It's the same old trap. NATO used exactly the same trick to ensure that it
could have a war with Slobodan Milosevic. Now the Americans are demanding the
same of Saddam Hussein buried well down in their list of demands, of course.
Tell your enemy that you're going to need his roads and airspace with your
troops on the highways and you destroy his sovereignty. That's what NATO
demanded of Serbia in 1999. That's what the new UN resolution touted by Messrs
Bush and Blair demands of Saddam Hussein. It's a declaration of war.
It worked in 1999. The Serbs accepted most of NATO's Interim Agreement for
Peace and Self-government in Kosovo, but not Appendix 8, which insisted that "NATO
personnel shall enjoy ... free and unimpeded passage and unimpeded access throughout
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
It was a demand that Mr Milosevic could never accept. US troops driving through
Serbia would have meant, in these circumstances, the end of Yugoslav sovereignty.
But now we have the draft UN resolution which Presidents Bush and Blair insist
the UN must pass. Arms inspection teams, it says, "shall have the right to declare
for the purposes of this resolution ... ground and air-transit corridors which
shall be enforced by UN security forces or by members of the UN [Security] Council".
In other words, Washington can order forces of the US (a Security Council member)
to "enforce" these "corridors" through Iraq on the ground when it
wants. US troops would thus be in Iraq. It would be invasion without war; the
end of Saddam, "regime change", the whole shebang.
No Iraqi government even a Baghdad administration without the odious
Saddam could ever accept such a demand. Nor could Serbia have accepted
such a demand from NATO, even without the odious Slobodan. Which is why the Serbs
and NATO went to war.
So here it is again, the same old "we've-got-be-able-to-drive through-your-land"
mentality which forced the Serbs into war and which is clearly intended to produce
the same from Saddam.
America wants a war and here's the proof: if the United States truly wished
to avoid war, it could demand "unfettered access" for inspectors without this
sovereignty-busting paragraph, using it as a second resolution only if the presidential
palaces of the Emperor Saddam remained off-limits.
Saddam can open his country to the inspectors; he can open even his presidential
palaces. But if he doesn't accept the use of "Security Council" forces
in other words, US troops on Iraqi roads, we can go to war. There's also
that other paragraph: that "any permanent member of the Security Council may request
to be represented on any inspection team." In other words, the Americans can demand
that their intelligence men can return to become UN inspectors, to pass on their
information to the Israelis (which they did before) and to the US military, which
used them as forward air controllers for their aircraft once the inspectors were
All in all, then, a deal which President Saddam yes, Saddam the wicked,
Saddam the torturer, Saddam the lover of gas warfare could never, ever
He's not meant to accept this. Which is why the Anglo-American draft for the
UN is intended to give us war, rather than peace and security from weapons of
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