November 1, 2002

November 1, 2002 | News Releases on Middle East

Iraq Cooperation With U.N. Inspectors Unlikely Given Past Record, Analyst Says

WASHINGTON, OCT. 29, 2002-If Saddam Hussein wants to remain in power, then he should allow United Nations' weapons inspectors to operate without harassment or delay, and then disarm, which is an unlikely scenario, says a new paper from The Heritage Foundation.

Since 1991, Saddam has stalled, blocked or flat out lied to inspectors from the United Nations about his biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs, and there's little chance that he will cooperate with the United Nations in the future, says Heritage Middle East expert James Phillips.

Iraq agreed last month to permit the return of U.N. arms inspectors, which it had blocked since 1998.

But Phillips says the crucial issue is to disarm Iraq, not merely inspect it. He says the United States also must continue to seek tough new U.N. resolutions that clearly approve the use of military force if Iraq obstructs the inspectors again.

In addition, the United States must ensure that the inspectors have unconditional access to all sites and all Iraqis at any time, Phillips says.

A comprehensive timeline compiled by Phillips and Heritage researchers details Saddam's repeated refusals to cooperate with U.N. inspectors. Examples include:

· September 1991: The first aerial U.N. inspection team is blocked by Iraq.

· July 1993: Iraq refuses to allow U.N. inspectors to install monitoring cameras at two missile test areas. Iraq finally agrees to permit installation after a threatening letter from the U.N. Security Council.

· March 1996: Iraqi security forces refuse inspectors access to five specific sites designated for inspection. The inspectors finally enter the sites after delays ranging up to 17 hours.

· September 1997: An Iraqi officer physically prevents a U.N. inspector onboard a helicopter from taking photographs of suspicious movements by Iraqi vehicles inside a designated inspection site.

Phillips says the U.N. inspections program as currently structured cannot work. If the Security Council does not approve a strengthened inspection regime backed by the credible use of force, he suggests that the United States should abandon the idea of inspections altogether.

"Ultimately, the only way to be certain of ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction is to rid it of Saddam Hussein's menacing regime," Phillips says.

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