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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 97 10:20:42 CST
From: bghauk@berlin.infomatch.com (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Washington Pushes For `Unconditional' Inspections In Iraq
Organization: InfoMatch Internet—Vancouver BC
Article: 24841

Washington Pushes For 'Unconditional' Inspections In Iraq

By Maurice Williams, The Militant, Nol. 62, no. 1, 12 January 1998

Washington has not let up in its campaign of war threats against Iraq, pushing the United Nations Security Council to demand December 22 that Baghdad allow outside weapons inspectors full access to any and all buildings, equipment, documents, and vehicles. The Security Council warned that failure by the Iraqi government to grant unconditional access to any site or category of sites is unacceptable and a clear violation of relevant resolutions—a pretext it could try to use to justify a new military attack on that Middle Eastern nation.

The U.S. government failed to get the Security Council to approve the wording in its original draft to condemn Baghdad for ruling some areas off limits. Russian ambassador Sergei Lavrov, as well as representatives from China and Paris voiced opposition to condemning Iraq. Lavrov also asked for language making the record in favor of Iraqi sovereignty, which was absent from the UN statement.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, William Richardson, insisted that Washington's spies be permitted to investigate any facility in the country. He said his government might launch a military assault, over the objections of Paris and Moscow, if it deemed such a move necessary. It is our view that there are enough justifications in existing UN resolutions to proceed with military force, Richardson said on the December 21 NBC television program Meet the Press. He warned that the Clinton administration has not ruled any options out, including the military option.

One week before the Security Council meeting, Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov told a December 17 NATO conference in Brussels, We are against the use of force [against Iraq].

Australian official Richard Butler, the chief UN arms inspector, claimed he had evidence that Baghdad was hiding weapons in presidential buildings and other facilities that the Iraqi government calls sovereign sites. We have finally had evidence or reason to believe that prohibited items have been or do exist in these places, Butler proclaimed December 20.

Iraqi newspapers charged that Butler was a liar who provided the United States with a new excuse to continue its hostile and feverish activities against Iraq.

Washington has been organizing surveillance flights over Iraq, including a four-hour mission of U-2 spy planes that, according to Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon, took place December 22 or 23. It did what it was supposed to do. It came back unchallenged, Bacon added.

Meanwhile, Baghdad announced December 21 it will submit a new plan under the UN-imposed food for oil deal. The agreement permits the government of Iraq to sell $2 billion of oil every six months, dictating that 30 percent of the revenue be used to pay Gulf War reparations and other alleged UN costs. The rest is earmarked to buy food and medicine.

Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said the new proposed pact would include some changes on buying spare parts for water sanitation, agricultural, and other equipment. The proposals are aimed at easing the devastation on the Iraqi people, who have been hard hit by the U.S.-led seven years of sanctions. Over 1 million Iraqis have died - including 500,000 children -because of the embargo.