It turns out that Iraq's offer to allow unconditional weapons
inspections had conditions after all.
In a deal brokered by the Arab League between Iraq and the U.N.,
weapons inspectors can only visit Iraqi military sites, (END
ITAL) according to the London Evening Standard. British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw said the deal should be viewed with "a high degree of
Even before this poorly baited Iraqi trap had been exposed, the
White House dismissed Saddam Hussein's tactical maneuver by saying: "This is
not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament of Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction and the Iraqi regime's compliance with all other Security
Therein lies the key point. In his brilliant speech before the
U.N. last week, President Bush took great care to lay out five major
conditions that must be included in any new U.N. Security Council
resolutions. Failure to meet these conditions would mean that "the world
must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account."
These conditions have largely gone unreported by the major media
outlets. But they summarize 16 unenforced U.N. resolutions and are
absolutely essential to the deal struck within the U.S. government between
those who saw no reason to consult again with the U.N. (Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Wolfowitz) and those who did (Powell).
In the U.N. speech, Bush cited Security Council Resolution 688,
which demands that Iraq cease at once repression of its own people. Last
year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that "tens of thousands of
political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary
arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and
burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape. Wives are tortured
in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and
all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a
Then Bush cited resolutions 686 and 687, demanding that Iraq
return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. As of last year, Bush
said, "Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini
and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One
American pilot is among them."
Resolution 687 requires that Iraq renounce all involvement with
terrorism and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in the country.
Bush stated, "In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq
continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct
violence against Iran, Israel and Western governments."
The president also noted that in 1993, Iraq attempted to
assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American president (read, his
father). He also pointed out that "Iraq's government openly praised the
attacks of Sept. 11. And Al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are
known to be in Iraq."
Then the president reminded us of the Iraqi agreement made in
1991 to completely disarm by destroying and stopping the development of all
weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. To prove this, the
rogue nation was expected to comply with rigorous inspections. Bush then
went on to chronicle Iraqi lies about biological weapons, anthrax, and
stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents.
On top of this, Bush noted Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear
weapons as well as their arsenal of scud-type missiles that are capable of
delivering all weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, Bush noted that
Saddam Hussein had subverted the U.N. program allowing Iraq to use oil
revenues to buy food. Instead, the dictator used that money to purchase
missile technology and military materials.
The president finally stated that Iraq has not made financial
restitution for its military invasions of Kuwait and Iran, nor has it made
good on a number of outstanding financial obligations to other governments.
Any new resolution developed in the U.N. Security Council must
address all of these U.S. government conditions. No
single condition will be sufficient -- even though it is doubtful that Iraq
could meet any one of them.
The president explicitly challenged the U.N. to live up to its
principles and enforce all of its prior resolutions with Iraq. In doing so,
he seized the moral high ground and the political whip hand -- not only with
members of the United Nations, including European and Mideast countries, but
also with respect to a new resolution from the U.S. Congress.
The president made it quite clear what will happen if these
conditions are not met: "The purposes of the United States should not be
doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just
demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable.
And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power."
In other words, nothing else will do.