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More thoughts on the Iraq SCR debates

I am writing to relay some thoughts conveyed to me to someone close to the
SCR debates in New York.  The questions below are mine.  The answers are
not verbatim; they should therefore not be quoted, just taken as an
informed opinion.

Colin Rowat

Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

393 King's College            
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984

Q1. How likely is it that Iraq will implement a new SCR of the form being

A1. If there is consensus in the Security Council Iraq will implement it.
Otherwise, Iraq can take advantage of "splits" in the Security Council.
Remember that Iraq didn't implement SCR 986 [oil-for-food] for a
year.  The goal of the debates is therefore to develop consensus, not to
please Iraq.  Consensus means all 15 votes in favour; abstentions by the
Permanent 5 are second best.  This is why Russia had indicated, before the
delay, that it had planned to abstain.  Consensus takes time, though, and
the British seem not to understand this in their rush for a resolution
while they've got the Presidency of the Council.

Q2. What's in it for Iraq?

A2. Attempting the SCR would move Iraq back into the regional power
structure somewhat.  Syria and Israel seem to be dominating the agenda
recently, marginalising Iraq.  If weapons inspectors return to Iraq it's
given a trigger whereby it can trigger crises again and make its voice

Q3. Can Iraq trust the US to abide by the SCR?

A3. Iraq will seek to implement it as half-heartedly as possible.

Q4. What's driving the US position?

A4. [Some factors include:]  It's been estimated that Iraq could be
producing 4.5 billion barrels of oil / day within 5 years of a suspension
of sanctions.  This would reduce Saudi Arabia's ability to export, and
hence to service its debts to the US (for aviation, infrastructure and the
Gulf War).  The US wants to protect its Saudi allies, as well as the role
that it's carved for itself in the Gulf over the past decade.

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