Cohen Declares Iraq No-Fly Zones "Successful"
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
DOHA, Qatar, Mar. 10, 1999 "Has the U.S. containment policy toward Iraq been successful? The answer is yes," Defense Secretary William S. Cohen told international reporters here March 9.
The U.S. policy includes the use of no-fly and no-drive zones in Iraq since 1991 to enforce a U.N. mandate to protect Kurdish Iraqis in the north and Shiite Muslim Iraqis in the south. The zones also prevent Iraqi forces from marshalling large forces and moving against neighboring nations. Overall, Cohen said, the zones are accomplishing the U.N. mission.
"Saddam has been contained since the end of the Gulf War," he said. "He has not been in a position to pose a threat to the countries in the region by virtue of the United States, the United Kingdom and others who have been working to make sure that he doesn't move against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or any other country."
U.S. and other coalition forces have contained Saddam's aggression against his neighbors and prevented him from being able to deliver weapons of mass destruction, Cohen said. "We have helped protect the security of the region."
Cohen noted that the zones cannot entirely protect the Iraqi people from their own leader's perfidies. "We can't prevent Saddam from carrying out assassinations or the kind of brutal repression he has been carrying out, but we have been successful in preventing him from using any fixed-wing [aircraft] or helicopter attacks," he said.