STATEMENT OF GENERAL ANTHONY C. ZINNI COMMANDER IN CHIEF U.S. CENTRAL
BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE ARMED SERVICES
28 JANUARY 1999
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.
Iraq's recent refusal to fully cooperate with the United Nations
Special Commission (UNSCOM) to account for and verify destruction of
Iraq's existing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and WMD development
programs continued its pattern of interference and obstruction. This
conduct led to Ambassador Butler's decision to withdraw UNSCOM from
Iraq and issue a report critical of Iraqi compliance in December of
last year. Based on the terms of United Nations Security Council
Resolutions (UNSCR) 687, 715, 1154, and 1194, the National
Command.Authorities ordered U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) to
execute Operation DESERT FOX.
Operation DESERT FOX
Our objectives for this operation were: reduce Iraq's capability to
produce WMD; degrade strategic and tactical command and control
facilities, damage industrial infrastructure used for the smuggling of
gas and oil; and the overall reduction of Iraq's capability to
threaten its neighbors in the region.
Primary targets struck during Operation DESERT FOX were installations
associated with development of WMD, units providing security to IKMD
programs, and Iraq's national command and control network. Additional
targets included selected Republican Guard facilities, airfields, and
the Basrah oil refinery that was involved in production of illegal gas
and oil exports. Iraq's integrated air defenses and surface-to-air
missiles (SAM) sites were also heavily struck in order to ensure the
safety of coalition aircraft.
Due to the destruction of key facilities and specialized equipment, we
assess that Iraq's ballistic missile program has been set back one to
two years. Several of Iraq's most sensitive security units suffered
attrition and the Iraqi command and control network was disrupted,
with some degradation remaining today.
Regarding the success of Operation DESERT FOX, over 80 percent of the
designated targets were hit and damaged. Additionally, every security
unit attacked suffered damage. Iraqi claims of civilian casualties and
collateral damage remain unsubstantiated. Finally, these successes
were realized with no casualties to our coalition forces.
Since the end of Operation DESERT FOX, coalition air forces have
continued to maintain the No Fly Zones (NFZ) that were established
after Operation DESERT STORM. As you know, Iraq has taken a more
aggressive position against the aircraft flying those missions as a
part of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and Operation NORTHERN WATCH, the
latter conducted by European Command (EUCOM). As a result, we have had
over 70 violations of the NFZ, and Iraqi air defense systems have
continued to engage our aircraft.
Additionally, the number of SAM sites has almost tripled in the south,
and almost doubled in the north. The regime has moved multiple rocket
launchers into the south, has coordinated threats against UN command
and control and reconnaissance aircraft, and has initiated coordinated
efforts to lure U.S. aircraft into SAM engagement zones or ambushes.
Lastly, additional aircraft have periodically been moved to airfields
in the south.
In order to deal with this increased threat, the President has given
us expanded Rules of Engagement (ROE) to provide us the additional
flexibility we need to protect our forces. This allows us to continue
this important mission with an acceptable degree of risk.
While the only other member of the coalition to fly combat missions
during Operation DESERT FOX was Great Britain, other countries in the
region provided significant support. That support included overflight
permission, and access to regional facilities such as ports,
airfields, and fixed facilities.
Since Operation DESERT FOX, the regime has more actively opposed
UNSCOM, has attempted to incite various Arab populations to overthrow
their leadership, and has removed or eliminated senior leaders whose
loyalty was questioned. Additionally, the regime has declared the NFZ
in both the north and south to be null and void, and has notified the
UN that UN humanitarian workers may not be safe within Iraq. We
believe these reactions indicate that Saddam is becoming increasingly
isolated, and perhaps more desperate. There is no doubt that he
continues to rule Iraq in a ruthless manner and his increasing
paranoia has led him to apply even more ruthless measures to control
any internal unrest. We can expect to see this continue and his