettling of those villages with Arab tribes.

3. Changing the name of the Kirkuk Governorate to the Arabic "Al- T'ameem" (meaning nationalisation), with the aim of obliterating the name it had held throughout a thousand years of history. At the same time the regime changed the names of the Kurdish quarters, streets and schools to Arabic names and forced the owners of commercial establishments to change the names to Arabic.

4. Between 1970 and 1990, 732 Kurdish villages with their 493 schools, 598 mosques and 40 clinics were destroyed in this Governorate. 37,726 Kurdish families were deported.

5. The city and the surrounding area was converted into a large military camp and fortification. Its historic castle was turned into a military fort.

6. A major step in the process of the Arabization of Kirkuk was the settling of tens of thousands of Arab families, in successive waves, with guaranteed housing and jobs. Parallel to this, the regime announced the grant of a monetary gift or bonus to any Kurd who would leave Kirkuk, in addition to securing housing for him in southern or central Iraq. During this time more than ten new quarters were built in the city for "new Arab settlers". Many new quarters with Arab names were built for these new settlers.

7. All low-ranking civil servants, including Kurdish elementary and secondary school teachers, as well as workers in various government departments and in the oil company facilities, were transferred to areas outside the Kirkuk Governorate and replaced with Arab civil servants and workers.

8. The Kurds were forbidden to sell their homes and properties except to Arabs and were prevented from buying homes and property under any circumstances. The city administration refused to grant any "building permit" or "permit to renovate" to Kurds even if their homes were badly in need of renovation, in order to force them to sell their homes or to abandon them and move out of the city. From the early eighties, this policy was applied to the Turkman minority also.

9. Four out of the seven districts of the Governorate of Kirkuk were detached from it and attached to the neighbouring Governorates, in order to make the Kurds a minority in the Kirkuk Governorate.

Today, tens of thousands of Kurdish families from Kirkuk live in tents and camps in the region controlled by the Kurds in extremely harsh conditions, resulting in the deaths of many, especially among the children and the elderly. For the most part, they depend for their survival on assistance from relief organisations and international aid.

This same policy of deportation continues to this day. In May and June 1997, more than 3000 Kurds were deported from the city of Kirkuk and its environs in preparation for a government census in October 1997. The names of most of these people are in our possession.

In other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan still under the control of the Iraqi regime, the same policy was enforced. Kurds in all these areas were forced to register themselves as Arabs, under the threat of expulsion from these areas if they failed to do so by the time of the Census.

The expelled Kurds wish to return to their homelands in their cities and villages under the protection of the United Nations.

C- The deportation of tens of thousands of Kurdish Shi'ite families to Iran.

In 1971 the regime designated many groups, mainly Shi'ite Kurds living in Baghdad and other cities in central Iraq, as Iranian and deported them to Iran. This operation increased during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988. All their personal belongings were confiscated, including their Iraqi nationality papers and passports. Most of these people and many of their parents and grandparents were born in Iraq before the creation of the state of Iraq in 1921. Many of them had completed their national service in Iraq. According to figures supplied by the Red Cross, they numbered about 400,000. They were deported in a most inhuman way. Taken by the Security Services to the Iranian border, they were forced to walk many miles in the cold weather, without food, during the war between Iraq and Iran. Their journey took several days and some were killed in the crossfire between the warring factions or by land- mines. In addition to children and old people there were, among them, pregnant women and physically and mentally disabled people.

The Iraqi authorities incarcerated more than 4,000 young people from among these deportees and, to this day, their families have no knowledge of their whereabouts as the Iraqi authorities did not give their names to the Red Cross or to any other organisation. Their families desperately wish to know what has happened to their children.

Some of these deportees now live in Europe and elsewhere as refugees, but most remain in Iran, living in abject poverty and considered neither as refugees in Iran nor as Iranian but as "Iraqi"! These people also wish to return to the land of their birth and to be compensated for their loss.

D. The use of chemical weapons on the Kurdish city of Halabja.

On 17th March, 1988, the city of Halabja, originally with a population of 70,000, was bombarded with cyanide, mustard gas and nerve gas by Iraqi military aircraft. The result was the death of more than 5000 civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly. About 10,000 more were injured and the bombardment devastated the entire area. No life remained. This was the first time in history that a government had used chemical weapons against its own civilian citizens.

In reality, the city of Halabja was not the only place on which chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi regime. Before this incident, many beautiful Kurdish villages in the sub-district of Aghjalar in Kirkuk Governorate, in the sub-district of Karadagh in Sulaimania Governorate, the valley of Balissan in Arbil Governorate and other villages in Duhok Governorate were also attacked. But the attack on a large city such as Halabja, under the direct orders of Saddam Hussein and without condemnation by the international community, encouraged the further use of chemical weapons in the mid-1990s against the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq.

In this criminal way the regime continued to kill hundreds of Kurdish Peshmerga (fighters), on many occasions when there was a general amnesty in force and they had surrendered their weapons. Hundreds of other young Kurds were tortured to death or killed after appearing before a formal tribunal. Some of them were children under fifteen years of age. After the uprising of March 1991, many mass graves were discovered near the cities of Arbil and Sulaimania where the corpses of whole family groups, including children, were found.

We consider these crimes to be genocide, committed deliberately by the Iraqi regime throughout three decades, in an attempt to eliminate more than four million Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan.

It was not only the Kurds who suffered at the hands of the regime. A great many Iraqis were subjected to a campaign of torture and mass execution, especially following the uprising of March 1991 in the Shi'ite cities and marshes of southern Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988, chemical weapons were used extensively against Iranian military targets, and Iranian cities were regularly bombarded with artillery, aircraft and ballistic missiles not aimed at specific military targets. Later, on August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait in direct violation of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter. The regime's obvious intention was the destruction of the sovereignty of the Kuwaiti state.

The perpetrators of all these crimes must be punished by the international community as were those of Nazi Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc..

We appeal to the Security Council to create an international tribunal, or to extend the competence of the existing War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, to bring the "higher echelons" of the Iraqi regime to justice.

1. The National Union of Teachers in Kurdistan.
2. The Farmworkers Union of Kurdistan.
3. The Artists Union of Kurdistan.
4. The Photographers Union of Kurdistan.
5. The Union of Agricultural Workers of Kurdistan.
6. The General Workers Union of Kurdistan.
7. The Engineering Union of Kurdistan.
8. The Association of the Clergy in Kurdistan.
9. The Association of Lawyers in Kurdistan.
10. The Association of Economists in Kurdistan.
11. The Association of Technical Engineers.
12. The Students' Union of Kurdistan.
13. The Association of Sociologists in Kurdistan.
14. The Association of War Veterans.
15. The Association of Cultural Workers.
16. The Organisation for Child Welfare in Kurdistan.
17. The Organisation for Graduates in Law in Kurdistan.
18. The Union of Veterinary Surgeons.
19. The Union of Doctors of Medicine.
20. The Union of Chemists and Pharmacists.
21. The Centre for the Care and Protection of Orphans.
22. The Christian Centre of Kurdistan.
23. The Association of Retired Workers.
24. The Union of Geologists.
25. The Union of Nurses and Ancillary Staff.
26. The Civil Service Union.
27. The Union of Working Women.
28. The Union of `Women Social Democrats in Kurdistan.
29. The Women's' Union of Kurdistan.
30. The Kurdistan Islamic Sisters Union.
31. The Salah Hawramy's Cultural Centre in Kurdistan.
32. The Democratic Youth Union in Kurdistan.
33. The Kurdistan Socialist Democracy Student and Youth Union.
34. The Union of Students of Zahmatkeshan of Kurdistan.
35. The Union of Women of Zahmatkeshan of Kurdistan.
36. The Social and Cultural Association of the Governorate of Kirkuk.
37. Ezidi's Centre Abroad.
38. The Labour Party for Independent Kurdistan - European Section.
39. The Kurdish Human Rights Organisation - Sweden.
40. SKKMR - Sweden.
41. The Islamic Union of Kurdistan - British Section.
42. The Kurdish Information Centre - London.
43. The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights`- New York.
44. The Kurdish Organisation for Human Rights - U.K.

Kurdish Organisation for Human Rights - UK
London, September 18, 1997

Also see The Great Terror by Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, March 25, 2002.