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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 08:59 GMT
Should Iraq accept weapons inspectors?
This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails is published below.
Iraq's parliament has voted unanimously to reject a UN resolution requiring the return of weapons inspectors, but has left the final decision to President Saddam Hussein.
The vote against the resolution came despite apparent efforts to achieve a 'yes' vote by the Iraqi leader's son Uday, and after an unexpected warning from France that a rejection of the inspections would mean war.
However, parliament, which has no real power, said it would stand by any decision taken by the president.
Saddam Hussein has until Friday to make up his mind on the resolution, which demands Iraq submit a detailed list of its arms and allow inspectors complete access to all suspected weapons' sites
Do you think Iraq will comply? Does the Parliament's rejection matter ?
We discussed the US draft resolution on Iraq in our phone-in programme, Talking Point. Our guest was Dr Toby Dodge, research fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs who has spent time in Iraq and is currently writing a book on the transformation of the country in recent years. Use the links at the top of this page to listen to or watch the programme.
Let the inspectors in, let them destroy any weapons, and then ask for UN sanctions to be dropped. This is the best way to foil Bush and his lapdog Blair.
As an Iraqi myself, I think that it doesn't matter what Saddam decides. Both ways, a war is going to happen, whether we like it or not. However, what we can influence is what comes after Saddam. We, the Iraqis, want democratic government elected by the Iraqi people.
Steele, Jersey City, USA
Dont forget why Saddam kicked out the inspectors in 1998. They were spying for the US and Saddam did the right thing and he has a right to be cautious about letting them back in.
To Rob, England, UK: Don't forget why the inspectors were there in the first place. Saddam gave up his rights as a leader when he invaded and occupied Kuwait.
The US pretends that it is worried that Saddam will supply terrorist groups with WMDs. This is bogus. Saddam has never done so and has never showed any intention of doing so. The only benefit to the Western world
and Israel is that after such a disarmament, whether by force or not, there will be absolutely no Arab country in the region with any power to threaten Western and Israeli interests (oil for the West and land for Israel).
Yes, Saddam is a dictator, and we all agree. But what about tens of dictators around the world? He owns weapons of mass destruction. What about N. Korea, Israel, and others? I will tell you the difference, Iraq has oil reserves. The war in all cases is unavoidable.
Maybe the Iraqi Parliament is trying to put Saddam in a corner? If he now accepts then he will appear weak to his own people. If he rejects the resolution then the US will get him. Unless, of course, Saddam is tired of the game, wants his hour of glory (maybe he has more WMD than we think) and will go out with all guns blazing. Or maybe he's just calling our bluff, which would be a win-win in terms of popularity among the Arabs.
I really hope Saddam does go along with the resolution. It would give me such pleasure watching Bush and Blair squirming their way into having us all believe we should STILL attack Iraq. I want to see how those two wretched men react to a world laughing at them.
It appears Iraq will eventually comply if only to deny President Bush the opportunity to launch an attack. However, this may not bring the crisis to an end as Iraq will still try some tricks to get even with the US. If there must be peace, the personality of one or both of the principal actors must be changed or reconstructed. As the emphasis is on pride or arrogance the world must be ready for a long wait to see the end of this melodrama. Maybe we need a revision of the practice of international diplomacy.
Nelson Petronilho, Portugal
I have reservations concerning an attack on Iraq and would like to have an answer. What happens to America's air power when Saddam sets hundreds of oil wells on fire throughout the country? Will smart bombs and cruise missiles function properly? Thanks
Yes Saddam is an evil dictator and the people of Iraq are as desperate to rid themselves of him as Bush and Blair are, so why can't they use one of their drone planes to destroy Saddam as they did with the Al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen? Or send in a 'spy' to assassinate him? I am sure they have the capabilities to do this but it seems to me they would rather assert their dominance by killing innocent Iraqis.
War should not be avoided. If the Iraqi dictator is not deposed now, he will only become stronger and more defiant. Munich should have taught us that dictators cannot be safely left alone. They should be nipped in the bud.
Ahmed Abduljabbar, United Arab Emirates
Condoleezza Rice said Iraq would be subject to 'zero tolerance'. Nonetheless USA has all techniques and capabilities of aerial inspection to check whether Iraq has any weapons of mass destructions. Yet we all know that the US and its western allies all have much more powerful weapons of mega destruction. Israel, Russia, China, India are no exception. Why isolate Iraq and other Muslim nations who have full rights of self defence and to research and develop any weaponry for confronting nations that always use threats of war and have no intention of peace?
If in 2 years from now Iraq is a democratic nation and the Middle East is on the road to reform, everyone writing in this forum will be expected to submit an apology. Why are we so quick to label our administration and the majority of our citizens as moronic? Does anyone disagree with the fact that Hussein is a war criminal? Where is the European led ICC in all of this? Oh, that's right, only when the US has already captured the criminals will Europe start shouting they know what to do with them.
In my view it doesn't matter if Iraqis accept or reject the UN resolution. Bush and Blair had decided long ago to wage a war against Iraq. No one in their right mind stages a war to have a peace. You go to war to achieve at the end a material gain and this is no different the rest. This war is about domination and greed.
J, New York City, USA
Unfortunately, whatever Iraq does Bush wants to attack. He wants focus on Iraq instead of at home where the economy is in a bad way. Not all of us Americans are so blinded or dumb to believe this incoherent rhetoric coming from Washington D.C. The actual axis of evil is Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. I can only hope you Europeans will continue to protest and stand-up to the terrorism perpetrated by my country.
War is inevitable no matter what Iraq does. For the past 12 years sanctions have been in place and not a single sign from the west that there is hope once Iraq complies. The whole world knows that weapons of mass destruction are a pretext to war and its an excuse which can be used for many years to come because no single country can prove that it has no weapons. Sanctions ironically have killed more people in the past 12 years than the weapons America is worried about.
Israel is immune to any UN sanctions or punishment and the US which is the only country to use nuclear weapons dictates the rules and blackmails the world. The UN is a joke and so is every politician who is convinced there is democracy in this so called New World Order.
It is not unreasonable for anyone to perceive Bush as wanting to go to war against Iraq regardless of the level of cooperation from Hussein. If Hussein believes that he will be attacked no matter what he does, he would be foolish to partially or completely disarm.
Sadaam will accept the UN resolution initially, and play a cat and mouse game, allowing inspectors to find some WMD, but not the ones he really wants to protect. He will buy himself enough time to develop a nuclear weapon, and he will use it himself, or put a bomb in the hands of his fellow terrorists. I just hope his first strike is not the United States. We ought to finish him now, before it is too late.
Who are we to talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction? America has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and proposes to build even more. Not to mention that America is the only country in the history of the world to use nuclear weapons in the worst "terrorist attack" ever in which more than 200,000 civilians were killed! Americans need to take a long hard look at their government and their country's actions in the world. Real people are dying because of us you know!
The US may have questionable motives for this possible military conflict, but at the end of the day, Saddam Hussein is the fool. If he had not attacked Iran, if he had not gassed his own people and ultimately if he did not invade Kuwait, the US have no reason to haunt the regime whether it be for oil or for justice. Now that he has given the Americans an excuse to launch a diplomatic and perhaps someday a military offensive, he will pay the price for his folly.
The protesters who shout "Don't attack Iraq" equate a murderous regime with the nation and people of Iraq. Many of those who wanted military action to stop Serbian genocide are silent when it comes to Iraq. Sadly, anti-Americanism clouds their judgment. In the end, Saddam will be overthrown and the Iraqi people will rejoice.
I strongly believe that there is not going to be any war. Iraq will comply with the UN resolution. It is going to be a big blow to the US and the UK which try to find an excuse to attack Iraq.
Saddam has a good chance to accept the resolution the UN passed. It is simple to destroy the weapons of mass destruction. So his regime can stay - instead of killing his soldiers and innocent people in a war.
If Saddam is going to comply with the UN, it will only be for a short while, then he'll do like he always does. I believe that nothing is going to stop war with Iraq. Saddam is too sneaky and doesn't care one way or another about his people. And that will cost him.
Richard A. Cormier, Orlando, USA
I think Iraq will comply. However, by following BBC video clips, one thing came to my mind: How can somebody talking about Iraq's ignorance actually ignore the paragraph 12 of the resolution emphasising a further discussion before UN eventually strikes? In my opinion, that one who strikes first causes the war, and should this happen, I prefer this to be an act of all countries united in the name of the peace.
The US urge to attack and conquer Iraq is not driven by any supposed fear of Iraq's weapons - it's about grabbing Iraq's oil to break the Opec cartel, and about protecting Israel.
The US deigned to involve the Security Council as part of its propaganda preparation for war, but it won't pay any attention to the UN or its charter when the time comes for its own illegal attack.
Taoun, Nashville TN
There will be no war. Saddam will comply to the extent that it keeps everyone off balance. Inspections will proceed, and Iraq will be disarmed, whether by overt or covert means. All those who think America and Bush are spoiling for a war are too wrapped up in their own prejudices to see the truth.
Yes I hope so, otherwise the Kurds and Shia Muslims might want a big share ruling the country in return for their help. The US/UK will have to give it to them and also supply weapons to defend themselves against Iran for instance. The Kurds will of course want revenge on all their old enemies. Like the Iraqis, the Turks the Iranians etc. You can change the head of a Middle East country but you can't change their beliefs and culture.
Chris, Chicago, IL
Bravo to the Security Council! And bravo to President Bush and PM Blair for their tenacity to achieve this diplomatic coup. Thank God we have leaders who are brave enough to take this stand, when the weapons are even more dangerous.
Too many comments seem to be ignoring the DOCUMENTED history of the attempts of the current Iraqi regime to construct nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. We had to dismantle them after the Gulf war, while fighting constant opposition and deception from the government itself! How long are we going to allow them to keep doing this? Until they succeed in actually using such weapons?
Ever since we heard the words "regime change" from George Bush, it was pretty clear that military action was the only answer he'd accept.
Julius Muhumuza, Philadelphia, USA
Resolution or no resolution, the US will attack Iraq. Let's not kid ourselves by believing that this UN resolution carries any hope of averting war.
Saddam is not and has never been involved in international terrorism. In fact he has been ruthless in suppressing fundamentalist terrorist groups. If the US was serious about combating global terrorism, Saddam would have been a US ally.
In the resolution it said that if Iraq falls foul of the inspectors another resolution has to be sought before unilateral action can be taken - the terrible twins, Bush and Blair, have had that taken out. The road is clear and they are itching for a fight.
Amazing. The Security Council just today voted unanimously and many of the writers here portray it as the US or the US and UK alone. The American people and their elected officials also favour removing Saddam, have since 1998, and the writers here portray it as President Bush's position alone. If this were really about getting Iraq's oil onto the market, the US would simply lift the sanctions - a lot easier and cheaper than going to war. Sanctions have only hurt the Iraqi people. Freeing millions from oppression and unjust death may cost thousands of lives. It's the awful truth. There's no way around it.
Bob, Somerset, UK
We're not going to be able to avoid war since the US and others (eg France and Russia) want to carve up Iraq's oil fields so they can lessen their reliance on Arab countries. That can't happen until they get rid of Saddam and install a puppet government. I fear this bid for oil could lead to all sorts of misery, not least for the Iraqi people. God help us all.
I somewhat question our legitimacy to "police" Iraq. Its hard to tell what Bush's motives really are. But I guess that's politics.
The fact that Bush has bought French and Russian agreement to the resolution by offering them a share of Iraq's oil is sickening and should open everyone's eyes to the gross hypocrisy surrounding this "crisis".
Gordon Silliker, USA
The US President has already effectuated change in the posture of the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's "graduated" acquiescence to calls for renewed weapons inspections is laughable. George W Bush and his administration have displayed deference to diplomacy, while presenting a clear case for the need for regime change in Iraq. President Bush has been patient and has used the appropriate channels in an attempt to help the UN enforce the resolutions. If Iraq will not comply, appeasement is the wrong approach.
I think Iraq has more time than is apparent to the general public. It's November and the Allied military forces in the region are still unprepared for a total conquest of Iraq this winter - it takes months to build up and acclimatise the troops required. After March the weather becomes too hot for Allied troops to fight effectively. Iraq should not be bombed as long as the weapons inspectors are there, and the inspectors will take many months to complete their work. An invasion seems unlikely until this time next year.
Let's face facts: the Iraqis have the world's second largest oil reserves behind the Saudis, and unlike the Saudis these reserves have not been developed anywhere near potential. British Petroleum, ExxonMobil, and other petrol majors are itching to get their hands on it, and who better than Uncle Sam to bankroll the whole operation ?
Sure a war can be avoided, but it's on Saddam. He must immediately allow inspectors unfettered access. He broke the resolutions, he must allow them to go everywhere and anywhere they want. As far as it being illegal for the US to go to war with him, that's insane. We all know this man is a terrorist.
If the UN is prepared to attack Saddam Hussein because he will not allow UN inspectors in, will we also attack the US and the UK, who do not allow them in either? Mr Kettle, meet Mr Pot.
Malcolm, the reason Iraq is subject to weapons inspections is because they lost the Gulf war and that was part of the ceasefire agreement. Coupled with the fact he has used them on his own people in the resent past and attacked two of his neighbours within the last two decades.
It's typical that whenever America expresses a blinkered view, it is always in favour of war.
Reg Armstrong, Amarillo, TX, USA
The bullet of tomorrow is travelling down the barrel of history as we speak. War is inevitable as are the unsatisfactory results.
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter
whether Mr. Hussein will comply. The
US is determined to get rid of him
by any means and over the objections
of the world community.
Why is it that only the US and Britain are the only two countries that have backbones with regards to Iraq? Why must the US risk its own people to act as the lone officer of the world? It's a double-edged sword. If we don't act, countries come crying. If we do act, they're upset we're infringing on their sovereignty. All and all, the world needs to deal with Saddam as one. If not, the US and Britain should act alone, while the boneless fish (France and Russia) should crawl back into their holes.
Saddam was cooperating with the UN, but the US scuppered the previous inspections by planting spies on the inspection team. It is the US and the UK that have been defying the UN since 1998 by conducting illegal bombing missions to enforce "no fly zones" which were never sanctioned by the UN. Saddam offered to let the inspectors back in weeks ago.
The offer was accepted by the inspection team, but this effort was scuppered by the US, as it rid them of any justification to go to war. Now the US is pushing a Final re-Solution onto the UN, but also saying that they will not be bound by any decision that prevents them going to war. Saddam, meanwhile, has attacked no one since 1991, enjoys good relations with his neighbours and is somehow keeping his people alive under pressure from sanctions.
Saddam is already in violation of some thirteen or more UN Resolutions, and has already been declared to be in breach by Resolutions written and passed since the end of the gulf war. We don't need additional reasons, he's supplied plenty already.
BW Huang, San Diego, CA, USA
I'm an American citizen that opposes our country going to war with Iraq. 73% of Americans are in opposition to going to war with Iraq. We live in a country that is not truly free and not truly democratic. I'm also ex-military because I do not support the President that is trying to "pick a war with Iraq". We should not go to war without the support of the UN. I personally believe it's very possible that Saddam has links to al-Qaeda and such, and they will resort to the lowest means of vengeance such as weapons of mass destruction / chemical/ biological because of all the previous years that America's Leaders (not it's people) have oppressed other countries financially.
No matter what anyone says on these boards, the president has a 70 percent approval rating, control of both legislative houses, and the firepower to back up any demand. France and Russia are paper tigers. Those are all the cards folks. Saddam can bet against the house if he wants to, but whether he wins or loses is not up to him anymore. Comply or die. Enough said, its time for action.
Firas Jawad, London, England
Saddam won't give up power and part of that power is his weapons. He will not give them up for any reason.
I think Iraq will comply this time round. Saddam must realise by now that he is on a final warning, and that any failure to comply will directly and quickly lead to him losing power - something he is desperate to avoid at any cost. I certainly hope he complies - the last thing the region needs is another war. By the way, Iraq did not expel the weapons inspectors last time round - they were recalled by the UN in the face of obstruction and threats of expulsion by Iraqi authorities. A subtle but important point...
Robert Morpheal, Canada
Iraq's actions are irrelevant - the USA decided it's course of action long ago, and is simply waiting for the right climatic conditions before attacking. I just feel it's a shame that Bush won't put as much effort into solving the greatest inspiration of global terrorism, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, as he has into stealing oil reserves from a tin-pot dictator like Saddam.
The proposed UN resolution sets back the situation with and in Iraq a decade. The same tough conditions were imposed 1991 at end of the Gulf war. This means, should Iraq allow the inspectors back in, then the sanctions on the country could go on indefinitely as there is once again no time limit on the inspection and verification of Iraq's weapons. The world needs to understand that the reality is if the US did not go into war and rid of Saddam, that means continuous suffering for the people in Iraq. Of course the US is not right in the way that they want to wage a war on Iraq. But we must remember that the regime in Iraq also has not been right for decades. Not to face a regime like Saddam is also not right. So the question is does two wrongs make a right?
Zach, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Saddam will not submit to "legitimate" weapons inspections. Saddam will attempt to intimidate and fool UN inspectors and influence the UN. It's all politics. Of course he has weapons of mass destruction. Question is: Will the UN be fooled into letting him keep his weapons?
Why do people think this dictator has any intentions other than his own selfish ones at the continued terrible expense of his own subjects whom he cares nothing about? War is inevitable and will be welcomed by those under the dictator's thumb. And America should not be concerned about what the useless UN has to say. Let's roll!!!
JE Flores Jr, USA
Saddam has not worked with the UN for over 12 years. Who really thinks he is going to start now? There will be war, and Iraq will be a much better place for all once he is gone.
04 Nov 02 | Middle East
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