Tags: Iraqis | Want | U.N. | Arms | Inspectors | Terminated

Iraqis Want U.N. Arms Inspectors Terminated

Friday, 08 June 2007 12:00 AM

UNITED NATIONS -- The continuing expenditures in support of the United Nations Monitoring, Observation and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) "is of no practical benefit to either Iraq or the United Nations."

That's what Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated in a letter to the Security Council dated November 2006 and quietly slipped into the U.N.'s archives with virtually no public notification.

Zebari put into writing a "discreet" move within the Security Council to bury the remnants of the Iraq arms inspections, a move being pushed by the White House.

Those inspections, which began after the first Gulf War (1991) were eventually suspended when the United States and Britain invaded Iraq (March 2003), have been a subject of continuing controversy.

Since the 2003 invasion, the remains of the organization, now employing fewer than 40 people, down from almost 300, has spent its time analyzing and archiving millions of documents surrendered by the government of Saddam Hussein.

Many of those files could paint a clearer picture of the kind of threat Saddam actually posed prior to the 2003 invasion.

The archives also contain a comprehensive "classified" list of companies that secretly dealt with Saddam in violation of U.N. sanctions.

But, most of those documents remain outside the reach of public access, and now the current Iraqi government, with the backing of the U.S., wants the U.N. department responsible for their security disbanded.

This comes as NewsMax has learned that the Security Council has been draining funds from UNMOVIC's bank accounts to the point that former U.N. chief Kofi Annan warned shortly before he left office (December 2006) that the money remaining "would be less than adequate should expenditures return to the levels experienced in former years."

Since UNMOVIC exists as an "arm" of the council, the council insists it has control over the bank accounts.

Funded by a U.N. levy on Iraqi oil sales, the arms inspectors once had more than $350 million in their coffers.

Now the "piggy bank" is almost empty, courtesy of the council.

It is not clear exactly where all the cash has gone.

Some went to pay Baghdad's "dues" to the U.N. Some went to "renovate" Iraq's U.N. mission and ambassador's townhouse. Some went into the Development Fund for Iraq, (the successor to the scandal-plagued Oil for Food program).

In short, Annan, in his December letter, warned the council that should arms control-inspections again become an issue in Iraq, UNMOVIC no longer had the funds to to do it.

The issue is important because the arms inspections, first begun in 1991, were envisioned, especially by the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, as a permanent institution.

The U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) later reorganized as UNMOVIC, was an effort not only aimed at uncovering Iraqi weapons programs, but as a permanent attempt at arms control, to prevent secret programs, such as Saddam's atomic bomb project, to ever arise again.

Now, the Security Council, led by the United States, wants, as one UNMOVIC staffer lamented, to throw everything back to "square one."

The U.S. mission to the U.N. refused comment.

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UNITED NATIONS -- The continuing expenditures in support of the United Nations Monitoring, Observation and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) "is of no practical benefit to either Iraq or the United Nations." That's what Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated...
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Friday, 08 June 2007 12:00 AM
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