facts on un inspections and iraq

  1. 4,005 Posts.
    Q&A: Has French/Russian/German Opposition to a U.N. Resolution Killed It?
    From the Council on Foreign Relations, March 5, 2003

    Does the French/Chinese/Russian/German/ opposition to a new resolution kill its chances of passage?

    It could. Representatives of those three countries said Wednesday they would "not allow" approval of a U.S.-backed draft resolution clearing the way for an attack on Iraq. But France and Russia didn't explicitly threaten to use their veto power, and there was speculation in the press that the current standoff might lead to a compromise proposal. Administration officials, while describing the situation as "fluid," insisted the draft resolution would pass.

    Will it?

    We don't know. To pass, a resolution needs 9 votes from among the council's 15 members, and no veto. Only permanent members--China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States--have veto power. Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters that the United States was putting diplomatic pressure on council members and that the outcome would remain fluid up until the vote, which is expected sometime next week. He also made a point of reminding reporters that France and Russia have often abstained from voting on previous Iraqi disarmament resolutions.

    What are the terms of the draft resolution?

    Sponsored by the United States, Britain, and Spain, it declares that Iraq has missed its last chance to disarm peacefully. A competing French/German/ Russian initiative--termed a "memorandum"--calls for stepping up and extending weapons inspections for four months. A Canadian proposal, demanding that Iraq reach certain disarmament goals by the end of March, has also been discussed and could conceivably form the basis of a possible compromise.

    What's the state of play at the Security Council?

    Members are in intense negotiations in advance of a March 7 report from weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohammed ElBaradei. Secretary of State Colin Powell argued the administration's case again on Wednesday, saying intensified inspections won't have any effect until Saddam decides to comply with disarmament orders. Powell plans to spend Thursday lobbying at the United Nations and then attend the Friday council meeting. Foreign ministers of France, Russia, and most other council members are also expected to attend the Friday session. A country's U.N. ambassador typically represents it at Security Council meetings.

    What is the vote breakdown on the Security Council?

    At midweek, it appeared to be along these lines. The 10 non-permanent states, which serve rotating two-year terms, do not have veto power.

    Four nations back the resolution: the United States, Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria.
    Five oppose it: France, China, Russia, Syria, and Germany.
    The remaining members are undecided: Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico, and Pakistan. The last two were reported to be leaning towards the U.S. position.

    Why are the United States, Great Britain, and Spain pushing the resolution?

    If it were to win Security Council approval, a new resolution would provide pro-U.S. leaders like British Prime Minister Tony Blair political cover for backing an American-led assault on Baghdad. It is also thought that U.N. endorsement might help mollify anti-U.S. sentiment in the Muslim world.

    Does Washington need a new U.N. resolution to disarm Iraq by force?

    No. Bush administration officials say that while they would prefer to get the additional U.N. seal of approval a new resolution would represent, they have more than adequate legal justification in Security Council Resolution 1441. That resolution, passed unanimously on November 8, established the current Iraqi weapons inspection program and declared Iraq in "material breach" of previous U.N. disarmament orders.

    What options does the United States have if a new resolution fails?

    Administration officials have said they would withdraw consideration of the resolution if it became clear it wouldn't pass. Pentagon officials said again on Wednesday that the troops needed to prevail against Iraq are in place. And officials have long said that, absent a new resolution, they would assemble a "coalition of the willing" to topple Saddam.

    Why does the United States oppose extended inspections?

    Administration officials have long said that allowing disarmament to continue indefinitely gives Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein time to hide his suspected arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And, from a practical standpoint, U.S. war planners prefer to start hostilities before the onset in April of searing temperatures in the Iraqi desert.

    What did the latest inspectors report say?

    That Iraq has made "very limited" progress toward complete disarmament. Blix also reported that the agency he leads, the United Nations Monitoring, Inspection, and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC), is preparing "a list of the disarmament issues, which it considers currently unresolved, and of the measures which Iraq could take to resolve them." Some U.N. diplomats have said that list could form a series of "benchmarks" that Iraq must satisfy under an intensified inspection program.

    Has Iraq begun to disarm?

    Yes. On March 1, Iraq started complying with an UNMOVIC order to destroy its arsenal of Al-Samoud II missiles and related materials. Weapons inspectors had determined the missiles exceed the 93-mile range limit set by the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire. Under U.N. supervision, 26 missiles had been destroyed by March 5 and the Iraqis had begun to render useless casting chambers used to make missile fuel. The destruction of all 100 or so Al-Samouds is expected to take weeks to complete. Secretary Powell ridiculed Iraq's disarmament, saying in his speech that intelligence reports showed that Baghdad continues to manufacture Al-Samoud missiles.

    Iraq has also begun to provide what it calls proof of its destruction of other prohibited materials, including its stocks of anthrax and VX nerve gas, and has begun to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists in private. All these steps appeared to strengthen the position of France and other countries that advocate continued inspections.

    Don't blame me, blame New York Times.
arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch. arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch.