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Sign the Pledge of Resistance against an attack on Iraq
 
 

12 March 2003

SIX TESTS
Blairs Last Gamble At The UN Security Council
WAR PLAN IRAQ Update Number 14


NO 'CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS' YET

Tony Blair said yesterday in Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons, 'The reason why I believe it is important that we hold to the course we have set out is because what is at stake here isn't whether the US goes alone or not. It is whether the international community is prepared to back up the clear instruction it gave to Saddam Hussein with the necessary action.' (FT, 13 Mar., p. 3)

Was this 'clear instruction' given in Resolution 1441? That asked Baghdad to hand over a weapons declaration and to provide UN weapons inspectors with 'immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted (and private) access' to everything and everyone they wished to inspect or interview. These things have been done—though imperfectly.

THE MEANING OF 'IMMEDIACY'

The chief UN weapons inspector told the Security Council on 7 Mar., 'It is obvious that while the numerous initiatives which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues can be seen as "active", or even "proactive", these initiatives 3_4 months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute "immediate" cooperation.' <www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/SC7asdelivered.htm>

Hans Blix remarked to the Security Council on 14 Feb., 'In the words of resolution 1441—it requires immediate, unconditional and active efforts by Iraq to resolve existing questions of disarmament—either by presenting remaining proscribed items and programmes for elimination or by presenting convincing evidence that they have been eliminated. In the current situation, one would expect Iraq to be eager to comply. While we were in Baghdad, we met a delegation from the Government of South Africa. It was there to explain how South Africa gained the confidence of the world in its dismantling of the nuclear weapons programme, by a wholehearted cooperation over two years with IAEA inspectors.' (UNMOVIC website: see Recent Items)

The South African example, so beloved of Washington in comparison with the tardy Iraqis, is one of 'immediate' disarmament over two years.

Former British Chief of the Defence Staff (1992-1995) Vice-Admiral Sir Nicholas Hill-Norton remarks in a letter to The Times: 'And now the latest UN resolution's key words require Iraq "on or before 17 March" to demonstrate "full, unconditional, immediate and active co- operation". Co-operation over what? And is co- operation really to be a casus belli in the 21st century? Will anyone else accept the neutrality of the adjectives; are they not just additional trigger points?' (13 Mar., p. 23) 'Immediacy' is not neutral.

THE SIX TESTS AND THE TRAP DOOR ADJECTIVES

The truth is that until now Washington has blocked the setting of 'clear instructions' to Iraq as to what it must do to demonstrate that it has disarmed (1284's 'key remaining disarmament tasks'—see previous Briefings).

Britain tabled a paper outlining 'six tests' of Iraqi disarmament at the Security Council on 12 Mar. As of 5.36am GMT, on 13 Mar., 'Although the US and Spain are co-sponsors of the proposed new resolution on Iraq, they did not counter-sign the British proposals for the six tests.' <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2845835.stm> The US is still wary.

The full text of the tests (with key adjectives and adverbs highlighted):

'The United Kingdom would be ready to accept that Iraq has begun to demonstrate full, unconditional, immediate and active co-operation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under resolution 1441 (2002) if, by (date is subject to negotiation), Iraq has satisfactorily completed the following:

'1. Statement by President Saddam Hussein: President Saddam Hussein must make a public statement in Arabic, broadcast on television and radio in Iraq and in the government controlled media, that:

'Iraq has, in the past, sought to conceal its weapons of mass destruction and other proscribed activities, but has now taken a strategic decision not to produce or retain weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items or related documentation and data;

'Iraq will without delay yield to Unmovic, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, and IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, for destruction all remaining prohibited weapons, proscribed items and related documentation and data; Iraq will fully co-operate with Unmovic and IAEA in immediately addressing and resolving all outstanding questions;

'It is the duty of all Iraqi Government personnel and citizens immediately: To cease any proscribed activity, To hand over any proscribed items or documentation and data about such items in their possession to Unmovic and IAEA, To volunteer information on previous and ongoing activities, and to provide to Unmovic and IAEA all co-operation, including by taking part in interviews outside Iraq; To disobey any orders received to the contrary;

'Failure to fulfil this duty would be considered a serious crime by the government. The government would, by (date is subject to negotiation) enact comprehensive legislation to ban all government personnel and citizens from supporting or engaging in proscribed activities, from retaining proscribed items, related documentation and data, and obliging all citizens to comply with all requests from Unmovic and IAEA.

'2. Interviews outside Iraq: At least 30 Iraqi scientists selected by Unmovic/IAEA must be made available for interview in a secure environment outside Iraq along with their families. They must co-operate fully with their interviewers.

'3. Surrender and explanations about anthrax: All remaining anthrax, anthrax production capability, associated growth media, and related weapons/dispersal mechanisms must be surrendered or credible evidence provided to account for their whereabouts; Credible evidence must also be provided that anthrax was not produced in 1991 and accounting for the anthrax Iraq claims was destroyed in 1991; Credible evidence must be produced concerning Iraq's efforts to dry BW (biological warfare) agents.

'4. Destruction of missiles: Destruction must be completed of all Al Samoud 2 missiles and components, including all warheads, launchers, SA-2 missile engines [smuggled into Iraq], and equipment and components designed for the production and testing of the Al Samoud 2 missile.

'5. Accounting for unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted vehicles: Credible evidence must be provided on the purpose of all RPV/ UAV programs, information on organisations involved, and the inventory of all items related to the programme (such as engines, GPS (Global Position Systems), guidance systems, air frames, etc.) including details of all tests made, of range capabilities, of payloads and of CBW (chemical and biological warfare) spray devices.

'6. Surrender of and explanations about mobile chemical and biological production facilities: Mobile chemical and/or biological production facilities must be surrendered for destruction; A complete accounting must be provided for mobile chemical and/or biological facilities production programs. Details should also be provided of sites providing support for/servicing/ hosting mobile facilities.

<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2846021.stm>

CREDIBILITY: WHO IS TO JUDGE?

The key adjective here is 'credible'. The judgement as to whether evidence provided is 'credible' or not is to be made by the Security Council (in other words, Washington and London, with their vetoes), not by Hans Blix—which is 'unlikely to help win over waverers'. (Guardian, 13 Mar., p. 4)

'Britain was clearly on the defensive over the demand to "surrender all mobile chemical and biological production facilities". The UK and US are convinced Iraq has [them], but Mr Blix's latest report sounded sceptical.' (FT, 13 Mar., p. 2) How can 'credible evidence' be provided if they don't exist?

PUBLIC HUMILIATION: DESIGNED TO BE REFUSED

The core of this resolution is 'the public humiliation of Mr Hussein through an appearance on national Iraqi television to confess the error of his ways'. (FT editorial, 13 Mar., p. 20) Tony Blair has often stated that nothing the Iraqi President says can be trusted for a second. Now everything will be fine if only Saddam Hussein makes a long list of grovelling promises. The reality is that Blair expects the Iraqi leader to refuse; this demand is designed to be refused, and that expected refusal is to be a key war propaganda tool.

Furthermore, the British test requires Saddam to confess the past concealment of weapons of mass destruction. It is rather like the judge saying to the defendant, 'Plead guilty, and I might find you innocent.'

Jack Straw says 'These tests are not traps.' A UK official says, 'This is not "let's humiliate Saddam Hussein".' (FT, 13 Mar., p. 2) Liars.

ENDGAME

There may not be a vote at all, if the US withdraws the resolution, but if there is a vote, the date is certain to move back from 17 Mar. 'Some Pentagon officials believe that April 1 would be a better start date for war than March 18, when there will be a full moon. Despite considerable reluctance from some at the White House, a resolution setting a deadline of the end of March and voted on this week could be acceptable.' (Telegraph, 13 Mar., p. 19)

The 'six tests' are propaganda tools, not the 'key remaining disarmament tasks' which are required by Resolution 1284 and which Hans Blix is ready to present to the Security Council. The test do not tell Iraq 'clearly and precisely' what it has to do—apart from a humiliating confession of guilt from its President on national television—note all the trapdoor adjectives in the tests.

The tests mean that those who want peaceful inspections to continue, have to get the Security Council—including Washington—to agree that Iraqi co-operation has been 'satisfactory' and the evidence provided by Baghdad is 'credible'. This is a trigger for war, not a 'clear instruction' for disarmament.



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