Friday, January 31, 2003

Bush to turn up heat on UN waverers
"The United States is preparing a new resolution for the United Nations that would place Iraq in "material breach" of its obligation to disarm. It would be worded in a way that will enable the US to attack Baghdad without the Security Council having to vote to sanction the strike. UN officials told the Herald that the US would present the resolution to the five permanent council members on February 5, after the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, outlines what he says will be compelling evidence that Iraq has interfered with the work of weapons inspectors.

"UN officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said France would back the new resolution, despite its apparent opposition to war. "They've got no alternative," one official said. "What are they going to do, render the Security Council irrelevant? They can't do that. It's the basis of French authority. It's their forum for global relevance. If it is meaningless, they are meaningless."

It is only too plausible that France, Germany and Russia will cave in to US pressure, and vote for such a resolution, just as they caved in and voted for Resolution 1441 in November 2002. They will be able to say to their domestic population that they have not voted for a war resolution on Iraq. What is needed however is a stronger stance against US aggression, a determination not to appease any further. France is conceding the initiative. They should have already announced their own draft resolution, something along the lines of authorising several more months of weapons inspections, and campaigned for support for that resolution amongst the Security Council Members. Powell's offer to provide "proof" to the Security Council next week should not be dismissed, but neither should it be allowed to divert or delay the response to the Weapons Inspectors report.

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