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Re: UNSCOM expulsion/withdrawal

1) Iraq's non-cooperation mid-1998
2) US and UK refuse to re-confirm UNSCR 687
3) Inspectors withdrawn and then returned and then withdrawn
4) Butler's report - the FT view

Dear all

More stuff re: UNSCOM withdrawal that I wrote in response to a question
recently. (Hence format.) Apart from the relevance to Butler's current
publicity campaign, this will all be rehashed in relation to anniversary of
invasion of Kuwait on 2 August.



1) Iraq's non-cooperation mid-1998

> There is much said about Unscom leaving and the Britsh and US aerial
> attacks in 1998. Is it correct to say that Iraq refused to cooperate
> with Unscom after US spy material was found and that thereafter Unscom
> was removed for the bombing to begin?

There were two main international agencies charged with Iraqi disarmament -
the IAEA took nuclear weapons, and UNSCOM chemical, biological and
long-range missiles. Iraq continued cooperation with the IAEA until Desert
Fox, as I recall.

As far as UNSCOM was concerned, Iraq was engaged in a series of
confrontations with the agency throughout 1998, and had, by the end of
September 1998, reduced if not ended cooperation with the Scott Ritter
inspection team side of things, though Baghdad continued cooperation with
the monitoring system (cameras at missile testing ranges and factories and
so on) and with maintenance of the monitoring system.

2) US and UK refuse to re-confirm UNSCR 687

Negotiations continued to try to persuade Iraq to resume full cooperation
with UNSCOM. Iraq made a request for clarification, asking the Security
Council to confirm that once disarmament had been verified, the oil embargo
would be lifted, in accordance with Article 22 of UN Security Council
Resolution 687. The US and Britain refused to sign up to a letter confirming
this, and it was the wording forced through by them (avoiding precisely the
issue Iraq was raising) that led to the escalation of the crisis.

Three paras from our December 1998 briefing:

The Prime Minister's main claim is that diplomacy has failed. He suggests
that over the past few years, Britain has engaged in 'endless diplomacy' to
persuade Iraq to disarm, and that there is now no alternative to the use of
force. He points out that at the end of October, Baghdad ended cooperation
with UNSCOM weapons inspectors. But what Mr Blair does not say is that 'Mr
Saddam's decision to cripple UNSCOM was triggered by the US refusal
explicitly to commit itself to lifting the oil embargo if Iraq complied with
disarmament requirements - as stipulated by' paragraph 22 of UN Security
Council Resolution 687. (Financial Times, 12 November 1998)

In fact, on 30 October, the day before Iraq ended cooperation, 'the US
rejected proposals by Russia, France and China that would have clearly
committed the security council to a lifting of the oil embargo if Iraq
complied with requirements to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction.'
(FT, 2 Nov.) 'Iraq interpreted this as confirmation of its long-held - and
plausible - belief that, even if it did come clean on all its weapons, no
American administration would lift the oil embargo so long as Mr Hussein
remained in power.' (Economist, 7 Nov.)

Mr Blair has made much of Iraq's responsibilities under UNSCR 687. But he
himself has helped to undermine the same resolution. Article 22 says that
once nuclear, chemical, biological and missile disarmament has been
verified, the oil embargo will be lifted. The US - and Britain - refused to
reaffirm this. The 30 October Security Council clarification which refused
to clearly commit the Security Council to paragraph 22 was 'drafted by
Britain': it 'triggered Saddam's decree on 31 October that stymied UNSCOM
entirely. Saddam had some reason for anger - the integrity of Article 22 is
crucial for him.' (Independent, 13 Nov.)

3) Inspectors withdrawn and then returned and then withdrawn

At the beginning of November, Iraq escalated its non-cooperation, inspectors
were withdrawn; they returned shortly thereafter. They were then withdrawn

4) Butler's report - the FT view

Then Richard Butler put in a 10-page report to the Security Council
claiming that Iraqi noncompliance made the work of UNSCOM inspectors
impossible. This report was taken as justification for the Desert Fox
bombings by the US and Britain, despite the fact that the bombings were
launched before the Security Council had come to a considered opinion of
Butler's report (bombing began as the Security Council sat to discuss the
matter, a rather pointed insult).

Roula Khalaf wrote the most serious examination of the Butler report in the
mainstream press - in the Financial Times (17 December 1998, p. 8). The
conclusion is summarised in the title of her piece: 'Diplomats doubt reasons
for raids'. Final paragraphs read as follows:

'According to a senior diplomat in Baghdad, Mr Butler's conclusions, while
pointing to serious problems, should not necessarily have been construed as
presenting a fatal blow to the system of inspections or monitoring. "The
whole diplomatic community, which has been closely monitoring these
inspections, was surprised by the report," said a senior western diplomat.
"We did not consider that the problems reported during the one month of
inspections were major incidents."
    'The diplomat said, for example, that the revised modalities for
inspecting sensitive sites, and allowing more inspectors to enter, had been
targeted at large military installations, whereas the Baath party building
over which Iraq and inspectors clashed was located in a Baghdad house. "We
are not justifying Iraqi actions, but many of the problems encountered point
to the need to establish clearer rules for inspections," he said. "Unscom's
mandates says it should have full access but taken into account Iraq's
sovereignty, dignity and national security concerns. This leaves room for
questions and will always give rise to problems."

Milan Rai
158 Springfield Road Brighton BN1 6DG
ph/fax (0)1273 508 331

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