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A. US hawk 'tried to sully Iraq arms inspector', Guardian, 16 April B. Legality of intervention against Iraq, Letter, The Times, 16 April C. Bush hardliners order CIA to report on UN, Independent, 16 April D. Rumsfeld Disputes Value Of Iraq Arms Inspections, Washington Post, 16 April E. Skirmish on Iraq Inspections, Washington Post, 15 April F. Correction to E. above, 16th April Guardian: firstname.lastname@example.org The Times: email@example.com Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org [Letter-writers: remember to include your address and tel. # and that the Times require all their letters to be exclusive to the Times.] Both the Guardian and the Independent report on a story that appeared in Monday's Washington Post (E. below). The basic story is that 'Hawks in the Bush administration fear that Saddam Hussein, by drawing UN weapons inspectors into a game of cat-and-mouse, will interfere with, and perhaps scupper, their plans to attack Iraq' (Independent) leading deputy defence secretary Wolfowitz to commission a CIA report into Hans Blix in an attempt to undermine UNMOVIC. On Monday the Post reported that 'senior Pentagon civilians such as Wolfowitz and their allies elsewhere in the administration fear that a go-ahead by the Iraqi leader could delay and possibly fatally undermine their overall goal to launch a military campaign against Iraq.' 'A former State Department official familiar with the report said Wolfowitz "hit the ceiling" because it failed to provide sufficient ammunition to undermine Blix and, by association, the new U.N. weapons inspection program.' '"The hawks' nightmare is that inspectors will be admitted, will not be terribly vigorous and not find anything," said a former U.S. official. "Economic sanctions would be eased, and the U.S. will be unable to act."' The Independent notes that : 'The window for action has now shrunk to 2003: nothing will happen before this November's mid-term elections and, by the end of 2003, the campaign for the White House will be heating up, making military action more complicated in political terms.' B. is a letter from a former British diplomat, chastising critics of the proposed attack for failing to acknowledge the 'threat' posed by Iraq's WMD capabilities ('inaction is not an option' is 'a serious argument that deserves a serious response by dissenters') whilst at the same time offering a mild rebuke to the US and Britain for contemplating illegal action. Note that it is inaccurate to say that the US and British governments have been 'worryingly reticent about the need to comply with international law' since both have made it abundantly clear that they will do whatever they choose, regardless of the law. Best wishes, Gabriel *************************************************** A. US hawk 'tried to sully Iraq arms inspector' Pentagon No 2 ordered CIA to investigate record of UN agency chief Julian Borger in Washington Tuesday April 16, 2002 The Guardian Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary and a leading hawk in the Bush administration, commissioned a CIA investigation of the chief United Nations weapons inspector in an apparent attempt to undermine the importance of inspections and strengthen the case for military action against Iraq, it was reported yesterday. According to the Washington Post, Mr Wolfowitz asked the CIA earlier this year to look into Hans Blix's record when he was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1981 and 1997. The IAEA's critics argue that during this period the agency took Iraqi assurances about its civil nuclear programme at face value and failed to spot signs that Saddam Hussein was secretly developing nuclear weapons. Mr Blix, a 73-year-old Swedish diplomat who now heads the UN monitoring, verification and inspection commission (Unmovic), told the Guardian that the IAEA during his watch had been prevented from carrying out intrusive inspections by the internationally agreed rules it was forced to operate under. But he conceded that before the Gulf war the Iraqis "were cheating and fooling us and everybody else" and he said "the lesson was learned". He promised that Unmovic would be "firm" in its inspections, although it would not "undertake any unnecessary provocations". He made his remarks in an interview before the news of the CIA investigation surfaced, and his office made no comment on the report yesterday. The CIA appears to have agreed that Mr Blix had conducted inspections "fully within the parameters he could operate" as head of the IAEA. Mr Blix is due to attend talks next week with Iraqi officials about the possibility of UN inspectors returning to Iraq for the first time in more than three years. However, Baghdad has asked for a postponement, arguing that the meeting would divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even if Unmovic is allowed into Iraq, the US hawks believe, the Iraqi leader will be able to convince Mr Blix that he has destroyed his stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and they point to Mr Blix's time as IAEA chairman as evidence of his gullibility. The state department, meanwhile, has argued that the administration must support Unmovic inspections if it wants to persuade the rest of the world it has exhausted all diplomatic means of dealing with the threat of Iraq's suspected arsenal. The Washington Post said Mr Wolfowitz's request to the CIA "illuminates the behind-the-scenes skirmishing in the Bush administration over the prospect of renewed UN weapons inspections in Iraq." The inspection issue has become "a surrogate for a debate about whether we go after Saddam", Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and another prominent Washington hawk, said. In its routine inspections before the Gulf war, the IAEA failed to find evidence of Baghdad's nuclear weapons programme which was later found to have been within months of successfully building a bomb. "It's correct to say that the IAEA was fooled by the Iraqis, but the lesson was learned," Mr Blix said. However, he argued that the IAEA was hamstrung in its operations because it had no mandate before 1991 to conduct intrusive inspections. The Washington Post quoted a state department official as saying that Mr Wolfowitz had "hit the ceiling" when the CIA report appeared to support Mr Blix's defence, concluding he was operating within the "parameters" laid down for him. But an administration official claimed that the outspoken deputy defence secretary "did not angrily respond" to the CIA report because it only gave a "lukewarm assessment" of Mr Blix. Mr Blix will find himself in a sensitive position if Iraq allows Unmovic to carry out inspections. If he judges that Baghdad is cooperating with the inspectors, sanctions could be suspended. If not, it could provide the US with legal justification for a military assault. ******************************************************* B. Letters to the Editor The Times April 16, 2002 Legality of intervention against Iraq >From Sir Brian Barder Sir, In the increasingly divisive argument about military action against Iraq (leading article, April 11), each side is turning a blind eye to a different essential point. Opponents are reluctant to acknowledge that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, his programme for further developing them (including, at some stage, nuclear weapons) and his record of willingness to use them, pose a threat to his neighbours and to the wider world; the argument that a refusal to deal with the threat, or delay in dealing with it, may well be more dangerous than early pre-emptive action should not be dismissed. George Bush ’s and Tony Blair’s mantra that “inaction is not an option” is a serious argument that deserves a serious response by dissenters. Equally, advocates of early action are worryingly reticent about the need to comply with international law, and specifically with the UN Charter. The possible difficulties for the Americans of getting authority for the use of force in a Security Council resolution are obvious: it would entail convincing Russia, China and France (as well as the UK) that no less dangerous peaceful alternative is available, and, most importantly, working out with them and with other Council member governments an acceptable definition of the objectives of military action. In practice, this would probably mean limiting its aims to Iraq’s implementation of existing Security Council resolutions: Washington would have to give up the additional objective of toppling Saddam. This would be a fair price to pay for legality and international backing. Yet those in London and Washington who are evolving the new doctrine of the limited sovereignty of failed or terrorist states, and the right of stronger states to intervene in their affairs, increasingly imply that such interventions would be legal even if not authorised by the Security Council. The dangers of giving carte blanche to any strong state to intervene in another country by force, without any form of international approval, whenever it deems itself to be even potentially threatened (or when it claims to see the makings of a “humanitarian disaster”) are, or should be, obvious. Bypassing the UN Charter’s mandatory safeguards in this way would mean returning to the law of the jungle. The key to securing broad public support for action against Saddam, and to gaining general acceptance of the new interventionist doctrine, is for the US and UK Governments openly to acknowledge now that the use of force in these circumstances always requires the explicit authority of the Security Council, and to start working for it when the time comes, despite the compromises inevitably entailed. We should not repeat the expensive mistakes made in 1999 over Kosovo. Yours sincerely, BRIAN BARDER (HM Diplomatic Service, 1965-91), *********************************************************** C. Bush hardliners order CIA to report on UN By Rupert Cornwell in Washington Independent 16 April 2002 Hawks in the Bush administration fear that Saddam Hussein, by drawing UN weapons inspectors into a game of cat-and-mouse, will interfere with, and perhaps scupper, their plans to attack Iraq. The hardliners are said to have commissioned a special report from the CIA on whether Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat who will head any new inspections, is likely to be tough enough on President Saddam, a master of procrastination.The request to the CIA was apparently made in January by Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence and a leader of the faction seeking to oust the Iraqi leader by force. According to The Washington Post yesterday, Mr Wolfowitz "hit the ceiling" on receiving the report, because it was not critical enough of Mr Blix, and, by implication, the entire inspection process. Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, and another champion of decisive action against President Saddam, did not dispute the account, saying merely that he issued these sorts of requests "15 times a day". Mr Rumsfeld made clear his scepticism that any weapons inspection would be intrusive enough to lay bare Iraq's programmes for weapons of mass destruction. "The former regime of inspections was not able to find much, other than what defectors mentioned," Mr Rumsfeld said. Mr Blix, as the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, headed the nuclear branch of the inspections in Iraq under the previous regime. Mr Rumsfeld warned of the "enormous use of dual purpose equipment" by Iraq. He said that made it hard to imagine any inspection regime intrusive enough "to offset the ease with which [the Iraqis] could deflect and deceive". Iraq is negotiating with the UN the terms on which Mr Blix's team might return for the first such mission since December 1998. Mr Wolfowitz and his supporters believe the inspectors could be duped into issuing a report that would rule out any US attack during Mr Bush's current term. The window for action has now shrunk to 2003: nothing will happen before this November's mid-term elections and, by the end of 2003, the campaign for the White House will be heating up, making military action more complicated in political terms. In the meantime, the unreported war against Baghdad continues. American and British aircraft attacked an air defence site in southern Iraq yesterday in response to hostile Iraqi fire, Pentagon officials said. The strike was the first for three months in the southern "no-fly" zone, patrolled by the two countries. An Iraqi military spokesman said the planes had made 31 sorties from bases in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. He said air defence units had fired on the planes and forced them to return to their bases. A US military spokesman said his country's aircraft had returned safely. The last time Iraq reported such an attack was on 28 February. *********************************************** D. Rumsfeld Disputes Value Of Iraq Arms Inspections Remarks Spotlight Split Among Bush Aides By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, April 16, 2002; Page A13 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday he was skeptical that a new United Nations arms inspection regime would build confidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not developing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Rumsfeld told reporters that even when U.N. inspectors were in Iraq during the 1990s, "for the most part anything they found was a result of having been cued to something as a result of a defector giving them a heads-up." Rumsfeld's remarks reflected sharp differences within the Bush administration over the prospect of resuming the U.N. inspections. Senior Pentagon officials fear the inspections could complicate their goal of ousting Hussein by force, while the State Department has been pressing for Iraq to accept the new U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and renew the inspections program that was abandoned in 1998. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters yesterday that U.S. policy is to support the commission and the U.N. resolutions that require Iraq to accept "full, unfettered, unconditional access" to suspected weapons sites. "The weapons inspectors," Reeker said, "must be able to operate on an anytime, anywhere basis for inspections to meet the standards set by the [U.N.] Security Council." Hans Blix, the U.N. panel's executive chairman, told Washington Post editors and reporters yesterday that his approach will be to place the "burden of proof" on Iraq to demonstrate it is not developing weapons of mass destruction. He noted several changes from previous U.N. efforts that include funding for the commission from a surcharge on Iraqi oil sales and making the commission independent from pressure of individual nations that previously paid for the inspectors. Another change, Blix said, was that in addition to inspecting and monitoring potential weapons production plants, the new commission would have the right to visit Iraqi military bases and facilities. Blix said he would accept and depend on intelligence supplied to the U.N. inspectors by individual countries, but that "it would be a one-way street." His predecessors were accused of using inspections to gather intelligence in Iraq. If Iraq does not "open all doors" and cooperate "in all respects," Blix said he would suspend operations and recommend that economic sanctions on Iraq be continued. There is no certainty that Iraq will agree to allow inspectors back into the country. A meeting in March between U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and an Iraqi delegation was to be followed by another meeting this month, but Iraq last week canceled it. U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday that Iraq had suggested new dates for the meeting. Blix, who attended last month's session, said the Iraqis raised a series of questions about renewed inspections but that Annan made it clear that the meetings were "not a negotiation" and that the duration of the inspections and monitoring was up to the United Nations. Blix also said that Iraq would not have a say in the nationalities of inspectors. "Excluding U.S. participation is out of the question," he said when asked about such a demand made by Iraq in the past. In what could be an acknowledgment of Rumsfeld's concerns, Blix said that no system would be foolproof and that it was his expectation that a "residual uncertainty" would remain after any inspection. Rumsfeld and Reeker commented in response to questions about a report yesterday in The Washington Post that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz had requested a CIA investigation in January into Blix's performance as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency between 1981 and 1997. Reeker said that Blix "has our full confidence" and that the Swedish diplomat had told the United States that "his mandate is to conduct a thorough, no-holds-barred inspection of Iraq's compliance." Rumsfeld said the Wolfowitz request, which he denied was an "investigation," was like many that take place every day "to look into this, amplify on that." ************************************************************* E. Skirmish on Iraq Inspections Wolfowitz Had CIA Probe U.N. Diplomat in Charge By Walter Pincus and Colum Lynch Washington Post Staff Writers Monday, April 15, 2002; Page A01 In an unusual move, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz earlier this year asked the CIA to investigate the performance of Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, chairman of the new United Nations team that was formed to carry out inspections of Iraq's weapons programs. Wolfowitz's request, involving Blix's leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency, illuminates the behind-the-scenes skirmishing in the Bush administration over the prospect of renewed U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq. The government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is negotiating with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the return of arms inspectors, although Iraq asked Friday for a postponement of talks scheduled for next week. Iraq's U.N. ambassador said Baghdad did not want to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Hussein has given no indication about whether he will agree to new inspections. But senior Pentagon civilians such as Wolfowitz and their allies elsewhere in the administration fear that a go-ahead by the Iraqi leader could delay and possibly fatally undermine their overall goal to launch a military campaign against Iraq. The inspection issue has become "a surrogate for a debate about whether we go after Saddam," said Richard N. Perle, an adviser to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld as chairman of the Defense Policy Board. Officials gave contradictory accounts of Wolfowitz's reaction to the CIA report, which the agency returned in late January with the conclusion that Blix had conducted inspections of Iraq's declared nuclear power plants "fully within the parameters he could operate" as chief of the Vienna-based agency between 1981 and 1997. A former State Department official familiar with the report said Wolfowitz "hit the ceiling" because it failed to provide sufficient ammunition to undermine Blix and, by association, the new U.N. weapons inspection program. But an administration official said Wolfowitz "did not angrily respond" when he read the report because he ultimately concluded that the CIA had given only a "lukewarm assessment." The official said the CIA played down U.S. criticism of Blix in 1997 for closing the energy agency's books on Iraq after an earlier U.N. inspection program discovered Baghdad had an ongoing weapons development program. Whatever the outcome, the request for a CIA investigation underscored the degree of concern by Wolfowitz and his civilian colleagues in the Pentagon that new inspections -- or protracted negotiations over them -- could torpedo their plans for military action to remove Hussein from power. "The hawks' nightmare is that inspectors will be admitted, will not be terribly vigorous and not find anything," said a former U.S. official. "Economic sanctions would be eased, and the U.S. will be unable to act." A former member of the previous U.N. inspection team said the Wolfowitz group is "afraid Saddam will draw us in to a diplomatic minuet." "While we will have disputes, they will be solved at the last minute and the closer it comes to the 2004 elections the more difficult it will be to take the military route," the former official said. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his associates at the State Department, who have been more cautious about a military campaign against Iraq, take a different view. They "see the inspection issue as a play that buys time to enlarge a coalition for an eventual move against Saddam," according to a former White House foreign policy specialist. State Department officials also argue that Hussein will inevitably create conditions for the failure of the U.N. inspections, by setting down unacceptable terms or thwarting the inspectors inside Iraq so they have to withdraw. Blix's inspection organization -- the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission -- has inherited the mandate from the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, or UNSCOM. UNSCOM was established after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to eradicate all of Iraq's proscribed weapons before U.N. sanctions against Baghdad could be lifted. It was disbanded eight years later after the inspectors were withdrawn. In the event Iraq agrees to allow inspectors back, Blix and his associates have been establishing the framework for a new inspections program. In its resolution establishing the new commission, the U.N. Security Council offered to suspend sanctions on Iraq if it cooperates with the inspectors. "The expression of full compliance is not used in the resolution," noted Rolf Ekeus, the former executive chairman of UNSCOM. "It states there shall be cooperation in all respects." Determining the level of cooperation required will be done by Blix based on a list of "key remaining disarmament tasks," according to the resolution. Among those tasks will be seeking to determine whether Iraq is continuing to develop the VX nerve agent, whether it has continued its medium- and long-range missile program, and searching for documents that could provide insight into Iraq's efforts to develop chemical and biological warheads. Even if cooperation by Iraq led to suspending some sanctions, Baghdad would still be subject to U.N. monitoring of its weapons programs. Sanctions would not be formally lifted until it persuaded the Security Council, where the United States has veto power, that it had fully complied with its obligation to abandon its prohibited weapons programs. In interviews, Blix said he will not use any of the most controversial methods, including eavesdropping, that UNSCOM employed to thwart Iraqi efforts to hide its weapons. His inspectors have all received "cultural sensitivity" courses to avoid offending people, he said, but he insisted that he will give Iraq no "discounts." "We do not see as our mandate to humiliate, harass or provoke," Blix said. The Bush administration is seeking to persuade Blix to scrap arrangements established by UNSCOM to govern inspections of sensitive sites. Ekeus, and his successor, Richard Butler, agreed to a set of procedures to govern inspection of sensitive sites that Iraq maintained were essential to its national security. A senior U.S. official said he does not believe Blix intends to allow himself to "be jerked around" by the Iraqis but that his inspection procedures are not yet "ready for prime time." "Our basic position it that we will follow the practices of UNSCOM where we think they are purposeful and do not have negative consequences," Blix said. "We feel free to modify them if we do not think they are useful or are problematic." But Blix said he is obliged to honor a 1998 agreement between Annan and Iraq. It envisions a series of time-consuming procedures that would likely delay U.N. arms inspectors for about a week before they could gain access to more than 1,000 buildings contained in eight presidential sites. The procedures require that the inspectors provide Iraq with prior notification of an inspection, fly in a team of inspectors and senior diplomats and then hold a meeting with the foreign ministry. Blix said that if Iraq cooperates, he is confident that he could issue a report that would trigger a suspension of sanctions within a year after arriving in Baghdad. Lynch reported from the United Nations. ****************************************************** F. CORRECTIONS Tuesday, April 16, 2002; Page A02 An April 15 article incorrectly identified the source of a quotation assessing a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq. It was Hans Blix, the chairman of the U.N. Iraqi weapons inspection commission, who said: "The expression of full compliance is not used in the resolution. It states there shall be cooperation in all respects." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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