Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:40:36 -0600 (CST)
From: (Rich Winkel)
Subject: IRAQ/UN/USA: UN in Grave Peril
Article: 47924
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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UN in grave peril

Editorial, Khaleej Times (Gulf Times), 13 November 1998

WHATEVER the outcome of the seemingly inevitable air strikes against Iraq, about to bring new suffering to an Iraqi people already brutally punished for eight long years by US-inspired sanctions, the United Nations' credibility and dignity have been chipped away further. It transpires that much like a puppet-master, the United States ordered the Australian chief arms inspector Richard Butler to withdraw all UN arms inspectors and support staff from Iraq for the first time in seven years. He readily complied, without caring to inform his nominal boss, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who heard about the withdrawal order later in an indirect fashion. Nor was the UN Security Council, under whose authority Mr Butler is supposed to be functioning, consulted, and an angry Russia and China called a meeting of the key organ only to hear Mr Butler talk about the “strong recommendation” from the US he had received, describing his move as precautionary. Neither Iraq nor the rest of the world needed the services of Sherlock Holmes to come to the conclusion that the American order to Butler was to clear the decks for bombing Iraq back to the Stone Age. The Arab world is awaiting the raining of bombs on Iraq with a measure of resignation because this time around President Bill Clinton has prepared his ground better at home and abroad although he can be under no doubt about the opposition of Iraq's neighbours (barring perhaps Kuwait) to the use of force. But the likely military action by the US and its faithful follower Britain (with Australia cheering from the sidelines) has the larger consequence of humiliating the United Nations.

If the United States feels that it is strong enough as the sole surviving military superpower to treat the world organisation as a branch of the US State Department, it is doing a great disservice to the United Nations and to its own interests because its actions can only lead to the failure of a second attempt at building a universal organisation after the failure of the League of Nations. It was the Clinton administration which hounded out the previous UN secretary-general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, by single-handedly blackballing him for a second term because he was not sufficiently subservient in serving American interests. The American favourite, Annan, was duly elected and it was only after his trip to Baghdad earlier this year to prevent American air strikes that he won a measure of respect and distanced himself a little from the label of being America's boy. Now his office has been diminished by the insolence of his own employee who has chosen to follow American instructions without any pretence of informing, much less consulting, the boss. No country, however strong, is capable of ruling the world with a handful of satellites. Britain, and now Australia, are serving American interests for their own ends, but they cannot represent the majority of the rest of the world. One would hope that the United States will realise the foolishness of its actions before the United Nations is destroyed beyond repair.