U.S. Removes Iraq From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2004 The State Department's removal of Iraq this week from its list of state sponsors of terrorism represents an important symbolic act and show of support for Iraq's interim government, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Iraq had been on the so-called "black list" for 14 years, since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. However, President Bush had lifted most of the sanctions associated with the designation in May 2003, after the coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power.
Bush cited "a fundamental change in the leadership and policies of the government of Iraq" in requesting Iraq's removal from the State Department list. In a Sept. 24 memo to Powell, he certified that "Iraq's government is not supporting acts of international terrorism" and has provided assurances that it will not do so in the future.
"I hereby rescind the determination of Sept. 13, 1990, that Iraq is a country which has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism," the secretary wrote in a notice published in the Federal Register Oct. 20. The decision officially went into effect with publication of the notice.
"This action is a further step to cement the partnership of the United States and Iraq in combating acts of international terrorism, and is an act of symbolic importance to the new Iraqi government," Powell wrote.
The latest State Department "Patterns of Global Terrorism Report," released in April, hinted of the move. It noted that Bush's lifting of sanctions applicable to state sponsors of terrorism "had the practical effect of putting Iraq on a par with nonterrorist states."
"Although Iraq is still technically a designated state sponsor of terrorism," the report said, "its name can be removed from the state sponsors list when the secretary of State determines that it has fulfilled applicable statutory requirements, which include having a government in place that pledges not to support acts of terrorism in the future."
During an Oct. 21 interview with Abu Dhabi TV, Powell said the United States will respect the results of the Iraqi election, regardless of who wins, as long as it is "held in a way that is free, fair and open, and all segments of the Iraqi population got to participate."
Powell said "it's unlikely that the Iraqi people want to have a government that is radicalized or will not protect the Iraqi people." He said the Transitional Administrative Law protects the rights of all segments of Iraqi society.
"And we would hope that any election following the Transitional Administrative Law, where all people got the opportunity to participate, would produce a government that would be respectful of the TAL and will move in the direction of a constitution that defended the rights of all.
"I don't think the Iraqi people want to go from one form of a totalitarian state to another form of a totalitarian state," the secretary said. "I think they want democracy. I think they want openness in their society. I think they want women to participate fully in the life of a future Iraq, and I hope the election will produce that result."
Powell said he recognizes the insurgents' efforts to influence the Iraqi election, and isn't surprised by the increase in their activity. "They're trying to make it more difficult for the Iraqi people to have a free, fair, open election," he said.
Their concern, the secretary said, is that the people of Iraq like those of Afghanistan will get the opportunity to "speak clearly about who they want to be led by."
"And I don't think they want to be led by terrorists and murders and people who set off bombs and kill children and kill police officers and kill those who are trying to bring security to Iraq," he said.