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[casi] FW: Iraq weapons inspectors

Subject: Iraq weapons inspectors
Date: Thu, Jul 25, 2002, 12:38 pm


The Editor,
The Evening Standard.

Dear Sir,

Robert Fox ('Blair: we'll reveal Iraq's nuclear threat before invasion' 24th
July) writes that Iraq ' .. expelled the weapons inspectors in 1998.'

As one of the reasons for bombing Iraq is refusal to readmit the weapons
inspectors, this is a significant and oft repeated error, oft also touted by
US and UK government officials. According to Count Hans von Sponeck, former
UN Co-ordinator in Iraq and a former Assistant Secretary General of the UN
the brave lads of UNSCOM fled on the morning of 16th December 1998, having
been tipped off that Iraq was going to be comprehensively bombed again.

von Sponeck related arriving at the UN Headquarters at Baghdad's Canal
Hotel, early that morning to find UNSCOM loading their vehicles. Asked what
was happening, he was told that Iraq was about to be bombed and they were
leaving. UNSCOM's finest, then scuttled off down the road to Jordan and
safety, leaving their UN colleagues to sleep in their offices and corridors
during the four day bombardment, which started that evening.

As former weapons chief, Scott Ritter writes in his book (Endgame, 1999)
many of them were what the Iraqis had alleged all the time, spies, CIA
agents and infact not even travelling in their own names, but on false
documents, further, they reported, says Ritter, frequently to Israel before
the United Nations - under whose auspices they were supposed to be employed.

Iraq's regime certainly has woeful failings, but this hi-jacking of an
important UN mission destroyed any hope of trust and co-operation and with
it may have died the hope for peace in the region.

Yours faithfully,
Felicity Arbuthnot (Ms.)

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