WAR PLAN IRAQ
Update Number 1
Lies: Airbrushing History
One of the most significant
distortions in the Governments dossier on Iraqs weapons was the
misrepresentation of the inspection of sensitive sites in Iraq.
The US is currently trying to provoke Iraq into withdrawing its
offer to allow inspectors back in, by fashioning a new UN resolution
that tears up long-standing agreements between UN weapons inspectors
and Iraq. The dossier writes these agreements out of history:
1997, Richard Butler reported to the UN Security Council that
Iraq had created a new category of sites, presidential and sovereign,
from which it claimed that UNSCOM inspectors would henceforth
be barred. [True, but misleading.]
The terms of the ceasefire in 1991 foresaw no such limitation.
However, Iraq consistently refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors
access to any of these eight Presidential sites. (Dossier, p.
DISTORTION 1: THE MISSING AGREEMENTS
It is true that Iraq resisted inspection of sensitive sites. But,
in fact, there was a series of agreements between UNSCOM and Baghdad
between 1996 and 1998, which enabled UN weapons inspectors to visit
these disputed sites.
) In June 1996, Rolf Ekeus, then head of UNSCOM, agreed with
the Iraqis that only FOUR weapons inspectors would enter designated
2) In Dec. 1997, Richard Butler, the new head of UNSCOM, negotiated
a new agreement, whereby at larger sensitive sites such as sprawling
military bases, more inspectors could enter if the size of the
site warranted it, as decided on a case by case basis.
3) In Feb. 1998, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, agreed new
procedures for inspecting eight identified presidential palaces.
Inspectors would be accompanied by foreign diplomats to safeguard
(Sources: Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant:
The Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Crisis of
Global Security, London; Ekeus: p. 96; Butler: p. 125;
Annan: p. 155)
So, in Dec. 1997, while Iraq did stop cooperation on presidential
sites, as Richard Butler reported to the UN; at the same time
the UNSCOM chief concluded an agreement with Iraq that allowed
MORE weapons inspectors into sensitive sites such as intelligence
agencies and ministries than had previously been allowed.
DISTORTION 2: THE INSPECTION OF PRESIDENTIAL PALACES
The Government says that Iraq consistently refused to allow UNSCOM
inspectors access to any of these eight Presidential sites. This
is the reverse of the truth.
The sensitive and presidential sites inspection process developed
by Ekeus, Butler and Annan enabled UNSCOM to inspect the presidential
palaces after the Feb. 1998 Memorandum of Understanding: Our inspections
of the Presidential sites were eventually conducted over a period
of ten days, and on April 15 , a report on these entries
(in the UN vernacular) was presented to the Security Council.
(Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant,
DERAILING THE INSPECTORS, RIPPING UP THE
The significance of all this is that the United States, shocked
and dismayed by Iraqs agreement to re-admit UN weapons inspectors,
is trying to derail the inspection process before it even starts,
by ripping up the existing agreements, and demanding anyone, any
time, anywhere inspection rights.
The Independent's Rupert Cornwell
recently referred to what is emerging as the key issue of the
Iraq crisisUS insistence that United Nations inspectors cannot
return until the UN has passed a stern new resolution spelling
out the consequences if Baghdad fails to cooperate. In a thinly-veiled
threat, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell regarded as the spokesman
of the moderates within the Bush administrationbluntly told a
Congressional committee that the US would prevent the inspectors
return unless they were armed with a resolution spelling out the
consequences if Iraq did not grant them full
and unfettered access to all suspect sites. (21 Sept.,
Colin Powell told the Congressional committee, There is standing
authority for the inspection team but there are weaknesses in
that authority which make the current regime unacceptable. And
we need a new resolution to clean that up and put
new conditions on the Iraqis so that there is no wriggling
out . . . if somebody tried to move the
[inspectors] team in right now, we would find ways to thwart that.
(Telegraph, 21 Sept., p. 20)
Paragraph 11 of Security Council Resolution 1284 says that UNMOVIC,
the new UN weapons inspection agency, inherits all the existing
arrangements and agreements between UNSCOM and the Government
of Iraq. This includes the Agreements for the Modalities of Sensitive
Sites Inspection from 1996 and 1997, and the Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) on the inspection of presidential/residential sites negotiated
by Kofi Annan in Feb. 1998. Note: the UN Security Council itself
adopted the presidential sites MOU.
We understand the MOU [memorandum of understanding]
to still be valid, said UNMOVIC spokesperson Ewen Buchanan. Roula
Khalaf comments, This is not what the US has in mind. A senior US
official said no conditions, including those relating to presidential
sites, would be acceptable. This is a high barrier... inspections
have to be truly unconditional, said the official. (FT,
or now, for example, Mr Blix [head
of UNMOVIC] is assuming that special arrangements reached in
the past between Iraq and the UN over access to presidential
and other sensitive sites would be carried over. Although agreed
in memoranda of understanding that are not part of UN resolutions,
UN decision 1284 which created UNMOVIC stipulated that previous
special arrangements would be adopted by the agency. (Roula
Khalaf, FT, 19 Sept.)
INSPECTIONS AND IRAQI SOVEREIGNTY
The letter read out to the UN General Assembly accepting the return
of UN weapons inspectors said that Baghdad was ready to discuss
the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption
of inspections. In this context, the Government of the Republic
of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all Members
States of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect
the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence
of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions
and Article (11) of the Charter of the United Nations. (Times,
18 Sept., p. 13)
Colin Powell responded, Saddam is already walking back, he is already
stepping away from the without conditions statement made on Monday.
(Sunday Telegraph, 22 Sept., p.
29) This was the impression given by virtually all the British newspaper
coverage. Tim Trevan, former UNSCOM inspector, and a man who knows
better, referred to this section of the Iraq letter as code for
no inspections of palaces or government ministry buildings. (Guardian,
18 Sept., p. 5)
From the chronology in Tim Trevan, Saddams
Secrets: The Hunt for Iraqs Hidden Weapons (London, 1999):
19-22 June 1996 Rolf Ekeus visits Baghdad, and agrees with Iraq
a joint programme of action to conclude investigations into Iraqs
past programmes, and establishes inspection modalities for sensitive
sites in order to take into account Iraqs legitimate security concerns
whilst allowing UNSCOM the access necessary for its inspection activities.
(p. 411) 4 Apr. 1998: Access to the presidential sites is obtained.
Incidentally, the sentences in the Government dossier referring
to Dec. 1997 (see above) have been lifted directly from Trevans
book (p. 364). Its a pity the Joint Intelligence Committee didnt
check the chronology section at the end of the book, or read Richard
Butlers account of these events.
DESIGNED TO BE REFUSED: COERCIVE INSPECTIONS
As was predicted at the start of the year by a US intelligence official,
the White House will not take yes for an
answer. (Guardian, 14 Feb.,
p. 1) The US is intent on developing a UN resolution so provocative
that Iraq will withdraw from inspections, opening the way for war.
Ripping up the agreements is part of this.
Another idea is for inspectors to be accompanied by a multinational
military arm strong enough to force immediate entry into any site
at any time, described by a senior British Government official as
an interesting idea, a perfectly valid approach. (FT,
19 Sept., p. 6)
MONITORING CAN FREEZE IRAQI WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT
Chemical weapons can be developed easily using equipment in many
Iraqi factories. However, according to UNSCOM, Only the proper combination
of different pieces of equipment in a particular configuration gives
to . . . these pieces of equipment the status of a CW production
facility. (Quoted in Scott Ritter, Redefining Iraqs Obligations,
Arms Control Today, June 2000)
Before UNSCOM was withdrawn on US instructions (see R. Butler, Saddam
Defiant, p. 224), the inspectors had video cameras in over
150 sites ensuring that dual-use equipment was not being used for
the development of weapons of mass destruction was not being used
for prohibited purposes. Ongoing Monitoring and Verification is
the only way to freeze Iraqs weapons programmes with any degree
of confidence. That should be the priority for all who are concerned
by Iraqs suspected weapons of mass destruction
ACTION: EXPOSE MEDIA PROPAGANDA
Contrary to media reports, the sensitive sites agreements ALLOW
inspections, they do not bar them. The existing agreements would
enable inspectors to check the claims of defectors about new weapons
facilities. If the agreements are ripped up, there will be NO inspections
of ANY sites. That is precisely the intention of the Bush Administration.
We must expose and counter these lies, and fight against the new
conditions. Defend the weapons inspectors. Prevent the war.
NOTE: In the first draft of this briefing, the impression was given
that Iraq had not refused inspections of presidential sites in December
1997. This was inaccurate. Iraq did make such an announcement (later
reversed, as we have seen).
This error in no way affects the central issue: that the Government
deliberately misled MPs and the public by failing to mention the
inspections of the presidential sites leading up to the 15 April
1998 report to the Security Council, and giving the impression that
Iraq completely refused all inspections of the 'sovereign' 'presidential/residential'
War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldnt Launch Another War Against
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