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Dear CASI I thought you might be interested in a few words of comment on the developing crisis which might be useful in campaigning, to reinforce some of the points Mil has been making. The standard line is that this is a crisis about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programmes, caused by Iraqi non-compliance with UN resolutions. Therefore, the argument goes, Iraq will only comply if major military threats are made, and anyway as Saddam has never complied so far, we have to be prepared to go to war to get rid of him. However, in December 1998, the UN weapons inspectors reported that - Iraq's nuclear weapon programme had been eliminated 'efficiently and effectively' - the elimination of Iraq's chemical weapon and missile capabilities was almost complete - disarmament work remained in the biological weapon area - Iraq had still to provide further information in all areas - Iraq had agreed in principle to long-term monitoring but not to a specific system. [On the other elements of UN Security Council Resolution 687, Iraq has recognised Kuwait, has returned some but not all Kuwaiti property, has returned some but not all missing persons, is paying compensation though it has denied liability in principle, has not sponsored international terrorism for 10 years according to the CIA but has denied ever sponsoring it and has not fully agreed to servicing all of its external debt] In other words, far from simply not complying, Iraq had complied with most of what had been asked of it (however grudgingly). It is a fantasy that, as is so often said, Iraq will never comply as long as Saddam is in charge. The UN resolutions allow for partial relaxation of sanctions in reward for partial compliance but this was never offered. Indeed, before this report was delivered to the Security Council, the US and Britain brought about the withdrawal ofUN inspectors and launched their Operation Desert Fox bombing of Iraq without Security Council approval. Iraq has refused to allow the inspectors related to resolution 687 back ever since. If US policy really was driven by the need to disarm Iraq of WMD then it has been irrational. Their response to incomplete but extensive compliance has been to label it non-compliance, bomb Iraq and call for the overthrow of Iraq's leader. This hardly creates any incentive to comply any further. There has always been a significant thread of US and British opinion who have feared that Iraq will comply because sanctions might then be lifted. If US policy is rational, then disarmament of Iraq's WMD has not been its priority: instead, the priority, stated all along has been to keep the pressure on for as long as it takes to get rid of Saddam Hussein (as Mil Rai puts it, leadership change, not regime change, which they are actually very frightened of, as indicated by their response to the 1991 uprising: they want rid of him, not the brutal system that runs Iraq). If Iraq had complied fully despite the bombing, maybe the US would have been forced to accept the lifting of the sanctions. That is indeed my guess. But it is also possible that the US would have been able to ensure that Iraq was never declared to be fully in compliance. And it doesn't change the point that US policy makes no sense if it is meant to be aimed at prioritising getting rid of Iraq's WMD. The official US policy objective of overthrowing Saddam represents non-compliance with the very UN resolutions with which Iraq is meant to comply. The leadership change agenda has fundamentally undermined the arms control agenda. The dominant framing in coverage is very much a crisis of Iraqi WMD non-compliance. The reality is that the crisis is one of continuing US non-compliance and unwillingness to respond to Iraqi compliance with most of what has been asked of it. To put it bluntly, we are going to war on the basis of lies (some of the people making the argument for war now know what the truth is) and self-deception (some of them believe their own propaganda). Best wishes Eric ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Senior Lecturer in International Politics Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk