WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Iraq's firing on coalition aircraft this week violated the United Nation's new resolution and gives the United States the right to complain to the Security Council, a White House spokesman said Friday.
Sean McCormack, spokesman for the National Security Council, said he had no information on whether the administration would make a formal complaint on this incident.
According to a Department of Defense report, the Iraq armed forces fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone Thursday, the day after the Saddam Hussein government's told the United Nations it would comply with a new Security Council resolution and allow arms inspectors to return to Iraq.
The planes were not hit and there were no injuries to Western personnel.
This is one of literally dozens of such attacks over the last decade that have been made on coalition forces, but the first one since the U.N. resolution was passed unanimously by the Security Council on Nov. 8.
According to McCormack, the attack is a violation of Paragraph 8 of the new resolution which states that "Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the International Atomic Energy Agency or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution."
The U.S. and British aircraft that fly these patrols are carrying out U.N. resolutions.
McCormack noted that under Paragraph 4 of the same resolution any "material breach of Iraq's obligations" could be reported to the U.N. Security Council. He said he had no information on whether the United States would choose to make that report.
The Security Council has threatened Iraq with "serious consequences" -- possibly including military action -- if it does not comply with its obligations. President Bush has also threatened that the United States will lead a coalition of nations against Iraq if it does not disarm.
As has been the military practice, allowed by the U.N., U.S. aircraft Friday used precision-guided weapons to target an air defense communications facility near An Najaf, approximately 85 miles southeast of Baghdad. The strike occurred about 2:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. There were no casualties to Western personnel and no report of damages.