United States. Congress. House. Committee on Inter.

U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf : hearing before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, September 25, 1996 online

. (page 1 of 11)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterU.S. policy in the Persian Gulf : hearing before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, September 25, 1996 → online text (page 1 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^ ' U.S. POUCY IN THE PERSIAN GULF

y 4. IN 8/16; P 43/4

U.S. Policy in tfce Persiai Culf, He

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



SEPTEMBER 25, 1996



Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations




'^''On



''^3 ' 9 139F



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
35-308 CC WASHINGTON : 1996

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053773-8



^ ^ U.S. POUCY IN THE PERSIAN GULF

4, IN 8/16; P 43/4

. Policy in tlie Persiai Culf, He

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



SEPTEMBER 25, 1996



Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations




OFr



■ry,^



''^3 ' 9 199?



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
35-308 CC WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053773-8



COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, New York, Chairman



WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania

JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa

TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois

DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska

CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey

DAN BURTON, Indiana

JAN MEYERS, Kansas

ELTON GALLEGLY, California

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida

CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina

DANA ROHRABACHER, California

DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois

EDWARD R. ROYCE. California

PETER T. KING, New York

JAY KIM, California

SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas

DAVID FUNDERBURK, North Carolina

STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio

MARSHALL "MARK" SANFORD, South

Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania

Richard J. Garon, Chief of Staff

Michael H. Van DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff

Deborah E. BodLANDER, Professional Staff Member

CarOUNK G. Cooper, Staff Associate



LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana

SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut

TOM LANTOS, California

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York

HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida

ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American

Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN. Maryland
JAMES P. MORAN, Virginia
VICTOR O. FRAZER. Virgin Islands (Ind.)
CHARLIE ROSE, North Carolina
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama



(11)



CONTENTS



WITNESSES

Page

Hon. Robert H. Pelletrcau, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern

Affairs 5

Dr. F. Gregory Cause III, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Univer-
sity of Vermont 24

Dr. Judith S. Yaphe, Visiting Senior Fellow, Institute for National Strategic
Studies, National Defense University 25

Dr. Henri J. Barkey, Associate Professor, I^high University 28

APPENDIX

Opening statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Cilman 37

Statement of Hon. Robert Pelletreau 38

Statement of Dr. F. Cregory Cause III 49

Statement of Dr. Judith S. Yaphe 58

Statement of Dr. Henri Barkey 73

Documents submitted by Ahmad Chalabi, President of the Executive Council,

The Iraqi National Congress 83



(III)



U.S. POLICY IN THE PERSIAN GULF



WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1996

House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,

Washington, DC.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m. in room
2172, Raybum House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Oilman
(chairman of the committee) presiding.

Chairman Oilman. The Committee on International Relations
will come to order.

The Committee on International Relations meets today to discuss
Administration policy in the Persian Oulf. In recent months, the re-
gion has been rocked by a number of serious incidents, including
Iranian-inspired unrest in Bahrain, a major bombing at a U.S.
military housing complex in Saudi Arabia that cost the lives of 19
Americans, and Saddam Hussein's incursion into the northern part
of Iraq. These events, apparently catching the Administration off
balance, have called into serious question the sustainability of our
"dual containment" policy toward Iran and Iraq.

The June bombing in Saudi Arabia has left that country reluc-
tant to back a strong U.S. policy toward Saddam Hussein. This, in
turn, is likely to make both Saddam in Iraq and the clerical regime
in Iran believe that they can challenge U.S. policy in the Oulf with
impunity. Some of the recent reports issued on the bombing in
Dhahran suggest that the Administration could have done more to
prevent that tragic occurrence.

In northern Iraq, Saddam Hussein saw our nation asleep at the
switch. The Administration was cutting back its Provide Comfort
flights to please Turkey, and had issued only a mild protest when
Iran mounted an incursion into northern Iraq this past July. Sad-
dam also saw the United States keep its efforts to mediate between
feuding Kurdish factions at a low level, and fail to approve a mere
$1 million for a neutral security force sought by the Kurds.

During 1996, the Administration failed to force Iraq to allow
U.N. weapons inspectors unimpeded access to weapons facilities.
The U.N. Security Council issued only a mild condemnation of
Saddam's foot-dragging on the inspections. Saddam took his oppor-
tunity, and he struck successfully, regaining control of northern
Iraq and ending U.S. -supported covert operations intended to un-
seat him.

The Administration's hands-off policy toward the unrest in Bah-
rain, which goes back to late 1994, emboldened Iran to meddle
there. This past June, Bahrain uncovered an Iranian plot to desta-
bilize their government and to install an Islamic republic. Two

(1)



days later, the Administration barely protested when Qatar, sup-
posedly a U.S. ally, invited two Iranian frigates to make a port
visit there.

No wonder Iran decided to conduct its own incursion into north-
ern Iraq in July, setting the stage for Saddam's offensive which
captured a Irbil last month. In sum, Iran and Iraq have knocked
the Administration's dual containment policy onto the ropes. A con-
tinued failure of U.S. leadership could lead Saudi Arabia and Ku-
wait to question our own commitment, and to cast their lots with
Saddam Hussein and Iran's President Rafsanjani. The Administra-
tion needs to carefully reevaluate the deterioration of our position
in the Gulf.

We will be hearing this morning first from Assistant Secretary
of State for the Near East, Robert Pelletreau, who recently visited
Turkey and met with Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani. We look
forward to learning the results of his meetings, and then discussing
the Administration's policy toward the Persian Gulf, and particu-
larly toward Iraq, given recent events in that region.

Also, Secretary Pelletreau was unable to appear before our com-
mittee when it held a hearing recently to discuss whether Syria
was a peace partner or a rogue regime. So it is appropriate today
that we follow up with Secretary Pelletreau about the Administra-
tion's policy toward Syria, especially in light of the reported move-
ments of Syria's armed forces toward Israel's border in the last few
days.

Following the Secretary, we will be taking testimony from a sec-
ond panel consisting of regional experts. We welcome Judith Yaphe
of the National Defense University, Dr. Gregory Gause of the Uni-
versity of Vermont, and Dr. Henri Barkey of Lehigh University.

Before we hear from Secretary Pelletreau, I would like to ask our
ranking minority member if he has any comments.

Mr, Hamilton. Mr, Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from
California, Mr. Lantos.

Chairman Gilman. I recognize the gentleman from California,
Mr. Lantos.

Mr. Lantos. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to
thank my good friend from Indiana for yielding.

I hope you understand, Mr. Chairman, I am going to make my
observations with friendship and respect for you personally, but I
am appalled that you have made this last meeting of the House
International Relations Committee a spectacle, during the course of
which this committee has become a fully owned subsidiary of the
Republican National Committees' campaign.

I don't wish to be interrupted, Mr. Chairman. This is my time.

We are here to discuss developments in the Middle East. You
have spent your time denouncing the actions of the Administration.
That is your privilege. It is my privilege to point out where we are
and how we got here.

The reason we have Saddam Hussein in Baghdad is because the
Bush administration failed to dislodge him at the end of the Gulf
War, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

This administration has pursued a policy of strength and has
succeeded to an extraordinary degree in the policy of dual contain-
ment. You know that as well as I do. To talk about the dual con-



tainment policy being on the ropes is simply inaccurate, totally in-
accurate.

The facts are that this administration has attempted to undo the
damage that, at the end of the invasion of Kuwait, the Bush ad-
ministration left for this country. We are paying the price of Bush
and Baker being unwilling to conclude that military activity with
the dislodgment of Saddam Hussein.

This administration has spent more successful time and energy
in bringing about a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East,
in maintaining the world's opposition to the Iraqi regime, in con-
tinuing the U.S. embargo on Iran, in attempting to lead our allies
in a policy of weakening both Iran and Iraq militarily, economi-
cally, politically, and in other ways.

I must say, I am appalled at the extent to which this committee
has been politicized and has been made a partisan tool of the Dole
campaign during recent months. This was not the case under ear-
lier chairmanships of this committee, and I profoundly regret that
you have been forced into this role. This is unworthy of you, Mr.
Chairman, and I feel very deeply that it is important we listen to
the Secretary with the degree of objectivity that used to character-
ize this committee.

I speak with some credentials on this issue. I supported George
Bush on the Persian Gulf War. I stood with my Republican Presi-
dent, because I felt he was right, and I resent the knee-jerk criti-
cism of the Clinton administration, of the Secretary of State, of the
Secretary of Defense, on every single issue. There used to be bipar-
tisanship on this committee, and it is completely gone.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Gilman. I take exception to the gentleman's remarks
and will respond, but the gentleman from

Mr. Lantos. That is your privilege.

Chairman Gilman. I recognize the gentleman from California,
Mr. Rohrabacher.

Mr. Rohrabacher. I think there is a little bit of privilege on
both sides of the aisle here.

The fact is that you can have selective memory and not remem-
ber what happened during the Bush years as to what this commit-
tee and what members of the other party did in support of their
President's foreign policy.

I happen to have lived through the Reagan administration and
saw the liberal Democratic Party — and I saw the liberals in the
Democratic Party do everything that they could possibly do to un-
dermine our efforts in Central America. Now, don't tell me that
wasn't political; that was political.

It was also an honest disagreement, I might add; there was a dis-
tinct difference in people's philosophy as to what the government
should do. But there was also a political difference between us.

This is a democracy. Of course, during election years there are
going to be differences, and people are going to state them very
clearly to demonstrate the differences between the two people who
would like people to vote for them, or the two people who would
like them to sanction their position in government.

Mr, Lantos. Will my friend from California yield?



Mr. ROHRABACHER. Not quite yet, because I just want to make
one other point.

Mr. Lantos. Of course.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. My friend from California did stand with us
during the Gulf War when there was a Republican President; there
is no doubt about it. And Tom, you have my admiration; you are
a man of principle, and there is no doubt about that in my mind.
We have worked together on so many human rights issues, as well
as others.

However, you did not reflect the leadership of your party. Your
position didn't reflect the leadership of your party during the Gulf
War. During the Gulf War, the leadership of your party marched
down to the floor of the House of Representatives and voted to a
man with the leadership to prevent any offensive military action
from taking place in the Persian Gulf.

Here we had hundreds of thousands of American troops in the
desert facing a sizzling summer, and instead of backing the Presi-
dent's request to be able to conduct the military operations that
were necessary for the security of our country and protecting the
lives of our people, the leadership of the Democratic Party on the
floor of the House of Representatives voted to a man in order to —
basically to tie the hands of our people in the desert and leave
them there, vulnerable.

Now, I am sorry, but I am not going to say that was totally poli-
tics. Maybe they believed that was the best policy, but you do not
reflect in the honesty of your presentation saying that you do not
want to make politics out of this. And you have demonstrated that
in the Gulf War. I take that as absolutely valid, a valid point from
you, but that is not true of a lot of people in your party.

I will certainly yield to my friend.

Mr. Lantos. I thank the gentleman from California for yielding.

I merely would like to draw a line of clear demarcation between
conflicting philosophies, which certainly are legitimate in a legisla-
tive body, and the misrepresentation of the record. When the Per-
sian Gulf participation by the United States was discussed, it was
discussed ex ante. It was discussed prospectively and people had
differing views.

What we are dealing with now is the conclusion of a 4-year pe-
riod of an administration's record in the Middle East, which has
been an extremely proud record. This administration has done
more than any previous administration in bringing about reconcili-
ation between Israel and her neighbors. This administration has
maintained, despite many of our allies, great pressure on both Iran
and Iraq; the dual containment policy has been a great success
under this administration.

This administration, in the field, as we have seen in recent
weeks with President Clinton ordering additional American troops
to Kuwait, ordering additional naval units to the area, bombing
southern Iraq, bombing northern Iraq, show a degree of determina-
tion and strength and leadership of which every single member of
this committee and this body should be proud.

If I may just conclude my point, and I appreciate my friend yield-
ing. There is a great difference between disagreeing ex ante on



philosophical grounds and misrepresenting the record. We have
seen a misrepresentation of the record.

Mr. RoHRABACHER. Reclaiming my time, and I will be very brief,
Mr. Chairman, quite frankly I just came back from the Gulf region,
and I have what I consider to be some very valid criticisms of the
Administration's policy. There have been some successes in the Ad-
ministration's policy in the Gulf region and some things we should
applaud, but there are some things that I believe deserve justified
criticism; and especially, I will tell you, that is going on now with
the bombing of Iraq.

I was not one who jumped forward to support the President in
his bombing of Iraq, and it wasn't for any political reasons, it was
because it didn't seem like the proper policy and the proper re-
sponse for what was going on with the Kurds at that time, and I
think we have got ourselves in a quagmire, and we need to discuss
it thoroughly, and I think the President has some criticism that
will be helpful criticism on the part of this committee.

I yield back the balance of my time.

Chairman GiLMAN. Before we proceed with the witness, I would
like to respond to Mr. Lantos.

There was never any intention of this committee to politicize any
of the issues. We do have distinct differences in policy, and that is
what this committee is all about, to examine the Administration's
policy. We did that under prior administrations and we are doing
it under this administration.

There are some serious questions that have to be answered, and
we intend to get those answers; and I resent Mr. Lantos indicating
that this is a politization of policy.

Mr. Pelletreau, you may give your full statement or summarize
it, whichever you prefer,

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT PELLETREAU, AS-
SISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NEAR EASTERN AF-
FAmS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Mr. Pelletreau. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a full state-
ment which I will submit for the record and make a brief opening
statement before getting to your questions.

I have some trepidation as a career foreign service officer of 35
years, who has served his President and his country as honestly
and vigorously as he can, but I appreciate this opportunity to re-
view developments in the Middle East with you and with members
of the committee.

As you know, recent months have been busy on many fronts. I
want to focus on Iraq in particular, as I know you do, but I would
like to give you our perspective on several other important issues
before doing so; the Arab-Israeli peace process and the situation in
the Gulf States head the list.

Middle East peace remains a key U.S. foreign policy objective.
The Secretary's schedule of meetings at the U.N. General Assembly
opening in New York this week highlights the priority he gives this
objective, as does the level of activity he asks of my bureau in the
State Department. We are encouraged by the wide-ranging
progress that has grown from the handshake between Israeli Prime



Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat on the White House lawn in
September, 1993.

Israeh-Palestinian dialogs slackened in recent months, but there
have been some recent encouraging signs. Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu met with Chairman Arafat for the first time on Septem-
ber 4. We continue to work with both parties to facilitate the imple-
mentation of the interim agreement, which is key to moving for-
ward on the Israeli-Palestinian track.

We also believe in the importance of a comprehensive peace and
have worked hard to facilitate progress in the Israeli-Syrian and Is-
raeli-Lebanese negotiations. This effort is not easy and will not be
easy, but we will continue to work toward this end.

I know you have some questions about the internal situation of
friendly Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia. The statement I have
submitted covers this. I would be happy to comment further on it.
But, in summary, I can say that the governments of the Gulf states
remain stable.

On Iraq, our policy remains clear, firm and constant. We stand
fast against the threat the Iraqi regime poses to our friends and
our vital interests in the Persian Gulf. The regime of Saddam Hus-
sein has shown again this month that it is unpredictable and dan-
gerous, and must be dealt with resolutely. We will continue to box
it in with diplomatic activism and military deterrents as long as
the threat endures.

But this is not a dispute between the United States and Iraq; it
is a dispute between Iraq and a broad coalition of nations which
represent the will of the international community. I visited a num-
ber of these states in recent weeks — including Saudi Arabia, Jor-
dan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt — with General Shalikashvili and
Secretary Perry, and I can tell you that the consensus for contain-
ing Iraqi adventurism remains very much alive and effective.

The situation in northern Iraq remains fluid. Saddam's influence
there is by no means extensive or secure, although the cooperation
with KDP leader Barzani enabled him to strengthen his security
presence in the area. Barzani told me, when I met him last week,
that he and his KDP are consolidating their control over northern
Iraq without Baghdad's help. He expressed the wish to reestablish
stability through a cooperation among the communities in the
north, and he requested continuing U.S. involvement in the form
of our no-fly zone overflights and our continuation of humanitarian
assistance, and offered to work with us in this regard. We plan to
keep up the contacts with the KDP and with other groups in the
north, and to monitor developments there closely.

We are continuing our humanitarian efforts to help inhabitants
of northern Iraq. As you know, we have already moved U.S. Grov-
ernment employees and their families out of the area for processing
into the United States. We are also working with nongovernmental
organizations who receive U.S. assistance to help move their em-
ployees out of Iraq, and we are maintaining our humanitarian re-
lief through international organizations and through some of those
nongovernmental organizations.

I will conclude my brief oral statement here, Mr. Chairman, and
I would be pleased to try to answer any questions that you have,
or other members of the committee.



[The prepared statement of Mr. Pelletreau appears in the appen-
dix.]

Chairman Oilman. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Mr. Secretary, we understand the Administration invited KDP
leader Massoud Barzani to the United States next week, but not
the PUK leader, Jalal Talabani. Can you tell us whv you invited
only one of the leaders? It would seem to me we should be inviting
botn sides if we are to retain any credibility. There must be some
dialog and legitimate efforts to resolve these disputes. Could you
comment on that?

Mr. Pelletreau. Yes, I could. We have been in touch with both
leaders, both Talabani and Barzani. I was in touch with both of
them earlier this week. As a result of my meeting with Mr.
Barzani, I invited him to send a delegation to the United States,
and they will be doing so, but the date for that visit is not yet
fixed. It does not include Mr. Barzani himself. And we will con-
tinue our contacts with Mr. Talabani and with the Turkoman lead-
ership and the Assyrian leadership, representing the different
groups in the north, in an effort to end the fighting that is taking
place there and to establish a reconciliation between them. But this
is not going to happen overnight.

Chairman Oilman. Mr. Secretary, the President said after the
U.S. cruise missile strikes that Saddam Hussein was strategically
weaker than before the crisis. On the other hand, CIA Director
John Deutch said Saddam is stronger politically for the recapture
of northern Iraq.

What are your views with regard to those statements?

Mr. Pelletreau. I think it is a mixed picture, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, the situation in the north is not all that clear. Iraqi
military forces have withdrawn from the north. The extent of an
additional Iraqi presence there is not clear at this time.

The extension of the no-fiy zone from the 32nd to the 33rd par-
allel definitely provides a further constraint on Iraqi militarv activ-
ity. I don't think that there is any Iraqi military commander who
would say their position is stronger when they have lost the effec-
tive operation of two additional air bases and their major training
area for the Republican Ouards.

Third, Resolution 986, which Iraq itself was trying to see imple-
mented as soon as possible, has been delayed further. So that has
been a further setback for Iraq.

So I see it as a very mixed picture at this time.

Chairman Oilman. Mr. Secretary, there is a great deal of criti-
cism that we could have done a lot more in negotiating the disputes
between the two Kurdish factions, had we raised the issue to a
higher level. Why didn't we attach a higher priority to brokering
an end to the Kurdish dispute before the situation became critical
in August?

Then there was some further comment that the highest levels of
the State Department hesitated in approving a $1 million payment
for a neutral security commission that could have helped prevent
the final breakdown of the Kurdish dispute.

I would welcome your comments.

Mr. Pelletreau. We were being very active in trying to secure
an end to the fighting on various occasions. But we must not un-



8

derestimate the very deep rivalry between these Kurdish leaders in


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterU.S. policy in the Persian Gulf : hearing before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, September 25, 1996 → online text (page 1 of 11)