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
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"
Hans Blix remarked to the Security Council
on 14 Feb., 'In the words of resolution 1441it requires
immediate, unconditional and active efforts by Iraq to resolve
existing questions of disarmamenteither 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
'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
'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.
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 Blixwhich is
'unlikely to help win over waverers'. (Guardian, 13 Mar.,
'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
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.
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 doapart from a humiliating confession of guilt from its
President on national televisionnote all the trapdoor adjectives
in the tests.
The tests mean that those who want peaceful
inspections to continue, have to get the Security Councilincluding
Washingtonto 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.
War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldn't Launch Another War
Against Iraq by Milan Rai
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about the risk of war'. Professor Paul Rogers, Bradford
School of Peace Studies
'Timely and important'. Hilary
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