Palaces, markets, and alcohol plants: UN inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction
UNMOVIC experts examined one Saddam Hussein’s presidential palaces in Baghdad early Tuesday. The intention to hold the check wasn’t published beforehand. The checks are held in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution on access of international experts to all places in Iraq that seem suspicious and where components of weapons of mass destruction might be stored. Tuesday, an UNMOVIC team examined a presidential palace situated several kilometers from the central part of Baghdad. The refusal of Saddam Hussein to allow UN inspectors to his palaces in 1998 was one of the reasons why the inspections were stopped and mass bombing attacks were launched by American and British aviation.
This time, the examination is the first real test of Iraq’s readiness to completely meet the conditions of the UN Security Council’s new resolution. According to the new resolutions, the UNMOVIC inspectors are authorized to examine any sites in Iraq, including presidential palaces. So far, the experts discovered nothing suspicious.
However, the experts already have some questions to which they would like to get answers from the Iraqi leadership. In particular, the UNMOVIC inspectors discovered several details of equipment that had been marked during the previous international inspections four years ago. This was announced after the UNMOVIC team visited one of the Iraqi missile bases on Monday. The UN experts worked on the Karamah site in the Baghdad suburb for six hours. This is the first discrepancy that the international experts faced in the first week of their activity in Iraq.
Iraqi officials explained that that components of the equipment had been partially destroyed during bombings by US planes, and the remaining components were removed to a new place. Representatives of the UNO didn’t estimate the importance of this incident yet; they mentioned that the Iraqi party showed the place where the components had been moved to.
Americans are extremely furious about the fact that UNMOVIC experts haven’t yet discovered anything suspicious in Iraq. US President George W. Bush said that the course of the UNMOVIC inspections in Iraq wasn’t inspiring at all; he demanded that Baghdad present a complete and reliable list of armament programs, including weapons of mass destruction and plans for creation of ballistic missiles. George W. Bush spoke in the Pentagon and said that he was dissatisfied with how Hussein’s government observed the engagements to the United Nations. He added that the UNMOVIC experts came to Iraq “not to play hide-and-seek” with Saddam Hussein.
In fact, nobody is even attempting to play hide-and-seek: Saddam anticipated the return of the international inspectors to Iraq long ago. It was anticipated already at the time when Saddam’s leading nuclear scientist Khidir Hamza escaped to the West. Before 1994, Khidir Hamza was at head of Iraq’s nuclear program; then, he asked the USA for a political asylum. It would be reasonable to suppose that Americans got all possible information from him concerning Iraq’s nuclear projects. And if so, it would be very stupid of Saddam Hussein to leave everything as it is. This is the reason why the UNMOVIC experts cannot find anything at all.
Photo from BBC archives
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: https://www.pravda.ru/accidents/8087-irac/