Iraq War: Background and Issues Overview
CRS Report for Congress
Iraq War: Background and
Updated April 22, 2003
Raymond W. Copson (Coordinator)
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Iraq War: Background and Issues Overview
The Iraq war was launched on March 19, 2003, with a strike against a location
where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and top lieutenants were believed to be
meeting. On March 17, President Bush had given Saddam an ultimatum to leave the
country or face military conflict. Although some resistance was encountered after
U.S. troops entered Iraq, all major Iraqi population centers had been brought under
U.S. control by April 14. In November 2002, the United Nations Security Council
had adopted Resolution 1441, giving Iraq a final opportunity to “comply with its the
disarmament obligations” or “face serious consequences.” During January and
February 2003, a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf intensified and President
Bush, other top U.S. officials, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair repeatedly
indicated that Iraq had little time left to offer full cooperation with U.N. weapons
inspectors. However, leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and China urged that the
inspections process be allowed more time.
The Administration and its supporters assert that Iraq was in defiance of 17
Security Council resolutions requiring that it fully declare and eliminate its weapons
of mass destruction (WMD). Further delay in taking action against Iraq, they argued,
would have endangered national security and undermined U.S. credibility. Skeptics,
including many foreign critics, maintained that the Administration was exaggerating
the Iraq threat and argued that the U.N. inspections process should have been
extended. In October 2002, Congress authorized the President to use the armed
forces of the United States to defend U.S. national security against the threat posed
by Iraq and to enforce all relevant U.N. resolutions regarding Iraq (P.L. 107-243).
Analysts and officials are concerned about the risk of instability and ethnic
fragmentation in Iraq after the war. U.S. plans for post-war governance of Iraq are
just starting to be implemented, and the role of the United Nations in administering
Iraq, if any, is still under debate. Whether the overthrow of Iraq President Saddam
Hussein will lead to democratization in Iraq and the wider Middle East, or promote
instability and an intensification of anti-U.S. attitudes, is also an issue in debate. The
Iraq war has created concerns over the humanitarian situation, particularly in
Baghdad and other cities affected by the war, but large-scale refugee flows have not
Constitutional issues concerning a possible war with Iraq were largely resolved
by the enactment of P.L. 107-243, the October authorization. International legal
issues remain, however, with respect to launching a pre-emptive war against Iraq and
the prospective occupation. Estimates of the cost of a war in Iraq vary widely. If
war or its aftermath leads to a spike in the price of oil, economic growth could slow,
but oil prices have fluctuated widely during the conflict to date. Conceivably, global
oil production could increase significantly after the war.
This CRS report provides information and analysis with respect to the 2003 war
with Iraq, reviews a number of war-related issues, and provides links to additional
sources of information. It will not be further updated. For current CRS products
related to Iraq, see the CRS home page at [http://www.crs.gov].
In troduction ......................................................1
Purpose of This Report.........................................1
Prelude to War............................................2
Final Diplomatic Efforts....................................3
Congress and Post-War Iraq.................................9
Issues for Congress...............................................10
Relations with European Allies..............................14
Role of the United Nations.............................15
Debate on Improving Relations..........................16
Use of Diplomatic Instruments in Support of the War............17
Use of Diplomatic Means to Promote Iraq’s Recovery............18
Weapons of Mass Destruction Issues..............................19
Iraq’s Deployable Weapons of Mass Destruction?...............19
The Search for WMD......................................19
Role for U.N. Inspectors?..................................21
Post-War Governance Issues....................................22
Administration Policy on Governance.........................22
Establishing an Interim Administration........................23
Reconstruction and Oil Industry Issues........................24
Continuation of the Oil-for-Food Program/U.N. Sanctions.........24
Political and Military Factors................................25
Direct and Indirect Contributions............................26
Implications for the Middle East.................................29
Democracy and Governance................................29
Security Arrangements in the Gulf Region.....................30
Funding for Humanitarian Assistance.........................31
Oil-for-Food Program (OFFP)...............................31
U.S. Aid Policy Structure in Iraq.............................33
Current Operating Environment.........................34
Relief and Security....................................35
Post-War Relief Priorities..................................35
Water and Sanitation..................................36
International and Domestic Legal Issues Relating to the Use of Force....38
The Constitution and the War Powers Resolution................39
International Law and the Preemptive Use of Force..............40
Security Council Authorization..............................41
Final Congressional Action on the FY2003 Supplemental.........44
DOD Request and Congressional Action......................44
DOD Believes FY2003 Supplemental Will be Adequate..........46
Estimates of the Total War and Postwar Costs..................47
Previous Estimates of War Costs.............................49
Related Aid to Allies......................................50
Oil Supply Issues.............................................52
Humanitarian Aid Organizations and Iraq..........................54
Reports, Studies, and Electronic Products..........................55
United Nations Resolutions.....................................55
List of Figures
Figure 1. Iraq in the Middle East......................................2
Figure 2. Map of Iraq.............................................11
List of Tables
Table 1. DOD Estimate of Adequacy of FY2003 Supplemental for
Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan..............................47
Table 2. Earlier Estimates of First Year Cost of a War with Iraq............49
Iraq War: Background and
Raymond W. Copson, 7-7661
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
For a day-by-day summary of Iraq-related developments through the end of the
combat phase of the war, see Iraq-U.S. Confrontation: Daily Developments
[ h ttp://www.crs.gov/products/brows e/iraqdocs/iraqdaily.shtml] .
Purpose of This Report
This report was created to provide information and analysis on the buildup to
the 2003 war with Iraq and on the war itself. Since the combat phase of this conflict
has ended, the report will not be further updated. For current CRS products related
to Iraq, see the CRS home page at [http://www.crs.gov]. The Background section
of this report outlines the evolution of the conflict with Iraq after September 11,
policy and a survey of congressional actions on Iraq. The report then reviews a range
of issues that the Iraq situation has raised for Congress. These issue discussions have
been written by CRS experts, and contact information is provided for congressional
readers seeking additional information. In this section and elsewhere, text boxes list
CRS products that provide in-depth information on the topics under discussion or on
related topics. The final section links the reader to additional sources of information
on the Iraq crisis.
Bush Administration concerns about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction
programs intensified after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. President Bush
named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the “axis of evil” nations in his January 2002
State of the Union address. Vice President Cheney, in two August 2002 speeches,
accused Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of seeking weapons of mass destruction to
dominate the Middle East and threaten U.S. oil supplies.1 These speeches fueled
1 “Vice President Speaks at VFW 103d National Convention,” August 26, 2002; and “Vice
President Honors Veterans of Korean War,” August 29, 2002. Available on the White
House web site at [http://www.whitehouse.gov] under “News.”
speculation that the United States might soon act unilaterally against Iraq. However,
in a September 12, 2002 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President
Bush pledged to work with the U.N. Security Council to meet the “common
challenge” posed by Iraq.2 H.J.Res. 114, which became law (P.L. 107-243) on
October 16, authorized the use of force against Iraq, and endorsed the President’s
efforts to obtain prompt Security Council action to ensure Iraqi compliance with U.N.
resolutions. On November 8, 2002, the Security Council, acting at U.S. urging,
adopted Resolution 1441, giving Iraq a “final opportunity” to comply with the
disarmament obligations imposed under previous resolutions, or face “serious
Prelude to War. During January-March 2003, the U.S. military buildup in the
Persian Gulf intensified, as analysts speculated that mid- to late March seemed a
likely time for an attack to be launched. Officials maintained that it would be
possible to attack later, even in the extreme heat of summer, but military experts
observed that conditions for fighting a war would be far better in the cooler months
before May. Statements by President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and other
top officials during January, February,
Figure 1. Iraq in the Middle Eastand March expressed a high degree of
dissatisfaction over Iraq’s compliance
with Security Council disarmament
demands. The President said on
January 14, that “time is running out”
for Iraq to disarm, adding that he was
“sick and tired” of its “games and
deceptions.”3 On January 26, 2003,
Secretary of State Powell told the
World Economic Forum, meeting in
Davos, Switzerland, that
“multilateralism cannot be an excuse
for inaction” and that the United
States “continues to reserve our
sovereign right to take military action
against Iraq alone or in a coalition of
President Bush presented a sweeping condemnation of Iraq in his State of the
Union Address on January 28, 2003. “With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of
chemical and biological weapons,” the President warned, “Saddam Hussein could
resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in the
region.” The President told members of the armed forces that “some crucial hours
may lie ahead.” Alleging that Iraq “aids and protects” the Al Qaeda terrorist
organization, the President also condemned what he said was Iraq’s “utter contempt”
for the United Nations and the world. On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State
Powell detailed to the United Nations Security Council what he described as Iraq’s
2 “President’s Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly,” September 12, 2002.
Available at [http://www.whitehouse.gov].
3 “President’s Remarks on Iraq,” January 14, 2003 [http://www.whitehouse.gov].
“web of lies” in denying that it has weapons of mass destruction programs. On
February 26, President Bush gave a major address on Iraq. He said that the end of
Hussein’s regime would “deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron .... And other
regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated.”
The President returned to an earlier Administration theme in declaring that post-
Hussein Iraq would be turned into a democracy, which would inspire reform in other
Middle Eastern states. (For analysis of the issues raised by the President, see below,
The Administration; Weapons of Mass Destruction Issues; Post-War
Governance Issues; and Implications for the Middle East.)
Final Diplomatic Efforts. Despite the resolve of U.S. officials, international
support for an early armed confrontation remained limited. President Jacques Chirac
of France was a leading critic of the U.S. approach while the Iraq issue remained
before the U.N. Security Council, maintaining that he was not convinced by the
evidence presented by Secretary of State Powell. On February 10, at a press
conference in Paris with President Putin of Russia, Chirac said “nothing today
justifies war.” Speaking of weapons of mass destruction, Chirac added “I have no4
evidence that these weapons exist in Iraq.” France, Germany, and Russia advocated
a strengthened inspections regime rather than an early armed conflict with Iraq, and
China took a similar position.
On February 24, 2003, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain
introduced what was called a “second resolution” at the U.N. Security Council,
stating that Iraq had failed “to take the final opportunity afforded to it by Resolution
1441” to disarm. The proposed resolution was regarded as authorizing the immediate
use of force to disarm Iraq. On March 10, President Chirac said that his government
would veto the resolution, and Russian officials said that their government would
likely follow the same course.
Chirac’s stance, and the Administration’s lack of success in garnering other
support for the “second resolution,” seemed to convince U.S. officials that further
diplomatic efforts at the United Nations would prove fruitless. President Bush flew
to the Azores for a hastily-arranged meeting with the prime ministers of Britain and
Spain on Sunday, March 16, 2003. The meeting resulted in a pledge by the three
leaders to establish a unified, free, and prosperous Iraq under a representative
government. At a press conference after the meeting, President Bush stated that
“Tomorrow is the day that we will determine whether or not democracy can work.”
On March 17, the three governments announced that they were withdrawing the
proposed Security Council resolution, and President Bush went on television at 8:00
p.m. (EST) that evening to declare that unless Saddam Hussein fled Iraq within 48
hours, the result would be “military conflict, commenced at the time of our own
The war began on the night of March 19, 2003, with an aerial attack against a
location where Saddam Hussein was suspected to be meeting with top Iraqi officials.
U.S. and British troops entered Iraq on March 20, and while the invasion encountered
resistance, particularly in its early stages, U.S. forces had largely gained control of
4 “U.S.-Europe Rifts Widen Over Iraq,” Washington Post, February 11, 2003.
Baghdad, the capital, by April 9. The northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul fell shortly
afterward, and on April 14, U.S. troops entered Tikrit, Saddam’s birthplace and the
last major population center outside coalition control. On April 15, President Bush
declared that “the regime of Saddam Hussein is no more.”5 (For information and
analysis related to the war itself, see below, Military Issues.)
Public Reactions. In mid-January 2003, polls showed that a majority of
Americans wanted the support of allies before the United States launched a war
against Iraq. The polls shifted on this point after the State of the Union message,
with a majority coming to favor a war even without explicit U.N. approval.6 Polls
shifted further in the Administration’s direction following Secretary Powell’s
February 5 presentation to the Security Council.7 Although subsequent polls showed
some slippage in support for a war, President Bush’s speech on the evening of March
17 rallied public support once again. A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken just
afterward, showed that 71% supported war with Iraq and that 66% supported the
President’s decision not to seek a U.N. Security Council vote.8 With the fighting
underway, polls showed that more than seven in ten Americans continued to support
the war,9 and Washington Post-ABC News polling found that 69% felt that the right
decision had been made even if no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.10
Nonetheless, many Americans opposed the war, and large anti-war demonstrations
took place in several cities on the weekend of March 15-16, followed by sharp
protests in San Francisco and a large demonstration in New York after the fighting
began. Major anti-war demonstrations had also occurred on the weekends of January
19-20 and February 15-16, and there were demonstrations in support of
Administration policy as well.
Many reports have noted that U.S. policy on Iraq has led to a rise in anti-
Americanism overseas, particularly in western Europe, where polls showed strong
opposition to the war,11 and in the Middle East. Demonstrations against the war in
European cities on February 15-16 were widely described as “massive,” and, as in the
United States, large demonstrations also took place on March 15-16. Large
demonstrations were reported in many cities worldwide after the fighting began, and
efforts to launch boycotts of U.S. products were launched in some countries. Some
5 White House, “President Discusses the Economy with Small Business Owners,” April 15,
6 “Support for a War with Iraq Grows After Bush’s Speech,” Washington Post, February 2,
7 “Poll: Bush Gaining Support on Invading Iraq,” CNN, February 10, 2003; “Most Support
Attack on Iraq, with Allies,” Washington Post, February 11, 2003.
8 “Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Bush’s Speech,” Washingtonpost.com, March 18,
9 “U.S. Public Support for War Holds at About 70%,” Dow Jones International News,
March 24, 2003; “In Poll, Support for War is Firm,” Washington Post, March 29, 2003.
10 “Poll: More Say War Justified without Finding Weapons,” Washington Post, April 5,
11 “Sneers from Across the Atlantic,” Washington Post, February 11, 2003.
observers dismiss foreign protests as of little lasting significance, but others argue
that rising anti-Americanism could complicate U.S. diplomacy in the years ahead.12
Secretary of State Powell has said in an interview that the United States will seek to
change foreign perceptions of U.S. policy by supporting a significant role for the
United Nations in post-war Iraq, “aggressively” restarting the Arab-Israeli peace
process,13 and reaching out to “friends with whom we may have been having some
difficulty.”14 (For further discussion, see below, Diplomatic Issues). Some reports
suggest that European opposition to the war is moderating in light of the successful
overthrow of the Iraqi dictator, and the welcome given to coalition troops in some
places.15 At the same time, many Europeans are concerned by images of disorder in
Iraq, and large anti-war demonstrations occurred again on April 12.
Kenneth Katzman, 7-7612
(Last updated April 21, 2003)
On March 17, 2003, as noted above in Background, President Bush addressed
the American people and announced that Iraq would face conflict with the United
States if Saddam Hussein and his sons, Uday and Qusay, did not leave Iraq within 48
hours. On March 19, 2003, after the expiration of the 48-hour ultimatum, President
Bush told the American people that military operations against Iraq had been
authorized, and the effort began that evening. On April 11, 2003, two days after
Iraq’s regime had fallen from power in Baghdad, President Bush said he would
declare a U.S. victory when U.S. military commanders tell him that all U.S. war
objectives had been achieved. As of April 22, combat had wound down and the main
focus of U.S. forces had become restoring security and fostering the conditions for
economic and political reconstruction, searching for members of Iraq’s former
regime, and hunting for banned WMD programs.
In making its case for confronting Iraq, the Bush Administration characterized
the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq as a grave potential threat to the United States
and to peace and security in the Middle East region. The Administration maintained
that the Iraqi regime harbored active weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs
12 One columnist deplores the protests for “shortsightedness and moral hypocrisy,” but at
the same time expresses concern about their long-term consequences. Robert Samuelson,
“The Gulf or World Opinion,” Washington Post, March 27, 2003.
13 Many Members of Congress are concerned, however, that renewed U.S. pressure for an
Israel-Palestinian settlement could harm Israel’s interests. “Bush Meets Resistance on
Mideast Plan,” Washington Post, April 4, 2003. For background, see CRS Issue Brief
IB91137, The Middle East Peace Talks.
14 “Powell Sees Major Role for U.N. in Post-war Iraq,” New York Times, March 29, 2003.
See also, “”Powell Says U.S. Must Repair Image,” Washington Post, March 27, 2003; and
“Straw’s Remarks Spur Protest in Jerusalem,” Washington Times, March 28, 2003.
15 “In the Heart of France, Anti-U.S. Mood Softens,” New York Times, April 13, 2003.
that could be used to attain Saddam Hussein’s long-term goal of dominating the
Middle East. These weapons, according to the Administration, could be used directly
against the United States, or they could be transferred to terrorist groups such as Al
Qaeda. The Administration said that the United States could not wait until Iraq made
further progress on WMD to confront Iraq, since Iraq could then be stronger and the
United States might have fewer military and diplomatic options.
In January 2003, the Administration revived assertions it had made periodically
since the September 11, 2001 attacks that the Baghdad regime supported and had ties
to the Al Qaeda organization and other terrorist groups. According to the
Administration, Iraq provided technical assistance in the past to Al Qaeda to help it
construct chemical weapons. A faction based in northern Iraq and believed linked
to Al Qaeda, called the Ansar al-Islam, had been in contact with the Iraqi regime,
according to the Administration. The Ansar base near Khurmal was captured by
coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Other experts are said to believe
that there might have been some cooperation when Osama bin Laden was based in
Sudan in the early 1990s but that any Iraq-Al Qaeda cooperation trailed off after bin
Laden was expelled from Sudan in 1996 and went to Afghanistan. Bin Laden issued
a statement of solidarity with the Iraqi people on February 12, exhorting them to
resist any U.S. attack, while also criticizing Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party regime
as “socialist” and “infidel.”
In attempting to win international support for its policy, the Administration
asserted that Iraq was in material breach of 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions –
including Resolution 1441 of November 8, 2002 - mandating that Iraq fully declare
and eliminate its WMD programs. A number of U.S. allies and Security Council
members, including France, Germany, Russia, and China agreed that Iraq did not
fully comply with Resolution 1441, but opposed military action, maintaining instead
that U.N. inspections were working to disarm Iraq and should have been continued.
Diplomatic negotiations to avert war ended after the United States and Britain could
not muster sufficient support for a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that
would have authorized force if Iraq did not meet a final deadline for Iraq to fully
comply with WMD disarmament mandates.
The Bush Administration’s September 2002 decision to seek a U.N. umbrella
for the confrontation with Iraq led officials to mute their prior declarations that the
goal of U.S. policy was to change Iraq’s regime. The purpose of downplaying this
goal may have been to blunt criticism from U.S. allies and other countries that
argued that regime change is not required by any U.N. resolution. The United States
drew little separation between regime change and disarmament: the Administration
believed that a friendly or pliable government in Baghdad was required to ensure
complete elimination of Iraq’s WMD. As the U.N. option drew to a close, the
Administration again stressed regime change as a specific goal of a U.S.-led war, and
some argue that the President’s ultimatum that Saddam and his sons leave Iraq was
an indication that the regime change goal was always paramount, and WMD
concerns secondary. Since the war began, senior officials have stressed the goal of
liberating the Iraqi people and downplayed the hunt for alleged WMD stockpiles.
Policy Debate. Several press accounts indicate that there were divisions
within the Administration on whether to launch war against Iraq, and some of these
divisions re-emerged on post-war issues such as the degree to which the United
Nations should be involved in political and economic reconstruction. Secretary of
State Powell had been said to typify those in the Administration who believed that
a long-term program of unfettered weapons inspections could have succeeded in
containing the WMD threat from Iraq.16 He reportedly was key in convincing
President Bush to work through the United Nations to give Iraq a final opportunity
to disarm voluntarily. However, after January 2003, Secretary Powell insisted that
Iraq’s failure to cooperate fully with the latest weapons inspections indicated that
inspections would not succeed in disarming Iraq and that war would be required, with
or without U.N. authorization.
Press reports suggest that Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld, among others, were consistently skeptical that inspections could
significantly reduce the long-term threat from Iraq and reportedly have long been in
favor of U.S. military action against Iraq. These and other U.S. officials reportedly
believed that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would pave the way for democracy
not only in Iraq but in the broader Middle East, and reduce support for terrorism. In
a speech before the American Enterprise Institute on February 26, 2003, President
Bush said that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the United States could lead to
the spread of democracy in the Middle East and a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian
CRS Report RL31756, Iraq: The Debate over U.S. Policy.
CRS Issue Brief IB92117, Iraq: Weapons Threat, Compliance, Sanctions, and U.S.
CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime.
CRS Report RS21325, Iraq: Divergent Views on Military Action.
Jeremy M. Sharp, 7-8687
(Last updated April 21, 2003)
Overview. Congress was overwhelmingly supportive of Operation Iraqi
Freedom, and Members expressed their strong backing for U.S. military forces in the
region and for their families at home. On March 20, 2003, the House of
Representatives, by a vote of 392 in favor to 11 opposed, passed H.Con.Res. 104,
a resolution that expressed the support and appreciation of the nation for the
President and the members of the armed forces who participated in Operation Iraqi
Freedom. That same day, the Senate passed a similar resolution, S.Res. 95 by a vote
of 99-0. Congress also backed the war effort by approving the largest supplemental
appropriations bill in U.S. history. On April 3, 2003, both the House and the Senate
approved a supplemental funding measure, H.R. 1559 (P.L. 108-11), to provide
16 “U.S. Officials Meet to Take Stock of Iraq Policy,” Washington Post, October 16, 2002.
financing for military operations in Iraq, economic aid for foreign governments, and
support for homeland security. (For more information, see below, Cost Issues.)
Background. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Congress played an
active role in supporting U.S. foreign policy objectives to contain the regime of
Saddam Hussein and force it into compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Congress restricted aid and trade in goods to some countries found to be in violation
of international sanctions against Iraq. Congress also called for the removal of
Saddam Hussein’s regime from power and the establishment of a democratic Iraqi
state in its place. In 1991, Congress authorized the President to use force against Iraq
to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait in accordance with United Nations Security
Council Resolution 678 (P.L. 102-1).
On October 16, 2002, the President signed H.J.Res. 114 into law as P.L. 107-
The resolution authorized the President to use the armed forces to defend the national
security of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq and to enforce all
relevant U.N. resolutions regarding Iraq. The resolution conferred broad authority
on the President to use force and required the President to make periodic reports to
Congress “on matters relevant to this joint resolution.” The resolution expressed
congressional “support” for the efforts of the President to obtain “prompt and
decisive action by the Security Council” to enforce Iraq’s compliance with all
relevant Security Council resolutions.
In the months after the passage of H.J.Res. 114, Congress continued to play a
role in formulating U.S. policy in Iraq. Many Members who voted in favor of the
resolution offered strong support for President Bush’s attempts to force Iraq into
compliance with U.N. resolutions. Other lawmakers, including some who supported
the resolution, commended the Administration for applying pressure on Saddam
Hussein’s regime but called on the Administration to be more forthcoming with plans
for the future of Iraq and to be more committed to achieving the broadest possible
international coalition of allied countries. Still others, including some Members who
voted in favor of H.J.Res. 114, questioned the urgency of dealing with Iraq,
particularly in light of developments in North Korea and Iran. Finally, many
Members who voted against H.J.Res. 114 (P.L. 107-243) continued to look for ways
to forestall the use of force against Iraq, in part by proposing alternative resolutions
that called for a more comprehensive inspections process. In one instance, several
Members initiated a lawsuit to curtail the President’s ability to authorize the use of
force. (See below, International and Domestic Legal Issues Relating to the Use of
Legislation. During the diplomatic phase of the confrontation with Iraq, a
period that covered the beginning of the 108th Congress until mid-March 2003, bills
introduced ranged from measures that would forestall military action to calls for
punitive action against European nations that did not support the use of military force
against Iraq. Many analysts suggested that these proposals were mostly symbolic
gestures and had insufficient support for passage. The Senate did pass S. 205,17
which would have granted visas and the admission of residency to Iraqi scientists
who would be willing to provide the United States with vital information on Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction programs. The Senate also passed S.Con.Res. 4, a
concurrent resolution welcoming the expression of support of 18 European nations
for the enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. Neither
S. 205 nor S.Con.Res. 4 received floor action in the House.
After the start of the war, the House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 118,
a resolution condemning Iraq’s failure to observe international rules on the treatment
of prisoners of war. The House also passed H.Res. 153, a resolution that recognized
the “need for public prayer and fasting in order to secure the blessings and protection
of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the
conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home.” In addition, the Senate
passed S.Con.Res. 30, a resolution of gratitude to nations that are partners of the
United States in its action against Iraq and S. 718, the Troops Phone Home Act of
troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Indirectly related to the war in Iraq, both
houses of Congress passed the Armed Forces Tax Fairness Act (H.R. 1307), a bill
that authorizes tax relief to members of the armed services and their families.
A number of other proposed resolutions on the Iraq war may or may not see
floor action during the post-war phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. H.Res.198 urges
France, Germany, and Russia to help create a governmentally administered debt
forgiveness program to assist Iraq in its reconstruction. S.876 would require public
disclosure of noncompetitive contracting for the reconstruction of the infrastructure
of Iraq. H.R. 1828 calls on Syria to “halt its support for terrorism, end its occupation
of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, and cease its
illegal importation of Iraqi oil and illegal shipments of weapons and other military
items to Iraq.” Finally, S.Con.Res. 34, H.Con.Res. 143, and H.Res. 203 call for the
persecution of Iraq’s former leaders for war crimes.
Congress and Post-War Iraq. With the transition of Operation Iraqi
Freedom from a military to a reconstruction phase, Congress started to become more
vocal in requesting specific information from the Bush Administration on plans for
the post-war future of Iraq. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was particularly
active in trying to obtain credible reconstruction costs from Bush Administration
officials. On April 20, 2003, Chairman Richard Lugar commented on the NBC News
program “Meet the Press” that it could take at least five years to create a functioning
democracy in Iraq. In addition, many analysts believe that the costs of rebuilding Iraq
will require Congress to appropriate additional funds in the future. In testimony
before Congress, Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator of the United States Agency for
International Development, remarked that supplemental funding for Iraq’s
reconstruction will not carry very far into fiscal year 2004.18 Many believe that
international organizations and foreign governments should make considerable
17 Senator Biden had introduced a similar bill in the 107th Congress. It also was passed in the
18 “Officials Argue for Fast U.S. Exit from Iraq,” Washington Post, April 21, 2003.
contributions to the post-war rebuilding effort. At the international level, several
Members submitted a letter to President Bush, expressing their support for widening
the role of the international community in helping to rebuild Iraq. The letter noted
that by engaging the United Nations in the immediate aftermath of the war, the
United States could help bridge rifts in our international relationships while
“strengthening ties with our allies as we continue in the war against international
terrorism.”19 Overall, Congress recognized that, following the downfall of Saddam
Hussein’s regime, significant portions of Iraq will be dependent on humanitarian aid
from the United States and the international community, as well as significant
numbers of police and military forces to maintain civil order. However, lawmakers
have questioned how long Iraq will require U.S. assistance, and how much assistance
will need to be provided.
CRS Current Legislative Issues, Iraq-U.S. Confrontation: Legislation in the 108th
CRS Report RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations for FY2003: Iraq Conflict,
Afghanistan, Global War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
CRS Report RS21324, Iraq: A Compilation of Legislation Enacted and Resolutions
Adopted, 1990 - 2003.
Issues for Congress
Steve Bowman, 7-7613
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
All organized Iraqi military resistance has ceased, and coalition forces are in
control of all major cities and oilfields. The operations of the U.S. Central Command
(CENTCOM), which has overseen the war in Iraq, are now focused on establishing
public order, restoring basic services in urban areas, tracking down former regime
leadership members, and locating chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
CENTCOM has created three command regions, roughly centered on Mosul (north),
Baghdad (central), and Basra (south). Retired Army Major General Jay Garner, head
of DOD’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, has arrived in Iraq
and begun his initial tours of the region. Until Baghdad is more stabilized, Garner
and his upporting personnel will be based in the south of Iraq.
19 Letter to the President of the United States, March 27, 2003.
Figure 2. Map of Iraq
In the Iraq campaign, CENTCOM pursued a strategy of rapid advance, by-
passing urban centers when possible, pausing only when encountering Iraqi
resistance. CENTCOM spokesmen generally characterized Iraqi resistance as
sporadic and uncohesive. Oilfields and port facilities have been secured, as have air
bases in northern and western Iraq. Though a few oil wells were set afire, all fires
were quelled, and there has been no widespread environmental sabotage. Allied
forces did not encounter the mass surrenders characteristic of the 1991 campaign;
however DOD reports that over 6,500 Iraqis have been taken prisoner, and believes
that many more simply deserted their positions. Iraqi paramilitary forces, particularly
the Saddam Fedayeen, engaged in guerrilla-style attacks from urban centers in the
rear areas, but did not inflict significant damage. Nevertheless, greater attention than
anticipated had to be paid to protecting extended supply lines and securing urban
centers, particularly around an-Nasiriyah and Najaf, and in the British sector around
Umm Qasr and Basra. The anticipated support for the invasion from the Shiia
population in southern Iraq was slow in developing, but now some cooperation is
forthcoming throughout Iraq, despite some outbreaks of factional fighting and some
popular opposition to the U.S. presence.
Without permission to use Turkish territory, CENTCOM was unable to carry
out an early ground offensive in Northern Iraq. However, Special Operations forces,
the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and air-lifted U.S. armor, operating with Kurdish
irregulars seized Mosul and Kirkuk. Cooperation with Kurdish militias in the north
has been excellent. Even a mistaken airstrike against a Kurdish vehicle convoy,
killing or wounding senior Kurdish leaders, did not adversely affect this cooperation.
The situation in the north could potentially be complicated by the Turkish desire to
possibly augment the 8,000+ troops it has had stationed in Kurdish-held territory in
order to block possible Kurdish refugees and influence the accommodations made
to the Kurds in a post-conflict Iraq. Turkish miliary spokesmen have indicated that
no additional Turkish forces will move into Iraq at this time. The United States has
assured Turkey that the Kurdish forces involved in seizing Mosul and Kirkuk will be
withdrawn and replaced with U.S. troops.
With the onset of widespread looting and some breakdown of public services
(electricity, water) in the cities, coalition forces are confronted with the challenges
of restoring public order and infrastructure. Though U.S. forces have come under
some criticism for not having done more to prevent looting, the transition from
combat to police roles is a difficult one, particularly when an important objective is
winning popular support. Harsh reactions risk alienation of the population, yet
inaction reduces confidence in the ability of coalition forces to maintain order. The
situation is further complicated by continuing small-scale attacks on coalition troops
in relatively secure areas. Increased patrols, the return of many Iraqi policemen to
duty, and the emergence of civilian “watch groups” are assisting what appears to be
a natural abatement of looting. Coalition forces will also have to ensure that
factional violence and retribution against former government supporters do not derail
The United States continues to introduce new ground force units in the Persian
Gulf region, while withdrawing some air and naval units. The Department of
Defense has released limited official information on these deployments; but press
leaks have been extensive, allowing a fairly good picture of the troop movements
underway. The statistics provided below, unless otherwise noted, are not confirmed
by DOD and should be considered approximate. The number of U.S. personnel
deployed to the Persian Gulf region (both ashore and afloat) reportedly exceeds
Additional units that have been alerted for deployment, and elements of which
have begun to transit, include the 1st Armored Division, and 1st Mechanized
Division. The 4th Mechanized Infantry Division, originally intended to attack
through Turkey, has arrived in Iraq and deployed north of Baghdad. The 101st
Airborne (Air Assault) Division has also deployed to positions within Iraq. Some
airborne elements ( 173rd Airborne Brigade) have moved into positions in northern
Iraq, and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment has started deployment from the United
States. The U.S. has withdrawn two carrier battle groups, leaving three in the region,
and has ceased Operation Northern Watch that enforced the no-fly zone in northern
Iraq. Air Force units throughout the theater are also beginning to re-deploy to home
In addition to U.S. deployments, British forces include an armor Battle Group,
a naval Task Force (including Royal Marines), and Royal Air Force units, totaling
reportedly about 47,000 personnel.20 Australia has deployed approximately 2,000
personnel, primarily special operations forces operating in western Iraq. Poland has
approximately 200 special operations troops augmenting British forces in the Basra
region. DOD has announced that, as of April 16, 2003, more than 223,000 National
Guard and Reservists from all services are now called to active duty.21 DOD has not
indicated which of these personnel are being deployed to the Persian Gulf region and
how many will be “backfilling” positions of active duty personnel in the United
States, Europe, and elsewhere. (See below, Burden Sharing.)
The United States has personnel and materiel deployed in the Persian Gulf states
of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Though
there had been speculation about what level of cooperation/participation could be
expected from these nations if the United Nations Security Council did not pass
another resolution specifically authorizing the use of force against Iraq, throughout
the conflict they continued to support U.S. military operations. Because of
significant popular opposition to this support in some countries, governments have
sought to minimize public acknowledgment of their backing. U.S. and Australian
forces, both ground and air, deployed from Jordan and secured Iraqi military facilities
in the western part of the country.
Only the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland offered combat force
contributions. Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine have military
nuclear-chemical-biological (NBC) defense teams in Kuwait, but these will not enter
Iraq. The United States is actively seeking military forces from other countries to
assist in the post-conflict stabilization effort. To date, the following additional
countries have indicated a willingness to participate: Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech
Republic, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Turkey.
As military operations shift from combat to stabilization, the issues that move
to center stage are how many ground forces will be required to maintain order while
the reconstruction of the Iraqi state is undertaken and how long this process will take.
There has been no consensus on either of these issues. Estimates of troop
requirements have ranged from 75,000 to over 200,000, and estimates for the length
of the operation have ranged from several months to a decade. The key element, and
currently the most unpredictable, is the willingness of the Iraqi population to
cooperate not only with coalition forces but also among themselves.
20 British Ministry of Defense web site: [http://www.operations.mod.uk/telic/forces.htm].
21 Department of Defense news release, April 2, 2003.
CRS Report RL31701. Iraq: U.S. Military Operations.
CRS Report RL31763. Iraq: Summary of U.S. Forces.
CRS Report RL31682. The Military Draft and a Possible War with Iraq.
CRS Report RL31641. Iraqi Challenges and U.S. Military Responses: March 1991
through October 2002.
Raymond W. Copson, 7-7661
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
The March 17, 2003 announcement by the United States, Britain, and Spain that
they were withdrawing their proposed “second resolution” at the United Nations
Security Council (see above, Background), was followed that evening by President
Bush’s nationwide address giving Saddam Hussein an ultimatum to flee or risk
military conflict. These events marked the end of a major U.S. diplomatic effort to
win the support of a Security Council majority for action against Iraq.
Relations with European Allies. The end of the diplomatic phase of the
confrontation left a bitter aftermath among many U.S. officials and the European
opponents of the U.S. and British intervention. After the war was launched on March
be justified in any way.” German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said “A bad
decision was taken: the choice of the logic of war has won over the chances for23
peace.” French President Jacques Chirac, as expected, was also highly critical. As
the war went forward, however, European rhetoric moderated as leaders sought to
avoid deepening the rift with the United States. Chancellor Schroeder and French
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin both said that they were hoping for a U.S.
victory and the early installation of a democratic regime in Iraq, while President Putin
affirmed that Russia wanted to continue to work with the United States to resolve24
world problems. President Chirac telephoned President Bush on April 15,
reportedly saying he was pleased with Saddam’s overthrow and that the war had been25
short and offering to be pragmatic about arrangements for postwar reconstruction.
U.S. leaders also took steps to ease tensions with the Europeans. President Bush
22 “Wave of Protests, From Europe to New York,” New York Times, March 21, 2003.
23 “War on Iraq a Bad Decision, Must End Soon: Germany’s Schroeder,” Agence France-
Presse, March 20, 2003.
24 “Germany, France Finesse Anti-war Stance as Saddam Crumbles,” Agence France-Presse,
April 5, 2003; “Russia to Work with U.S. to Resolve Crises,” Agence France-Presse,” April
25 “Chirac Calls “Bush as France Seeks to Mend Relations; Strains Remain Despite
Overtures,” Washington Post, April 16, 2003.
telephoned Putin on April 5, and the two leaders agreed on continued dialog with
respect to Iraq.26 Earlier, Secretary of State Powell attended a meeting of European
foreign ministers in Brussels, where the atmosphere was described as “relatively
Role of the United Nations. The wounds of the Iraq debate remain
nonetheless, and further diplomatic complications seem possible, particularly with
respect to the United Nations role in post-war Iraq. These complications could
extend even to U.S.-British relations, since Prime Minister Blair is a leading advocate
of a major U.N. role, whereas U.S. officials seem to favor confining the U.N. to
humanitarian relief operations. The British government reportedly had favored the
appointment of a U.N. special coordinator for Iraq, who would oversee the creation
of an interim authority consisting of Iraqis, the drafting of a new constitution, and an
eventual handover to an Iraqi government.28 However, statements by U.S. officials,
including Secretary Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz indicate that they foresee the United States29
orchestrating these events. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair discussed the
issue during their summit on Belfast on April 7-8, and the President affirmed that the
United Nations had a “vital role” to play in post-war Iraq. Wolfowitz, however,
testified on April 10, that the U.N. “can’t be the managing partner. It can’t be in30
The European critics of the U.S. and British intervention, by contrast, advocate
a “central role” for the United Nations in administering Iraq and in overseeing a31
transition to a democratic regime. On April 11, 2003, after a meeting in St.
Petersburg, Schroeder, Putin, and Chirac affirmed that they were glad the Saddam
dictatorship had been overthrown, but insisted that Iraq should be rebuilt through a
broad-based effort under U.N. control.32 On April 17, the European Union also
called for a “central role” for the U.N. during a summit meeting in Athens attended
by both supporters and critics of the war. According to the statement, the U.N.33
should be involved in the process leading to self government in Iraq. Many in
Europe see a U.N. administration as essential to legitimizing whatever government
26 “Putin and Bush Agree on Need for Russian-American Dialog,” Agence France-Presse,
April 5, 2003.
27 “Powell and Europeans See U.N. Role in Iraq,” New York Times, April 4, 2003.
28 “Bush Flies in for War Talks,” BBC News, April 7, 2003; “Britain Offers Plan for U.N.’s
Postwar Role,” Washington Post, April 5, 2003.
29 “U.N. Role in Postwar Government Debated,” Washington Post, April 7, 2003; “U.S.
Won’t Install Iraqi Expatriates,” Washington Post, April 5, 2003. However, some Powell
statements suggest that he might want a larger role for the United Nations in Iraq than others
in the Administration. “Powell Sees Major Role for U.N. in Postwar Iraq,” New York Times,
March 29, 2003.
30 “U.S. to Recruit Iraqi Civilians to Interim Posts,” New York Times, April 11, 2003.
31 “U.S., U.N. in a Cautious Dance,” Washington Post, April 12, 2003.
32 “Anti-War Trio Says Iraq’s Future is What Counts,” Washington Post, April 12, 2003.
33 “International Organizations Must Play Role in Iraq, EU Says,” Reuters, April 17, 2003.
emerges in Iraq, and many also want to assure that their governments and the
European private sector participate through the United Nations in the recovery and
reconstruction of Iraq. A similar debate could also occur over the extension of the
Oil-for Food Program, which under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1472 remains
under U.N. administration until May 12, 2003. France, Russia, and Germany want
this arrangement to continue, but some in the Bush Administration favor U.S.
management of Iraq’s oil exports.34 (For more information, see below, Post-war
Governance Issues and Humanitarian Issues.)
President Bush, speaking in St. Louis on April 16, called for all U.N. sanctions
against Iraq to be lifted, and some observers are expecting this appeal to lead to
further diplomatic complications. Ending the sanctions would likely mean ending
the Oil-for-Food Program and remove any rationale for U.N. weapons inspectors to
return to Iraq to verify the destruction of weapons of mass destruction. Both the Oil-
for-Food Program and the weapons inspections gave the Europeans a voice in the
Iraq situation through the United Nations, and European firms benefitted from
contracts made under the Oil-for-Food Program. Consequently, European
governments may oppose the early lifting of sanctions, but this is not yet certain.
Debate on Improving Relations. How heavily the United States should
invest in achieving compromise with European allies on these and other issues is an
issue in debate. Some see little value in mending relations with European critics of
the war on grounds that the capabilities of their countries for contributing to global35
threat reduction are limited. In this view, Atlantic cooperation and multilateral
approaches to world problems may have played a useful role during the Cold War,
but today may restrict the ability of the United States to respond to the threats it
faces. There is concern that President Chirac in particular may see it as the role of
France and the European Union (EU) to “balance” and constrain U.S. power, so that
any U.S. move to compromise with European critics could play into this objective36
and damage U.S. interests. The counter-view is that the controversy over Iraq has
placed great strains on the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union –
international institutions that many see as important components of global stability
in the years ahead. From this perspective, healing relations with European critics of
the United States can reduce tensions within these organizations and help them to
recover.37 Moreover, some maintain that the United States will have an easier time
of achieving its objectives in world affairs generally if it is regarded as a friendly and
cooperative country by Europeans and others. Specifically, some note that a major
EU financial contribution to the recovery of Iraq or to the resolution of other world
34 “U.S., Allies Clash Over Plan to Use Iraqi Oil Profits for Rebuilding,” Washington Post,
April 3, 2003.
35 For a recent review of arguments on this point and other aspects of the U.S.-European
relationship, see Richard Lambert, “Misunderstanding Each Other,” Foreign Affairs,
36 Timothy Garton Ash, “The War After War with Iraq,” New York Times, March 20, 2003.
See also, Charles Krauthammer, “Don’t Go Back to the U.N.,” Washington Post, March 21,
37 Richard Bernstein, “Hyper Power,” New York Times Week in Review, March 23, 2003.
problems is more likely if U.S. relations with Germany and France improve. These
two countries are central EU financial backers. Those who favor greater
understanding of European positions point out that many European countries have
significant Muslim populations and see developments in the nearby Middle East as
directly affecting their security interests.
Use of Diplomatic Instruments in Support of the War. With the onset
of war, the United States asked countries having diplomatic relations with Iraq to
close Iraqi embassies, freeze their assets, and expel Iraqi diplomats. U.S. officials
argued that the regime in Iraq would soon change and that the new government
would be appointing new ambassadors. Press reports suggest that the U.S. request
met with a mixed response. Australia did expel Iraqi diplomats and close the
embassy, while a number of other countries expelled individual diplomats suspected
of espionage and left embassies open. Some countries explicitly refused the U.S.38
request. On March 20, 2003, President Bush issued an executive order confiscating
Iraqi assets, frozen since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, for use for humanitarian
purposes. The United States asked other countries holding Iraqi assets to do the
same, but this request too seems to have met with a mixed response to date.39
U.S. policymakers are concerned that Turkey might send a large number of
troops into northern Iraq, but have been successful in using diplomatic means to
prevent this from happening. Turkey fears that any drive by Iraqi Kurds toward
independence would encourage Kurdish separatists in Turkey, but fighting between
Turks and Kurds in northern Iraq would greatly complicate U.S. efforts to stabilize
the country. Turks also worry that Turkmen in northern Iraq, regarded as ethnic kin,
will be persecuted by Kurds. President Bush warned Turkey not to come into40
northern Iraq on March 24. Secretary of State Powell visited Turkey on April 2,
2003, and an agreement was reached permitting Turkey to send a small monitoring
team into northern Iraq to assure that conditions did not develop that might compel
Turkey to intervene. Turkey also agreed that nonlethal supplies for U.S. troops in41
Iraq would be permitted to transit Turkey. To date, Turkey seems to be accepting
assurances that Kurdish guerrillas who entered the cities of Kirkuk and Mosul will
Finally, U.S. officials applied firm diplomatic pressure to end any foreign
support for the Iraqi war effort. The U.S. government delivered a protest to the
38 “World Governments Snub U.S. Requests to Expel Iraqi Diplomats,” Agence France-
Presse, March 21, 2003. See also, “Switzerland Rejects U.S. Request to Expel Iraqi
Diplomats, Shut Embassy,” Associated Press March 26, 2003; “Three Iraqi Diplomats
Ordered to Leave Turkey within a Week,” Agence France-Presse, April 6, 2003; and
“Cabinet Says No to Bush on Iraq Envoys,” Business Day (South Africa), April 3, 2003.
39 “Swiss Signal No Need Yet to Freeze Iraqi Assets,” Agence France-Presse, March 21,
2003. Switzerland, however, may release funds to a future Iraqi authority for post-war
recovery. See “Swiss to Free Iraqi Funds for Rebuilding,” Daily News, March 25, 2003.
40 “U.S. Special Envoy in Turkey,”Associated Press, March 24, 2003; “Turkey Says it
Won’t Send More Troops into Iraq,” New York Times, March 26, 2003.
41 “Powell Patches Things Up as Turkey Consents to Help,” New York Times, April 3, 2003.
government of Russia for failing to prevent Russian firms from selling military
equipment to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions. The sales reportedly
included electronic jamming equipment and night vision goggles. On March 28,
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld accused the Syrian government of “hostile acts”for the
delivery of military goods, including night vision goggles, across the Syrian border
to Iraq, and said that the passage of armed Iraqi opposition elements from Iran into
Iraq was a threat to U.S. forces. These opposition forces, known as the Badr Brigade,
oppose Saddam Hussein, but U.S. officials fear they could sow disunity in post-war
Iraq. The warnings against Syria intensified on April 13, when President Bush
accused Syria of harboring leaders of the Saddam regime and of possessing chemical
weapons, while Defense Secretary Rumsfeld charged that Syria was allowing
busloads of mercenaries to cross into Iraq to attack American troops.42 On April 14,
Secretary Powell threatened diplomatic, economic, or other economic sanctions
against Syria. However, tensions with Syria eased considerably on April 20, when
President Bush said that he was confident the Syrian government had heard U.S.
warnings and wanted to cooperate.43
Use of Diplomatic Means to Promote Iraq’s Recovery. Secretary of the
Treasury John Snow is heading an effort to persuade the international financial
community, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to
support the rebuilding of Iraq. On April 12, Snow reported that representatives of the
G-7 industrialized nations had reached a preliminary agreement on multilateral effort
to help Iraq after a meeting in Washington – if the U.N. Security Council grants
authorization. Efforts to persuade governments to forgive debt owed by Iraq are
facing difficulties, however. Russia, which is owed a reported $8 billion by Iraq and
is heavily in debt itself, seems particularly resistant.44
CRS Report RL31843, Iraq: Foreign Stances Toward U.S. Policy.
CRS Report RL31794, Iraq: Turkey and the Deployment of U.S. Forces.
CRS Report RS21462, Russia and the Iraq Crisis.
CRS Report RS21323, The United Nations Security Council – Its Role in the Iraq
Crisis: A Brief Overview, by Marjorie M. Browne.
42 “Bush Demands Cooperation from Syrians,” New York Times, April 14, 2003.
43 “Bush Now Says He Believes Syria Wants to Cooperate,” New York Times, April 21,
44 “G-7 Agrees that Iraq Needs Help with Debt,” Washington Post, April 13, 2003; “Help
is Tied to Approval by the U.N., “Anti-War Trio Says Iraq’s Future is What Counts,”
Washington Post, April 12, 2003.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Issues
Sharon Squassoni, 7-7745
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, along with its long-
range missile development and alleged support for terrorism, were the justifications
put forward for forcibly disarming Iraq. However, weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) were not used by Iraqi forces and U.S. forces did not discover any WMD
during the war. General Amir Saadi, Sadaam Hussein’s top scientific advisor,
reiterated on April 12, as he gave himself up, that Iraq did not possess WMD; but few
observers find his assertions credible. However, it is not clear whether there are any
remaining WMD for post-war inspections to find, given at least one report by an Iraqi
scientist that Hussein ordered the destruction of WMD prior to the war. Many
observers believe it critical for the United States to find evidence of WMD to justify
invading Iraq, but some have suggested public support at home and abroad does not
depend on discoveries of WMD.45 If WMD are found, many analysts believe that
international verification will be necessary.46
Iraq’s Deployable Weapons of Mass Destruction? U.S. intelligence
reports suggested that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons dispersed,
armed, and ready to be fired, with established command and control.47 Some
observers suggested that U.S. forces toppled Iraq’s military command structure and
with it, the authorization to use such weapons. Others suggested that Iraq had few
incentives to use such weapons, for several reasons: they would have had limited
military utility against U.S. forces, which moved fast; Iraq had few delivery options,
given U.S. and allied command of the air; and the use of such weapons would have
turned world opinion against Iraq.48 Many believed the threat of WMD use would
increase the closer U.S. forces got to Baghdad, and then decrease once they were in
the city (presumably because of collateral effects).
The Search for WMD. Many observers believed U.S. forces would quickly
find Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Despite misleading reports of chemical
weapons discoveries, U.S. forces, at this writing, have not located WMD or WMD-
related sites. Although it appeared that U.S. forces at an Iraqi military compound at
Albu Muhawish were exposed to nerve agents, later tests indicated that they were
exposed to chemical pesticides. A report about medium-range missiles potentially
containing sarin and mustard gas was not verified by the Pentagon or CENTCOM.
45 “U.S. Has 2 Chemical-Arms Issues: Finding Them, Convincing World,” Wall Street
Journal, April 8, 2003; “‘Smoking Gun’ May Not Affect World’s Opinion,” Christian
Science Monitor, April 9, 2003.
46 “In Search of Horror Weapons,” New York Times, April 8, 2003.
47 “Intelligence Suggests Hussein Allowed Chemical-Weapon Use,” Wall Street Journal,
March 24, 2003.
48 “Iraq’s WMD: How Big A Threat?” Time, March 27, 2003. One former UNSCOM
inspector noted that 70% of Iraq’s declared and suspected WMD were designed to be
delivered by aircraft, yet the Iraqi Air Force was virtually eliminated in the first Gulf War
As in the U.N. inspections, a key to unlocking Iraq’s WMD past may be
interviews with 3000 former weapons experts. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld stated
that “The U.N. inspectors didn’t find anything and I doubt that we will. What we
will do is find the people who will tell us.”49 On April 12, as noted above, General
Saadi, a key figure in Iraq’s chemical weapons program, surrendered to U.S. forces;
Dr. Jaffar Jaffar, head of the nuclear program, was located a few days later in an
undisclosed country. On April 16, U.S. forces reportedly raided the home of Iraq’s
head biological weapons scientist, Dr. Rihab Taha. On April 17, a scientist involved
in the chemical weapons program, told U.S. forces that Iraq destroyed chemical
weapons and biowarfare equipment days before the war began.50 Interviewing these
and other scientists and examining documents for evidence will likely take time
before conclusions can be drawn. If they fear being prosecuted for war crimes,
scientists may be less forthcoming.
The Army’s 75th Exploitation Task Force has been leading teams of weapons
experts to hunt on the ground for WMD. These teams include former United Nations
inspectors and U.S. civilian and military personnel. According to one report, the
teams will be focusing on 36 priority sites of a potential 1000 sites.51 The task force
reportedly will come under the command of a much larger Iraq Survey Group, which
will be comprised of about 1000 civilian scientists, technicians, intelligence analysts
and other experts led by a U.S. general.52
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been negotiating contracts
with private companies to destroy WMD stocks that are found. This approach
contrasts sharply with the 1991 Gulf War experience. In that war, first U.S. air
strikes and then ground forces destroyed significant portions of Iraq’s WMD and
WMD capabilities. Air strikes were able to target well-known chemical weapon and
missile capabilities, in contrast to lesser known biological or nuclear capabilities.53
Inadvertent destruction of WMD could pose environmental and safety issues, should
it occur. During the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. and coalition forces destroyed warehouses
that contained chemical warheads, including at the Khamisiyah site, and a
Department of Defense investigation concluded that as many as 100,000 U.S.
personnel could have been affected by environmental releases.54 According to one
report, the United States’ nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) units “have made
major advancements since the Persian Gulf War of 1991,” when Czech NBC units
detected sarin and mustard gas, but American detection units could not verify the
49 “U.S. To Step Up Its Search For Banned Arms, Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2003.
50 “Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, An Iraqi Scientist is Said to Assert,” New York Times,
April 21, 2003.
51 “U.S. Search for Illegal Arms Narrowed to About 36 Sites,” New York Times, April 14,
52 “U.S. Readies a Different Army to Search for Weapons in Iraq,” Wall Street Journal,
April 17, 2003.
53 See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Institute for Strategic Studies,
September 2002, for further detail.
results.55 The impact of potential inadvertent destruction would depend on what kind
of WMD is present (e.g., biological weapons pose fewer problems in destruction than
chemical weapons, because dispersal is less likely and they do not require such high
temperatures for destruction); how the material or weapons are stored; and
geographic, geological, and temporal circumstances.
Role for U.N. Inspectors? From November 2002 to March 2003, the United
Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted approximately 750
inspections at 550 sites. Those inspections uncovered relatively little: empty
chemical weapons shells not previously declared; two R-400 aerial bombs at a site
where Iraq unilaterally destroyed BW-filled aerial bombs; 2,000 pages of undeclared
documents on uranium enrichment; undeclared remotely piloted vehicles; and cluster
bombs that could be used with chemical or biological agents. As a result of the
inspections, however, Iraq destroyed 70 (of a potential 100-120) Al-Samoud-2
missiles. On the eve of war, about 200 U.N. staff left Iraq. UNMOVIC’s Executive
Chairman Dr. Hans Blix expressed disappointment at the unfinished job of the
inspectors. Thus far, the U.N. has not been asked to help verify whatever WMD U.S.
forces might uncover.
Reportedly, the White House is considering international verification of what
it finds in Iraq, but this may not include U.N. inspectors. Blix, who has stated he will
retire in June 2003 at the end of his contract, has said UNMOVIC would not accept
“being led, as a dog” to sites that allied forces choose to display.56 U.N. officials
hope to revive a role for U.N. inspectors; U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, has
stated that inspectors will return after the war. At a minimum, the IAEA will conduct
inspections per Iraq’s nuclear safeguards agreement under the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty. A post-Hussein Iraq might consent to sign and ratify the
Chemical Weapons Convention, but there are no equivalent international inspection
regimes for biological weapons or missiles at present.57 Some have suggested that
the United States, if it took possession of Iraq’s chemical weapons, would be bound,
as a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, to allow international inspections58
of destruction. The world community’s confidence in Iraq’s disarmament, and
hence, the necessity for an ongoing monitoring regime, may depend on the level of
verifiable disarmament during and after the war, and on the assurances of the future
leaders of Iraq.
55 “Toxin Specialists Can Aid, Not Invade,” Washington Times, March 21, 2003.
56 “U.S.-Led Covert Searches Yield No Banned Weapons,” Washington Post, March 30,
57 The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which Iraq has ratified, has no associated
inspection regime at the present time.
58 “U.S. May Have to Allow Others to Inspect Iraqi Arms,” New York Times, April 14, 2003.
CRS Issue Brief IB92117, Iraq: Weapons Threat, Compliance, Sanctions, and U.S.
CRS Report RL31671, Iraq: U.N. Inspections for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Post-War Governance Issues
Kenneth Katzman, 7-7612
(Last updated April 21, 2003)
The same U.S. concerns about fragmentation and instability in a post-Saddam
Iraq that surfaced in prior administrations were present in the Bush Administration
debates over post-war policy in Iraq. One of the concerns cited by the George H.W.
Bush Administration for ending the 1991 Gulf war before ousting Saddam was that
a post-Saddam Iraq could dissolve into chaos. It was feared that the ruling Sunni
Muslims, the majority but under-represented Shiites, and the Kurds would fight each
other, and open Iraq to influence from neighboring Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Because
of the complexities of various post-war risks to stability in Iraq and the region, some
observers believed that post-war Iraq might most effectively be governed by a
military or Baath Party figure who is not necessarily committed to full democracy but
would comply with applicable U.N. resolutions. However, no such figure stepped
forward to offer to play a leadership role.
Administration Policy on Governance. Although the Administration
wanted to keep much of the civilian bureaucracy of the former regime intact, the
Administration has long insisted that it will do what is necessary to bring about a
stable and democratic successor regime that complies with all applicable U.N.
resolutions. In press interviews on April 6, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz indicated that the Administration hoped to turn post-war governance over
to an Iraqi interim administration within six months. Experts note that all
projections, including the duration of the U.S. military occupation and the numbers
of occupation troops, could be determined by the amount of Iraqi resistance, if any,
the number of U.S. casualties taken, and the speed with which a successor regime
is chosen. The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Eric Shinseki, told the Senate
Armed Services Committee on February 24, 2003, that as many as 200,000 U.S.
troops might be needed for a postwar occupation, although other Administration
officials, including Wolfowitz, disputed the Shinseki assessment.
Under plans formulated before hostilities began, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner (ret.) is
directing civilian reconstruction, working through a staff of U.S. diplomats and other
U.S. government personnel who will serve as advisers and administrators in Iraq’s
various ministries. He heads the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian
Assistance, within the Department of Defense, created by a January 20, 2003
executive order. After spending the combat phase of the war in neighboring Kuwait,
Garner and some of his staff of about 200 deployed to Baghdad on April 21, 2003,
to begin work. During the interim period, the United States goals are to eliminate
remaining WMD and terrorist cells in Iraq, begin economic reconstruction, and purge
Baath Party leaders. Iraq’s oil industry is to be rebuilt and upgraded.
The exact nature of post-war governance might depend on the outcome of
discussions between the United States and its European allies over a U.N. role in
post-war Iraq, which was the focus of President Bush’s meeting in Belfast with
British Prime Minister Blair on April 7 and 8, 2003. Britain and most European
countries believe that the Iraqi people would more easily accommodate to a U.N.-
administered post-war Iraq. Senior U.S. officials, with the reported exception of
Secretary of State Powell, want to keep the U.N. role limited to humanitarian relief
and economic reconstruction, reserving most decisions about a post-war Iraqi power
structure to the United States and Britain. U.S. officials want a new U.N. Security
Council resolution that would endorse a new government, and, with U.S. support,
Secretary-General Annan said on April 7 that he was appointing a U.N. coordinator,
Pakistani diplomat Rafeuddin Ahmed, to run U.N. operations in Iraq. However,
U.S. officials note that some of the countries that opposed the war might object to
adopting a resolution that they believe might legitimize a U.S.-British occupation.
(For further discussion, see above, Diplomatic Issues.)
Establishing an Interim Administration. Those Iraqi groups who were
opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein, including those groups most closely
associated with the United States, generally oppose a direct role for U.S. officials in
running a post-war Iraqi government. The opposition groups, including the U.S.-
backed Iraqi National Congress, fear that the Administration might yield substantial
power to former Baath Party members. The opposition met in northern Iraq in late
February 2003 to plan its involvement in a post-Saddam regime. At that meeting,
against U.S. urging, the opposition named a six-man council to prepare for a
transition government: Iraqi National Congress director Ahmad Chalabi; Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani; Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Masud
Barzani; Shiite Muslim leader Mohammad Baqr Al Hakim, who heads the Iran-
backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI); Iraq National
Accord leader Iyad Alawi; and former Iraqi foreign minister Adnan Pachachi. After
the fall of the regime, these leaders appeared to be competing for power in post-war
Iraq rather than cooperating.
The Bush Administration asserted that it wants Iraqis who stayed in Iraq and
were not part of the exiled opposition to participate in an interim government, and
that it would not play a major role in choosing who leads Iraq next. However, the
U.S. military airlifted about 700 opposition fighters (Free Iraqi Forces), led by INC
leader Ahmad Chalabi, into the Nasiriyah area on April 6, 2003, appearing to give
him and the INC an endorsement for key roles in an interim government. Chalabi
and some of the Free Iraqi Forces subsequently went to Baghdad to help U.S. forces
restore civil order after the regime fell. The Administration organized an April 15
meeting, in Nasiriyah, to begin a process of selecting an interim administration.
However, SCIRI, along with several Shiite clerics that have appropriated authority
throughout much of southern Iraq since the fall of the regime, boycotted the meeting
and called for an Islamic state and the withdrawal of U.S. forces. At the same time,
some recent violence in the Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq, including the early April
killing of prominent cleric Abd al-Majid Khoi, could be connected with a jockeying
for power within the Shiite community, and between it and other contenders.
Reconstruction and Oil Industry Issues. It is widely assumed that Iraq’s
vast oil reserves, believed second only to those of Saudi Arabia, will be used to fund
reconstruction. Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said on February 18, 2003,
referring to Iraq’s oil reserves, that Iraq has “a variety of means ... to shoulder much
of the burden for [its] own reconstruction.” U.S.-led forces have secured all of
Iraq’s oil fields, and, contrary to what was feared, only about nine oil wells were set
on fire by the retreating regime. All fires have been extinguished. The remaining
problems for the United States and Britain are to get Iraqi oil workers to return to
work and to establish a successor government with legal authority to contract for
sales of Iraq’s oil to international buyers. Press reports on April 14, 2003 said the
United States is considering former senior Iraqi oil professional Fadhil Othman to be
an interim oil minister, reportedly with some oversight by a U.S. oil administrative
A related issue is long-term development of Iraq’s oil industry, and which
foreign energy firms, if any, might receive preference for contracts to explore Iraq’s
vast reserves. Russia, China, and others are said to fear that the United States will
seek to develop Iraq’s oil industry with minimal participation of firms from other
countries. Some press reports suggest the Administration is planning to exert such
control,59 although some observers speculate that the Administration had initially
sought to create such an impression in order to persuade Russia to support use of
force against Iraq.
Continuation of the Oil-for-Food Program/U.N. Sanctions. Before the
war, about 60% of Iraqis received all their foodstuffs from the U.N.-supervised Oil-
for-Food Program. The program, which is an exception to the comprehensive U.N.
embargo on Iraq put in place after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, began operations in
December 1996. It was suspended just before hostilities began, when U.N. staff in
Iraq that run the various aspects of the program departed Iraq. At the time the war
started, about $9 billion worth of humanitarian goods were in the process of being
delivered or in production. On March 28, 2003, the U.N. Security Council
unanimously adopted Resolution 1472 that restarted the program’s operations and
empowered the United Nations, for a 45-day period, to take direct control of all
aspects of the program. Under the resolution, the United Nations set priorities for
and directed the delivery of already-contracted supplies. On April 17, 2003,
President Bush called for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Iraq that, if
implemented by the United Nations, would presumably lead to a phasing out of the
oil-for-food program in favor of normal international commerce with Iraq. In an
FY2003 supplemental appropriation (P.L. 107-11), Congress has given the President
the authority to suspend most U.S. sanctions in place against Iraq.
59 “After Saddam, an Uncertain Future,” Insight Magazine, February 3, 2003.
CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime.
CRS Report RL31585, Possible U.S. Military Intervention in Iraq: Some Economic
CRS Report RS21404, U.S. Occupation of Iraq? Issues Raised by Experiences in
Japan and Germany.
Carl Ek (7-7286)
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
In November 2002, the U.S. government reportedly contacted the governments
of 50 countries with specific requests for assistance in a war with Iraq. On March 18,
2003, the Administration released a list of 30 countries that had publicly stated their
support for U.S. efforts to disarm Iraq, and Secretary of State Powell said that 15
other countries were giving private backing; according to the White House, the
number of countries publicly providing a range of types of support has since risen to
49. Nevertheless, only three countries supplied ground combat troops in significant
numbers– in contrast to the 1991 Gulf war when more than 30 countries provided
military support or to the 2002 campaign in Afghanistan, when 21 sent armed60
Political and Military Factors. On the international political front, analysts
contend that it was important for the United States to enlist allies in order to
demonstrate that it was not acting unilaterally–that its use of force to disarm Iraq had
been endorsed by a broad global coalition. Although the political leaders of some
Islamic countries were reportedly sympathetic to the Bush Administration’s aims,
they had to consider hostility to U.S. actions among their populations. Analysts have
suggested that some countries sided with the United States out of mixed motives;
former U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Robert
Hunter characterized the nations backing U.S. policy as “a coalition of the convinced,
the concerned, and the co-opted.”61 Some governments that provided support asked
that the Bush Administration remove their names from the coalition list.62
From a strictly military standpoint, active allied participation was not critical.
NATO invoked Article 5 (mutual defense) shortly after the September 11, 2001
attacks against the United States, but during the subsequent war in Afghanistan, the
United States initially relied mainly on its own military resources, accepting only
60 “Coalition: Only Three Allies Send Combat Troops,” Financial Times, March 18, 2003.
“The ‘Coalition of the Willing’ – How Willing and Why?, WMRC Daily Analysis, March
61 “U.S. Builds War Coalition With Favors – and Money,” USA Today, February 25, 2003.
62 “Coalition Members Redefine What They Are Willing To Do,” AP, March 28, 2003.
small contingents of special forces from a handful of other countries. Allied combat
and peacekeeping forces arrived in larger numbers only after the Taliban had been
defeated. Analysts speculate that the Administration chose to “go it alone” because
the unique nature of U.S. strategy, which entailed special forces ground units locating
and then calling in immediate air strikes against enemy targets, necessitated the
utmost speed in command and communications.63
An opposing view is that the United States lost an opportunity in Afghanistan
to lay the political groundwork for an allied coalition in the conflict against terrorism.
However, during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo in 1999, some U.S. policy-
makers complained that the requirement for allied consensus hampered the military
campaign with a time-consuming bombing target approval process. Another military
rationale for having primarily U.S. forces conduct operations against Iraq was that
few other countries possess the military capabilities (e.g., airborne refueling, air lift,
precision guided munitions, and night vision equipment) necessary for a high-tech
campaign designed to achieve victory with minimum Iraqi civilian and U.S.
Direct and Indirect Contributions. Britain, the only other country that had
warplanes patrolling the no-fly zones in Iraq, sent or committed 45,000 ground
troops, as well as air and naval forces, and Australia committed 2,000 special forces
troops, naval vessels, and fighter aircraft. Poland authorized 200 troops, including
both special forces and non-combat personnel. In a non-combat capacity, Denmark
sent two warships and a medical unit, South Korea approved the deployment of 700
engineers and medics, and Spain dispatched three naval vessels. Bulgaria, the Czech
Republic, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine pledged contingents of anti-64
chemical and -biological weapons specialists. Romania dispatched non-combat
troops (engineers, medics, and military police), and about 1,000 U.S. personnel were
stationed in ConstanÛa, which acted as an “air bridge” to the Persian Gulf. Japan,
constitutionally barred from sending ground troops, was reportedly prepared to help
in the disposal of chemical and biological weapons, and also reinforced its naval fleet
patrolling the Indian Ocean.65
Other forms of support were also valuable. For example, countries granted
overflight rights or back-filled for U.S. forces that might redeploy to Iraq from
Central Asia or the Balkans: Canada is planning on sending up to 3,000 troops to
Afghanistan, freeing up U.S. soldiers for Iraq. In addition, gaining permission to
launch air strikes from countries close to Iraq reduced the need for mid-air refueling,
allowed aircraft to re-arm sooner, and enabled planes to respond more quickly to
ground force calls for air strikes; several countries, including Djibouti, Ethiopia,
Kuwait, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Bulgaria allowed the use of their
airbases and seaports. At the Bush Administration’s request, Hungary approved the
63 “On Iraq, Can Too Many Troops Spoil A War?” Christian Science Monitor, January 22,
64 Bratislava and Washington reportedly discussed possible U.S. assistance in covering some
of the costs of Slovakia’s deployment, and the United States is partially financing a Czech
field hospital. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, February 26, 2003; April 10, 2003.
65 “We’ll Help, But um ... ah ...,” Economist, February 15, 2003.
use of its Taszar airbase for the training of Iraqi dissidents as non-combatant
interpreters and administrators; the initial plan was to train up to 3,000 Iraqi
expatriates, but on April 1 it was announced that the program had been suspended
after 100-150 had been trained.66
On January 15, the United States formally requested several measures of
assistance from the NATO allies, such as airborne warning and control systems
aircraft (AWACS), refueling, and overflight privileges; the request was deferred. On
February 10, France, Germany and Belgium vetoed U.S. and Turkish requests to
bolster Turkish defenses on the grounds that assent would implicitly endorse an
attack on Iraq; German Chancellor Schroeder sought to sharpen the distinction by
announcing that his government would provide defensive missiles and AWACS
crews to help protect Turkey on a bilateral basis. The impasse was broken by an
agreement over language indicating that such assistance “relates only to the defense
of Turkey” and would not imply NATO support for a military operation against
Iraq.67 Despite the compromise, many observers believe the temporary rift may have
lasting consequences for NATO. On April 16, NATO announced that, since Turkey
no longer believed itself to be threatened, the defensive missiles and surveillance
aircraft would be returned to their home bases.
The Bush Administration asked permission of the Turkish government to use
Turkish bases and ports and to move American troops through southeast Turkey to
establish a northern front against Iraq. The talks over troop access proceeded in
tandem with negotiations over a U.S. aid package.68 An initial agreement was struck,
permitting 62,000 U.S. troops in Turkey; in return, the United States would provide
$6 billion in assistance. On March 1, however, the Turkish parliament rejected the
deal by a three-vote margin. Prime Minister Erdogan urged Washington to wait, but
by March 18, the U.S. military cargo vessels that had been standing anchored off the
Turkish coast were steaming to the Gulf. On March 20, the Turkish parliament
authorized overflight rights but also agreed to send Turkish troops into Iraq, a move
opposed by the United States and other countries. After an early April visit by
Secretary Powell, it was announced that Turkey would permit the transshipment of
nonlethal military supplies and equipment to U.S. forces in Iraq. (See above,
Diplomatic Issues). Some Members of Congress criticized Turkey, claiming it
66 “Canada Will Send 3,000 on Afghan Mission” Toronto Globe and Mail, February 13,
Agence France Press, April 1, 2003.
67 NATO works on a consensus basis; France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg opposed
the initial U.S. request. “NATO Blocked on Iraq Decision,” Washington Post, January 23,
2003. At the end of January, however, eight European leaders signed an open letter
supporting U.S. efforts to disarm Iraq. “European Leaders Declare Support for U.S. on
Iraq,” Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2003. That statement was followed by a declaration
of support by the ten countries aspiring to join NATO. “Who Stands with U.S.? Europe Is
of Two Minds,” New York Times, January 31, 2003. “East Europeans Line Up Behind
Bush,” International Herald Tribune, February 6, 2003. “NATO Agrees to Begin Aid to
Turkey,” Washington Post, February 17, 2003.
68 Israel, Jordan, and Egypt also reportedly have requested U.S. aid to offset possible effects
of war. “Congress Questions Cost of War-Related Aid,” Washington Post, March 17, 2003.
sought to leverage U.S. strategic needs to squeeze aid out of Washington. However,
Turkish officials argued that more than 90% of their country’s population opposed
war and that Turkey suffered severe economic losses from the 1991 Gulf War.
Ankara also was concerned that the Iraq conflict might re-kindle efforts of Kurdish
separatists to carve out a Kurdish state; such a move would likely prompt Turkish
intervention. Finally, Turkey has sought assurances that Iraq’s 2-3 million ethnic
Turkmen would be able to play a post-war role in Iraq.69
In late February 2003, Jordan’s prime minister acknowledged the presence of
several hundred U.S. military personnel on Jordanian soil; the troops were reportedly
there to operate Patriot missile defense systems and to conduct search-and-rescue
missions; the deployment marked a reversal from Jordan’s neutral stance during the
1991 Gulf war.70 Egypt is permitting the U.S. military to use its airspace and the
Suez Canal. Although the Persian Gulf states generally opposed an attack on Iraq in
public statements, more than 225,000 U.S. military personnel were ashore or afloat
in the region in late March, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar host large U.S. military
command centers; according to recent reports, the Saudi government sanctioned
limited use of the Prince Sultan airbase command center and permitted search-and-
rescue operations to be conducted along the Saudi-Iraqi border. The Saudis also
pledged to step up their oil output to compensate for any drop in Iraqi production.
Kuwait served as the launch pad for the U.S.-led ground attack against Iraq. In
addition, five U.S. aircraft carriers were in the region.
Post-Conflict Assistance. After the 1991 Gulf War, several nations –
notably Japan, Saudi Arabia and Germany – provided monetary contributions to
offset the costs of the conflict; it is not yet known if such will be the case for the Iraq
war. However, U.S. policymakers hope that many countries will contribute to caring
for refugees and to the post-war reconstruction of Iraq by providing humanitarian
assistance funding, programs for democratization, as well as peacekeeping forces.
Before hostilities, several countries, including France, Japan, Sweden, Russia,
Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania indicated that they might play a role. In late April,
it was announced that U.S. diplomats had approached 65 governments requesting
assistance in reconstruction efforts, and that 58 countries had responded favorably.
Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz stated that the Bush Administration would71
“pressure all our friends and allies to contribute as much as they can.” Various
types of commitments already are being announced; for example, the Japanese and
Canadian governments have pledged $100 million and $65 million in assistance,
respectively, and Rome has said that it would dispatch up to 3,000 troops to help in
humanitarian activities. In addition, Denmark has proposed the creation of an ad hoc
69 “Turkey Conditions Troop Deployment on More U.S. Aid,” Washington Post, February
70 “U.S. Troops Deployed In Jordan,” Boston Globe, February 25, 2003.
71 “U.S. Asks Allies To Assist In Rebuilding,” Washington Post, April 11, 2003.
72 “As War Cools, Rebuilding Becomes the Hot Issue in Europe,” Wall Street Journal, April
CRS Report RL31843, Iraq: Foreign Stances Toward U.S. Policy.
CRS Report RL31794, Iraq: Turkey and the Deployment of U.S. Forces.
CRS Report RL31533, The Persian Gulf: Issues for U.S. Policy, 2003.
Implications for the Middle East
Alfred B. Prados, 7-7626
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
The U.S.-led military campaign to disarm Iraq and end the regime of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein could have widespread effects on the broader Middle
East. The opportunity to craft a new government and new institutions in Iraq is likely
to increase U.S. influence over the course of events in the Middle East. Conversely,
U.S. military intervention could create a significant backlash against the United
States, particularly at the popular level, and regional governments may feel even
more constrained in accommodating future U.S. policy goals. Middle East
governments that provided support to the U.S. effort against Iraq did so with minimal
publicity and expect to be rewarded with financial assistance, political support, or
both, in the war’s aftermath.
Allegations by senior U.S. officials, including President Bush, that Syria
facilitated the movement of military equipment into Iraq and offered safe haven to
Iraqi leaders have fed speculation that Syria and possibly other Middle East countries
may follow Iraq as future targets of U.S. military action. Such warnings could
encourage more cooperation on the part of other Middle Eastern countries with U.S.
policy goals in an effort to forestall possible U.S. reprisals against them. On the
other hand, the U.S. warnings could have the opposite effect by inducing resentment
within the region over what many may regard as unwarranted U.S. interference in
Middle East affairs.
Democracy and Governance. Some commentators, including officials in
the Bush Administration, believe that the war with Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein will lead to a democratic revolution in large parts of the Middle East. Some
link democracy in the Middle East with a broader effort to pursue development in a
region that has lagged behind much of the world in economic and social spheres, as
well as in individual freedom and political empowerment. In a speech at the Heritage
Foundation on December 12, 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a
three-pronged “Partnership for Peace” initiative designed to enhance economic
development, improve education, and build institutions of civil society in the Middle
East. Separately, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has reportedly proposed
an “Arab Charter” that would encourage wider political participation, economic
integration, and mutual security measures. In his ultimatum to Saddam Hussein on
March 17, 2003, President Bush commented that after Saddam’s departure from the
scene, the Iraqi people “can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and
peaceful and self-governing nation.”
Skeptics, however, charge that U.S. Middle Eastern policy has traditionally been
tolerant of autocratic or corrupt regimes as long as they provide support for U.S.
strategic or economic objectives in the region. Other critics argue that the minimal
amount of assistance contained in the Powell initiative ($29 million during the first
year) reflects only a token effort to support democratization and development,
although the Administration is requesting significantly more funding for this
initiative–$145 million–in FY2004. Still others fear that more open political systems
could lead to a takeover by Islamic fundamentalist groups, who often constitute the
most viable opposition in Middle East countries, or by other groups whose goals
might be inimical to U.S. interests. Some commentators are concerned that lack of
prior experience with democracy may inhibit the growth of democratic institutions
in the Middle East. Finally, a U.S.-installed government in Iraq may find it difficult
to gain acceptance within the Arab world73 and may thus have only limited appeal in
the region as a role model.
Arab-Israeli Peacemaking. Administration officials and other commentators
argue that resolving the crisis with Iraq may have created a more favorable climate
for future initiatives to resume currently stalled Arab-Israeli peace negotiations.
Proponents of this view cite the experience of the first Bush Administration, which
brought Arabs and Israelis together in a landmark peace conference at Madrid in
1991, after first disposing of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Officials of the present
Bush Administration have continued to speak of their vision of pursuing an Arab-
Israeli peace settlement after eliminating threats from Iraq. In a statement to the press
on March 14, 2003, President Bush affirmed that “America is committed, and I am
personally committed, to implementing our road map toward peace” between Arabs
and Israelis. Others believe, however, that resentment within the region over the U.S.
campaign against Iraq may have reduced the willingness of Arabs and Muslims to
cooperate with the United States in a peacemaking endeavor.
Security Arrangements in the Gulf Region. Large-scale deployment of
U.S. troops to the Middle East to wage war against Iraq and the likelihood of a
continued major U.S. military presence in the region will exert added pressures on
Middle East governments to accommodate U.S. policies in the near term. However,
some fear that long-lasting major U.S. military commitments in the region could
heighten resentment against the United States from Islamic fundamentalists,
nationalists, and other groups opposed to a U.S. role in the Middle East; such
resentment could manifest itself in sporadic long-term terrorism directed against U.S.
interests in the region. Even friendly Middle East countries may eventually seek a
reduction in U.S. military presence. According to a Washington Post report on
February 9, 2003, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah plans to request the
withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Saudi territory after Iraq has been disarmed.
U.S. and Saudi officials declined to comment on this report, which an unnamed
White House official described as “hypothetical.” In the altered environment after
the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, however, senior U.S. Defense officials
73 A leading Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim cleric, for example, stated on April 5, 2003 that Arabs
and Muslims “will not give any legitimacy to any government set up in Iraq under an
American administration.” “Top Shi’ite Cleric Rejects any U.S.-led Govt [sic] in Iraq,”
Reuters, April 5, 2003.
reportedly are contemplating a significant reduction in U.S. military presence in the
Middle East at some point in the future.74
CRS Report RS21325, Iraq: Divergent Views on Military Action.
CRS Report RL31533, The Persian Gulf: Issues for U.S. Policy.
CRS Issue Brief IB92117, Iraq: Weapons Threat, Compliance, Sanctions, and U.S.
Rhoda Margesson, 7-0425
(Last updated April 22, 2003)
Funding for Humanitarian Assistance.
Large-scale humanitarian and reconstruction assistance programs are expected
to be undertaken by the United States during and following the war in Iraq. Initial
U.S. assistance expenditures were aimed at preparations for the delivery of
humanitarian aid, focusing mostly on contingency planning and prepositioning of
commodities. The United States has pledged to release 610,000 tons of food. To
date, $560.7 million in FY2003 funds has been allocated, of which only $43 million
is for reconstruction activities. However, with the main fighting now finished in Iraq,
attention is also quickly turning to plans for reconstruction.75
FY2003 Supplemental. The FY2003 Supplemental Appropriations (P.L.
108-11) provides $2.48 billion for a special Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund to
be directed at aid efforts in a wide range of sectors, including water and sanitation,
food, electricity, education, and rule of law. It gives the President control over the
Fund and does not prohibit funds from going to DOD. The President, however, must
consult with the Appropriations Committees prior to allocation of funds, and all
obligations must be notified to the Committees five days in advance. Funds
transferred to agencies other than the State Department and USAID are also subject
to notification procedures. Reportedly, there are still tensions between the State
Department and DOD over policy matters in the reconstruction of Iraq; however,
USAID has pointed out that the same coordinated delivery system applied to other
conflicts is being used in Iraq.
Oil-for-Food Program (OFFP). The OFFP was suspended between March
74 A senior U.S. officer pointed out that one reason for the U.S. military presence in the
region was the need to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq, a need that may now be overtaken by
events. “Retreat Is Part Of U.S. Strategy,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2003.
75 Given the rapidly-evolving situation concerning events in Iraq, some of these reported
developments are based on press accounts.
earmarked for humanitarian supplies were in the process of being delivered or
produced, of which one quarter covered food needs. On March 28, the U.N. Security
Council unanimously approved Resolution 1472, which gives Secretary General
Annan authority to prioritize and coordinate the immediate humanitarian needs of
Iraqi civilians for an initial 45-day period, or until May 12, under an expanded OFFP.
The OFFP is dependent upon Iraq’s future cooperation with the OFFP (and use of its
distribution network) and the security of the personnel working for the United
Nations once inside Iraq.76 Furthermore, a number of agencies have indicated they
plan to use the OFFP system, but how the provision of aid is to be coordinated
among multiple donors remains to be worked out. On April 21, the OFFP Director,
Benon Sevan, said that political obstacles involving the Oversight Committee and
contracting arrangements under the OFFP made it very unlikely that even 10% of the
funds could be released, even if the emergency authorization were extended to June
3, a proposal Sevan is putting before the Security Council on April 22. The debate
over the reactivation of the OFFP has also been highlighted by the larger question of
what role the U.N. will play in reconstruction.
The ability of the United States to use oil resources for more long-term
reconstruction purposes would require a Security Council resolution providing
legitimacy to any interim Iraqi authority that might be the recipient of oil profits. On
April 16, President Bush urged the U.N. to lift the sanctions on Iraq that prevent it
from selling oil. U.S. officials reportedly believe that the U.N. will take steps to lift
the sanctions during the week of April 21.77 Some argue this request has called into
question the future of the OFFP in that it was created to ease the burden of sanctions,
and once those sanctions are lifted, the OFFP will also end.78
In addition, the United States has initiated an effort to obtain support from
creditors for Iraq debt relief. On March 20, President Bush issued an executive order
confiscating non-diplomatic Iraqi assets held in the United States. Of the total assets
seized, an estimated $1.74 billion are expected to be available for reconstruction
purposes and as much as $600 million more may be seized in other countries. In
addition, the United States, seeking to locate formerly unknown assets controlled by
Saddam Hussein, has identified roughly $1.2 billion that might be used for relief and
Other Donors. On March 28, 2003, U.N. agencies issued a $2.2 billion “flash
appeal” for humanitarian aid and postwar relief to Iraq to cover expenditures for a
six-month period. Of that total, $1.3 billion would be for food aid. As of April 5,
$1.2 billion in pledges had been received.
76 “Iraq Threatens the Oil-for-Food Programme,” Financial Times, March 31, 2003.
77 “Bush Urges U.N. to Lift Sanctions on Iraq,” Washington Post, April 17, 2003.
78 “Billions of Aid from the U.N. is in Limbo, Official Says,” New York Times, April 22,
79 “U.S. and its Allies Have Found $1.2 Billion of Hussein’s Assets,” Wall Street Journal,
April 10, 2003.
U.S. diplomats have reportedly asked more than 65 nations for assistance in the
relief, reconstruction, and peacekeeping effort in Iraq.80 Although the European
Union (EU) has agreed to unite to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq, its plans are
unclear with respect to reconstruction and long-term aid. The EU has designated 100
million euros for humanitarian relief agencies. Japan has pledged $100 million in
humanitarian aid. International contributions have been pledged or received from a
number of other donors in funds for Iraq, for humanitarian relief in neighboring
countries, and for in-kind emergency supplies.
U.S. Aid Policy Structure in Iraq. To prepare for the use of aid, a post-war
planning office was established on January 20, 2003, by a presidential directive. The
Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), although located in
the Defense Department, is staffed by officials from agencies throughout the
government. While immediate overall responsibility for the war and management
of U.S. activity in post-war Iraq belongs to General Tommy Franks, Commander of
U.S. Central Command, the ORHA is charged with producing plans for his use in
carrying out that role. In addition, it is responsible for implementing U.S. assistance
efforts in Iraq. The Office, headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, has three
civilian coordinators – for reconstruction, civil administration, and humanitarian
relief.81 Plans formulated before the war started call for three regional coordinators82
– for north, south, and central Iraq – to serve under the functional coordinators.
Regional coordinator offices would reportedly be mostly staffed by so-called “free
Iraqis,” those who have been living outside Iraq in democratic countries, who would
act as advisors. Indigenous Iraqi groups are expected to be formed in each province83
to propose assistance activities to be implemented in their area. While most of the
staff awaits deployment from Kuwait, General Garner has sent advance teams to Iraq
to establish offices in the three regions and to begin to assess relief and
reconstruction needs. He toured Baghdad and other parts of Iraq on April 21.
According to planners, U.S. armed forces will initially take the lead in relief and
reconstruction, later turning to existing Iraqi ministries, nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs), and international organizations to assume some of the84
burden. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has put together
Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) that are slowly being deployed around
the country. Reportedly, some U.S. humanitarian groups are objecting to the U.S.
military taking charge of all relief efforts. They are concerned that operating under
DOD jurisdiction complicates their ability to help the Iraqis, jeopardizes their
neutrality, and increases the risk to aid workers because they will be perceived as
80 “U.S. Asks Allies to Assist in Rebuilding,” Washington Post, April 11, 2003.
81 For humanitarian assistance, Ambassador George Ward; civil affairs, Michael Mobbs,
and reconstruction, Lewis Lucke.
82 Regional coordinators are Ambassador Barbara Bodine (central Iraq), General Buck
Walters (south), and General Bruce Moore (north).
83 Background briefing on reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in post-war Iraq,
Department of Defense, March 11, 2003.
84 “U.S. Military Lays Out Postwar Iraq Plan,” Washington Post, February 12, 2003.
being closely allied with the U.S. campaign. Many NGOs view the U.N. leadership
as important because it could add legitimacy and encourage wider NGO participation.
Humanitarian Assistance: Relief Operations.
Background. Until it was suspended on the eve of war, U.N. and other
humanitarian agencies were providing aid to Iraq through the OFFP, which used
revenue from Iraqi oil sales to buy food and medicines for the civilian population.85
Sixty percent of Iraq’s estimated population of 24 to 27 million were receiving
monthly food distributions under the OFFP. Prior to the war, sources said the
average Iraqi had food supplies lasting a few months, but food security remains
uncertain, just as the amount of food stored in OFFP warehouses is also unclear.86
WFP officials argue that while food may not be an issue at the moment, supplies
need to be entering the country now in order to prevent a crisis in a few weeks.87
Contingency Preparations. In the weeks leading up to the war, aid
organizations planned for humanitarian needs amid great uncertainty about
conditions in the aftermath of conflict.88 They report that emergency supplies such
as water, food, medicine, shelter materials, and hygiene kits are in place in countries
bordering Iraq. While some argued initially that there was still a huge shortfall of
resources and funding available for humanitarian assistance, the fact that the borders
have remained quiet has allowed more time for further preparation. Although
population movements now appear less likely, there were concerns about the
absorptive capacity of neighboring countries, whether they could provide adequately
for these populations, and the impact of refugee flows on stability in the region. Iran,
Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have all publicly stated that they
will prevent refugees from entering their countries, although each has continued to
make preparations for assistance either within Iraq’s borders or at transit areas at
border crossing points. The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Ramiro Lopez
da Silva, has set up an interim logistics hub in Cyprus. Although NGOs have also
been putting together plans, the absence of international organizations and NGOs
with experience operating in and around Iraq means there are few networks in place
and some concern over the implementation of relief operations.
Current Operating Environment. The war is destroying critical
infrastructure, disrupting delivery of basic services and food supplies, and affecting
the humanitarian situation inside Iraq. So far it has not reached the crisis levels
predicted before the start of hostilities. Widespread hunger and massive population
movements have not materialized. Still, lack of electricity, water shortages,
inadequate sanitation, and greatly reduced medical care are creating hardship for
85 For more information about the Oil-for-Food Program (OFFP), see CRS Report RL30472,
Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade.
86 “Iraq: UNOIP Weekly Update,” UN Office of the Iraq Program, April 15, 2003.
87 “Iraq: Food Aid Positioned, Awaiting Improved Security,” UNOCHA-IRIN, April 14,
88 “Agencies Fear Consequences But Plan for War in Iraq; Iraq Stocks up Food Ahead of
Possible US War.” Turkish Daily News, December 27, 2002.
many. The humanitarian situation continues to evolve as the war progresses. The
amount of assistance that is ultimately needed will obviously depend on the nature
and duration of the conflict. The United Nations reportedly expects that nearly 40%
of the Iraqi population could require food assistance within weeks.89
Relief and Security. In the short term, security of humanitarian aid delivery
and distribution is a top priority. During the height of the military campaign, when
small amounts of aid got through, logistical problems and unruly mobs made
distribution very difficult. Since then, looting and lawlessness, particularly in places
where heavy fighting took place, have been widespread and even included hospitals
and water supply installations, which is having an increased impact on health care.
Most aid agencies remain on Iraq’s border unwilling to enter for security reasons.90
Some U.N. staff are said to be returning to certain parts of Iraq, security permitting.
Despite the precarious situation on the ground, a small number of private
humanitarian groups are operating in southern Iraq, working independently from the
military and in advance of the full return of U.N. staff. In Baghdad, roughly 18
NGOs have formed the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI) to more
effectively provide assistance. Deliveries of water, food, and medical supplies are
slowly getting through, even though at times the chaos and violence hampers the
efforts of those trying to provide the most minimal vital assistance. In general, the
overall situation still has not not resulted in consistent, comprehensive provision of
aid. Regular non-military flights into Baghdad are pending approval by the military.
The U.N. has appealed to coalition forces to act quickly to avoid the complete
breakdown of aid efforts, calling for them to protect essential infrastructure such as
hospitals and water supply systems and to enable full-scale efforts to get food, water,
and medical aid in to Iraq. Although pockets of resistance continue throughout the
country, coalition troops are now also patrolling cities and appear to be controlling
much of the looting. In addition, they are beginning to assist with the restoration of
basic public services. Despite the obvious destruction from bombing and looting, in
some places, such as Baghdad, there are signs of a return to normal life in the form
of traffic jams, lines at gas stations, and food stalls with produce.
Post-War Relief Priorities.
The United States has not yet declared victory in Iraq, but a new phase, to bring91
about law and order and humanitarian relief, appears to be underway. Under the
Fourth Geneva Convention the occupying forces are obligated to provide for these
basic needs. Throughout the country, logistical problems continue to complicate the
security of supply routes. Once security is established, questions remain about
delivery of aid (whether roads used by the military will be usable or whether separate
supply routes will need to be put in place); availability of cargo and water trucks
89 “Shortfall Imperils U.N.’s Iraq Aid; Funds Sought for Humanitarian Work,” Washington
Post, February 14, 2003.
90 “UN Aid Workers Standing by in Cyprus for Return to Iraq,” AFP, April 14, 2003.
91 “U.S. Unready to say Iraq War is Over”, Baltimore Sun, April 22, 2003. Some consider
an informal post-war phase to coincide with the fall of Baghdad on April 9.
(currently in short supply); and distribution (particularly in cities where the military
is may not have gained full control over population centers.)
Aid agencies plan to establish bases within Iraq to support relief operations.
However, they fear that receiving protection from coalition-led forces could mean an
increase in security risks for their staff. The EU is also concerned about the
“independence and integrity of delivering humanitarian aid.”92 Continuing instability
has prevented attempts to assess the needs of local people and provide humanitarian
assistance. The apparent bitterness towards the coalition forces also remains an issue.
Water and Sanitation. An insufficient water supply is proving to be one of
the biggest humanitarian challenges. Deliveries by tanker to some towns, building
an extension to the pipeline from Kuwait to Umm Qasr, and mobile teams working
to repair and maintain generators are mechanisms underway to address the problem.9394
UNICEF is also planning its first shipment of water to southern Iraq. Lack of
electricity is a huge issue for many Iraqis. Shortages of fuel have also been reported.
Many sewer treatment plants are not functioning, allowing sewage to drain into water
Health. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been
operating in Iraq since the war began. They have now been joined by a handful of
NGOs. ICRC teams report that hospitals have varying levels of capacity and
security. Some have been overwhelmed by casualties and are in need of additional
medical supplies and staff. It is impossible to get accurate statistics on casualties and
treatment provided. Dedicated staff have continued to work under difficult
conditions, even protecting records and equipment from looting. An ICRC convoy
was fired on in Baghdad on April 8 and one of its aid workers was killed. Civilian
casualties have been reported as a result of hostilities and also from unexploded
ordinance and land mines. Summer heat, poor sanitation, and lack of electricity have
some concerned about the high risks of epidemic disease. There are reports of
dramatic increases in diarrheal cases, especially among children. The WHO is
making plans to conduct a full assessment of hospital situations.95 South of Baghdad
a large U.S. Army hospital is treating both wounded and sick Iraqis.
Food Security. At present, food supplies appear to be adequate, in part
because extra rations were distributed prior to the war. The WFP has increased its
delivery of food from Turkey into northern Iraq and has made plans to open another
humanitarian corridor in Iran and to dispatch food through Syria and Jordan. On
April 17, the WFP sent its first food aid convoy from Jordan to Baghdad.96 Security
concerns result in many delays and slow transportation. The WFP predicts that the
92 “Keep Aid Neutral, Urges EU Relief Chief,” Financial Times, March 31, 2003.
93 “Ships Arrival at Umm Qasr with First Cargo of Aid Seen as Bringing Iraq Back into
World Fold,” Financial Times, March 31, 2003.
94 “UNICEF Iran Prepares First Trans-Border Aid Shipment to Iraq,” UNICEF, April 14,
95 “WHO Iraq Daily Briefing Notes,” WHO, April 15, 2003.
96 “WFP Opens First humanitarian Lifeline to Baghdad,” WFP, April 17, 2003.
food program in Iraq will be the largest in history, providing four times the amount
supplied to Afghanistan after the Taliban was ousted. The WFP wants to reach a
target of having enough food for 27 million people by early May but has a long way
to go to meet this objective, partly because it needs to secure warehouses and make
mills and silos operational. It will also need to reactivate the OFFP distribution
system, which relies on 44,000 outlets throughout Iraq, by reestablishing contact with
recent or active suppliers to begin providing food and other humanitarian
assi st ance.97
Population Movements. Limited or no access by the United Nations and aid
agencies makes it difficult to confirm reports of population displacement. According
to the United Nations, there is a reported increase in the number of people leaving98
Baghdad for the countryside and small towns. There have been some increased
population movements within Iraq, which appeared to be occurring mainly in the
north. Many have either returned home or were able to find local accommodation
with friends and relatives. Emergency supplies have been provided to aid agencies
assisting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). In northern Iraq, the ICRC has
continued to monitor the condition of the IDPs and provided emergency and non-aid
items to displaced families. There are reports of Arab families under pressure to leave
because they are being displaced by Kurds.
Few refugees have been moving out of Iraq. However, for several weeks some
people were gathering close to the Iraq/Iran border in the south. Since the fall of
Baghdad, up to 30,000 displaced Iraqi have reportedly gathered at the Iraqi border99
near western Iran. UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, is responding with
assistance and reports that these IDPs do not intend to cross into Iran. And more
recently, approximately 1,000 people have fled to a no-man’s land on Jordan’s
border. Jordanian authorities are requiring those admitted to sign waivers agreeing
to return to Iraq. In response to U.S. demands not to grant asylum to members of the
former Iraqi regime, Syria apparently sealed its border to all but those carrying visas.
UNHCR reports that several dozen Iraqi refugees were removed from a Syrian
refugee camp and taken back into Iraq. Third Country Nationals (TCNs) represented
the main bulk of individuals leaving Iraq. Asylum seekers have been reported at
several border areas, but there are no confirmed arrivals.
Transition Initiatives. The now coalition-controlled port of Umm Qasr,
Iraq’s main outlet to the Persian Gulf, is a crucial gateway for humanitarian supplies.
British and Australian forces continue to sweep it for mines, but massive dredging
and rebuilding is required to prepare the port for large cargo ships. Two Australian
cargo ships carrying food aid have been delayed entry into the port because they are
97 “USAID: Iraq Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance, Fact Sheet No. 13 (FY) 2003,
USAID, April 16, 2003.
98 U.N. Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Iraq: Humanitarian Situation
Report No. 12, March 31, 2003.
99 “Up to 30,000 Iraqis Gather Near Border with Iran,” UNHCR, April 11, 2003.
unable to dock due to their size.100 Once the port is operational, some sources fear
that offloading will be slow and inefficient, leading to risks of delay in the delivery
and distribution of relief materials. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Sir Galahad,
containing humanitarian supplies, arrived at the port on March 28. The food will be
stored in a warehouse until the OFFP can be revived. The WFP met with national
staff in Umm Qasr to discuss resuming a distribution role under the OFFP.101 A team
of port management specialists and engineers are reported to be assessing the damage
to the port and determining what needs to be done to make it operational for the
distribution of humanitarian aid.102
It is quite possible that the situation in Iraq may move more quickly than
anticipated through the humanitarian phase to reconstruction. Already transition
initiatives are underway. According to UNICEF, some schools in southern Iraq have
reopened. And plans are being developed for long-term reconstruction:
reestablishing the educational system and health sector, restarting the economy,
rebuilding the infrastructure (such as airports, water, and electric systems, road,
railroads, and ports), and promoting democratic governance.
CRS Report RL30472. Iraq: Oil-For-Food Program, International Sanctions, and
CRS Report RL31833. Iraq: Recent Developments in Humanitarian and
CRS Report RL31766. Iraq: United Nations and Humanitarian Aid Organizations.
CRS Report RL31814. Potential Humanitarian Issues in Post-War Iraq: An Overview
International and Domestic Legal Issues Relating to the Use
Richard Grimmett 7-7675; David Ackerman 7-7965
(Last Updated April 14, 2003)
The use of United States military force against Iraq raised a number of domestic
and international legal issues – (1) its legality under Article I, § 8, of the Constitution
and the War Powers Resolution; (2) its legality under international law if seen as a
preemptive use of force; and (3) the effect of United Nations Security Council
resolutions on the matter. The following subsections give brief overviews of these
issues and provide links to reports that discuss these matters in greater detail.
100 “Fighting in Baghdad, Other Areas, Stalls Crucial Relief Operations,” Washington Post,
April 9, 2003.
101 “WFP Emergency Report No. 15,” WFP, April 15, 2003.
102 “Port Relief,” Traffic World, April 14, 2003.
The Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Domestic legal
issues raised by the use of military force against Iraq concerned both the Constitution
and the War Powers Resolution. Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution confers on
Congress the power to “declare War”; and historically Congress has employed this
authority to enact both declarations of war and authorizations for the use of force.
Article II of the Constitution, in turn, vests the “executive Power” of the government
in the President and designates him the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
of the United States ....” Because of these separate powers, and because of claims
about the inherent authority that accrues to the President by virtue of the existence
of the United States as a sovereign nation, controversy has often arisen about the
extent to which the President may use military force without congressional
authorization. While all commentators agree that the President has the constitutional
authority to defend the United States from sudden attack without congressional
authorization, dispute still arises concerning whether, and the extent to which, the use
of offensive force in a given situation, as in Iraq, must be authorized by Congress in
order to be constitutional.
The War Powers Resolution (WPR) (P.L. 93-148), in turn, imposes specific
procedural mandates on the President’s use of military force. The WPR requires,
inter alia, that the President, in the absence of a declaration of war, file a report with
Congress within 48 hours of introducing U.S. armed forces “into hostilities or
situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the
circumstances.” Section 5(b) of the WPR then requires that the President terminate
the use of the armed forces within 60 days (90 days in certain circumstances) unless
Congress, in the interim, has declared war or adopted a specific authorization for the
continued use of force. The WPR also requires the President to “consult” with
Congress regarding uses of force.
With respect to Iraq, these legal requirements were met. As noted earlier in this
report, P.L. 107-243, signed into law on October 16, 2002, authorized the President
“to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and
appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against
the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations
Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.” As predicates for the use of force, the
statute required the President to communicate to Congress his determination that the
use of diplomatic and other peaceful means would not “adequately protect the United
States ... or ... lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions” and that the use of force would be “consistent” with the battle against
terrorism. On March 18, 2003, President Bush sent a letter to Congress making these
P.L. 107-243 also specifically stated that it was “intended to constitute specific
statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers
Resolution.” Thus, it waived the time limitations that would otherwise have been
applicable under the WPR. The statute also required the President to make periodic
reports to Congress “on matters relevant to this joint resolution.” P.L. 107-243
expressed congressional “support” for the efforts of the President to obtain “prompt
and decisive action by the Security Council” to enforce Iraq’s compliance with all
relevant Security Council resolutions, but it did not condition the use of force on
prior Security Council authorization. The authorization did not contain any time
Subsequent to enactment of the authorization but prior to the initiation of
military action, twelve members of the House of Representatives, along with a
number of U.S. soldiers and the families of soldiers, filed suit against President Bush
seeking to enjoin military action against Iraq on the grounds it would exceed the
authority granted by the October resolution or, alternatively, that the October
resolution unconstitutionally delegated Congress’ power to declare war to the
President. On February 24, 2003, the trial court dismissed the suit on the grounds it
raised a nonjusticiable political question; and on March 13, 2003, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed, albeit on different grounds. The appellate
court stated that, although the mobilization of U.S. forces clearly imposed hardships
on the plaintiffs soldiers and family members, the situation was too fluid to determine
whether there was an irreconcilable conflict between the political branches on the
matter of using force; and, thus, the separation of powers issues raised by the suit
were not ripe for judicial review. On the delegation issue, the appellate court ruled
that the Constitution allows Congress to confer substantial discretionary authority on
the President, particularly with respect to foreign affairs, and that in this instance
there was no “clear evidence of congressional abandonment of the authority to
declare war to the President.” “[T]he appropriate recourse for those who oppose war
with Iraq,” the First Circuit concluded, “lies with the political branches.” See Doe
v. Bush, 240 F.Supp.2d 95 (D. Mass. Feb. 24, 2003), aff’d, 322 F.3d 109 (1st Cir.
March 13, 2003), rehearing denied, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 4830 (1st Cir. March 18,
CRS Report RL31133, Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of
Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications.
CRS Report RL30352, War Powers Litigation Initiated by Members of Congress
Since the Enactment of the War Powers Resolution.
International Law and the Preemptive Use of Force. Given that the
United States had not itself been attacked by Iraq, one question that arose with
respect to the use of force against Iraq concerned its legitimacy under international
law, if considered apart from Security Council resolutions. International law
traditionally has recognized the right of States to use force in self-defense, and that
right continues to be recognized in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. Self-defense has
also traditionally included the right to use force preemptively. But to be recognized
as legitimate under international law, preemption has had to meet at least two tests:
(1) the perceived threat of attack has had to be imminent, and (2) the means used
have had to be proportionate to the threat.
In the past the imminence of a threat has usually been readily apparent due to
the movement of enemy armed forces. But some contend that the advent of
terrorism, coupled with the potential availability of weapons of mass destruction, has
altered that equation. The Bush Administration, in particular, argued in a national
security strategy document released in 2002 that “we must adapt the concept of
imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s ... rogue states and
terrorists” by expanding the parameters of preemptive self-defense to include war
against potential threats, i.e., preventive war.103 Subsequently, with respect to the
legality under international law of its use of force against Iraq, the Administration
relied primarily on prior resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.104 But
it also claimed that its use of force was justified on the basis of our “inherent right
of self defense, recognized in Article 51 of the UN Charter.”105
There is considerable doubt that Iraq posed a threat of attack on the U.S.
sufficiently imminent to fall within the traditional justification for preemption.
Arguably, therefore, the use of force against Iraq can be seen as an exercise not of the
traditional right of self-defense but of the Administration’s expanded doctrine of
preemption that incorporates preventive war. To the extent that is the case, critics
argue that the military action against Iraq has loosened the legal constraints the
international community has attempted to impose on the use of force since World
War II and presages similar justifications for the use of force against other states
deemed to be potential, but not imminent, threats. India, in particular, it is noted, has
been drawing parallels between Iraq and Pakistani actions regarding Kashmir; and,
it is argued, other states may do so as well. Thus, the use of force against Iraq has
provided a singular opportunity to examine whether the international legal standards
governing preemption have been violated and, if so, whether the traditional standards
ought to be reformulated.
CRS Report RS21314, International Law and the Preemptive Use of Force Against
CRS Report RS21311, U.S. Use of Preemptive Military Force.
Security Council Authorization. Prior to widespread adoption of the
Charter of the United Nations (U.N.), international law recognized a nation’s use of
force against another nation as a matter of sovereign right. But the Charter was
intended to change this legal situation. The Charter states one of its purposes to be
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” To that end it mandates
that its Member states “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use
of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in
any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” and that they
“settle their disputes by peaceful means ....” It also creates a system of collective
security under Chapter VII to maintain and, if necessary, restore international peace
and security, effectuated through the Security Council. While that system was often
103 White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Sept.
104 H. Doc. 50, 108th Cong., 1st Sess. (March 19, 2003) (Report in Connection with
Presidential Determination under Public Law 107-243).
frustrated by the Cold War, the Security Council has directed its Member states to
impose economic sanctions in a number of situations and to use military force in such
situations as Korea, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the Balkans. In addition, the
Charter in Article 51, as noted above, continues to recognize the “inherent right” of
States to use force in self-defense.
On March 17, 2003, the United States, Great Britain, and Spain abandoned
efforts in the Security Council to obtain a new explicit authorization for the use of
force against Iraq. Nonetheless, the U.S. and Great Britain both contended that
earlier resolutions of the Security Council adopted in the wake of Iraq’s invasion of
Kuwait in 1990 provided sufficient and continuing authority for the use of force.
They noted that after a number of resolutions in 1990 calling on Iraq to withdraw had
gone unheeded, the Council in Resolution 678, adopted on November 29, 1990,
authorized Member states “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.” They further noted that following Gulf
War I, the Council on April 3, 1991, adopted Resolution 687, which set forth
numerous obligations that Iraq had to meet as conditions of securing a cease fire,
including total disarmament and unconditional agreement not to develop or acquire
chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or facilities or components related to them,
and that Iraq accepted those obligations.
Resolution 687, they also observed, specifically reaffirmed previous U.N.
resolutions on Iraq, including Resolution 678. Noting that the Council had on
numerous occasions – most recently in Resolution 1441 in the fall of 2002 – found
Iraq to be in material breach of its disarmament obligations and contending that it
was in material breach of that resolution as well, the U.S. and Great Britain argued
that the use of force continued to be authorized to remedy those breaches and to
restore the conditions of the cease fire. Thus, the Attorney General of Great Britain
in a legal opinion released on March 17, 2003, and the White House in a report to
Congress released on March 19, 2003, asserted that “a material breach of resolution
Nonetheless, that was not the view of a number of Members of the Security
Council, including some of the permanent Members, or of many international legal
specialists. They contended that the question of whether past Security Council
resolutions continue to authorize the use of force is for the Security Council to decide
and not individual Member states. In particular, they noted that Iraq’s agreement to
the conditions of the cease fire, embodied in Resolution 687, was with the Security
Council and not with the Member states that had forced its withdrawal from Kuwait.
They further stressed that Resolution 1441, while deeming Iraq to be in “material
breach” of its obligations under earlier resolutions, imposed “an enhanced
inspections regime” in order to give Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its
disarmament obligations,” and stated that Iraq would face “serious consequences” if
it continued to fail to meet its obligations. They also emphasized that Resolution
1441 did not itself authorize Member states to use force but mandated that the
Council “convene immediately” in the event Iraq interfered with the inspections
regime or otherwise failed to meet its disarmament obligations. Thus, they
concluded, Resolution 1441 contemplated that the use of force against Iraq would be
legitimate only upon the adoption of another resolution.
In the absence of a judicial forum that might provide a final resolution of this
legal debate, what may be most significant is that both supporters and opponents of
the military action against Iraq found it necessary, or at least advantageous, to argue
the legality of the action within the framework of the U.N. Charter. Pronouncements
about the demise of that legal framework, in other words, may have been premature.
CRS Report RS21323, The United Nations Security Council – Its Role in the Iraq
Crisis: A Brief Overview.
CRS Report RL31611, Iraq-Kuwait: United Nations Security Council Resolutions
Texts – 1992-2002.
Stephen Daggett, 7-7642; Amy Belasco, 7-7627
(Last updated April 21, 2003)
On April 12, 2003, the House and Senate passed the conference version of the
FY2003 supplemental appropriations (H.R. 1559) providing funding for the war
with Iraq, foreign assistance, homeland security, and aviation assistance (P.L. 108-
11/H.Rept. 108-76).106 Final Congressional action was completed less than three
weeks after the Administration’s request was submitted shortly after the beginning
of the war. For a more detailed discussion of the FY2003 supplemental, see CRS
Report RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict, Afghanistan,
Global War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
With the conclusion of hostilities and passage of the supplemental, debate about
costs is likely to shift from the cost of the war itself to the scope and sharing of post-
war costs by the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and the
international community. For DOD, the adequacy of the $62.6 billion provided in
the FY2003 supplemental may hinge on the number of troops who will remain
deployed in Iraq in FY2003. The size of troop deployments needed to ensure security
and stability has been debated both in Congress and among think tanks (see
Because DOD has not publicly identified the planned troop deployments
assumed within the funding levels in the supplemental, it is difficult to assess
106 See H.Rept. 108-76 or Congressional Record, April 12, 2003, pages H3358-H3385 for
bill and report language, and p. H3385-p. H3404 for debate in the House. By unanimous
consent, the Senate agreed to the conference report as long as the two leaders concurred; see
Daily Digest in Congressional Record, April 11 and Congressional Record, April 12, 2003,
107 Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq Sponsored by the Council on Foreign
Relations, Iraq: The Day After, Co-Chairs, Thomas R. Pickering and James R. Schlesinger,
March 12, 2003, p. 29; see [http://www.cfr.org/pdf/Iraq_DayAfter_TF.pdf]
whether the supplemental is likely to be adequate. DOD Comptroller Dov Zakheim
recently suggested that the supplemental funding level looks to be about right in light
of current estimates (see below), but others have voiced concern that DOD may be
assuming too rapid a draw down. Since DOD’s occupation costs in FY2004 are not
included in its FY2004 appropriation request, a supplemental next year is likely.
The other major cost issue that may arise is DOD’s role in Iraqi relief and
reconstruction efforts. The enacted version of the FY2003 supplemental appropriates
$2.4 billion for those tasks to be distributed to agencies by the President. In a
National Security Presidential Directive issued in late January, DOD was given
responsibility for the rebuilding of Iraq, suggesting that DOD may play a major role
in managing those funds.108 The long-term costs of both occupation and
reconstruction may also be debated in Congress.
Final Congressional Action on the FY2003 Supplemental. The
conference version of H.R. 1559 provides the $62.6 billion requested for the
Department of Defense for the war in Iraq, the continued U.S. presence in
Afghanistan, enhanced security at U.S. military bases, postwar occupation costs in
Iraq, and repair of equipment and replacement of munitions and equipment lost in the
war. Of the $62.6 billion total, DOD requested $59.9 billion in the Defense
Emergency Response Fund (DERF), a transfer account where DOD can exercise
discretion about where the monies would be spent and then move the funds to the
appropriate account, and $2.6 billion for specified activities.
That proposal aroused considerable concern among many Members of
Congress.109 Although DOD provided Congress with estimates of where the funds
would be spent, these proposed allocations would not be binding. In response to that
concern, the conference version of the bill distributes all but $15.7 billion of the
funds for DOD to regular appropriations accounts. To give the additional flexibility
requested, Congress appropriated $15.7 billion to a new Iraq Freedom Fund that can
be spent by DOD as desired as long as it stays within certain ceilings and floors set
within the bill and gives five days advance notification of transfers to the defense
committees. This approach blends the two different approaches for allocating the
funds that were devised by House and Senate appropriators. Since these funds can
be used in either FY2003 or FY2004, DOD could finance next year’s occupation
costs if funds proved to be greater than needed in FY2003 (see section below, Recent
Estimates of Cost of War).
DOD Request and Congressional Action. According to DOD’s
justification materials, the request assumed a “short but extremely intense” war and
covered deployment and return of forces and equipment, repair and replenishment of
108 Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq Sponsored by the Council on Foreign
Relations, Iraq: The Day After, Co-Chairs, Thomas R. Pickering and James R. Schlesinger,
March 12, 2003, p. 26; see [http://www.cfr.org/pdf/Iraq_DayAfter_TF.pdf] See also CRS
Report RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict, Afghanistan, Global
War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security, by Larry Nowels and Amy Belasco.
109 See CRS, General Distribution Memo, “Prior Administration Requests for Funding
Flexibility in Financing Military Operations;” available from CRS.
equipment and munitions damaged or used during the war, mobilization of reserve
forces, special pays for active-duty forces, and a “lower-intensity” operations phase
after the war is over. The request also included funds for the cost of the U.S. presence
in Afghanistan and enhanced security in the United States for the remainder of the
The request included several controversial proposals that broadened DOD’s role
in military assistance including $1.4 billion for aid to Pakistan, Jordan, and other
nations for logistical and military-related support; $150 million that DOD could use
to pay irregular or “indigenous” foreign military forces; and $50 million for foreign
military regular forces of unspecified countries who cooperate with the U.S. in the
“global war on terrorism.” Although the Secretary of Defense would need the
concurrence of the Secretary of State for the aid to regular or irregular foreign
military forces, congressional oversight would be limited because reporting of
expenditures would be after the fact.111 The conference version requires 15-day
advance notifications for the $1.4 billion in logistical and military support, eliminates
the Administration’s request for $150 million for irregular forces, and reduces the
$50 million for regular foreign military forces and limits that funding to counter
In addition to funds for DOD, the Administration requested $2.4 billion for an
Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund, with the Administration retaining flexibility
both as to how to spend the funds and which agency would manage those funds. The
prospect that much of these funds would be managed by DOD, rather than by USAID
and the State Department as is the norm for foreign assistance programs, created
controversy within the Administration, among American international non-
governmental organizations (NGOs), and internationally. Critics argue that military
control of civilian operations would be inappropriate. The conference version places
the new Relief and Reconstruction Fund under the control of the president, and
permits funds to be transferred to DOD, reversing earlier action by the House and
Senate appropriators. The conference version requires consultation prior to transfers
and 5-day advance notification to the appropriations committees before obligation
of funds.112 Based on press reports and the President’s decision to give DOD major
responsibility for reconstruction, DOD may play a major role in managing these
The FY2003 supplemental also included specified requests for aid to 22
countries that have assisted the U.S. in some fashion in Iraq or the global war on
terrorism and that face economic and political risks because of the Iraqi war. This
request totaled $4.7 billion. Major recipients would include Jordan ($700 million),
110 Department of Defense, FY2003 Supplemental Request for Military Operation in Iraq
and the Global War on Terrorism, March 25, 2003.
111 See OMB, Transmittal to Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert, FY2003
Supplemental Appropriations Request, March 25, 2003, provisions on the DERF and
general provisions; for details, see the Office of Management and Budget web site at
[ h t t p : / / www.whi t e house.go v/ omb/ budget / a me ndment s / s uppl ement a l _3_25_03.pdf ] .
112 See Congressional Record, April 12, 2003, Chapter 5 on p. H3361, p. H3375, and p.
H3403, and H.R. 1559, Chapter 4, and H.Rept. 108-55, p.26, and S.Rept. 108-33, p. 20.
Israel ($1 billion plus $9 billion in guaranteed loans), Turkey ($1 billion which could
be applied to $8.5 billion in loans), $325 million for Afghanistan, $300 million for
Egypt for grants or loan guarantees, and $200 million for Pakistan. The conference
version generally provides the funds requested by Administration but reduces the
request for Afghanistan to $167 million.113
The FY2003 supplemental only addresses costs for the war itself, initial
occupation, and replenishment of equipment and supplies for the remainder of the
fiscal year. The Administration’s request does not specify its assumptions about how
many or how long troops would remain deployed in Iraq as an occupation force after
the war is over, a controversial issue. Some current and retired Army leaders suggest
that large numbers would be needed and that the Army’s readiness could be affected
(see Occupation, below).
To address the issue of long-term costs, the FY2004 budget resolution as passed
by the Senate included an amendment that created a $100 billion reserve fund for the
next 10 years to cover the cost of the war in Iraq, to be financed by reducing the size
of the tax cut by $10 billion annually between 2003 and 2013. The conference114
version of H.Con.Res. 95 eliminated this provision.
DOD Believes FY2003 Supplemental Will be Adequate. In a recent
press conference, DOD Comptroller Dov Zakheim suggested that DOD’s estimates
of costs in its FY2003 supplemental request appear to be about right based on costs
experienced thus far. Based on its cost reports, it appears that DOD’s costs in
FY2003 for Iraq and Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism could range from
$55.4 billion to $65.0 billion. The midpoint of the two estimates is $61.1 billion or
close to the $62.6 billion provided by Congress in the supplemental. (see Table 1115
113 See Congressional Record, April 12, 2003, p.H3376, and CRS Report RL31829,
Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict, Afghanistan, Global War on
Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
114 See Congressional Record, March 20, 2003, p. S4071-S4072, and March 21, p. S. 4230,
and S.Con.Res. 23 as reported. See H.Con.Res. 95 as enacted, H.Rept. 108-71, p. 133..
115 CRS calculations based on DOD Press Transcript, Dov Zakheim, OSD/Comptroller,
April 16, 2003.
Table 1. DOD Estimate of Adequacy of FY2003 Supplemental for
Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan
(in billions of dollars)
CategoryFY2003 -FY2003 -
Spent thus far - thru March 200319.021.0
Range of Costs for Remainder of FY2003
Return of troops and equipment5.07.0
Monthly personnel, support, and operating costs @ rangea21.024.0
of $3.5 billion to $4.0 billion per monthb
Support of coalition allies 1.41.4
Afghanistan and Global War on Terrorism @$1.1 c7.78.4
billion to $1.2 billion per month
Congressional changes to DOD’s Requestd
Increase in combat pay and family separation allowance 0.70.8e
Additional fuel allocation 0.70.7f
Additional military personnel allocation 0.01.7
TO TAL g 55.4 65.0
AVERAGE or MIDPOINT60.260.2
Source: CRS calculations based on DOD Press Transcript, Dov Zakheim, OSD/Comptroller, April
16, 2003; see the related Department of Defense web site page at
[ h t t p : / / www. d e f e n s e l i n k . m il/transcripts/2003 /tr20030416-0111.html].a
Covers personnel and personnel support costs for second half of FY2003; first half is covered in
category, “Spent Thus Far.”b
Provides military and logistical support to Pakistan, Jordan and other “key cooperating” nations in
the global war on terrorism.c
DOD estimates cost of Afghanistan and global war on terrorism runs about $1.1 billion to $1.2
billion per month; CRS assumes the last seven months of costs are covered in the FY2003
supplemental with the previous months funded in the $6 billion received by DOD in the FY2003
Consolidated Appropriations Resolution (P.L. 108-7)d
DOD’s and Senator Steven’s estimates of effect of congressional action to increase imminent danger
pay and family separation allowances for deployed troops for FY2003 in P.L. 108-7.e
Congress set a floor of $1.1 billion for fuel costs due to higher prices compared to the $430 million
assumed by DOD in its request.f
Based on discussions with the services, Congress allocated $1.7 billion more for military personnel
that DOD included in its request; however, if DOD’s estimates are correct and the funding is not
needed, DOD can transfer the funds elsewhere (see H.Rept. 108-56, p. 10).g
May not add to total due to rounding.
Estimates of the Total War and Postwar Costs. Because of
uncertainties about both the course of the war itself and post-war needs, estimates of
the total cost of war and war-related costs by observers outside the Administration
ranged widely (see Table 2 below). Some observers emphasized that the cost for the
United States could be substantially higher than in the first Persian Gulf war because
U.S. allies were unlikely to contribute to either the cost of the war itself or to postwar
occupation.116 The Administration is hopeful, however, that other countries will
contribute to postwar reconstruction of Iraq.117
The role of allies in postwar occupation is a particular concern of Army officials
who worry that if a large postwar occupation force is required for one or two years,
the readiness of U.S. forces could be taxed.118 Estimates of the number of
occupation forces needed have ranged from 50,000-75,000, an estimate reportedly
under consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to over 200,000, an estimate
proposed by both General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army, and retired
military and other experts with recent experience in the Balkans or the 1991 Gulf
war.119 The Administration’s estimate appears to include funding for a relatively
small occupation force for six months.
Members of Congress voiced concerns about the effect of war costs on the
deficit. It now appears unlikely that total war costs in FY2003 will reach $100
billion in the first year, which would have increased the FY2003 deficit by one-third
from about $300 billion to $400 billion, setting a new record in real terms (i.e. when
adjusted for inflation) though still a smaller percent of the GDP than in 1983.120 The
effect of war costs on the deficit was part of the ongoing debate on the FY2004
budget resolution. War and related costs could rise if DOD’s assumption about the
size of the occupation force needed proves to be optimistic, and continuation of those
costs could increase future deficit levels.
The full costs of a war with Iraq could include not only the cost of the war itself
but also the cost of aid to allies to secure basing facilities and to compensate for
economic losses (e.g. Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan), post-war occupation costs,
reconstruction costs, humanitarian assistance, and paying Iraqi government officials.
Post-war costs could prove to be higher than the cost of the war itself according to
the estimates below.
116 “Allies Unlikely to Help Pay for Second Iraq Invasion,” Washington Times, March 10,
117 Transcript, Hearing before Senate Appropriations Committee on FY2003 Supplemental,
March 27, 2003.
118 “Shinseki Vs. Wolfowitz: Policy-makers Should Be Wary When Counting Costs of
Peace,” Washington Times, March 4, 2002.
119 “Army Fears Postwar Strife Will Test Occupation Force,” Washington Post, March 11,
2003. Military analyst Colonel Scott Feil of the Association the Army suggested that a force
of about 75,000 troops staying a year would be the minimum required. Other experts have
suggested higher numbers; see Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq Sponsored by
the Council on Foreign Relations, Iraq: The Day After, Co-Chairs, Thomas R. Pickering and
James R. Schlesinger, March 12, 2003, p. 29; see the Council on Foreign Relations web site
120 Calculated based on U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FY 2004 Historical
Tables; OMB, FY2004 Analytical Perspectives; and White House, Economic Report of the
Those estimates suggest that direct war costs could range between $33 billion
and $60 billion, while the costs of aid to allies, occupation, reconstruction, and
humanitarian assistance could range between $35 billion and $69 billion in the first
year depending on the size of the occupation force, the amount for aid to allies, the
scope of humanitarian assistance, and the sharing of reconstruction aid. Estimates
of total costs in the first year ranged from about $68 billion to $129 billion. (see
Table 2 below). (The FY2003 supplemental covers costs for Iraq that begin with
initial deployment of forces in December 2002 and January 2003.) The Defense
Department has not provided any official estimates of the potential costs of the war
with Iraq beyond FY2003.
Earlier, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had stated that $50 billion would be “on121
the high side for the cost of the war.” The Office of Management and Budget had
reportedly estimated costs of $50-60 billion, but it did not issue the estimate publicly
or explain the assumptions underlying its projections. An earlier estimate by former
chief White House economist Larry Lindsey of $100 billion to $200 billion was
dismissed by the Administration.
Table 2. Earlier Estimates of First Year Cost of a War with Iraq
(in billions of dollars )
CategoryLower EndaHigher Endb
One or Two Month War 33.059.8
War Only Subtotal 33.059.8
Aid to Allies10.018.0
Humanitarian aid 1.22.4
Notes and Sources:a
Lower end reflects CBO revised estimate of cost of one-month war reflecting current deployments,
a 10 month occupation of 100,000 troops, the U.S. paying half of the U.N.’s estimate of $30
billion for reconstruction over three years, humanitarian aid for 10 % of the population, and $10
billion in aid to allies based on State Department sources cited in Los Angeles Times, “Iraq War
Cost Could Soar, Pentagon Says,” February 26, 2003. b
Higher end estimate reflects House Budget Committee estimate of cost of a 250,000 force, a 10-
month occupation of 200,000 troops, the U.S. paying the full cost of reconstruction,
humanitarian aid for 20% of the population and $18 billion in aid to allies based on State
Department sources cited in Los Angeles Times, “Iraq War Cost Could Soar, Pentagon Says,”
February 26, 2003.
Previous Estimates of War Costs. In March 2003, on the basis of then
current deployments, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revised its estimates
of the costs of a war. Using its assumptions, a one-month war would cost $33 billion
121 “Iraq War Cost Could Soar, Pentagon Says,” Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2003.
and a two-month war would cost $41 billion.122 Adding $19 billion cost of an
occupation force of 100,000 to the cost of a one-month war, CBO’s estimate would
be about $51 billion, fairly close to the Administration’s request taking into account
that the request included about $10 billion in non-Iraq costs.123
Using a methodology based on the costs of the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the
Democratic staff of the House Budget Committee estimated that a two-month war
that deployed 250,000 troops would cost $53 billion to $60 billion, an estimate closer
to that used by Secretary Rumsfeld.124 An estimate by the Center for Strategic and
Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) that blends the two approaches, suggested that the
direct costs of a two-month war would be about $35 billion. A six-month war, with
the same force size, could cost substantially more, ranging from $50 billion using
CBO’s figures to $85 billion using CSBA’s approach.125
Related Aid to Allies. The long-term cost of assistance to allies that could
be affected by the war is uncertain. The supplemental includes assistance requests
for the next 12 months totals $4.5 billion including both grants and loans but does not
address any longer term cost issues.126
Occupation. The cost of a post-war occupation would vary depending on the
number of forces and the duration of their stay. The FY2003 supplemental includes
$12 billion for “stabilization” costs for the remainder of FY2003, but it is not clear
what the Administration is assuming about troop levels.127 Using factors based on
the recent experience for peacekeepers, CBO estimated that monthly occupation costs
would range from $1.4 billion for 75,000 personnel to $3.8 billion for 200,000
personnel, a force size that was considered by the U.S. Central Command.128
122 CBO revised its estimates based on current deployments in CBO, An Analysis of the
President’s Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2004, March 2003, p. 4; see
[http://www.cob.gov]. CBO’s methodology uses cost factors of the services.
123 DOD’s request included almost $10 billion for the cost of the U.S. presence in
Afghanistan ($8 billion) and coalition support ($1.4 billion); see Table 1.
124 See [http://www.house.gov/budget_democrats/analyses/spending/iraqi_cost_report.pdf]
125 See House Budget Committee, above, and Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Assessments, Backgrounder, Potential Cost of a War with Iraq and its Post-War Occupation
by Steven M. Kosiak, February 25, 2003 [http://www.csbaonline.org].
126 See CRS Report, RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict,
Afghanistan, Global War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security, by Larry Nowels and Amy
127 Department of Defense Briefing to Congressional Oversight Committees, FY2003
Supplemental: Military Operations in Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism, March 25,
128 CBO, Letter to Senator Kent Conrad and Congressman John M. Spratt, Jr, concerning
costs of a potential war with Iraq, September 30, 2002; see
[ftp://ftp.cbo.gov/38xx/doc3822/09-30-Iraq.pdf]. Costs would be higher if U.S.
peacekeepers engaged in reconstruction activities like rebuilding bridges.
A year-long occupation force of 100,000 troops would cost $22.8 billion and a
force of 200,000 troops would cost $45.6 billion using these factors. That estimate
was recently buttressed by testimony from the Army Chief of Staff, General Eric
Shinseki, stating his view that several hundred thousand troops could be needed
initially.129 Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz disavowed this estimate,
suggesting that a smaller U.S. force was likely and that Allies would contribute as
An estimate by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has pegged
the post-war occupation cost at between $25 billion and $105 billion over 5 years
depending on the size of the occupation force that could range from a higher estimate
of an initial peacekeeping forces of 150,000 troops declining to 65,000 troops by the
third year to a smaller occupation force of 50,000 declining to 10,000 by the third
year.130 If the peacekeeping role were shared with the U.N. or other nations, the costs
to the United States would be lower. Press reports suggested that the Administration
is considering an occupation of about 2 years but the Administration has not
addressed the issue of longer-term occupation costs though press reports cite
discussion of $20 billion in annual costs.131
Reconstruction. According to United Nations agencies, the cost of132
rebuilding Iraq after a war could run at least $30 billion in the first 3 years. Nobel
prize-winning economist William D. Nordhaus has indicated that reconstruction in
Iraq could cost between $30 billion over 3 to 4 years, based on World Bank factors
used in estimating rebuilding costs elsewhere, to $75 billion over 6 years using the133
costs of the Marshall Plan as a proxy.
If Iraqi oil fields are not substantially damaged, observers have suggested that
oil revenues could pay for occupation or reconstruction. To help ensure that those
revenues would be available, the FY2003 supplemental included a DOD request for
$489 million for a Natural Resource Remediation Fund to cover DOD costs for
emergency firefighting and repair of Iraqi oil wells to which other nations could also
contribute; this request was enacted.134 Most of Iraq’s oil revenues, however, have
been used for imports under the U.N. Oil-for-Food-Program or for domestic
consumption. Although expansion of Iraqi oil production may be possible over time,
additional revenues might not be available for some time.
129 “A Huge Postwar Force Seen,” Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2003.
130 Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Backgrounder. CSBA uses the same
factors as CBO.
131 See “Officials Argue for Fast Exit from Iraq,” Washington Post, April 21,2003.
132 “U.N. Estimates rebuilding Iraq Will Cost $30 Billion.” New York Times, January 31,
133 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and
Alternatives, November 2002, p. 66-67; available online from the Academy’s web site at
[ ht t p: / / www.amacad.or g/ publ i cat i ons/ monogr a phs/ War _wi t h_Ir a q.pdf ] .
134 See CRS Report RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict,
Afghanistan, Global War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Humanitarian Assistance. Costs of post-war humanitarian assistance for
emergency food and medical supplies have been estimated at about $2.5 billion the
first year, and $10 billion over 4 years, assuming that about 20% of Iraq’s population
of 24 million needed help.135 If the number needing help were lower or other nations
or the U.N. contributed, the cost to the United States would be lower.
Economic Repercussions. Some observers suggested before the war that
a conflict with Iraq could lead to a spike in the cost of oil generated by a disruption
in the supplies that could, in turn, tip the economy into recession, imposing major
additional costs on the U.S. economy.136 During the war itself, oil prices have
fluctuated widely. For an analysis, see below, Oil Supply Issues.
CRS Report RL31829, Supplemental Appropriations FY2003: Iraq Conflict,
Afghanistan, Global War on Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
CRS Report RL31585, Possible U.S. Military Intervention in Iraq: Some Economic
Oil Supply Issues
Larry Kumins, 7-7250
(Last updated April 14, 2003)
The armed conflict in Iraq raised concerns over the supply and price of crude oil
in world markets. The International Petroleum Encyclopedia 2001 reports that Iraq
held 112.5 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves – 11% of the world’s currently
known reserves – second only to Saudi Arabia’s 259 billion barrels. Despite holding
such large reserves, Iraq’s pre-war rate of oil production is much below its ultimate
potential. With investment in facilities, technology, and better operating methods,
Iraq could rank as a top producer, a development that could change world oil market
Under the now-suspended Oil-for-Food Program (OFFP), Iraq’s oil exports
varied greatly. In some weeks virtually no oil was exported, in others as much as 3.0
million barrels per day (mbd) entered world markets. On March 17, 2003, the U.N.
withdrew its staff from Iraq, leaving the program in limbo. Fighting in the southern
part of Iraq – source of roughly half the oil exported under the program – caused the
135 American Academy of Arts & Sciences, War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and
Alternatives, November 2002, p. 67; available online from the Academy’s web site at
[http://www.amacad.org/publications/monographs/War_with_Iraq.pdf]. This estimate
assumes a cost of $500 per person per year based on the experience in Bosnia and
Herzegovina in the 1990s.
136 American Academy of Arts & Sciences, War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and
Alternatives, November 2002, p. 67; available online from the Academy’s web site at
[http://www.amacad.org/publications/monographs/War_with_Iraq.pdf]; see section on costs
by Edward Nordhaus who estimates that a recession generated by an oil spike could cost the
U.S. economy $175 billion in the first year and $778 billion over the next ten years.
halt of exports from the Persian Gulf port at Umm Qasr. The remainder of Iraq’s
exports, mainly produced in and around the Kirkuk field in the north, had been
shipped via twin pipelines across Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
Tanker loadings there reportedly halted shortly after the fighting began because of
vessels’ unwillingness to call. Storage facilities at Ceyhan are virtually full, and the
pipeline has likely stopped shipping. Conditions in the northern oil fields near
Kirkuk, where this oil is produced, are not clear at this update, although it does
appear that damage to wells and infrastructure is minimal.
On average, prior to the onset of fighting, the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program
reported that exports averaged 1.7 mbd under the OFFP. In addition, Iraq likely
supplied another 400,000 barrels to adjacent countries outside the U.N.-run program
as well as producing for internal consumption. Despite the off-and-on nature of Iraq’s
international oil flow, the oil market relied on Iraqi supply, and it played a role in the
determination of crude oil prices and other supplier-consumer arrangements. Iraq
accounted for about 10% of average oil production by the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC). Iraq is an OPEC member but does not participate in
the cartel’s quota program (as do the 10 other members) because Iraqi exports have
been controlled by the U.N. The U.N. has expressed an interest in restarting the Oil-
for-Food Program as soon as is practical, and Security Council Resolution 1472 of
March 28, 2003, authorized the program under U.N. administration through May 12.
(For further information, see above, Post-War Governance Issues and
Humanitarian Issues.) It is too early to predict, however, when Iraqi exports might
resume, under whose auspices, and in what quantity they may flow.
Crude prices recently touched $40 per barrel, equaling levels reached during
strike in Venezuela, as well as overriding concerns about Persian Gulf oil supply. The
Venezuelan strike, which began on December 2, 2002, seems at least partially
resolved; oil exports appear to be slowly approaching pre-strike amounts, although
it is not clear if and when old levels might be re-attained. But tribal violence in
Nigeria, another important world market supplier, has resulted in output cuts as much
as 800,000 barrels per day. These intermittent difficulties present add variables to the
international oil supply shortfall situation, where Iraq is the largest component.
War jitters about crude supply appear to ebb and flow. But the cessation of
exports from Iraq, and Venezuelan and Nigerian supply concerns have combined to
create volatile market conditions. Prices, which have fallen from March highs, now
range in the mid-to-upper $20s. Were the supply shortfalls from Venezuela and
Nigeria to continue through spring, and Iraq’s crude oil supply remain shut-in,
OPEC members–who upped output by nearly 2 million barrels per day to offset the
impact of Iraq–would be hard pressed to make up further crude supply losses. Were
events in the Persian Gulf, Nigeria or Venezuela to adversely effect the availability
of petroleum for the world market, a genuine oil shortfall of significant proportion
would result, with dramatic impact on supply and price. At this update, as noted,
prices are well off recent highs, but oil markets are extremely volatile and prices can
fluctuate markedly depending on events and their interpretation.
For the longer outlook, under a future Iraqi government, the country could have
the resources to become a much larger oil producer, increasing world supply and
changing the oil price paradigm that has prevailed since the Iranian political upheaval
of 1978-1979. This eventuality could unleash a new set of political and economic
forces in the region; it could also change the complexion of the world oil market by
enhancing future crude oil availability.
CRS Report RL31676, Middle East Oil Disruption: Potential Severity and Policy
This section provides links to additional sources of information related to a
possible war with Iraq.
A list of CRS experts on Iraq-related issues may be found at
[ h ttp://www.crs.gov/ex perts/iraqconflict.shtml] .
Those listed include experts on U.S. policy towards Iraq, Iraqi threats, U.N. sanctions
and U.S. enforcement actions, policy options and implications, war powers and the
use of force, nation-building and exit strategies, and international views and roles.
Information research experts are also listed.
For a list of CRS products related to the Iraq situation, see
[ h ttp://www.congress.gov/erp/legi ssues/html/isfar12.html] .
The reports listed deal with threats, responses, and consequences; international and
regional issues and perspectives; and authorities and precedents for the use of force.
For information on U.S. armed forces deployed in connection with the Iraq
crisis, see CRS Report RL31763, Iraq: Summary of U.S. Forces.
Humanitarian Aid Organizations and Iraq
CRS Report RL31766, Iraq, United Nations and Humanitarian Aid
For background information on Iraq, including geography, population, ethnic
divisions, government structure, and economic information, see the World Factbook,
[ http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/iz .html]
For basic maps related to the Iraq situation, see CRS Report RS21396, Iraq:
Map Sources. The html version of the report includes hot links to a wide range of
Reports, Studies, and Electronic Products
The following CRS page focuses on official sources, including sources in both
the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government, foreign government
sources, and sources of information at international organizations.
[ h ttp://www.crs.gov/products/browse/iraqdocs.shtml] .
United Nations Resolutions
On November 8, 2002, the United Nations Security Council unanimously
adopted Resolution 1441, holding Iraq in “material breach” of its disarmament
obligations. For background and text, see
[ h ttp://www.un.org/ News/P ress/docs/2002/SC7564.doc.htm]
For a compendium of resolutions since 1992, see CRS Report RL31611, Iraq-
Kuwait: United Nations Security Council Texts, 1992-2002.