By our Arab Affairs Correspondent
UNITED NATION’s weapons inspectors are expected to return to Iraq in two weeks time. But the United States has vowed to block the move which could end the crisis demanding that the UN Security Council rubber-stamp an Anglo-American draft resolution designed to provide imperialism with the pretext for another war. Iraq’s deputy premier responded by saying the Americans were afraid of letting the inspectors back because they knew they would find no illegal weapons in the country.
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix reached agreement with Iraq in talks in Vienna on Tuesday to resume the inspections, which were suspended over four years ago. The Russians who are insisting that no new resolution is needed welcomed the move. The news did not go down well in the White House. US Secretary of State Colin Powell made it clear that the deal was unacceptable and one of his senior officials said the United States would "thwart" the inspectors return until the Security Council passed the resolution currently being touted by Anglo-American imperialism.
Whether that resolution gets through is another matter. Last week the imperialist media was confidently predicting that the Americans would be speedily overcome the objections of the other Great Powers through economic enticements or blackmail. But three of the Big Five veto-powers are still refusing to play ball.
Russia has dug its heels in welcoming the Vienna agreement and repeating that there is now no need for a new resolution. People’s China is taking a similar but less vocal stance. And France is lobbying for a two-tier resolution, which would first give the inspectors a new mandate, but without the threat of force, which would only follow with a second resolution if the Blix team found their work was being obstructed by the Iraqis.
The French clearly hope that their position will end up as a suitable compromise on the Security Council. The Kremlin hinted on Wednesday that it might go along with it when Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said his country might consider backing new UN resolutions if the inspectors needed them.
All of which is bad news for US President George Bush who has run into unexpected opposition in Congress from his Democratic Party rivals as well. Former vice-president Al Gore gave the lead last week. Veteran Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy, the head of the influential Kennedy clan, joined in last Friday telling an audience at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies that "I have come hear today to express my view that America should not go to war against Iraq unless other reasonable alternatives are exhausted". And three Democrat Congressmen returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq to tell the American public that "war is not the answer".
In the shimmering sands of Middle East diplomacy the imperialists are spreading rumour after rumour – that the Americans will attack next month and that they’ve already agreed to make the King of Jordan puppet king of an occupied Iraq. While a White House spokesman publicly suggested that it would be good if Saddam was assassinated or took a "one-way ticket" into exile – later explained as a "rhetorical point" as US law bars the assassination of foreign leaders.
But the first battle remains the war of words at UN Headquarters. If Anglo-American imperialism fails to get its way the alternatives are stark. Either they swallow a tremendous loss of face or they go it alone – a move which would plunge the Middle East into turmoil and destroy what’s left of the credibility of the United Nations Organisation.
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