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RE: [casi] Blix orders Destruction of Iraq missiles.

> So 14 are illegal the rest are not. Why destroy them all?

The original AP story reported that:

> Iraq had declared the results of the missile tests in its semiannual
> to U.N. inspectors in October, and again in its 12,000-page weapons
> declaration on Dec. 7. It said that 13 of the 40 tests went beyond the
> 150-kilometre limit, once to 180 kilometres.

Any individual missile tested is presumably now destroyed.  What the tests
indicate, though, is that the Al-Samoud II is capable of exceeding the 150
km limit imposed in 1991.  If the existing tests are representative, then
perhaps only 1/2 of the missiles would actually exceed this limit.  If there
was some way of distinguishing those that would exceed the limit from those
that wouldn't, then there might be a case for only destroying those that
would.  As they all conform, as far as we know, to the same design, and as
that design can exceed the limit, the missiles violate SCR 687.

> What of Iraq's claim that when fitted out with guidance the range is not
> beyond that mandated?

SCR 687 does not allow the Iraqi government to develop missiles that exceed
150km if unguided or without warheads.  The limit is not conditional.

> Why destroy them? Why not modify them to be within range.

Weapons inspectors do have provisions for monitoring rather than merely
destroying items with which they are concerned.  I am not a missile expert,
but I would imagine that, if the Al-Samoud II can be modified to bring its
range under 150km, it is likely that it can easily be reconfigured for a
range above 150km.

>    So excessive legalism is fair?

The question of whether and which Security Council resolutions should be
upheld is a much deeper one.  If one argues that adherence to them is
optional, then one legitimises the same argument by advocates of other
positions.  Indeed, an important strand of the legal argument for war
without a new Security Council resolution is that the central role given to
nation states by international law is less relevant than it was in the past.

> Do you think Rice et al are meeting with Blix just to
> have a friendly visit.? Do you think the Russians reports of pressure are
> wrong or just that Blix is such a great guy he wont be
> influenced. Of course
> in his last report he showed he was a bit miffed with the US.  He
> even asked
> that the US give the intelligence that he needs. You think he will report
> this time that the US in unco-operative and should be sanctioned.

I think that no one is under any illusions that Blix is operating under
extreme pressure, or that he is human and susceptible to persuasion or
error.  The issue of destroying missiles that are clearly illegal under the
terms of his mandate, though, seems pretty clear cut.  If he asked for
missiles whose performance had never exceeded 150 km to be destoyed, then
that be a different matter.

> The most one can say is that Blix is not the complete doormat the US
> would like him to be and hence is not loved by the US. But on the
> other hand
> this show of resistance and conflict creates the illusion of fairness.

As a final note, it may be important to recognise that "the US" is not a
monolith.  As I understand the situation in Washington, there is no
consensus on Iraq.  Many policy makers are keenly aware that the world
largely stands against them at present.  These people may wish to avoid a
war but also may feel that they need a strategy that can be presented as a
victory.  Blix may be their best hope: to the extent that he can assure that
world that Iraq is disarming, he can show the world that the situation in
Iraq has turned around from the Clinton period when, from the US
Administration's point of view, it was getting out of hand.


Colin Rowat

work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham |
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