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MEMORANDUM OF TRANSMITTAL
Washington, DC, January 17, 1992. To: Senator EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Im
migration and Refugee Affairs. From: MICHAEL MYERS, counsel; NANCY SODERBERG, foreign policy
advisor to Senator Kennedy. At your request, we traveled to northern Iraq to examine the continuing needs of the Kurds following the subcommittee's staff mission to the region last April and May. We spent 5 days, from December 10-14, evaluating the needs of Kurdish refugees and meeting with Kurdish leaders, as well as with U.S., U.N., and voluntary agency officials, to assess the state of Kurdish humanitarian needs and the overall security of the civilian population.
As our report indicates, while the Kurds, with the help of the international community, have made great progress in addressing the severe refugee crisis of last spring, new refugees have been created by Iraqi forces. Our recommendations call on the administration and the international community to continue the role of assisting the Kurds and providing for their protection as they seek to rebuild their lives and seek a stable future for their families.
We were extremely well received at every point in our journey. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the U.S. and Allied Operation Provide Comfort and U.S. Embassy staff, as well as officials of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. We are particularly indebted to the Kurdish people and their leaders, who enabled us to cover considerable ground in a very short time, and who saw to our needs in the process. Special thanks go to Mr. Jalal Talabani and Ms. Hero Ahmed for their warmth and helpfulness in arranging accommodations and logistics for us in the eastern Kurdish areas, and to Mr. Massoud Barzani for giving so generously of his time to deepen our understanding or the challenges facing the Kurds in Iraq today.
The Kurdish people are looking cautiously to the future, hopeful of being able at last to live in peace. So long as Saddam Hussein is in power, however, their security can only be guaranteed through a sustained Allied presence throughout the Kurdish areas. Their long-term safety and well-being can be ensured only through a lasting resolution of the political status of the Iraqi Kurdish population. Achievement of this goal will require strong and consistent international involvement.
Clearly, 1 year after the war with Iraq, there is still much to be done.
By Senator EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Chairman One year after the Gulf War, the tremors of war continue to be felt among the civilians of Iraq.
Although the graphic television images of beleaguered Kurds have faded from the American consciousness, Iraq's human tragedy and Saddam Hussein's repression continues. International efforts to assist the Kurds have made important gains over the last year, but the suffering continues for millions of Kurds living under the threat of Saddam Hussein's brutality.
The 300,000 Kurdish refugees who have fled Saddam's terror in the last few months serve as a reminder that the problems of the region will require a sustained commitment to the humanitarian needs of the people and the political development of Iraq.
The past year has demonstrated the extraordinary ability of the international community to respond to humanitarian crises and save many lives. We have been united in an unprecedented series of resolutions, adopted by the U.N. Security Council, which call on Iraq and the world to dismantle weapons of mass destruction and care for the innocent victims of Saddam's aggression. We and our Allies joined in a unique and massive relief effort, that combined the talents and resources of our armies with those of relief agencies and the United Nations.
This report indicates that our resolve to ensure a positive outcome in Iraq-for the Kurds and all the people of that troubled country—will be sorely tested in the months ahead. So long as human suffering under Saddam Hussein's regime goes on, the United States and its Allies must remain committed to the security and well-being of these innocent people. We can do so at little cost, but with enormous benefit to the Kurds and to all the people of Iraq.
As the administration ponders the direction that American policy should take toward Iraq, I am hopeful that the pleas of the people of Iraq for a helping hand will be heard.