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Friday, 27 September, 2002, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Iraqi weapons inspection offer: What happens now?
  Click here to watch this edition of Talking Point.  

Iraq has said it would ignore any new resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council and accused the US of trying to push a "new, bad" resolution.

President Bush previously dismissed Iraq's offer to allow UN weapons inspectors back into the country as a "ploy", saying the US and the international community will not fall for what he calls Saddam Hussein's "rhetoric".

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a House of Representatives Committee on Wednesday that "no terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein".

Do you think Iraq's offer to accept the unconditional return of UN arms inspectors is genuine? Can weapons inspectors resolve the crisis? Can Saddam Hussein be trusted? Tell us what you think.

We discussed Iraq in our phone-in programme, Talking Point, on Sunday 22 September, presented by Robin Lustig. Our guest was Tim Trevan, a former UNSCOM weapons inspector.

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Let them invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussain at will but let them not stop there

Richard, USA
Bush is doing the right thing - but perhaps for the wrong reasons. If the Arab world is to progress - socially, economically and technologically - they must throw off the shackles of their current ruling kleptocracies. Once the Iraqi regime falls, with Western support it can be replaced by a more humane, democratic and representative Government. The world should then put pressure on surrounding dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, U.A.E., Jordan, Syria and Egypt to give their people a real voice. The longer this inevitable process is delayed the more extremism will ferment among the people of the Middle East to the detriment of the whole free world.. The Americans have hypocritically supported these odious regimes for too long. Let them invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussain at will but let them not stop there.
Richard, USA

I feel bad for the Iraqi people. Being led by a dictator that was originally backed by the US and now being led by a dictator that wants to be killed by the US. They have been tortured, starved, put through war, and constant bombings. Whatever happens, I hope they are remembered as fellow human beings that need the world's help and not just something to go through to get at Saddam.
Patrick, Chicago USA

I'm amazed how many people are either ignorant or in denial about the Hussein regime. Don't we remember the horrible images if gassed Iranian soldiers arriving in Europe for medical treatment? Can we remember the images of whole Kurdish villages slaughtered by gas attacks? Have we done any in-depth reading about the Iraqi nuclear program? Do we need to see mushroom clouds before we acknowledge there may be a problem? Sorry the US is the bad guy" by preventing the "enlightened" from continuing their extended cruise down the River Denial.
David J Crook, Coatesville, PA, US

The U.S. stand on Iraq: "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't." Basically, Bush is on the warpath and nothing, it seems, nothing is going from stop him from doing it. Why, after four long years since the termination of U.N. weapons inspections, and almost two years after Bush became President? Reason, it seems, is that the US economy is in the doldrums, Osama is still missing, the White House still has many questions to answer about Sep 11, Bush/Cheney still have questions to answer about their personal business ethics and elections are just round the corner. So Saddam Hussein provides the perfect weapon for Bush - the weapon of Mass Distraction - distracting the American public from his/the White House's failures.
Peter, Singapore

It was with US administration's consent that Saddam used western technology to develop chemical weapons and used them against the Kurds and Iran. When the victims of Saddam's chemical weapons were sent to hospitals in London and other western capitals for treatment, where was Mr. Bush senior, then vice president, to condemn or demand action against Saddam? People in the Middle East can see the double standard adopted by successive US administrations.
Motad, Taichung, Taiwan

If Saddam decided to trudge along the right path, after ten years,give him the chance to correct his steps. We look forward to the Inspectors role in bringing Iraqi leadership in line with the world.
Khalid Rahim, Toronto,Canada

Nothing reminds me more about the old Soviet times than reading so many zombie-like comments about the threat Iraq poses to the world (Glory to Mr. Bush for our happy childhood!). Bush needs to take off his Superman's cape and take some lessons on etiquette and respect of the opinion of the rest of the world as well as restrain himself from instilling public ignorance.
Oleg, Ukraine

To the people on this page who say military action against Iraq is in a moral action to protect peace; NATO had the same arguments about Kosovo; human tragedy, regional stability, loose-cannon dictator etc. But, the US refused to risk casualties. They only allowed high-altitude bombing. Civilian deaths were high, progress was very slow and Milosevic's gangs had free reign to do as they wanted. It will be the same in Iraq. Washington will not risk a single US soldier's life and the result will be thousands and thousands of Iraqi deaths. Where is the morality in such action? To remove Hussein properly will involve fighting on the ground and will mean heavy losses. You can't rebuild a nation from 30,000 feet.
Wendy, UK

What I would like to know is whether the US is willing to answer the critical question - would all sanctions be removed from Iraq, if indeed it is discovered that there are no weapons of mass destruction present. This would indicate how sincere the US is in its intentions.
Mahdi, Dubai, UAE

I doubt the sincerity of both countries. Saddam is obviously a dictator, no doubt about it. But the way Bush presents his case, it looks more like him wanting to finish his father's job. I wouldn't be surprised if this is about Iraqi oil and not about bringing democracy to a battered country.
Baukje, Netherlands

Weapons inspectors won't resolve the crisis because Mr Bush doesn't want the crisis to be resolved. There is nothing Iraq, the United Nations or Britain can do to stop an American attack.
Rod, Atlanta USA

Iraq has continually and openly defied the UN Resolutions for the past 10 years

Vic, Ontario, Canada
Although I do believe diplomacy should always be followed in settling disputes of this nature, in this case, anything short of decisive military action will fail. Iraq has continually and openly defied the UN Resolutions for the past 10 years while snubbing their noses at the rest of the world. What makes their pledge so believable now?
Vic, Ontario, Canada

Has anyone noticed that Bush's strategy for fomenting war with Iraq could be used to justify a pre-emptive attack on virtually any regime?
Mark McCarty, San Diego, CA, USA

Saddam is playing his usual chess game, which he has honed to a fine skill. We have been down this road before.
JG, Derby, UK

He can't even tell us how long we will be in Afghanistan

Frank Wright, Grand Junction, USA
I wonder how many of those who say "go to war" are encouraging their sons and daughters, or other young members of their families to join the ground troops who will invade Iraq? How many of them are offering their services? Anyone who thinks that this is about more than politics and oil, well, I have a couple of bridges that I would like to discuss with you. There has not yet been any real evidence submitted to prove that Saddam is the threat to the world that Bush and his war-dogs are trying to make him out to be. Why does Bush not give a definitive answer to the question of how long he will keep a military presence in Iraq after any war? He can't even tell us how long we will be in Afghanistan.
Frank Wright, Grand Junction, USA

Yet again, Iraq will decide to play games with the United States and the world community. Europe needs to wake up and realise this before we pay the price.
Daniel Canaley, USA

Survival of the fittest is clearly the application in this situation. America has shown us not only that it's a superpower but also one of hypocritical bully.
Samnang, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Inspectors won't make a difference; America has already decided what it wants. If inspectors had to search American secret sites, I'm sure there would be many obstructions. America - stop playing bully! UK - sort your own country out before wrecking somebody else's! Good luck to everyone trying to stop this poor excuse for a war.
L. McKenna (16), UK

I supported America on this issue - now I've changed my mind

John, England
I'm confused. It's only a few days since the US stance was that a return of weapons inspectors was essential. Now they're threatening to block that return, unless the UN gives them a mandate to attack Iraq anyway. I supported America on this issue until today - now I've changed my mind. It appears that Bush wants a war, and the whole weapons inspectors thing was just a pretext.
John, England

The big problem, which no-one in this Talking Point has tackled, is consistency: Bush cannot claim to be defending the civilised ideals of democracy and the rule of law if he bypasses the UN and launches a war on his own initiative. You cannot claim to defend democracy and spit in its face at the same time.
Edmund Burke, Kingston upon Thames, England

I'm a officer in the USAF and if/when our President decides to go to war, it won't be a long drawn out conflict. Some of you here are complaining about the sanctions. Trust me, Saddam isn't a poor man. If he stopped building statues made out of gold and start giving his billions to his own people, there wouldn't be any starvation. I can't believe how some of you think. Especially the Canadians. All you have done is criticise the US while your standing army couldn't defend a zoo. Everyone hates you when you're on top.
Sam, San Antonio, US

Strong pressure from the international community is all that is needed

Erik Petersen, Cambridge USA
It doesn't matter whether the UN weapons inspectors can resolve the crisis. Most likely, it will take more than just inspections, but the Bush administration's timeline of days and weeks is politically motivated; there is no reason this needs to be resolved so quickly. Strong pressure from the international community is all that is needed at the moment.
Erik Petersen, Cambridge, USA

Before Blair is allowed to send any British serviceman to his death in Iraq there should be a referendum to allow the British public the chance to have their say.
James Marshall, Oranjestad, Aruba

Just give Iraq a break, and see where we go from there. There is no reason to be emotional.
Derek Low, Bukit Timah, Singapore

The UN was used as a shield, in the hope that Saddam would not let the inspectors back in

Vincent E Ciliberti, Malta
It would seem that the US and Britain were set from the very beginning to force Saddam out. As happens most of the time, the UN was used as a shield in the hope that Saddam would not let the inspectors back into Iraq, giving the US and Britain reason to go to war. I firmly believe that the world will be a safer place to live in without the like of Saddam, but I am now in difficulty when it comes to credibility. I'm still wondering what will be the reaction of the UN, now that there is no tangible excuse to invade Iraq.
Vincent E Ciliberti, Malta

Many suggest we should mind our own business and let things pan out as they will. Shall we let evil minds be free to use the world's resources to carry out their plans? Some have called the US hypocritical in that we alone have used nuclear weaponry. Yes, once we did, as a response to an attack on our nation. It ended the war and saved countless lives which would have been lost had the war continued on. Should we all close our eyes? Rest assured, evil will keep one eye open.
Michael, San Francisco, USA

Iraq has nothing - no weapons and no food!

Steve, Los Angeles, USA
I have been to Iraq twice since the end of the Gulf war on humanitarian relief efforts. The abject poverty and starvation that is happening among the general population is horrific. Weapons inspection is merely another delay in getting these people the help they need. If Bush and Blair were truly concerned with the wellbeing of humanity then they would lift the sanctions now and be done with it. Iraq has nothing - it has no weapons and no food! The West is simply interested in controlling its oil supplies. Although Saddam is a power-hungry evil despot his people suffer because of the actions of the UN and specifically the US and UK.
Steve, Los Angeles, USA

Saddam is no saint. But it appears that this military adventure has more to do with bolstering public opinion in the run up to the US midterm elections in November than with any real or immediate threat. It won't surprise me if Bush finds the flimsiest of excuses to "cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war".
VGM, Malaysia

Iraq has shown it has nothing to hide

Mohammad Naveed, USA, Folsom
By allowing weapons inspectors back in, Iraq has shown that it has nothing to hide. Let the inspectors take advantage of this offer and prove that Iraq indeed does possess those weapons. If the US claims that Iraq has weapons, they must have knowledge about their location too. Claiming without evidence means nothing.
Mohammad Naveed, USA, Folsom

Iraq has to comply with all the UN resolutions, not just the ones on weapons of mass destruction. There are others related to repression and human rights. Personally, I think UN involvement was a mistake by Bush because now Saddam can get back to his old tricks. Those who wanted the UN to get involved should now press for all resolutions to be enforced.
Michael, Liverpool, England

The US is being hypocritical asking others to disarm

Raghu, Madras, India
The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons. While no one wants Iraq to have mass destruction capacity, the US is being hypocritical asking others to disarm while making no effort to do it itself.
Raghu, Madras, India

Mr Bush was quite right when he announced that Saddam must go because he has already proved during past decades that he is a serious threat to the security of the region. Using military forces could create the best result as it did in Afghanistan against the Taleban. I have serious doubts if weapons inspectors can resolve the crisis. Such methods may be useful for some regimes but not for Saddam.
Bijan, Iran

Odds are that this is another Hussein delaying tactic. Get the UN inspectors in, as soon as they are delayed get them out and follow up with UN sanctioned military action. For evil to prosper, good men do nothing.
Dave, Australia

Weapons inspectors can't resolve the crisis in the given timeframe. Inspections will take a long time. How many inspectors will be working in Iraq? Ten, twenty? How long will this realistically take to inspect 100% of Iraq territory including civilian towns in where the weapons of mass destruction are now hosted?
Vlad, Australia

OK let the inspectors go in, but when it turns into the usual farce then the UN must back any resolutions to use force. I don't agree with force but Bush and his puppet Blair are hell bent on invading Iraq! Do it with UN support.
Nick S, Redhill UK

Can you imagine a person such as Saddam with a nuclear weapon?

Nick, Newcastle, UK
Can you imagine a person such as Saddam with a nuclear weapon? Maybe the media should be focusing on the possible results of this, rather than the general fear of war. Its terrifying, but we really do need to deal with this madman NOW.
Nick, Newcastle, UK

I wonder how many of the people celebrating Iraq's apparent change of heart on inspection realize that Iraq is only letting inspectors search military bases and not any place where they would be likely to hide anything to do with WMD. And hats off to Nick in London; from reading these posts, I thought everyone in the UK had forgotten Chamberlain's 1938 Munich folly.
Brad, Bowling Green USA

It is interesting to note how superpowers throw their weight around. History shows that man has not changed, right from the days of the mighty Roman Empire to today's American empire building. But history also has shown that these empires vanished when they could not take their own weight anymore.
Dr Kal, Canada

The inspectors need to go in right away. The first time Saddam prohibits them from going where they feel they need to, as he will, they need to move out and let the air strikes begin. Then he can be dealt with once and for all, albeit 10 years too late.
John Lance, London, England

He is buying time

John, Johannesburg, RSA
Saddam has rolled over and is co-operating with the UN? Hardly likely. Even if he gave UN inspectors immediate and unfettered access - which he has not - please note - how on earth do you assure the world he does not have the means to wreak havoc as he has already proved he can? He is buying time and what the world must answer is - what is he doing with that time? To grant him one more day of power beyond the earliest possible date of removal could be a day too many for the world.
John, Johannesburg, RSA

Unconditional inspections are clearly the more diplomatic and civilised means to defuse this situation. An allied inspection team, coupled with a sleek squadron of Apache helicopters at bay should do the trick. Violence should be our last resort.
John Polagruto, Davis, CA, USA

Just look at the double standards of the West. On the one hand they are condemning a country like Iraq for possibly possessing nuclear and biological weapons, and on the other, America praises its best friend, Pakistan, which the world knows has nuclear weapons, and people crazy enough to use them. If Musharraf won't use them today, the next coup will bring about someone who will.
Chatterjee, Toronto, Canada

There is no reason to attack Iraq now

Khalid, London, UK
There is no reason to attack Iraq now. If the US does, then the world should bear witness to who the real culprit is.
Khalid, London, UK

I think I'm missing something. The US already has weapons of mass destruction (and so far is the only country that has ever used them). What gives them the right to determine who is and is not allowed to conduct weapons research? These are the actions of a government reeking of hypocrisy.
Cris, Toronto, Canada

Do we want to sacrifice Iraqi children for the sake of pleasing hawks in the US administration?

James, UK
Now that the inspectors are being allowed back in, there is absolutely no reason to attack Iraq and the UK should have no part in it. Do we really want to sacrifice tens of thousands of Iraqi children for the sake of pleasing the imperialistic hawks in the US administration?
James, UK

James, UK: Good, now we just need to work on the repression of the Iraqi people, Iraq's support of international terrorism, Gulf war prisoners, stolen property, and that little assassination attempt on a former US president. Collectively, this is still justification to go to war, but it remains to be seen whether or not President Bush will hold back the dogs.
Simon, London, England

Every peace-loving person should welcome Iraq's offer to readmit weapons inspectors. It is the first step towards avoiding further warfare in the Middle East. Only those hell-bent on deposing Saddam or those who are more concerned with oil can possibly object.
Martin G, Pembroke Dock, Wales

How many times can Iraq fool the international community? I hope that this time they are telling the truth and war may be averted, but I am unfortunately not that naive. Some of the criticism out there is quite bizarre. Someone mentioned Bush's popularity is sinking and he wants to help the economy. This is ludicrous, Bush's approval rating is holding between 60-70%, and after the Gulf War, the US slipped into a recession.
Steve Cifarelli, New York City, USA

Those who believe this 'gesture' have very short memories

Steve, Wales
This is simply another delaying tactic. We've been here before so why should it be any different? What's to say that Saddam won't just hinder the inspectors as soon as they arrive? He has probably hidden all the really dangerous materials anyway. Those who believe this 'gesture' have very short memories.
Steve, Wales

What this issue has highlighted more than anything is the complete disarray of Western powers on what the objective of the issues at stake is. If it is only the readmission of weapons inspectors then for heavens sake lift the sanctions so that at least the suffering of the common people can end. If the issue is maintaining sanctions until it is confirmed that Iraq is completely disarmed then this is obviously an impossibility and will never be achieved. For no sovereign state can be expected to appear so vulnerable and completely powerless, least of all if it exists in the most volatile region on Earth.

Saddam is just buying time. We now need to get used to a world with Iraq as a nuclear power.
Drew, Pittsburgh, USA

Iraq is the target and they will not be deterred

Kim Nguyen, Wayland, USA
The alternative is so awful that one jumps at any glimmer of hope. But Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld - they have set an agenda. Iraq is the target and they will not be deterred. The American economy is in trouble, the president's support dwindling and the mid-term elections are coming - incredibly sad: it is a cold, calculated, wag-the-dog plan. We may all want to see Saddam Hussein gone, but what nation will be next?
Kim Nguyen, Wayland, USA

The fall out from any military action against Saddam, pales into insignificance when compared with the fallout from the nuclear weapon that he WILL use when he gets one. Democracy offers the luxury of openly discussing and arguing whether to take action, this must not be allowed to turn into prevarication and appeasement. The inspection teams should go in rapidly but at the very first hint of hindrance they should withdraw as quickly as possible and Saddam should then be dealt with dealt with.
Mike, UK

How can we be sure that Iraq will show us the full extent of their arms?
Clare McCluskey, Halifax

Here we go again

James, UK
Here we go again. The world will give Hussein a "last chance or else." And when his agreement to let inspectors in turns out to be a farce, the world will offer him another last chance, and another, and another, and another.
Rick, Norway, USA

I recall a declaration made by Neville Chamberlain in 1938, 'Peace in our time'. Look what happened a year later. Appeasement does not work. Hussein is just adopting delaying tactics.
Nick, London, UK

The US is playing straight into Saddam's hands

Richard H, UK
I think the US is playing straight into Saddam's hands and is dragging us with it. By turning on the charm, Hussein has managed to make the US look like oil greedy, bloodthirsty warmongers. He's probably had the chance to hide his weapons really well by now, so inspectors need to make absolutely sure that if there are any they must find them. If not and the US starts a war, then the backing will drop away very quickly, leaving us without a chance.
Richard H, UK

I fear that the UN will be making the same mistake that the Commonwealth made over Zimbabwe. They will simply give time to the perpetrator to thwart punishment while delighting in the perpetration of his inhumanity. Mugabe has done it, is doing it and Saddam will do it. And we, the United Nations will be laughing stock again.
Chris Khuoge, Essex, UK

This is the last chance saloon for Saddam

Steve, UK, Liverpool
It remains to be seen if this offer turns out to be a genuine one. If it is genuine then I see no real reason for an attack. However, this is the last chance saloon for Saddam and any messing around or games should result in the immediate use of force.
Steve, UK, Liverpool

It's really a question of whether the Iraqi authorities will genuinely cooperate with the inspectors this time. I think lifting some of the sanctions against Iraq in the interim will go a long way towards easing resentment to the inspections, and offer a real incentive to Iraq to play ball.
Paul Barrows, Nottingham, UK

Saddam's regime can afford this token gesture as they've had time to dismantle the equipment and hide the stockpiles of chemical weapons. He can now rely on his overt supporters and apologists in the West to brow beat the US into inaction, allowing the Islamic terrorists to regroup and retrain.
Calum Steen, UK

Saddam has put the ball right back into the US/UK court

Bill Thomson, Hong Kong
Saddam has put the ball right back into the US/UK court. It is a smart move on his part since it will increase support for Iraq in the UN, where countries are being bullied into taking the US line. Now, however, they will have a chance to be neutral or even oppose Bush. The US seems bound and determined to go for 'regime change', first in Iraq and then around the Middle East. It is all about access to oil supplies since Iraq is insurance against a blow-up or civil war in Saudi Arabia.
Bill Thomson, Hong Kong

I do hope that Iraq will abide by the resolutions that are required of them. Averting war must be the priority of all nations, but I do not agree with the constant US bashing that accompanies these types of situations. At least they are willing to take a stand and sacrifice their own sons for our safety. Shame on the people who blindly criticize from the apparent safety of their own countries.
Darryl McCormack, Wales

Darryl McCormack, I think you forgot to add that they are also willing to sacrifice ordinary Iraqis and their sons for your safety. Thousands of lives will be lost from both sides.
Serge, Samara, Russia

I think Bush is already hell-bent on starting his own little war somewhere, and Iraq is just another target for him. I don't think that the weapons inspectors will be able to stop him from picking a fight with Iraq if he wants to.
Thomas Vanson, UK

Saddam is a born survivor, he will do just enough to prevent a US strike.
Tim, UK

Seems to me that Saddam Hussein is doing his best to avoid a war

Seems to me that Saddam Hussein is doing his best to avoid a war, whilst the USA and the UK are determined to have one. The more developments unfold, the more this looks like a strike for oil by the West. There is virtually no support for a war by the people of the UK and if Hussein allows weapons inspectors in, it takes away the US argument.

If this is yet another bluff by Iraq, hopefully this time the UN won't let them get away with it. Other than that, Bush would have to be an idiot to attack Iraq now. (But why doesn't that sentence reassure me that much?)
Chris Neville-Smith, England

This offer should be accepted at this stage. The Iraqis have stated their intentions to allow the inspectors back in and this should now be used as a final warning. If the inspectors are again hindered then action may be required, but not at this stage. Mr Bush is taking a dangerous path, and one that I hope the UK will not follow.
James Christian, England

I doubt very much that Iraq is really sincere, but we have to hold them to their word, while continuing the military build-up and the diplomatic pressure. The UN must pass a new resolution to authorise action if Iraq fails to live up to its word.
Mark M. Newdick, US/UK

Key stories





Can arms inspectors defuse the Iraq crisis?



2409 Votes Cast

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24 Oct 02 | Middle East
11 Sep 02 | Americas
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