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Email to Channel 4 debate on Iraq from Milan Rai, author of War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Launch Another War Against Iraq (Verso, 2002/ARROW Publications 2002) THE ALLEGATION THAT IRAQ IS PUTTING NEW CONDITIONS ON INSPECTORS This is rubbish. There are long-standing agreements (made in 1996, 1997 and 1998) which allow inspections of 'sensitive sites', including Presidential palaces, subject to certain conditions (limiting numbers of inspectors or requiring accompaniment by foreign diplomats). It is the US, not Iraq, which is putting new conditions on the inspections (Colin Powell has admitted this) in order to cook up such an objectionable resolution that Iraq will withdraw its offer to allow in inspectors, and so open the way for war. (References for these statements at the end of this email.) ADDITIONALLY This whole issue was shamefully misrepresented by the British Government in the recent dossier on Iraq's weapons: ‘In December 1997, Richard Butler reported to the UN Security Council that Iraq had created a new category of sites, ‘presidential’ and ‘sovereign’, from which it claimed that UNSCOM inspectors would henceforth be barred. The terms of the ceasefire in 1991 foresaw no such limitation. However, Iraq consistently refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors access to any of these eight Presidential sites.’ (Dossier, p. 34) DISTORTION 1: THE MISSING AGREEMENTS It is true that Iraq resisted inspection of ‘sensitive sites’. But, in fact, there was a series of agreements between UNSCOM and Baghdad between 1996 and 1998, which enabled UN weapons inspectors to visit these disputed sites. 1) In June 1996, Rolf Ekeus, then head of UNSCOM, agreed with the Iraqis that only FOUR weapons inspectors would enter designated ‘sensitive sites’. 2) In Dec. 1997, Richard Butler, the new head of UNSCOM, negotiated a new agreement, whereby at larger ‘sensitive sites’ such as the sprawling presidential palaces, more inspectors could enter ‘if the size of the site warranted it, as decided on a case by case basis’. 3) In Feb. 1998, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, agreed new procedures for inspecting eight identified presidential palaces. Inspectors would be accompanied by foreign diplomats to safeguard Iraq’s ‘sovereignty’. (Reference for all three agreements: Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant: The Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Crisis of Global Security, London; Ekeus: p. 96; Butler: p. 125; Annan: p. 155) So, in Dec. 1997, the month that the Government says that Richard Butler concluded Iraq was embarking on total noncooperation over the inspection of ‘sensitive sites’, the UNSCOM chief actually concluded an agreement with Iraq that allowed MORE weapons inspectors into these ‘sensitive sites’ than had previously been permitted by Baghdad. DISTORTION 2: THE INSPECTION OF PRESIDENTIAL PALACES The Government says that ‘Iraq consistently refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors access to any of these eight Presidential sites.’ This is also the reverse of the truth. The ‘sensitive sites’ inspection process developed by Ekeus, Butler and Annan enabled UNSCOM to inspect the presidential palaces after the Feb. 1998 Memorandum of Understanding: ‘Our inspections of the Presidential sites were eventually conducted over a period of ten days, and on April 15 , a report on these “entries” (in the UN vernacular) was presented to the Security Council.’ (Reference: Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant, p. 164) On the validity of the Iraqi position that the 1996/1997/1998 agreements are still in force: ‘We understand the MOU [memorandum of understanding] to still be valid’, said UNMOVIC spokesperson Ewen Buchanan. (FT, 19 Sept.) Colin Powell told a Congressional committee, ‘There is standing authority for the inspection team but there are weaknesses in that authority which make the current regime unacceptable. And we need a new resolution to clean that up and put NEW CONDITIONS on the Iraqis so that there is no wriggling out . . . if somebody tried to move the [inspectors’] team in right now, we would find ways to thwart that.’ (Telegraph, 21 Sept., p. 20, emphasis added) END ARROW website www.justicenotvengeance.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