"In recent years, the United States has been unable to maintain an international consensus for strict enforcement of all applicable U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iraq, but it has largely succeeded in preventing Iraq from reemerging as an immediate strategic threat to the region. There is U.S. concern about the long-term threat posed by Iraq and, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration has said it will prevent Iraq from re-emerging as a significant threat to U.S. security. The exact form of that Administration stance has not yet been announced, whether it be through international sanctions and diplomacy, military action, or covert action. [...] In late 1998, the Clinton Administration publicly added a major new dimension to U.S. Iraq policy - openly promoting a change of regime. Accomplishing this additional U.S. objective, which the Bush Administration says is the cornerstone of its Iraq policy, is considered risky and difficult, and is not openly supported by many other governments. How to accomplish that objective appears to be the subject of vigorous debate within the Administration. The opening of a diplomatic dialogue with Baghdad (the United States suspended relations with Iraq in January 1991) has not been under consideration, although Iraq has sought talks with the United States."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB92117
United States. Dept. of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/