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This Stratfor analysis comments on the London meetings earlier in the week. The news itself is interesting, and possibly hopeful. Two notes, though: first, "stated US policy" may not be as clear as it is stated below; repeated US statements have promised that sanctions will last as long as the existing Iraqi regime does. Second, as even the French proposal (more favourable to Iraq than its only real alternative, the UK-Dutch proposal) suspends but does not lift the sanctions, I am surprised that an even more generous package should be considered now. Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi (or) welcome.to/casi *********************************************** * Support the: * * NATIONAL PETITION AGAINST SANCTIONS ON IRAQ * * http://go.to/iraqpetition * * or: 12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ * * or: firstname.lastname@example.org * *********************************************** King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.stratfor.com/MEAF/commentary/m9909162220.htm 2220 GMT, 990916 – U.S. May Be Attempting to Get Out of Its Iraqi Box U.S. and UK delegates to a September 15 UN meeting in London agreed to discuss lifting all non-military Iraqi sanctions in conjunction with a new arms inspection regime, according to both Reuters and Agence France-Presse on September 16. This marks a reversal of stated U.S. policy, possibly an indication the U.S. is looking for a way out of its failed Iraq policy. Stated U.S. policy on the sanctions regime is clear. A State Department report released on September 13 reads, "Sanctions will remain in place until [UN Security Council] requirements are fully met." Saddam Hussein has not obliged, and there is no indication that the status of outstanding issues, such as weapons of mass destruction, has changed since the last UN inspectors left in December 1998. Under the plan reportedly discussed in London, which will be considered by the Permanent Five foreign ministers next week in New York, Iraq would only have to comply with weapons inspectors for a "trial period" before sanctions are removed. This contrasts with the standing Anglo-Dutch proposal, which the U.S. has supported until now, that the sanctions would be "suspended" for set periods of time after which the Iraqis would have to pass a review to maintain the suspension. Why would the U.S. be interested in finding a way out its current policy? First, as we have pointed out previously there is no clear end-game to the current policy unless either the U.S. or Saddam Hussein crumbles. Saddam has shown no signs of crumbling. On the other hand, the U.S. is under increasing pressure abroad to redefine its Iraq policy. Intransigence on Iraq limits the U.S.’s options in the region. Second, the U.S. would also like to redeploy some of its air assets from the region. Kosovo demonstrated just how quickly a crisis could stretch U.S. airpower to its operational limits. Third, maintaining a failed Iraq policy presents a risk of embarrassment that could haunt Al Gore, the administration’s presidential candidate, in the upcoming primary season. Any change in the U.S. policy remains unofficial for the time being. U.S. officials have so far declined to comment on the outcome of the London meeting. If a real change is in the air, it may indicate that the U.S. has finally accepted that the box into which it thought it had placed Saddam entraps the U.S. as well. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***