What is JNV & the JNV Network? JUSTICE not VENGEANCE logo
Home page
What is JNV?
JNV's principles
What we do
Anti-war Briefings & Documents
Events Diary
Useful links

Mailing lists

Sign the Pledge of Resistance against an attack on Iraq

8 November 2002

WAR PLAN IRAQ Update Number 3


It now looks certain that the US and Britain will finally force the UN to pass a new resolution against Iraq later today. This Resolution will impose huge new burdens on Iraq, change the rules for the inspections and grant unchecked powers to the weapons inspection bodies. It is not intended to 'enhance' or strengthen the UN weapons inspection process. Rather its new demands are designed to provoke a crisis as early as possible, paving the way for war. The Resolution will also rewrite history in an attempt to provide spurious 'legal' justification for war. The following analysis is based on the draft text of the US/UK resolution dated 5th November 2002.


The new Resolution does not just require Iraq to declare whether or not it possesses weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and if so to list the weapons, components and precursor materials it has. The new Resolution also requires Iraq to declare whether or not it has been working on 'unmanned aerial vehicles' (UAVs) or other 'dispersal systems' that can be used from an aircraft. Even though Iraq has never previously been banned from developing or acquiring UAVs or other aerial dispersal systems. The Resolution also requires Iraq to declare ALL biological and chemical programmes, whether or not Iraq considers them to be involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction! If this is interpreted literally it may well prove an impossible task, especially given the time limitations imposed. Indeed, Hans Blix, head of the new UN weapons inspection agency UNMOVIC, has already expressed his doubts on this score. Bronwen Maddox, Foreign Editor of the Times, commented, 'It is fair to point out, as he does, that Iraq cannot reasonably be expected to produce a complete list of all its chemical and biological weapons [sic] facilities within 30 days of a UN resolution, as the draft demands' (Times, 30 Oct., p. 16).


The new Resolution demands that UNMOVIC be granted 'immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential sites equal to that at other sites', scrapping the special procedures that had previously been negotiated for these sites. These required that inspectors visiting such sites were accompanied by senior diplomats appointed by the UN Secretary-General. Contrary to repeated statements by Tony Blair these did not prevent access to such sites and detailed surveys of these sites, conducted by the UN, found no military installations (other than sentry towers, guard rooms, and - in one case - headquarters for the Presidential Battalion) on any of them. Given that the UN has never addressed the subversion of UNSCOM by the United States - which used information gathered under UN cover to target its bombs in its illegal December '98 assault on Iraq - it was hardly unreasonable for Iraq to want to maintain these procedures. By scrapping them the Resolution creates a new and unnecessary arena for conflict between the UN and the Government of Iraq. UNCHECKED POWERS The Resolution '[d]ecides that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA .. private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC and the IAEA wish to interview' and that 'UNMOVIC and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq [and] may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq'. This would appear to grant UNMOVIC the right to order senior governmental officials - including Saddam Hussein - to leave the country for interview. However even if Unmovic uses this power in a responsible way, the Resolution would still enable the US to encourage senior Iraqi scientists to defect once they have been taken outside the country. To expect open-ended cooperation from the Iraqi government in such a matter is unreasonable - and the only way to reach a resolution to the conflict is to set reasonable and achievable standards for cooperation. The Resolution also grants UNMOVIC the right to declare 'exclusion zones' in Iraq 'suspend[ing] ground and aerial movements' on the part of the Iraqi Government, again granting unchecked powers to the weapons inspections bodies. For example, UNMOVIC could declare large areas of Iraq to be 'exclusion zones' for an indefinite period of time. Limitations on the authority of inspectors need to be worked into the resolution restricting the use of this measure to the environs of specific buildings and only for the duration of a specific inspection. Without such a provision, long-term cooperation is likely to be subject to periodic crises threatening the on-going work of the inspectorate.


The Resolution 'recall[s]' that UN Security Council Resolution 678 (29th November 1990) 'authorized member states to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) .. and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660 (1990)' - suggesting that 678 authorised the use of force to implement all resolutions on Iraq from 1990 to the present day. This is clearly untrue: 678 only justifies the use of force to implement resolutions on Iraq passed between 2 August and 29 November 1990.

The Resolution also falsely recalls that 'in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution.' As is quite clear from the text of 687, the ceasefire was not based on Iraq's acceptance of the provisions of resolution 687: it was based on 'official notification by Iraq to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council of its acceptance of that resolution.' The new Resolution implies that the ceasefire would no longer be operative if Iraq is seen to no longer accept its full disarmament obligations, thus leaving open the justification to use force against Iraq without further Council authorisation. The ceasefire is thus portrayed as continually conditional upon Iraqi compliance.

Through these false 'recollections' the US and Britain are attempting to award themselves the right to use force if they decide Iraq is non-compliant without obtaining a fresh authorisation from the Security Council.

The above analysis is based heavily on Glen Rangwala's excellent commentary: http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2002/msg02003.html. A full analysis of the final resolution will be placed on-line at www.viwuk.freeserve.co.uk shortly after the vote.

^ back to the top