US Wants Inspectors to be Invaders

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 19:58:40 +0100

US hardline on Iraq leaves full-scale invasion a 'hair-trigger' away 

Washington last night revealed its intention to use UN weapons
inspections as a possible first step towards a military occupation of
Iraq by sending in troops, sealing off "exclusion zones" and creating
secure corridors throughout the country. In a leaked proposal for a UN
resolution drafted by the US with help from British officials, the Bush
administration is seeking to transform the inspections process into a
coercive operation. The resolution would place a full-scale invasion of
Iraq on a hair trigger, authorising UN member states "to use all
necessary means to restore international peace and security" if Iraq
does so much as make an omission in the weapons inventories it presents
to the security council. 

Weapons inspectors would operate out of bases inside Iraq, where they
would be under the protection of UN troops. UN forces or the forces of a
member state would enforce no-fly and no-drive zones around a suspected
weapons site, preventing anything being removed before inspection. 

Diplomats at the UN said there was no doubt that US troops would play a
leading role in any such enforcement, allowing the Pentagon to deploy
forces inside Iraq even before hostilities got under way. 

The release of the draft helped Washington regain momentum in security
council talks a day after Iraq took the initiative by agreeing to
inspections under existing UN guidelines. That agreement was welcomed by
France and Russia, but dismissed as empty by the US and Britain. Jack
Straw, the foreign secretary, called the existing guidelines
"defective". 

The resolution will be debated over the next few days among the
permanent five security council members. President George Bush's
negotiating position was bolstered yesterday when the House of
Representatives agreed to a war powers resolution handing him open-
ended authority to take military action against Iraq. 

The Senate, where there was tougher opposition to such a blanket
authorisation, was reported to be moving towards support of the White
House line. 

Under the US draft, security council member states could send their own
inspectors into Iraq to operate alongside the official UN teams and
these extra inspectors would have the "same rights and protections
accorded other members of the team". Member states could also
"recommend" to the UN teams which sites to search and how to do it.
Iraqi officials could be taken out of the country, along with their
families, for questioning, in order to remove the fear of Iraqi
government reprisals. 

The Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, said there was no need for
a new resolution and that the existing resolutions were good enough for
inspectors to do their job. 

John Pike, the head of GlobalSecurity.org, a Washington military
thinktank, said the resolution was worded in such a way that Iraq was
almost certain to reject it, even if the alternative was invasion. 

"I could never imagine Iraq agreeing to this. If you're going to be
invaded you might as well make the invading force shoot their way in.
It's the sort of proposal meant to be rejected," Mr Pike said. 

British officials said the draft represented more of a discussion paper
for the five permanent members than a formal document to be circulated
within the full security council. British experts worked alongside their
US counterparts at the state department in the early stages of its
drafting, but it was then handed to the White House and the Pentagon,
who added some of its tougher elements. 

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "We are not going to comment until
final resolutions are published." 

But it was clear that London was uneasy with some items in the draft,
particularly the use of troops to quarantine suspect sites and to guard
the inspectors' routes to the sites. One British official pointed out
that it was put within square brackets and could be jettisoned later. 

The intention behind the clause, the official said, was to avoid the
situation under earlier inspection regimes whereby "inspectors were
coming in the front door and kit was moving out the back." 

Further anxiety about the US position came from Chris Patten, the EU's
commissioner for external relations. In a speech in Chicago today hewill
say: "If the US were to fall prey to the temptation to act alone and
outside the framework of international order, even for the best of
motives, it would be setting off down a very dangerous path." 

Diplomats in New York and Washington said it was clear there was a split
between the state department and the Bush administration's hawks over
how far the US should compromise, particularly over the threat of force.


The French have proposed an alternative resolution, which would make
inspections tougher, but omits the authorisation of military action in
the event of Iraqi intransigence or evasion, deferring such a decision
to a later resolution. 

Resolution main points: 

*       The US (as a permanent member of the UN security council) can
ask to be present in any inspection team and thus gain access to any
part of the country 

*       The inspectors can set up bases throughout the country. They
will be accompanied at those bases by soldiers under the UN banner
sufficient to protect them 

*       The UN will have the right to declare no-fly, no-drive and
exclusion zones, ground and air transit corridors, to be enforced either
by the UN or by member states which could include the US 

*       Iraq must agree to free and unrestricted landing of aircraft,
including unmanned spy planes 

*       The UN can take anyone it wishes to interview out of Iraq, along
with his or her family 

*       Any false information provided by Iraq or any failure to comply
with the resolution would automatically entitle member states to use all
necessary means to restore international peace 


        Source: The Guardian 

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