[Documents menu] Documents menu

Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 97 14:03:39 CST
From: David Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Organization: South Movement
Subject: South News Dec 19
Article: 24390

The ugly American returns to Baghdad

South News, 19 December 1997

Baghdad: US weapons inspectors Colonel Scott Ritter arrived back in town Thursday with an ugly vengeance according to CNN's Peter Arnett.

Ritter heading a new 15 man inspection team flew in from Bahrain Thursday arriving at Habbaniya airport, 90 km (55 miles) northwest of Baghdad. Breaking protocol the team conducted a surprise search of a nearby tourist resort where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is known to sometimes stay, though it should have gone first to Baghdad and met Iraqi officials before visiting any site.

INA, the Iraqi news agency quoted director of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate Hussam Mohammad Amin as saying. An inspection team headed by the American Scott Ritter inspected today the Tourist City of Habbaniya... a tourist site where a lot of citizens spend their holidays ... The team has found nothing of banned weapons, which stresses that the information which the (U.N.) Special Commission depends on is baseless or biased, Amin said.

He said the inspection of the site lasted for two hours and 15 inspectors took part. The way followed by Ritter today contradicts normal procedures (of the U.N. inspectors), Amin said.

Iraq has previously accused Ritter of being an American spy wanting to create problems. Earlier this year INA reported Ritter as leading the controversial sudden inspection of Iraqi sensitive sites, Colonel Scott Ritter...requested to enter the office of the political section in the Intelligence Service which contains the secrets of this service. We did not allow him to do so. Colonel Ritter requested to go to a site related to the security of the Presidency which had been already inspected twice...This time we did not allow him to do so,

Colonel Ritter, the chief inspector who insisted without any justification on the entry into these sites, is an officer in the U.S. Army, Tareq Aziz has previously remarked, adding that the Council was aware of the United States' position towards Iraq and its political regime.

We have serious concern that the entry into these sites does not aim to implement the mandate of the Special Commission...but to make use of the facilities available to the Special Commission as a cover to detect the security systems of Iraq ...and the security of its leadership, Aziz said.

The lightening UNSCOM raid comes on the eve of a UN Security Council meeting on a Butler briefing on his talks this week in Iraq. In a written report, Butler said Baghdad insisted it would not under any circumstances allow inspections of presidential sites and others it calls symbols of its national sovereignty.

But Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon, said that Butler's information is inaccurate and that it does not reflect Iraq's willingness to cooperate on some technical weapons issues. Iraqi officials have maintained that the weapons inspectors completed their work long ago, yet they continue to pursue the issue as a political vendetta, on behalf of the United States.

Yet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Friday took foreign reporters on a tour of presidential sites in Baghdad which Iraq had declared off-limits to U.N. weapons inspectors. I have invited you this morning for a special occasion. We are going to take you in a tour to presidential sites in the city of Baghdad, Aziz told reporters before they started the tour.

We would like you to see these palaces where a lot of mysteries have been fabricated about them, so you can see by yourselves these are normal presidential sites, he said in English.