2002 November 14 Thursday
Will UNMOVIC Honestly Report Iraqi Resistance?

Paris-based Iranian writer Amir Taheri reports that many Arab and European officials believe Saddam will benefit from the UN resolution just passed:

Worst of all, an ambiguous grammar may take shape between Blix and Saddam, enabling the Swede to send optimistic signals while the Iraqi adopts the bikini tactic of showing everything except the essential.

The fact that Blix, recently described by his former boss as "a bit of a fool," is a man with absolutely no scientific expertise could make such a grammar more ambiguous. Remember that Blix, in his previous incarnation as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had repeatedly given Iraq, Iran and North Korea a clean bill of health with regard to their respective nuclear programs.

Saddam has made an even bigger gain: Now he is a partner for the Security Council in what Kofi Annan, the gullible U.N. chief, has described as "joint efforts" to resolve the crisis.

The problem for the US is that Hans Blix could just not report the evasions and roadblocks thrown up by Saddam's regime as material breaches.

According to US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the administration plans to take a "zero tolerance" approach to "the next material breach" by Iraq of Security Council resolutions. Yet the term "material breach" remains substantially undefined and open to interpretation. What's more, its definition rests largely in the hands of Unmovic chief Hans Blix, a former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency whose record as a whistle-blower is not encouraging.

During his tenure at the IAEA before the Gulf War, Blix adjudged Iraq's compliance with the agency "exemplary," even as the country secretly moved forward with its nuclear weapons' program. Then too, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, in 1993 Blix tried to muzzle former IAEA inspector David Kay when he went public with allegations (since confirmed) of North Korea's nuclear program. "The way that Blix has now chosen to intervene," wrote Kay in a letter to the Journal, "gives the appearance of an attempt at coercion and suppression of uncomfortable ideas."

Blix's questionable reliability is not the only potential obstacle to America's military designs. "Against the full resources of a nation state, with thousands of people and many intelligence and security organs, it was a hopeless endeavor," says Charles Duelfer, a former top UN weapons' inspector, of the inspections process.

Once it becomes clear that Iraq is putting up obstacles in the path of UNMOVIC inspectors and that UNMOVIC will not report these obstacles as material breaches will Bush be willing to tell the world that UNMOVIC and the UN Security Council are not acting in good faith and that the US will attack Iraq?

Update: The UNMOVIC team in Iraq will be headed by Australian Bill Jolley who comes from the Australian military:

Dr Jolley, from South Australia, is on leave from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and will be chief weapons inspector.

Up to another four Australian defence staff will join inspection teams under the Government's Weapons Inspection Roster.

This greatly increases the odds that there will be other channels thru which information will flow out of UNMOVIC about what is going on between UNMOVIC and the Iraqi regime.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 14 09:32 AM  UN, International Institutions


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