The Guardian November 20, 2002


Iraq okays UN terms while Bush pushes war

by Terrie Albano

Iraq has accepted a United Nations Security Council Resolution which gives 
weapons inspectors sweeping new rights but allows many pretexts for the 
Bush administration to provoke a war. The resolution warns Iraq of "serious 
consequences" if it doesn't comply  and the White House has made clear 
that anything it defines as a material breach will almost certainly mean a 
new war. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accepted the resolution's terms on 
November 13.

In a letter, Iraq's UN ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri said Iraq would accept 
the resolution with "no conditions, no reservations".

Hussein's eldest son, Odai, also a member of the Iraqi National Assembly, 
had urged its acceptance as long as Arab experts were part of the 
inspections team.

The team is led by UN chief inspector Hans Blix, who is in charge of 
biological and chemical inspections, and Mohamed El Baradei, head of the 
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is in charge of nuclear 
inspections.

Even though Iraq accepted the UN resolution there is great concern that the 
Bush administration is bent on pursuing war.

Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General and former chief of 
the UN's food-for-oil program in Iraq, warned that resolution sets a double 
standard that applies to Iraq but not to other countries.

"It's likely that at some point [US ambassador to the UN] Negroponte will 
use confused wording to argue that Iraq is in material breach and the US 
will say one thing and the rest of the world another", Halliday said.

"Many paragraphs of this new resolution are simply dripping with double 
standards  much in this resolution should apply to all states in the 
region violating Security Council resolutions and possessing weapons of 
mass destruction."

Halliday, in a phone interview with the People's Weekly World, said the 
Bush administration has made clear it has no confidence in the inspections 
process.

"Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney are war-mongers and just can't wait to go to 
war", he said, warning that the military build-up is happening right now.

"I bumped into several hundred US soldiers at Shannon Airport on their way 
to Kuwait", he noted.

Halliday said the Security Council resolution is in breach of its own 
charter and international law by allowing the possibility of war.

"There is no law that allows that. There will be horrendous civilian 
casualties. Nobody worries about the Iraqi lives, the infrastructure. They 
are planning crimes against humanity."

The Bush administration, somewhat concerned about the growing peace 
sentiment in the US, has set up a new group, the Committee for the 
Liberation of Iraq (CLI), whose purpose is to sell war on Iraq, along with 
"regime change", to the American public.

The Washington Post quotes a White House spokesman describing the 
CLI as a "new phase" in the administration's attempts to build fresh public 
support for war on Iraq.

The CLI is a "who's who" of corporate executives and other hawks with an 
interest in war.

Chaired by Bruce Johnson, a former director of international development 
for Lockheed Martin, CLI's other members include former Secretary of State 
George Shultz, Republican Senator John McCain, former Senator Bob Kerry, 
National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and deputy advisor Stephen 
Hadley.

More Americans are seeing the danger of Bush's war plans and expressing 
opposition, Halliday believes. There is no threat from Iraq, and it is 
clear this is a war about the control of Iraqi oil, and nothing to do with 
weapons of mass destruction, he said.

Halliday urged loyal Americans to stand up for peace and contact their 
Congressional representatives. This administration has to understand people 
"will not tolerate another war for oil and gas", he said.

World opinion has been consistently against the war. Most recently, one of 
the largest anti-war demonstrations yet was held in Italy, November 9, 
where organisers reported a million people converged on Florence to 
peacefully protest against any war on Iraq.

Reuters reported the demonstration was "multi-generational with university 
age students, older political activists, thousands of trade unionists, 
World War II partisans and a US Vietnam War veteran who marched in the 
first row of the crowd".

People came from all over Europe, and parents brought their children. 
Florence residents greeted the demonstrators. One 12-year-old, watching 
with her family from the side of the road, told reporters, "This is 
amazing, it's so impressive. I'm happy and proud that my city is holding 
this."

The demonstration, planned in advance of the Security Council vote, gained 
added relevance because it took place a day after the UN action. 
Demonstrators made clear their demand was no war with Iraq, with or without 
the Security Council's approval.

* * *
The author can be reached at talbano@pww.org. People's Weekly World (Abridged)

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