Tracking Number:  192688

Title:  "US Wants New Iraqi Leadership, but Won't Intervene." The US favors a change in Iraq's leadership, but will not intervene miliarily in order to bring that change about, David Mack, a State Department official said. (910802)

Date:  19910802


08/02/91 *

U.S. WANTS NEW IRAQI LEADERSHIP, BUT WON'T INTERVENE (DAS Mack addresses Iraqi opposition groups) (1320) By Rosalind Mandine USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The United States favors a change in Iraq's leadership, but will not intervene militarily in order to bring that change about, David Mack, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, said at a meeting here of Iraqi opposition groups August 2.

Mack addressed a strategy session conference held by Iraqi opposition groups based in the United States, Europe and Middle East and sponsored by the Independent Assembly of Iraq. Scheduled to coincide with the first anniversary of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the two-day conference kicked off on August 1.

Representatives of the opposition groups discussed the economic, political and social situation in Iraq and reported they designed a common strategy for the dismantlement of Saddam Hussein's regime and the future of a democratic Iraq. They also called for the convening of a unity conference for all Iraqi opposition groups.

Outlining the Iraqi leader's actions of repression inside Iraq and aggression in the region, Mack said "in light of this record, we cannot have a normal relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime."

"The United States continues to support Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. But we prefer a new Iraqi leadership, one that is responsive to the needs of the Iraqi people and willing to live in peace with its neighbors," he said.

Iraq's isolation from the world community and post-war regional arrangements is assured as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, Mack stressed.

"Saddam Hussein is discredited and cannot be redeemed. His leadership will never be accepted by the world community," he said.

"Iraq will not participate in the post-crisis political, economic and security arrangements in the region and until there is a change in regime this will remain true," he added.

GE 2 nea502

The way to end this isolation and modify "burdensome sanctions and reparations" against Iraq is to change the government in Baghdad, he said.

However, Mack stressed that the United States "will not intervene militarily to shape a new Iraqi government. The form and composition of a regime to succeed Saddam Hussein are for the people of Iraq to decide."

"Nor are we calling for a popular rebellion with the massive human suffering that entails," he added.

The United States will continue to "lead the international community in maintaining persistent pressure on the current Iraqi regime and denying it a place in normal relations among governments," Mack noted.

In order to maintain this pressure, the United States favors the continuation of economic sanctions "as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power," he said.

Mack pointed out that the United States and its allies agreed to the continuation of economic sanctions and are "jointly resolved that the Iraqi people deserve the chance to choose their leadership openly and democratically."

Mack said reports of food shortages and epidemics in Iraq "are a source of deep concern" to the United States. He stressed that "it is not the intent of the U.S. government or of the international community that the Iraqi people should pay the price for the aggressive and irresponsible actions of the present Iraqi leadership."

While the United States supports the continuation of economic sanctions, Mack said "we will continue to monitor health conditions throughout Iraq, and to support humanitarian relief efforts."

He noted that the United States, its coalition partners and members of the UN Security Council are looking into "a possible international response involving strict control and close monitoring to ensure an equitable distribution of food and humanitarian supplies throughout the country."

However, the United States "will insist that any oil sales to raise revenue for food and medicine would be limited, under tight international control and within the sanctions regime, not outside of it," he underscored.

In addition, the United States "will strongly support continued, vigorous inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Special Commission created by Resolution 687 to ensure" that Iraq is not able to threaten its neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.

GE 3 nea502 If there is a change in leadership in Iraq, the United States is "ready to work with a successor government in Baghdad," Mack told the group of opposition representatives.

He noted that the United States "has acted to broaden contacts with a range of Iraqi opposition groups over the past several months, including Kurds, Shi'a, Sunnis and Christians."

The United States supports "a pluralistic Iraq in which all communities would be free to practice their religious beliefs and express their ethnic identity," he said.

U.S. contacts with Iraqi opposition groups "do not reflect a U.S. desire to create an alternative Iraqi leadership or favor one faction over another; rather our aims are to further mutual understanding," Mack said.

Mack outlined what the United States looks for "in considering dialogue with any opposition group:"

-- "support for the norms of democratic government, with the national leadership chosen by, and accountable to, the people of Iraq;"

-- respect for human rights for all Iraqi citizens, particularly all ethnic and religious minorities.

-- "commitment to the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq. The United States opposes any alteration of Iraq's international border."

-- "commitment to use Iraq's future oil income to develop the country's civilian economy...."

-- "commitment to maintain Iraq's military capabilities at a level consistent with the legitimate needs of national self-defense, but posing no threat of aggression against other states in the region. This includes compliance with the United Nations Security Council resolution on the destruction of weapons of mass destruction, including ballistic missiles."

-- "acceptance of all terms set forth by the United Nations Security Council for a formal cease-fire."

-- "support for international efforts to advance regional peace...."

-- "rejection of terrorism as means of achieving political objectives. The United States government will not meet with groups that have a known record of terrorist activities, including activities against Americans."

GE 4 nea502 Representatives of Iraqi opposition groups announced a strategy to bring about political change in Iraq based on democratic ideals in a press conference immediately after Mack's speech.

The opposition groups must work "together to establish a representative and constitutional government in Iraq," Dr. Abbas Mehdi, a member of the Independent Assembly of Iraq and the conference coordinator, said.

He maintained that opposition to Saddam Hussein's leadership is not limited to the Shi'a, Sunni and Kurdish populations of Iraq, but is truly the "work of all Iraqi people."

"Unity is the key" to the opposition's effort to bring about a change in government in Baghdad, Mehdi stressed. He noted that a committee elected by the 18 groups in attendance at the conference voted to organize a future conference that would "bring all (Iraqi) opposition groups together."

The opposition groups agreed to a political, economic and social agenda for a future democratically-based government of Iraq.

The political agenda calls for:

-- unity of the Iraqi people and territorial integrity of Iraq;

-- the establishment of a constitutional, parliamentary and democratic system structured on the basis of one-person- one-vote;

-- guaranteed human and civil rights for all Iraqi citizens, regardless of national origin, ethnic identity, sex or religious belief;

-- guaranteed right of political parties to organize, as well as freedom of the press and speech; and

-- the exclusion of the military from all political activities.

The economic agenda calls for the establishment of a market economy, privatization of business, industry and agriculture and the economic rebuilding of Iraq. The social agenda includes a call to rebuild Iraqi society and the guarantee of equal protection under the law for every Iraqi citizen.

"Promoting democracy is the only way to assure the stability and prosperity of Iraq," Dr. Mehdi underscored. NNNN

File Identification:  08/02/91, NE-502
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Thematic Codes:  160; 1NE; 1ME; 2TE
Target Areas:  NE
PDQ Text Link:   192688