Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has announced that an advance party from the UNMOVIC inspection team is expected in Iraq on 19th October, after Hans Blix, the team leader, was forced to delay his return following the differences of opinion among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the issue.
As the UN Security Council meets this week to discuss the wording of another Resolution to apply against Iraq, President Saddam Hussein stated on Sunday in a meeting with high officials of his regime that he cannot ignore his responsibility to defend his country against aggression by foreigners, while Tony Blair’s ma9in advisors have warned him that an attack on Iraq to remove the regime would be illegal, under international law, according to the Financial Times.
After initially rejecting any further Resolutions, Iraq begins to show sings of greater flexibility. Baghdad issued a statement over the weekend declaring that Iraq intends to “finish with this problem to end the blockade and suspend the sanctions. As a consequence, we will facilitate, we will do everything to finish this question on WMD for one simple reason: we do not have any weapons of mass destruction”.
On Sunday, President Saddam Hussein met with his chief military advisors and sons Qusay and Ouday, to assess the state of the country’s anti-aircraft defences and the military options open in case of conflict. Despite claims that the armed forces of Iraq are confident that they can repel an attack, the Ba’ath regime knows that it is fighting for survival and that any broad-based full-scale military operation launched against it would inevitably be victorious. How costly it would be to the attackers and how politically adept a decision this would be, is another issue.
During the high-level meeting, President Saddam Hussein admitted, “One may say that the enemy is superior to you, especially in the air, and you have no chance to fight on the land” but he went on to declare defiantly that Iraq will be ruled by Iraqis and that “we will not give up this honour to let foreigners rule Iraq”.
Regarding weapons of mass destruction, he declared, “They destroyed all these weapons and even the walls surrounding sheep-pens. They destroyed machines for civilian use, like freezers…They re-bombed all these locations and went on saying again that Iraq had reintroduced WMD, nuclear, chemical and biological ones and started fabricating scenarios and lies in a way that could be credible for the first listening”.
For the moment, diplomacy continues to rule the day.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru