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[casi] News, 9-15/11/02 (1)

News, 9-15/11/02 (1)



*  Chirac, Annan talk with al-Assad on US resolution on Iraq; desire to
Syria's consent
*  Divisions Emerge over UN Authorisation for War
*  Damascus opens way for Arabs to side with UN
*  Turkish Party Backs U.N. Resolution
*  Chinese representative votes for new Iraq resolution
*  Jordan Calls UN Resolution "Positive," Urges Iraqi Compliance
*  Dollars yielded unanimous vote: Resolution against Iraq
*  US will attack without approval
*  Analyst Says UN Resolution Can Never Prevent U.S.-Iraq War
*  Ekeus questions Iraq resolution
*  UN resolution: Dangerous ambiguity
*  U.S.-French rift on Iraq: a feud that wasn't
*  Russia Warns U.S. Over "Illegal" Strikes on Iraq



Arabic News, 9th November

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad yesterday received a telephone call from
the French President Jacques Chirac during which talks dealt with the
amendments introduced to the American draft decision in a way that prevents
the use of force as a pretext to attack Iraq and all sides to abide by UN

The president received a telephone call from the UN secretary General Kofi
Annan during which discussions dealt with discussions of the UN Security
Council resolution concerning Iraq and the desire of the UN to have Syria
within the UN consensus especially as Syria used to be part of the continued
work at the UN Security Council with permanent and non permanent members in
order to remove the vague articles in the resolution. Articles that will
allow the US to resort to the use of force against Iraq.

Annan stressed to the president that all unclear and vague articles which
allow the use of force were dealt with, thanks to the efforts of permanent
and non-permanent members at the UN Security Council and that the US has
agreed to return back to the UN security council for approval if the return
of the UN inspection teams faces difficulties in its work.

Annan also stressed to the president that the consensus over the said
resolution avails the return back of UN inspectors and that will avoid Iraq

In the same context, the Syrian deputy prime minister and foreign minister
Farouk al-Shara yesterday received a message from his US counterpart Colin
Powell calling on Syria to vote for the resolution debated on the UN
Security Council after the US and Britain responded to certain issues raised
by Syria and other members at the UN Security Council during its
deliberations concerning the American- British draft decision.

In his messagem Powell stressed that the final formula, taking into account
the Syrian, French and Russian amendments and others, gives Iraq the
opportunity to abide by dismantling its mass destruction weapons by peaceful

Powell also stressed that the US would not have followed up in recent weeks
discussions with other members at the UN Security Council, if it wanted to
use the resolution as a pretext to launch war, nor to respond to points of
concern for Security Council members, especially concerning the use of force

Powell lastly said that adopting this resolution unanimously now would serve
to avoid military confrontation later on. The Syrian foreign ministry
informed the American ambassador in Damascus that it has studied Powell's
message and once again renews its request to postpone voting on the draft
resolution until Monday in order to allow Syria consultations with members
of the Arab League concerning the content of the American message and the
draft resolutions debated at the UN Security Council.

In the same context a telephone call was made yesterday between the Syrian
foreign minister Farouk al-Shara and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov
during which the two FM s discussed current deliberation in the UN Security
Council concerning the Iraqi issue.

During the telephone call, al- Shara stressed Syria's care at the UN
Security Council that honors international law and enhances the role played
by the UN and maintains Iraq's unity and territorial integrity.

Al-Shara stressed that Syria has worked inside and outside the UN Security
Council to prevent the issuance of a decision that allow the use of force

Al-Shara urged the Russian foreign minister that his country to exert
efforts for postponing the draft resolution until Syria will be able to make
consultations with other Arab states in the meeting due to be held in Cairo
on Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday morning al-Shara made a telephone call with the secretary general
of the Arab League Amr Moussa during which latest developments on the UN
Security Council concerning Iraq were discussed. Al-Shara stressed Syria's
care to maintain coordination with the other Arab states through the Arab
League concerning the draft resolutions concerning Iraq and that Syria has
asked reconsidering the draft resolution in order to enable the Arab foreign
ministers discussing it in their meetings due on Saturday and Sunday in

by Andrew Woodcock
The Scotsman, 9th November

Divisions were today emerging within the United Nations Security Council
over whether fresh international authorisation will be required for war to
be launched on Iraq if it fails to disarm.

The Council's only Arab member, Syria, made clear that it did not believe
the resolution passed unanimously in New York yesterday gave authority for
"unilateral" action by America.

But Britain's Ambassador to the UN said that the UK reserved the right to
take action if the international community reacted with "funk or fudge" to
any breach of the resolution by Saddam Hussein.


Britain's UN ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock today predicted that any
report of a breach would inevitably lead to a resolution being tabled in the
Security Council.

But he indicated that the UK would not regard itself as obliged to gain
fresh UN authorisation before using military force.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The UK will give the Security
Council every chance to produce a resolution that deals with any problem
that arises, but if there is a funk or a fudge, then we are not going to
allow Iraq to escape disarmament because the Security Council can't handle
it. That's the point."

But Syria's deputy ambassador at the UN, Fayssal Mekdad, told Today: "In no
provision of this resolution is there anything that allows countries to take
unilateral action.

"Of course, if a country wants to attack another country without coming to
the Security Council, this is up to them, and they will be judged by the
international community and by their own people.

"In this resolution, there is nothing that allows such an action and we do
understand that everybody is concerned about the ramifications of going to
military action."

US President George Bush yesterday made clear that the US would not accept
any veto on its use of force, saying that the resolution addressed allies'
concerns "without jeopardising our freedom of action".

The resolution gives Saddam 30 days to submit a full declaration of the
content and location of his arsenals.

Unmovic and the International Atomic Energy Agency are required to begin
work on eliminating them within 45 days and to report on their progress
within 105 days.

Decisions on whether Iraq is complying will be for the Security Council, and
not the inspectors, said Unmovic chief Dr Hans Blix.

He suggested that he believed the Security Council would also have
responsibility for taking any decision to go to war.

"We will report objectively what we see and if there are any violations or
any interference with our work," he said.

"It's not us who decide whether there is a war. It's important to be sure
what we say, but it is the Council that decides if something is a material
breach in the first place.

"In the second place, they will decide what consequences they draw from

"It's not certain a material breach will lead to war. Fifteen countries here
are united, and they can take other decisions as well."


Daily Star, Lebanon, 9th November

Syria's "yes" vote at the UN Security Council has opened the way for strong
Arab support for Resolution 1441 that serves an ultimatum to Iraq to comply
with international calls to eliminate its unconventional weapons programs.

And while the Arabs were poised to offer their approval, world powers like
Britain, France and Russia also breathed a sigh of relief that the bickering
is over.

But Iraq issued mixed signals. Its ambassador to the United Nations, the
first and only Iraqi official to comment on Friday, said the resolution was
written in such a way as to include demands that would be hard for Iraq to

Mohammed al-Douri said the resolution imposed US wishes on the global
community: "This is the will of the United States on the rest of the world.

"I am very pessimistic. This resolution is crafted in such a way to prevent
inspectors to return to Iraq," he told Reuters in an interview.

The resolution, drafted by the United States and co-sponsored by Britain,
gave Baghdad a week to accept the terms and promise to comply.

Douri did not say whether Baghdad would accept the unanimous resolution.

"If they have the firm conviction that the United States will attack Iraq
anyway, certainly, they would have the position which corresponds to that
conviction," he said, without elaborating.

"Others did their best, they did what they could - France, Russia, Syria and
China - and in the end they had to look after their own national interest,"
Douri said.

The resolution directs Iraq to accept the terms in seven days, and within 30
days make an "accurate, full and complete" declaration of its nuclear,
chemical, biological and ballistic weapons as well as related materials used
in civilian industries.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saddam Hussein would definitely face
military action if he defied a unanimously approved United Nations

"Defy the UN's will and we will disarm you by force. Be in no doubt whatever
over that," Blair told a Downing Street press conference. "There must be no
more games, no more deceit, no more prevarication, obstruction or defiance.

"Conflict is not inevitable but disarmament is," he said. "In the event of
Saddam refusing to cooperate or being in breach, there will be a further UN

The resolution on Iraq is an opportunity for Baghdad to get rid of its
weapons in peace, French President Jacques Chirac said: "The message of the
international community is clear. It is united in telling Iraq that it is
now time to cooperate fully with the United Nations.

"In addition, this unanimous vote fully reaffirms the central role and the
responsibilities of the Security Council in the field of peace and security,
which was essential," Chirac said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said the resolution was the
best that could have been achieved under the circumstances, Russian media

"(It is) the best solution given present circumstances," Interfax news
agency quoted him as saying.

"(It) is not ideal but it is the result of a difficult compromise," Fedotov
told ITAR-TASS news agency. "The main thing is that a compromise was reached
and that the international community succeeded in distancing a genuine
threat of war."

Germany also welcomed the UN Security Council's unanimous vote.

"Saddam Hussein must recognize what severe consequences ignoring this
resolution will have," Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the vote reflected international
"unity" and determination to bring Baghdad into line.

"I welcome the unanimous adoption today of the new United Nations Security
Council resolution on Iraq," Solana said.

"The views of the European Union are fully reflected in this text,
particularly the key objective of the EU, namely vigorously to address the
disarmament of Iraq and to do so within the framework of the UN Security
Council," he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien called it a "a key and constructive
step by the international community and the United Nations to address the
threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

"Canada has long advocated the adoption of a resolution that spells out
clearly what is expected of Iraq, both in terms of its international
obligations and the consequences of continued Iraqi noncompliance," he said
in a statement.

In Israel, Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Praised US President George
W. Bush for getting the resolution through the UN.

Netanyahu said: "Israel supports the UN Security Council resolution on the
Iraqi issue, and values the determination of President Bush in leading the
process," according to ministry spokesman Ron Prosor.

But the Arabs appeared poised to offer their consent, and, perhaps, twist
Saddam's arm to avert another conflict in the Middle East.

In Cairo, Arab League officials said they did not expect the resolution to
face any resistance when foreign ministers of member states convene this
weekend, with Iraq one of the priorities on the agenda.

"We have always respected Security Council resolutions. Many Arab countries
have already indicated that once the Security Council votes, the resolution
will be respected," said Hisham Youssef, spokesman for the Arab League.

Foreign ministers from the league's 22 members are scheduled to meet in
Cairo Saturday.

"The situation is very difficult," Youssef said, referring to the time
limits in the resolution. "We are trying to avoid war. It is not a simple
matter. We will work to see how it can be implemented and at the same time
cater to the interests of Iraq."

Patrick Seale, a Syria expert and biographer of the late Syrian President
Hafez Assad, said Syria voted "yes" because the revised resolution does not
automatically trigger war and incorporated changes proposed by France.

The Iraqi opposition in exile expressed doubt Saddam will honor the

"The regime has been playing cat-and-mouse for the last 12 years, and
(Saddam) will continue to do so. We will end up seeing another crisis," said
Hamid al-Bayati, a representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq.

Newsday, 9th November

ANKARA, Turkey -- The Islamic-rooted party that won recent elections in
Turkey supports the U.N. resolution that demands that Iraq disarm or face
military action, a top party official said Saturday.

Abdullah Gul, deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party and a
contender to be Turkey's next premier, reiterated Turkish fears that
military action on Iraq would be too costly for Turkey's frail economy.

"(War) would put a huge burden on Turkey, that is why the best thing would
be for there not to be any war," Gul told reporters.

"But we don't want weapons of mass destruction in a neighboring country or
in any other country ... we want to be sure that they do not exist," Gul

Gul's statements came a day after the U.N. Security Council unanimously
approved a resolution that gives weapons inspectors broad new powers to go
anywhere at any time to hunt for any chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons in Iraq. Baghdad has until Friday to accept the resolution or face
"serious consequences" -- diplomatic shorthand for a military attack.

The Justice party won a massive election victory on Nov. 3 but its leader,
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, cannot become prime minister because of a 1998
conviction for reading a poem which courts deemed to be in violation of
Turkey's secular laws. Gul is a strong contender for the post of premier.



NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2002 (Xinhuanet) -- Zhang Yishan (front C), Chinese acting
permanent representative to the UN, votes for the new resolution November 8,
2002, sponsored by the United States and Britain, to strengthen the
inspections of Iraq's scrapping of its weapons of mass destruction.

Tehran Times, 10th November

AMMAN -- Jordan characterized as "positive" on Saturday the UN Security
Council resolution on Iraq, urging Baghdad to comply with it in order to
save itself and the rest of the region from the pains of war.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shaher Bak told the semi-official
Al-Dustour daily the importance of Resolution 1441 "lies in the fact that it
authorizes the return of inspectors, which we welcome because that return
will permit avoiding escalation and reduce tensions in the whole region, AFP

He urged Baghdad to "accept this positive resolution in order to save Iraq
and the region from the significant damage that could result" from a
U.S.-led strike on the country.

"Iraqi approval of this resolution and Iraqi cooperation with international
(arms) inspectors would certainly be favorably received" by the world
community, he added. Al-Dustour itself echoed the minister's comments, while
calling the resolution "unfair."

"The resolution, which contains severe conditions and mechanisms and
maintained the American demands with slight modifications is still a last
chance to end the Iraqi crisis by diplomatic means," it said.

"The statements from Washington which reveal U.S. determination to push Iraq
into the trap of a destructive war raise anxieties about the real
intentions" of the United States. "Hence is in the interests of Iraq, the
Arabs and the region that Baghdad begins implementing the clauses of this
resolution, despite its unfair nature, because this resolution is the only
means available to avoid war and spare Iraq its ravages."

The daily also called on Iraq to cooperate with the UN and "avoid being
provoked or dragged into hasty reactions. Al-Rai also urged the United
States not to interpret the resolution "according to its own point of view",
to respect the role of the Security Council in implementing it and refrain
from launching a war "in the name of the international community."

by Thalif Deen
Dawn/IPS, 11th November

UNITED NATIONS: Friday's unanimous vote in the UN Security Council
supporting the US resolution on weapons inspections in Iraq was a
demonstration of Washington's ability to wield its vast political and
economic power, say observers.

"Only a superpower like the United States could have pulled off a coup like
this," an Asian diplomat told IPS on Friday.

The unanimous 15-0 vote, he said, was obtained through considerable
political and diplomatic pressure. The lobbying, he added, was not done at
the United Nations, but in various capitals.

Besides its five veto-wielding permanent members, the Security Council also
consists of 10 non-permanent, rotating members who hold office for two

France, China and Russia, in almost a single voice, said they decided to
back the resolution because of assurances by the United States that it would
return to the Security Council before launching a military attack on Iraq.
The resolution, they argued, does not provide the United States with the
automatic use of military force. But the 10 non-permanent members -
Cameroon, Guinea, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Colombia, Mexico, Singapore, Norway,
Ireland and Syria - voted under heavy diplomatic and economic pressure from
the United States.

Nine votes and no vetoes were the minimum needed to adopt the resolution. Of
the five big powers, Britain had co-sponsored the US resolution. In a
worst-case scenario, US officials were expecting the other three permanent
members - Russia, China and France - to abstain on the vote.

That meant the votes of the 10 non-permanent members took on added
significance. Of the 10, the two Western nations, Ireland and Norway, were
expected to vote with the United States.

Syria, a "radical" Arab nation listed as a "terrorist state" by the US State
Department, was expected to either vote against or abstain. So the
arm-twisting was confined mostly to the remaining seven countries, who
depend on the United States either for economic or military aid - or both.

All these countries were seemingly aware of the fact that in 1990 the United
States almost overnight cut about $70 million in aid to Yemen immediately
following its negative vote against a US sponsored Security Council
resolution to militarily oust Iraq from Kuwait.

The latest incarnation of that reality, Bennis said, came from the island
nation of Mauritius, which joined the Security Council last year under US

Last week, Mauritius' UN ambassador, Jagdish Koonjul, was temporarily
recalled by his government because he continued to convey the mistaken
impression that his country had reservations about the US resolution against

The US aid package to the impoverished country, authorized by the US African
Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), demands that the aid recipient "does not
engage in activities contrary to US national security or foreign policy

Fear of being accused of acting contrary to US foreign policy interests
plays a role "not only for Mauritius, but also for any country dependent on
US economic assistance", added Bennis.

Colombia, one of the world's leading producer of cocaine and an important
supplier of heroin to the U.S. market, received about $380 million in US
grants under the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)
programme this year. The proposed amount earmarked for 2003 is $439 million.

Under the same programme, Mexico received about $10 million last year and
$12 million this year. It also received $28.2 million in US Economic Support
Funds (ESF).

Guinea, another of the non-permanent members in the Security Council,
received three million dollars in outright US military grants last year and
is expected to get $20.7 million in development assistance next year.

Cameroon is not only entitled to receive free surplus US weapons but also
receives about $2.5 million in annual grants for military education and

After Colombia, the largest single beneficiary of US aid is Bulgaria, which
received $13.5 million in outright military grants (mostly to buy US weapons
systems) last year and an additional $8.5 million this year. The amount
earmarked for 2003 is $9.5 million.

Additionally, Bulgaria has received $69 million in aid under a US programme
called Support for East European Democracy (SEED). Next year's proposed
grant is $28 million.

Besides Syria, Singapore is the only country in the Security Council that
does not receive economic or military aid from the United States. But the
United States is the biggest single arms supplier to Singapore, selling the
Southeast Asian nations weapons worth $656.3 million last year and an
estimated $370 million this year.

Could any of these countries easily stand up to the United States or refuse
to fall in line with their benefactor or military ally?

James Abourezk, a former US Senator, said he seriously doubts that any
country receiving US government aid could withstand the economic pressure to
vote for a US resolution at the Security Council.

"It would be a tragedy," he told IPS, "if a war were to be declared based on
such pressure".,3604,837598,00.html

by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
The Guardian, 11th November

The Bush administration yesterday said it would not wait for the UN security
council to approve an attack on Iraq if it fails to comply with weapons
inspections, casting new light on leaked battlefield scenarios.

The muscle-flexing by the administration comes only days after two
impressive victories: historic gains by the Republicans in mid-term
elections and a unanimous endorsement of the UN security council for a
stringent weapons inspections regime in Iraq.

It arrived on a day when the New York Times and Washington Post both
published highly detailed scenarios for a war on Iraq. The plans, which
would involve up to 250,000 troops, envisage a relatively abbreviated air
assault, with special forces and regular soldiers moving in to establish
footholds in the north, west and south of the country.

Meanwhile, there were signs that Washington's robust exercise of foreign
policy would extend to its prosecution of the war on terror. The national
security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said on television that Mr Bush had
given broad authority to pre-emptive strikes, such as last week's missile
attack which killed six suspected members of al-Qaida in Yemen.

"The president has given broad authority to a variety of people to do what
they have to do to protect this country," she said. "It's a new kind of war.
We're fighting on a lot of different fronts."

Even as commentators were hailing the diplomacy of Colin Powell, the
secretary of state, in securing French and Russian support for the hardline
US proposal, a procession of Bush administration officials yesterday made it
clear that Washington will seek the strictest possible definition of the

"They don't have the right to accept or reject this resolution," Ms Rice
said. "This time no one is going to have any tolerance for the games of cat
and mouse Saddam Hussein has been playing in the past."

Instead, the picture that emerged from US officials yesterday is of a "zero
tolerance" weapons inspection regime. The first sign of Iraqi non-compliance
will be seen as the trigger for military action, with or without UN

The White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, said the US would not wait for
the security council to sanction an attack should it decide Iraq had failed
to comply with the inspectors. "The UN can meet and discuss, but we don't
need their permission," he said.

The message was put more forcefully by Mr Powell, who told CNN: "We will ask
the UN to give authorisation for all necessary means, and if the UN is not
willing to do that, the United States with like-minded nations will go and
disarm him forcefully."

Encouraging the implosion of the Iraqi leader's regime appears to be a
crucial element of the battle plans that were sketched out in the New York
Times and Washington Post.

The papers reported that the war on Iraq would be modelled on last year's
invasion of Afghanistan. After a relatively short air campaign, there would
be a swift ground action designed to squeeze off the leadership in Baghdad
and create the conditions under which the people of Iraq would rise against
President Saddam.

Tehran Times, 12th November

Tensions are continuing between the United States and Iraq over the U.S.
proposed UN Security Council Resolution 1441 on disarming Baghdad.

This prompted the Arab-African Service of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Broadcasting (IRIB) to interview Mohammad Saleh al-Mosafar, a lecturer at
the University of Qatar. The full text of the interview follows.

Q: Mr. Mosafar, what is your opinion on the Security Council's Iraq
resolution? What will be the fate of Iraq, and how will Baghdad react to the

A: I believe the resolution is the worst and most dangerous resolution that
the Security Council has ever issued since its establishment in 1945. The
Security Council has in fact deprived the United Nations of all its
commitments and obligations by adopting the resolution, and handed the world
body's duties to only one of its members, the U.S. The United Nations has
thus given up its basic responsibility to protect international peace and
stability and has given this responsibility to the U.S., thus enabling it to
take revenge on a former friend, Iraq, for the first time in history.

It must be said that there is only one fate ahead for Iraq and whether the
country accepts or rejects the resolution will do nothing to stop the war.

But I believe it is absolutely necessary that Iraq accept UN resolutions at
this juncture of time because in that case it would be able to solicit the
support of international public opinion.

Therefore, the best thing Iraq can do right now is to accept the resolution.
I hope the Muslim and Arab worlds understand the danger of the current
situation. I particularly recommend that the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) call an emergency meeting to discuss regional and
international threats to Islam. It is not only Iraq that is currently being
threatened. The threat will jeopardize Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon
and Egypt, as well. If no serious measures are taken to confront this
threat, and the people of Iraq are not supported, the whole region will
eventually be brought into the conflict.

Q: How do you think the ministerial meeting of Arab nations currently under
way in Cairo can help Iraq?

A: Arab officials can do many things. For example, if only four major Arab
countries stood in opposition to U.S. policies, they would be able to make
the U.S. backtrack from its position on taking action against Iraq. But it
is regrettable to see that the political resolve of Arab leaders is already
eroded and these countries not only will not support Iraq, but they will
also fully back the U.S. in its war against that country.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former top U.N. weapons inspector has questioned
whether a new U.N. resolution is tough enough to force Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein to give up his suspected weapons of mass destruction.

Rolf Ekeus, who led the inspectors in Iraq from 1991 to mid-1997, also said
one of the resolution's weaknesses was the lack of a "trigger" leading to

Under the resolution, adopted unanimously last week by the U.N. Security
Council, Iraq must give up its suspected chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons programs or face "serious consequences" that would likely lead to

To accommodate objections by France and Russia, the resolution did not say
noncompliance would automatically lead to force, instead calling for U.N.
inspectors to report any Iraqi failure to comply to the Security Council
which would then "convene immediately ... to consider the situation." "Now
it's very important if this 'convene' and 'consider' ... is threatening
enough against Saddam to get him to give in," Ekeus, told reporters on
Tuesday. "That is, I would say, the big question." Ekeus praised the
resolution as the best possible under the circumstances but said one of its
weaknesses was the absence of a "trigger." "I think it is ... a good
resolution because it's focused upon inspections. The weakness is of course
the trigger," Ekeus said. "The idea is to put the pressure on Iraq." The
resolution, adopted after two months of negotiations, satisfied the United
States, which said it retained the ability to act independently against
Iraq, while placating France by referring any Iraqi resistance back to the

It did not call for two resolutions, one to lay out the inspections and a
second to deal with the issue of force, something France had wanted but that
Ekeus argued was a recipe for disaster.

by Ian Urbina
Asia Times, 12th November

The UN Security Council has finally passed an Iraq resolution, with France,
Russia and China on board. For now, the diplomatic tussles are finished.
Still, it may be worth considering what was, and remains, at stake in all
the diplomatic wrangling.

Clearly, the most immediate threat is that the US will invade without
further UN approval. Though Washington insisted that the final resolution
draft include the wording "Iraq has been and remains in material breach of
its obligations", the next line gives Iraq "a final opportunity to comply
with its disarmament obligations". However, what is not offered anywhere in
the draft is a clear, unequivocal statement that the UN has final say. The
resolution calls for the UN "to convene immediately upon receipt of a report
[of Iraqi non compliance] in order to consider the situation "

But there is no reference to a council decision being required to determine
whether or not an Iraqi violation noted by arms inspectors constitutes a
"material breach", and if so what the appropriate response should be. The
resolution's "severest consequences" language is vague enough that if the US
perceives a violation, it can react unilaterally and directly with force,
only later to claim that it was within the bounds of the law.

This sort of interpretive maneuver is not without precedent. In 1998, when
the UN Security Council passed a resolution endorsing Kofi Annan's
negotiated stand-down with Iraq, the resolution at that time also called for
"severest consequences". At the close of those negotiations, every council
ambassador except that of the US said explicitly that use of the term did
not constitute an automatic authorization of the use of force for any
country or group of countries. The US ambassador, Bill Richardson, alone of
all the council, said, "We think it does authorize immediate unilateral use
of force." Above and beyond the prospect of a potentially massive war, the
larger issue at stake is the status of UN authority. The recent diplomatic
skirmishes are, in part, a fight over whether the US is willing to recognize
the centrality and legal sovereignty of the Security Council to handle not
just Iraqi disarmament but international peace and security issues
generally. In the present resolution, the US clearly does not recognize this
authority, instead maintaining a fully instrumentalist view of the
international body.

For the US, this position is quite clear: the UN is to be respected only in
so far as it overlaps with plans set in Washington. US Secretary of State
Colin Powell has stated the matter plainly: "If Iraq violates this
resolution and fails to comply, then the council has to take into immediate
consideration what should be done about that, while the United States and
other like-minded nations might take a judgment about what we might do about
it if the council chooses not to act." In other words, the US will subjugate
itself to the UN - that is, force will subordinate to law - only when it is


by John Vinocur
International Herald Tribune, 12th November

PARIS: The debate on Iraq at the United Nations was less a great diplomatic
battle than a complex negotiation in which the United States was content to
let France play a self conferred role of guardian of peace and
multilateralism, confident that the strategic payoff sought by the French
from more than a month's discussion in the Security Council meshed in the
short term with American intentions.

Headlines in the French press, reverberating in other European countries,
boomed continuously with talk of clashes between Presidents George W. Bush
and Jacques Chirac, or even, messianically, in Le Figaro, of "Paris Blocking
a Preventative War."

Week after week, the impression the articles sought to convey was of a
France so skilled in diplomacy that it was successfully defending moderation
and the primacy of international law on behalf of a world concerned about
America's potential for the unrestrained use of force.

But much of the evidence - and an American official's contention - suggest
that the United States decided in early September that it would get the
resolution it wanted from the Security Council if it let France, a permanent
member with veto power, cast itself as the defender of reason. France
presented itself as independent but trusted by the United States, and, as
such, as a unique and invaluable pillar of the international community.

>From the beginning, the Americans had clear, firm signals from France that
it was not opposed to the eventual use of military force against the regime
of Saddam Hussein.

And from the start as well, the Americans were convinced that France saw the
circumstances as an opportunity to rebuild the country's diminished
international status and strengthen its position in the Middle East at the
expense of the Germans, who had cast themselves as Continental Europe's
leading diplomatic player for the last two years.

For France to regain influence in the world in this situation, according to
this American reasoning, the French had to cast themselves as independent
but not obstructionist. France had to stop short of risking being portrayed
as a troublemaker whose rigidity could actually protect Saddam, kill the
United Nations' effectiveness, alienate the United States from future
reliance on the organization, or trigger an American war on Iraq.

"If all this was at the cost of Chirac playing Gaullist, then so be it," the
American official, who was familiar with the negotiations, said.

The signs that France understood the possibilities for this tacit agreement
with the Americans came early. When Schroeder, trailing in August in his bid
for re-election, appealed to Germany's pacifist and neutralist voters by
saying the country would not fight Iraq under any circumstances, Foreign
Minister Dominique de Villepin immediately made clear that France was in no
way ruling out use of military force against Iraq.

Schroeder's position had isolated Germany from the Iraq debate, enraged the
United States, and made France a more significant player in the American

Alain Juppe, the former prime minister who is the politician closest to
Chirac, said in September, "When Schroeder says he won't participate, that's
unilateralism." In private, an influential French political figure described
Schroeder's attitude as "adroit in terms of getting elected, but totally
cynical," and one that opened up what he called "a boulevard" of
opportunities for France in relation to the United States and the
international community.

In effect, it was a sharp French response to a Germany that had tried,
although unsuccessfully, to assert its own preeminence in the European Union
by increasing its own voting power within the EU. Germany also had elbowed
France aside as the key European factor in the Middle East. Until the end of
the summer, Germany had a confident relationship with both the Arabs and
Israel, while France, with the Socialist Hubert Vedrine as foreign minister,
lost all leverage in Jerusalem and retained very little in Washington. Arab
countries had observed the slippage and were said to question France's

Bush's Sept. 12 speech at the United Nations, in which he described the
organization's capacity to deal with Saddam as a test of its future
viability, put the Iraq issue in the hands of the Security Council and on
French turf. This gave France use of the multilateral arena that most
amplifies its voice, but also the responsibility of helping find a solution
satisfactory to the United States on Iraq or passing up the political gains
it could make with the windfall role as awkward but skillful

In this way, active negotiations were able to begin in a framework of
substantial but largely private confidence. Publicly, Chirac held out for a
rejection of any automatic link between a negative report by UN weapons
inspectors and the use of military force against Iraq. He traveled to Egypt,
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as a friend of the Arabs resisting American

Chirac's trip to the Middle East led to shrill headlines in France about the
Chirac-Bush confrontation, but the interpretation was embarrassingly
overdrawn. So much so that when Chirac made a reference in Cairo to France
knowing how "to assume its responsibilities," it was widely misconstrued in
press dispatches to mean the French would veto the American resolution. The
French president's aides, seemingly more concerned about American reaction
than the Gaullist tingle of a jibe at the Americans, quickly explained this
was not what the president intended.

Rather, the remark seemed to be a guarded suggestion that France would join
in military steps if Iraq did not comply with whatever the Security Council
eventually decided.

All through the debate, American officials carefully avoided any criticism
of France, an easy and traditional target in Washington as a recalcitrant
creator of problems. This apparently deliberate silence, and a supposed lack
of interest among the U.S. press in non-American viewpoints in the
back-and-forth of the Security Council debate - suggesting that a
satisfactory outcome for the United States was assured - led Le Monde to
irritatedly describe American newspaper coverage as in "a striking
demonstration of unilateralism."

In the end, with the unanimous passage of the resolution on Friday, the
French could claim that the American wish for an automatic link to military
force fell out of the document as a result of their arguments, and that the
Americans agreed to return to the Security Council for discussions of the
inspectors' reports.

But, in the American view, those discussions would be just that - well short
of decision making, and without bearing on an eventual determination by the
United States to use force against Iraq if it was found to be evading the
council's orders. The link to force was not automatic, but there was no
procedure that put a multilateral yes-or-no vote in the way of an American
decision to attack Iraq.

On the balance sheet, France had reasserted its rank in the hierarchy of
international players, differentiated itself favorably at least for the time
being in the eyes of the United States from a self-isolated Germany, and
found new evidence to support its belief in the effectiveness of
multilateralism. The United States, in its view, had a won a virtually free
hand in relation against Iraq at little cost, while finding a powerful
response, countersigned by France, to the critics who see it as incapable of
listening to the voices of global opinion.

For George Bush, getting an American resolution through the Security Council
meant a lot of time spent, "grinding it out," as he said. But he added, "I
wouldn't exactly call it gnashing of teeth."

For de Villepin, responding to a French questioner's suggestion that the
so-called great diplomatic battle would leave deep marks on French-American
relations, the reality was elsewhere.

"Rarely," he said, "have the United States and France had an approach and a
common undertaking of such quality. At each stage we paid great attention to
being constructive. It's exemplary of what our relationship must be in a
world of uncertainty. We were truly on the case together."

Tehran Times, 14th November

MOSCOW -- Russia warned the United States on Wednesday against taking the
law into its own hands over Iraq, saying Washington would be breaking
international law if it went ahead with strikes without UN approval.

As Iraqi President Saddam Hussein pondered whether to accept UN Security
Council Resolution 1441 ordering Baghdad to fully disarm, Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov stressed that Washington would be breaking
international law if it took military action without first seeking UN
approval. "I hope that in future they will not violate international law,"
Fedotov told reporters, referring to U.S. bombing raids on Iraq in December
1998 which he described as "a clear violation of international law."

Those attacks "began during a UN debate on the Butler weapons inspections
report," Fedotov said, referring to the then chief UN weapons inspector
Richard Butler.

After a stand-off between the weapons inspectors and Iraqi officials in
December 1998, Butler withdrew his inspectors and the United States and
Britain bombed suspected weapons sites and other Iraqi military targets.

No weapons inspections have been carried out in Iraq since then.

Saddam last month agreed to allow the weapons inspectors to return to Iraq
under pressure from the United States, which has proposed military action to
ensure Baghdad fully renounces a program to acquire weapons of mass

Iraq's Parliament on Tuesday rejected the UN resolution on disarmament,
which was adopted by a unanimous vote by the 15 members of the Security
Council last week.

Russia, which has strong economic interests in Iraq, and France fought
furiously to make sure that the UN resolution did not include an automatic
threat of the use of force should Saddam's regime come in conflict with
weapons inspectors.

Fedotov, Moscow's chief negotiator in the United Nations, said Russia was
satisfied with the new draft's wording, even though he conceded that it has
put added pressures on Saddam that did not exist in previous resolutions.

"I hope that the Iraqi leadership weighs the pros and cons and takes a
decision that everyone expects from it," Fedotov said.

He said the new resolution "does not stray far" from previous ones, while
admitting that Russia now accepted that Saddam must open up his eight vast
presidential palaces to inspectors, a demand that did not exist in previous

"It would be unrealistic for the Iraqi leadership to expect amendments (that
soften) this resolution," said Fedotov when asked if Iraq was stalling for
time through its Parliament's negative recommendation issued Tuesday.

"The language of the resolution is very firm," he said, "and the emotions in
Iraq are understandable. At the same time we hope that Iraq adopts a
pragmatic approach,' he said.

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