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Weapons Inspectors and Iraq - Part 2
The outcome of weapons inspection
Israel - Middle East
Tuesday, November 26, 2002

With the UN weapon's inspection team now in Iraq, Saddam Hussein's regime finds itself in a situation where they believe that a 'war' on Iraq is inevitable.

In a letter to UN Secretary General, Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri said that whatever the pretext of UN Resolution, there is a pre-determined motive to attack Iraq.

Iraq had previously called this Resolution evil and full of lies.

As per the terms of this Resolution, Iraq has till December 8 to submit a complete account of country's weapons program. The current resolution was prepared keeping Baghdad's behavior and past incidents in mind.

If Iraq falsifies or conceals any information from the inspectors, it will be considered a 'material breach' and would invite an attack on Iraq. This is being considered as Iraq's last chance to disarm.

Chris Cobb-Smith, a former UNSCOM inspector said, 'on the surface this is the big one, but, I have been in this situation on several occasions before when we have supposedly been embarking on Iraq's last chance, on the 'trigger mission', but it has seldom turned out that way."

Even though the inspectors arrive in Iraq with a tough new Security Council resolution, no one is one hundred percent sure of a positive outcome.

Jacques Baute, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspection team accompanying the weapon's inspector said that,'we are like police officers whose task is to find a murderer among a million people, the chances are not good, but if you are professional you can succeed'.

Baute admits that its a difficult task and professionalism is the key. The UNSCOM team from 1991-98 tried its best to accomplish what it was supposed to do in Iraq, but had to eventually pack its bags. No matter how professional a team is there is still no guarantee that it can achieve its goal.

Even the US administration believes that no matter how strict the weapons inspection there are no guarantees that Iraq will disarm.

Meanwhile the administratiion upholds its view of a regime change, a task many believe should have been finished in 1991 when Kuwait was liberated from Iraq.

The former chief of weapons inspector, Richard Butler. in answering a question on CNN said that, "Iraq cheated and deceived the inspectors, and it's not easy to think that they would behave differently in the future".

A tough UN Resolution has sent a strong message to Iraq, but knowing Iraq's modus operandi, the question remains as to how long will Iraq hold on to it.

Even before inspections have started, Iraq has already started raising objections to the Resolution and the inspection team, as if preparing the world community to justify its position, at a later date.

Hans Blix the head of the UN monitoring, verification and inspection commission (Unmovic), has categorically stated that nothing will be off limit this time, this includes all mosques and presidential palaces.

Weapons inspectors faced an uphill task the last time they were in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 when they were barred from entering mosques and palaces.

Even today it might be a difficult task for the weapons inspectors to prove whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, the inspections themselves may not bring forth a quick answer to this whole issue.

The success of this mission lies in disarming Iraq from the weapons of mass destruction, which is highly unlikely, knowing that Saddam would not give up his prized possessions without putting up a fight.

Foreseeing the situation Washington is not willing to wait till the very end. Last week it had already requested help from about 60 countries in the event of a military operation against Iraq.

Meanwhile UK is also preparing for war by calling up military reservists.

In a poll, recently conducted by New York Times, eight out of ten Americans believe that Saddam Hussein will not keep his word to give complete access to weapons inspectors constituting a breach and any breach will bring a swift military action.

Inspections or no, we see war clouds looming on top of Saddam's head. He knows what is about to happen and seems determined to force the issue anyway.

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