US Secretary of State Colin Powell: It is not a deciding day, not a day for declaration of war.
Today members of the UN Security Council will listen to a report of the UN inspectors on their findings in Iraq. As Mohammed El-Baradei, director of the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA) said before his departure for New York, the report of the Agency wouldn’t reveal any surprise at all. He said: “I hope our report to the international community will be objective. No surprises are expected. The report will summarize the work carried out within the past two months and what is still to be done in the region. It is the international community itself to decide how to use the information.”
A report that is to be delivered by UNMOVIC chief inspector Hans Blix will be based on the following scenario: Blix is likely to praise Baghdad for its compliance and at the same time he will enumerate several questions to which inspectors failed to get answers, but hope to get them in the nearest future. The inspectors still have no answer to the question what has become of 1.5 tons of VX gas, of 2 tons of cultures for cultivation of anthrax agent, of 400 bombs for equipment with biological weapon and of 550 shells stuffed with mustard gas. It was quite obvious that Iraq used to have the above mentioned things some time ago.
For the time being, Iraq provided neither documents proving that the weapons were liquidated, nor people who could be interrogated on this problem. In this case, it is highly likely that the possibility of extension of the inspectors’ mandate for a couple of months at least will be touched upon. France, China and Russia will support the suggestion, London and Washington will reject. The Bush Administration is eager to start its activity as soon as the inspectors deliver their report, and these actions mean a war. The rhetoric of the US leadership indicates it more and more definitely. A large number of troops, ships and planes are being delivered to the Persian Gulf region. Washington thinks that the situation is as follows: Iraq has already demonstrated that it wasn’t going to disarm, as Baghdad was reluctant to cooperated with the inspectors. The Iraqi leadership and the inspectors themselves report different. Lack of evidence proving Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction makes Washington’s position vulnerable. The Bush Administration faces a difficult problem that is to be settled: it is necessary to convince the American people, Germany, France and other members of the UN Security Council of the truth of its statements. In accordance with the recent polls held in the USA, half of the American population says that Saddam must be ousted by force, and the rest of the population say UN inspections must be continued.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: https://www.pravda.ru/accidents/35162-irac/