THE WAR RESOLUTION
WAR PLAN IRAQ Update Number 3a
It now looks certain that the US and Britain will finally force
the UN to pass a new resolution against Iraq later today. This
Resolution will impose huge new burdens on Iraq, change
the rules for the inspections and grant unchecked powers
to the weapons inspection bodies. It is not intended to 'enhance'
or strengthen the UN weapons inspection process. Rather its new
demands are designed to provoke a crisis as early as possible,
paving the way for war. The Resolution will also rewrite history
in an attempt to provide spurious 'legal' justification for war.
The following analysis is based on the draft text of the US/UK
resolution dated 5th November 2002.
The new Resolution does not just require Iraq to declare whether
or not it possesses weapons of mass destruction and long-range
missiles, and if so to list the weapons, components and precursor
materials it has. The new Resolution also requires Iraq to declare
whether or not it has been working on 'unmanned aerial vehicles'
(UAVs) or other 'dispersal systems' that can be used from an aircraft.
Even though Iraq has never previously been banned from developing
or acquiring UAVs or other aerial dispersal systems. The Resolution
also requires Iraq to declare ALL biological and chemical programmes,
whether or not Iraq considers them to be involved in the production
of weapons of mass destruction! If this is interpreted literally
it may well prove an impossible task, especially given the time
limitations imposed. Indeed, Hans Blix, head of the new UN weapons
inspection agency UNMOVIC, has already expressed his doubts on
this score. Bronwen Maddox, Foreign Editor of the Times, commented,
'It is fair to point out, as he does, that Iraq cannot reasonably
be expected to produce a complete list of all its chemical and
biological weapons [sic] facilities within 30 days of a UN resolution,
as the draft demands' (Times, 30 Oct., p. 16).
CHANGING THE RULES
The new Resolution demands that UNMOVIC be granted 'immediate,
unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential
sites equal to that at other sites', scrapping the special procedures
that had previously been negotiated for these sites. These required
that inspectors visiting such sites were accompanied by senior
diplomats appointed by the UN Secretary-General. Contrary to repeated
statements by Tony Blair these did not prevent access to such
sites and detailed surveys of these sites, conducted by the UN,
found no military installations (other than sentry towers, guard
rooms, and - in one case - headquarters for the Presidential Battalion)
on any of them. Given that the UN has never addressed the subversion
of UNSCOM by the United States - which used information gathered
under UN cover to target its bombs in its illegal December '98
assault on Iraq - it was hardly unreasonable for Iraq to want
to maintain these procedures. By scrapping them the Resolution
creates a new and unnecessary arena for conflict between the UN
and the Government of Iraq. UNCHECKED POWERS The Resolution '[d]ecides
that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA .. private access
to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC and the IAEA wish
to interview' and that 'UNMOVIC and the IAEA [International Atomic
Energy Agency] may at their discretion conduct interviews inside
or outside of Iraq [and] may facilitate the travel of those interviewed
and family members outside of Iraq'. This would appear to grant
UNMOVIC the right to order senior governmental officials - including
Saddam Hussein - to leave the country for interview. However even
if Unmovic uses this power in a responsible way, the Resolution
would still enable the US to encourage senior Iraqi scientists
to defect once they have been taken outside the country. To expect
open-ended cooperation from the Iraqi government in such a matter
is unreasonable - and the only way to reach a resolution to the
conflict is to set reasonable and achievable standards for cooperation.
The Resolution also grants UNMOVIC the right to declare 'exclusion
zones' in Iraq 'suspend[ing] ground and aerial movements' on the
part of the Iraqi Government, again granting unchecked powers
to the weapons inspections bodies. For example, UNMOVIC could
declare large areas of Iraq to be 'exclusion zones' for an indefinite
period of time. Limitations on the authority of inspectors need
to be worked into the resolution restricting the use of this measure
to the environs of specific buildings and only for the duration
of a specific inspection. Without such a provision, long-term
cooperation is likely to be subject to periodic crises threatening
the on-going work of the inspectorate.
REWRITING HISTORY: 678 and 687
The Resolution 'recall[s]' that UN Security Council Resolution
678 (29th November 1990) 'authorized member states to use all
necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990)
.. and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660 (1990)'
- suggesting that 678 authorised the use of force to implement
all resolutions on Iraq from 1990 to the present day. This is
clearly untrue: 678 only justifies the use of force to implement
resolutions on Iraq passed between 2 August and 29 November 1990.
The Resolution also falsely recalls that 'in its resolution 687
(1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on
acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution.' As is
quite clear from the text of 687, the ceasefire was not based
on Iraq's acceptance of the provisions of resolution 687: it was
based on 'official notification by Iraq to the Secretary-General
and to the Security Council of its acceptance of that resolution.'
The new Resolution implies that the ceasefire would no longer
be operative if Iraq is seen to no longer accept its full disarmament
obligations, thus leaving open the justification to use force
against Iraq without further Council authorisation. The ceasefire
is thus portrayed as continually conditional upon Iraqi compliance.
Through these false 'recollections' the US and Britain are attempting
to award themselves the right to use force if they decide Iraq
is non-compliant without obtaining a fresh authorisation from
the Security Council.
The above analysis is based heavily on Glen Rangwala's excellent
A full analysis of the final resolution will be placed on-line
at www.viwuk.freeserve.co.uk shortly after the vote.
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