Tags: Different | Notions | Tough | Inspections | Emerging

Different Notions of Tough Inspections Emerging

Sunday, 17 November 2002 12:00 AM

The impasse reported in the Washington Post comes on the cusp of advance U.N. weapons inspectors arriving in Baghdad on Monday and the formal inspection process beginning in earnest Nov. 27.

Despite the council's unanimous approval Nov. 8 of Resolution 1441, U.S. insistence on a intensive probe and a strict reporting requirement is reportedly already causing friction between the United States and some partners in the United Nations.

Last month, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, during a meeting with inspector recruits, called for firmness with the Iraqis but maintained that his approach would be measured and never "angry and aggressive."

But President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have worked overtime to communicate, in Powell’s words, that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will be given no "slack" in the inspection process.

Bush in his weekly radio reiterated, "We have heard such pledges before, and they have been unfortunately betrayed. Our goal is not merely the return of inspectors to Iraq; our goal is the disarmament of Iraq. The dictator of Iraq will give up his weapons of mass destruction, or the United States will lead a coalition and disarm him."

Annan has joined his voice with others in the U.N. Security Council that profess concern that conflict with Iraq may be inevitable.

"The U.S. does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have ... I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something."

In the meantime, Blix, who has hired more inspectors from the U.S. than from any other country, is being pressured by Arab Street to bring onboard more Arab arms experts, who would be more sensitive to Iraq’s religion and culture.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has stated, "The fieldwork and the implementation will be the deciding factors as to whether the true intent was for the Security Council to ascertain that Iraq is free of those alleged weapons or whether the entire matter is nothing more than an evil cover" for U.S. spying - as his country maintained was the case during the UNSCOM era, which ended with the teams being ousted in 1999.

But some former weapons inspectors are advising Blix not to fall into the trap of Saddam’s historic penchant for gamesmanship:

"Blix may go too far down this line - if you are too weak, the Iraqis will read you in a second and take advantage of it," warned David Albright, a former inspector who now heads the Institute for Science and International Studies.

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The impasse reported in the Washington Post comes on the cusp of advance U.N. weapons inspectors arriving in Baghdad on Monday and the formal inspection process beginning in earnest Nov. 27. Despite the council's unanimous approval Nov. 8 of Resolution 1441, U.S....
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2002-00-17
Sunday, 17 November 2002 12:00 AM
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