Iraq Special Report
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  Key Players

Madeleine Albright | Kofi Annan | Tariq Aziz | Samuel "Sandy" Berger | Tony Blair | William Cohen | Bill Clinton | Saddam Hussein | Bill Richardson | Henry "Hugh" Shelton | Anthony Zinni |

    Madeleine Albright, U.S. secretary of state

Madeleine K. Albright
  The president's chief foreign affairs advisor has become a key supporter and spokeswoman of the administration's policy toward Iraq. During a Feb. 2 press briefing in Saudi Arabia, Albright said diplomacy was preferred over conflict. But she remains "skeptical" that Saddam Hussein will comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring unfettered inspections of weapons. Albright is the first female secretary of state.
  • "Albright Lobbies Middle East on War" (02/4/98)
  • "Albright Reshapes Role of Nation's Top Diplomat" (06/15/97)
  • bio of Madeleine Albright

  •     Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general

    Annan is credited with getting Saddam Hussein to agree to the latest weapons accord. The 59-year-old Ghana native has a background in management and negotiations. The head of the United Nations first arrived on the international scene in 1962, as an administrative and budget officer at the World Health Organization in Geneva. He has spent most of his career with the United Nations and its affiliated agencies in New York, Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Ismalia. Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, Annan conducted negotiations for the release of Western hostages in Iraq.
      Kofi Annan
  • "Man of Many Worlds" (02/28/98)
  • "Annan Gets Hero's Welcome" (02/24/98)
  • United Nations biographical sketch of Annan

  •     Tariq Aziz, Iraqi deputy prime minister

    Tariq Aziz
      Born in 1936 in Mosul, Iraq, Aziz was educated in English studies at Baghdad University and started his professional career in 1958 as a journalist. He has worked for at least four newspapers in Iraq, including stints as chief editor of al-Jamaheer and al-Thawra and head of the al-Thawra Publishing House. Deputy Prime Minister Aziz previously served as minister of information and minister for foreign affairs.
  • "U.S. Rejects Iraqi Proposal for Weapons Inspections" (02/12/98)
  • "Iraq Asks U.N. for Freeze in Access Requests" (01/22/98)
  • "Aziz Says Regime Made 'Mistakes' " (05/08/91)

  •     Samuel "Sandy" Berger, U.S. national security adviser

    Berger, 52, joins Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen in Clinton's defense triumverate. A friend of the president since the McGovern campaign in the 1970s, Berger has worked as a lawyer and as an assistant to a number of elected officials. He later served as deputy director of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State from 1977 to 1980, and was involved in a wide variety of international economic, security and foreign policy matters. During Clinton's 1992 campaign, Berger served as senior foreign policy adviser.
      Sandy Berger
  • "The Reluctant Warrior" (02/24/98)
  • "Berger Blends Stagecraft With Statecraft" (07/07/97)
  • National Security Council biographical sketch of Berger

  •     Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Britain

    One of President Clinton's closest allies on Iraq and other matters, Blair has been an outspoken critic of Baghdad's refusal to allow access to suspected weapons facilities in Iraq. Along with President Clinton, Blair gave his approval to begin airstrikes against Iraq in December 1998. Blair's Labour Party swept to victory in May 1997 making him Britain's youngest prime minister since the reign of the Earl of Liverpool in 1812. He turned 45 in May 1998.
      Tony Blair
  • Blair Calls Attack a 'Job Well Done' (12/20/98)
  • Blair and Clinton Envision a 'Third Way' Movement (06/28/98)
  • 1st Anniversary Finds Blair Going Strong (05/02/98)

  •     William Cohen, U.S. secretary of defense

    William Cohen
      The 57-year-old defense secretary brings bipartisanship and an independent streak to President Clinton's national security team. While serving as senator, the Maine Republican criticized some of the administration's defense policies, including the presence of U.S. troops in Bosnia. More recently, he has shown his solidarity with the Democratic members of Clinton's administration. Cohen made it clear the United States would not attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Such an action would "require in our judgment a rather massive force, land forces, and we don't think it's necessary in order to contain him," he was quoted as saying.
  • "Cohen Sets Major Pentagon Overhaul" (11/10/97)
  • "For Defense Secretary, It's All in the Details" (03/11/97)
  • bio of William Cohen

  •     Bill Clinton, U.S. president

    Clinton, 51, the nation's second-term president, set the stage for action on the weapons accord in a Feb. 17, 1998 speech. During that speech, Clinton warned that Saddam Hussein's refusal to allow U.N. inspections of all suspected Iraqi weapons arsenals could lead to U.S. air strikes against Iraq. In December 1998, he gave the order to attack Baghdad and other cities, after the United Nations was again refused entry to suspected sites in Iraq.

      President Clinton
  • "Clinton Endorses Iraq Deal" (02/24/98)
  • "Clinton Gives Saddam New Warning" (02/19/98)
  • Text of Clinton's address on Iraq (02/17/98)

  •     Saddam Hussein, Iraqi president

    Saddam Hussein
      The leader of Iraq and controller of its military machine is a man with an unhealthy appetite for power. Since being sworn in as president in July 1979, Hussein has demonstrated a desire for supremacy in the Arab world. He led his military into an eight-year war with neighbor Iran in 1980 and invaded Kuwait in 1990 -- prompting the United States to lead military action in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Derided by former President Bush as being a bully and a thug, Hussein, 60, does not flinch from spilling blood. When dissidents tried to overthrow him after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he proceeded to kill thousands of his own people, who were thought to have defied him.
  • Saddam Hussein's Death a Goal, Says Ex-CIA Chief (02/15/98)
  • "Iraqi Leader Vulnerable but Still in Control" (12/05/97)
  • "Doctrine, Dreams Drive Saddam Hussein" (08/12/90)

  •     Bill Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

    Richardson was already an experienced diplomat before he was plucked by President Clinton in 1996 from his job as a congressman to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. While serving on the House Intelligence Committee, Richardson negotiated with Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Cuba's Fidel Castro and high-ranking officials in North Korea, Haiti and Burma. The liberal New Mexico Democrat has said his bicultural roots have been essential to his success, in Congress and abroad. Born in California, he grew up in Mexico City. His congressional district was one of the most ethnically diverse in the country: more than half of its residents were Hispanic or American Indian.
      Bill Richardson
  • "Richardson: A Daring Diplomat" (12/14/96)
  • "A Little Diplomacy Goes a Long Way" (12/13/96)
  • U.N. biographical sketch of Richardson

  •     Gen. Henry "Hugh" Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Henry 'Hugh' Shelton
      Shelton, who took over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, serves as the principal military advisor to the president, the defense secretary and the National Security Council. The 56-year-old general and former paratrooper has been seasoned in a number of overseas assignments. He served two tours in Vietnam during the war, commanding a Special Forces detachment and later an infantry company. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he was assistant commander for operations of the 101st Airborne Division. And in 1994, he led U.S. troops into Haiti. Shelton came to the chairman's job from the elite Special Operations Command, which he headed.
  • "A Real Target" (01/18/98)
  • "Shelton Tops List for Chairman of Joint Chiefs" (07/16/97)
  • Military biographical sketch of Shelton

  •     Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East

    If the United States were to launch a strike against Iraq, Zinni would be leading the troops. A graduate of Villanova University, Zinni was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in 1965. He served two tours in Vietnam: In 1967, he was Infantry Battalion advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps; in 1970, he served as the company commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. He was wounded and reassigned to Okinawa. Zinni, who earned two master's degrees, has held a number of Marine instructor's jobs, including a stint as an operations and tactics teacher at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico. He also oversaw a number of military relief efforts overseas, including the Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq in 1991.
      Gen. Anthony Zinni
  • "An Unconventional Operator" (03/06/98)
  • "New Weapons Give Navy Top Air Role This Time" (02/12/98)
  • Military biographical sketch of Zinni

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