Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf

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In February 1998, the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG) called upon President William Jefferson Clinton to endorse a scenario which has become a familiar one to the world.[1]

The CPSG asked Clinton "to go beyond a military strike on Iraq and to help overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and replace his regime with a provisional government." According to the news report, however, "U.S. law and international opposition to such a plan would make it unlikely." [2]

The February 20, 1998, CNN news announcement stated that the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf was a "bipartisan group whose members are prominent in U.S. international policy circles.... The 39-member group, organized as the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, include[d] former U.S. Rep. Stephen Solarz of New York, who was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Richard Perle, a former assistant defense secretary for international security policy."

The group based its request for a strike against Iraq on Saddam Hussein's refusal "to grant U.N. inspectors the right to conduct unfettered inspections of those sites where he is suspected of storing his still significant arsenal of chemical and biological munitions and his apparent determination never to relinquish his weapons of mass destruction." In a letter read at a Washington news conference, Solarz called upon Clinton "to adopt and implement a plan of action designed to finally and fully resolve this utterly unacceptable threat to our most vital national interests."

Additionally, Solarz stated that "if the force used against Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the punishing U.N. economic sanctions that have been in place for seven years haven't persuaded Hussein to cooperate with U.N. inspectors, it's unlikely that a new and 'much more limited' military strike will change the Iraqi leader's mind."

Funding and the Project for the New American Century

"CPSG received a large grant from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a major funder of both PNAC and the closely related American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

"As recently as 1998, the CPSG called in an open letter to then president Bill Clinton for Washington to adopt a 'comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime', centred on support for the INC and US air power. (See letter below.)

"That 1998 letter was signed by many of the charter members of PNAC, including Donald H. Rumsfeld, and four of his top deputies at the Pentagon, Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Dov S. Zakheim, and Peter W. Rodman.

"Other signatories included the current ultra-unilateralist undersecretary of state for arms control and international strategy, John R. Bolton, Gary Schmitt and several AEI 'scholars', including the current chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle.

"PNAC's two co-founders, William Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's The Weekly Standard, and neocon commentator Robert Kagan, also signed the letter."[3]

"The 1998 letter was signed by many of the charter members of PNAC, which had been launched the year before, who are now the leading Iraq hawks inside the administration. They include Rumsfeld and four of his top deputies at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim, and Peter Rodman; the arch-unilateralist undersecretary of state for arms control and international strategy, John Bolton; Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky; and senior National Security Council staffers Elliott Abrams and Zalmay Khalilzad.

PNAC's Schmitt and its two co-founders, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan; CSP's Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.; as well as several AEI associates, including Perle, Jeffrey Gedmin, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, and David Wurmser also signed."[4]

Other Commentary

"Neocons are fond of keeping business in the family. Many of the current members and associates of the Committee, PNAC, and The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) were involved with the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG), a hard right group created prior to the Gulf War. CPSG was co-chaired by Bush chickenhawk Richard Perle along with former New York Democratic Rep. Stephen Solarz. CPSG teamed up with the Bush Senior administration to mobilize support for Iraq Attack, version I. According to Jim Lobe of the Project Against the Present Danger, CPSG received a sizable grant from the Wisconsin-based Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, a major funder of both PNAC and AEI. Obviously, these folks like [to] share the same bed," Global Policy commented in 2002.

CPSB Letter: February 19, 1998

The following is the open letter dated February 19, 1998, and sent by the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf Open Letter to President Bill Clinton:

Dear Mr. President,

Many of us were involved in organizing the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf in 1990 to support President George Herbert Walker Bush's policy of expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Seven years later, Saddam Hussein is still in power in Baghdad. And despite his defeat in the Gulf War, continuing sanctions, and the determined effort of UN inspectors to fetter out and destroy his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has been able to develop biological and chemical munitions. To underscore the threat posed by these deadly devices, the Secretaries of State and Defense have said that these weapons could be used against our own people. And you have said that this issue is about "the challenges of the 21st Century."

Iraq's position is unacceptable. While Iraq is not unique in possessing these weapons, it is the only country which has used them -- not just against its enemies, but its own people as well. We must assume that Saddam is prepared to use them again. This poses a danger to our friends, our allies, and to our nation.

It is clear that this danger cannot be eliminated as long as our objective is simply "containment," and the means of achieving it are limited to sanctions and exhortations. As the crisis of recent weeks has demonstrated, these static policies are bound to erode, opening the way to Saddam's eventual return to a position of power and influence in the region. Only a determined program to change the regime in Baghdad will bring the Iraqi crisis to a satisfactory conclusion.

For years, the United States has tried to remove Saddam by encouraging coups and internal conspiracies. These attempts have all failed. Saddam is more wily, brutal and conspiratorial than any likely conspiracy the United States might mobilize against him. Saddam must be overpowered; he will not be brought down by a coup d'etat. But Saddam has an Achilles' heel: lacking popular support, he rules by terror. The same brutality which makes it unlikely that any coups or conspiracies can succeed, makes him hated by his own people and the rank and file of his military. Iraq today is ripe for a broad-based insurrection. We must exploit this opportunity.

Saddam's long record of treaty violations, deception, and violence shows that diplomacy and arms control will not constrain him. In the absence of a broader strategy, even extensive air strikes would be ineffective in dealing with Saddam and eliminating the threat his regime poses. We believe that the problem is not only the specifics of Saddam's actions, but the continued existence of the regime itself.

What is needed now is a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime. It will not be easy -- and the course of action we favor is not without its problems and perils. But we believe the vital national interests of our country require the United States to:

Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq.

Restore and enhance the safe haven in northern Iraq to allow the provisional government to extend its authority there and establish a zone in southern Iraq from which Saddam's ground forces would also be excluded.

Lift sanctions in liberated areas. Sanctions are instruments of war against Saddam's regime, but they should be quickly lifted on those who have freed themselves from it. Also, the oil resources and products of the liberated areas should help fund the provisional government's insurrection and humanitarian relief for the people of liberated Iraq.

Release frozen Iraqi assets -- which amount to $1.6 billion in the United States and Britain alone -- to the control of the provisional government to fund its insurrection. This could be done gradually and so long as the provisional government continues to promote a democratic Iraq.

Facilitate broadcasts from U.S. transmitters immediately and establish a Radio Free Iraq.

Help expand liberated areas of Iraq by assisting the provisional government's offensive against Saddam Hussein's regime logistically and through other means.

Remove any vestiges of Saddam's claim to "legitimacy" by, among other things, bringing a war crimes indictment against the dictator and his lieutenants and challenging Saddam's credentials to fill the Iraqi seat at the United Nations.

Launch a systematic air campaign against the pillars of his power -- the Republican Guard divisions which prop him up and the military infrastructure that sustains him.

Position U.S. ground force equipment in the region so that, as a last resort, we have the capacity to protect and assist the anti-Saddam forces in the northern and southern parts of Iraq. Once you make it unambiguously clear that we are serious about eliminating the threat posed by Saddam, and are not just engaged in tactical bombing attacks unrelated to a larger strategy designed to topple the regime, we believe that such countries as Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, whose cooperation would be important for the implementation of this strategy, will give us the political and logistical support to succeed.

In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret strong American action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. We believe, on the contrary, that strong American action against Saddam is overwhelmingly in the national interest, that it must be supported, and that it must succeed. Saddam must not become the beneficiary of an American domestic political controversy.

We are confident that were you to launch an initiative along these line, the Congress and the country would see it as a timely and justifiable response to Iraq's continued intransigence. We urge you to provide the leadership necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish.


  • Hon. Stephen Solarz, Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Hon. Richard Perle, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
  • Hon. Elliott Abrams, President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Former Assistant Secretary of State
  • Richard V. Allen, Former National Security Advisor
  • Hon. Richard Armitage, President, Armitage Associates, L.C.; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
  • Jeffrey T. Bergner, President, Bergner, Bockorny, Clough & Brain; Former Staff Director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Hon. John Bolton, Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of State
  • Stephen Bryen, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
  • Hon. Richard Burt, Chairman, IEP Advisors, Inc.; Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Hon. Frank Charles Carlucci III, Former Secretary of Defense
  • Hon. Judge William Clark, Former National Security Advisor
  • Paula J. Dobriansky, Vice President, Director of Washington Office, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Member, National Security Council
  • Doug Feith, Managing Attorney, Feith & Zell P.C.; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy
  • Frank Gaffney, Director, Center for Security Policy; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces
  • Jeffrey Gedmin, Executive Director, New Atlantic Initiative; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Hon. Fred C. Ikle, Former Undersecretary of Defense
  • Robert Kagan, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Director, Strategy and Doctrine, RAND Corporation
  • Sven F. Kraemer, Former Director of Arms Control, National Security Council
  • William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard
  • Michael Ledeen, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State
  • Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton University
  • R. Admiral Frederick L. Lewis, U.S. Navy, Retired
  • Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
  • Hon. Robert C. McFarlane, Former National Security Advisor
  • Joshua Muravchik, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Robert A. Pastor, Former Special Assistant to President James Earl Carter, Jr. for Inter-American Affairs
  • Martin Peretz, Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic
  • Roger Robinson, Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security Council
  • Peter Rodman, Director of National Security Programs, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom; Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State
  • Hon. Peter Rosenblatt, Former Ambassador to the Trust Territories of the Pacific
  • Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense
  • Gary Schmitt, Executive Director, Project for the New American Century; Former Executive Director, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
  • Max Singer, President, The Potomac Organization; Former President, The Hudson Institute
  • Hon. Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Guest Scholar, The Brookings Institution; Former Counsellor, U.S. Department of State
  • Hon. Caspar W. Weinberger, Former Secretary of Defense
  • Leon Wienseltier, Literary Editor, The New Republic
  • Hon. Paul Wolfowitz, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Former Undersecretary of Defense
  • David Wurmser, Director, Middle East Program, AEI; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Dov S. Zakheim, Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense

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