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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK
America unmoved by Iraq offer
un weapon inspectors
Inspections are only part of the solution for the US

Iraq's dramatic offer to readmit weapons inspectors is a climb-down by Saddam Hussein, but so far he has moved down only one step.

President Bush last week laid out an entire slope that the Iraqi leader has to go down.

Hussein
Saddam Hussein: Dwindling support among neighbours
Disclosing any weapons of mass destruction he has in his possession, or is developing, was only one item on the list.

Others included ending support for terrorism, ending repression of his own people and releasing prisoners still missing from the Gulf War.

Mr Bush has characterised Saddam Hussein as a tyrant.

And with regime change in Iraq the openly stated American goal, the pressure on Baghdad will clearly be maintained.

Mr Bush's decision to lay down the gauntlet to the United Nations last week, to challenge it to achieve the enforcement of a decade of resolutions on Iraq if military action was to be avoided, clearly was a turning point.

Military build-up

It also appears to have paved the way for Arab nations to do their share of stepping up the pressure on Saddam Hussein - to convince him that letting in the weapons inspectors would be the starting point for avoiding an attack on his country.

Saudi Arabia signalling that it would co-operate in UN-sanctioned military action against Iraq was another blow for Saddam Hussein and a boost for the Americans.

But the military build-up for a potential strike against Iraq can be expected to continue.

That is, until Saddam Hussein has shown that his new move on the weapons inspections will not simply lead down the road they took before - and which helped to create the present crisis.


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16 Sep 02 | Americas
16 Sep 02 | Middle East
16 Sep 02 | Politics
16 Sep 02 | Middle East
14 Sep 02 | Middle East
12 Sep 02 | Middle East
16 Sep 02 | Middle East
09 Sep 02 | Middle East
09 Sep 02 | Middle East
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