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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Battle of the Iraq resolutions


A "mother of all battles" is now under way over the resolutions President Bush is seeking in order to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN demands and authorise force against him if he refuses.

The first resolution has been put to the Security Council and the second is being fought out in the US Congress.

American and British envoys have deployed across the world to lobby Security Council members and potential military allies.

The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw twice spoke by phone to the US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday.


The United States might use an Iraqi failure even to make a declaration as reason enough to attack

The draft Security Council resolution proposed by the United States and Britain is reported to include

  • a seven-day deadline for Iraq to accept the inspections
  • a 30-day deadline for it to make a declaration of any weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and nuclear)
  • the threat that all "appropriate" or "necessary" means will be used if it does not comply - in plain language, war.

The reported wording suggests that the United States might use an Iraqi failure even to make a declaration as reason enough to attack.

Armed escorts

It is also reported that the inspectors might be given armed escorts, that Iraqi scientists who might want to talk be allowed to do so and that access to the so-called "presidential sites" would be specifically mentioned.

The existing resolution on inspections, 1284, passed in December 1999 has stated in Article 4 that "Iraq shall allow (inspection) teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas."

But Iraq has been suggesting that an agreement with the UN in 1998 limited inspections on the presidential sites (by the need to give advance notice) and a new resolution would seek to close that loophole completely.


Russia and France suspect that the ultimatum is really designed to be turned down

Just how long the inspectors would be given to do their job under a new resolution is not immediately clear, even if it is mentioned at all. Under 1284, they had 60 days just to make an initial assessment.

Concerns in Moscow and Paris

Russia and France fear the American and British approach.

They suspect that the ultimatum is really designed to be turned down, leaving the way open for military operations during the December to February period.

Russia has said that Resolution 1284 is enough and that the key issue is to get the inspectors back in.

France wants to split the process into two - lay down the demand to Iraq first but only vote on the use of force later.

China, the fifth permanent member of the Security Council with a veto, is also being courted by Washington and London.

American envoys have also gone to Turkey which could provide key facilities in any operations.

Congressional divisions

At home, Mr Bush is predicting bipartisan support in Congress for a resolution authorising force by the United States alone if the United Nations is thwarted.


We don't want to get into a situtation like Vietnam

Senator John Breaux
But Democratic Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, who is often seen as straddling the political divide in Congress, said that Bush had to make the case for an attack.

"We don't want to get into a situation like Vietnam, where we had a house divided", he told Fox News.

Three Democratic members of the House of Representatives have even gone to Iraq in an effort to clear the way for inspections.

"Let the inspectors do their job," said one of the congressmen, David Bonier of Michigan.

President Bush himself said of the talks in Congress: " We are nearing agreement and soon we will speak with one voice."


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26 Sep 02 | Americas
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