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White House Compares Iraqi Non-Compliance Tactics to Those of 1996

White House Compares Iraqi Non-Compliance Tactics to Those of 1996

The White House issued a timeline February 12 comparing the current crisis between Iraq and the United Nations Security Council with the previous 1996-1998 attempt by the United Nations Special Commission on Munitions (UNSCOM) to conduct a program of "intrusive inspections" in the country. The timeline shows parallels between Iraq's failed compliance with UNSCOM, and its weapons inspectors' subsequent withdrawal from the country, and what the White House press release described as Iraq's continued "cosmetic compliance" with United Nations requirements to disarm in the current crisis. Source: The Washington File (EUR302. February 12, 2003.

  • Following is the text of the White House release: (begin text)

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, February 12, 2003

Iraq's Compliance? 1996 All over Again

"We have to buy some more time, and the American-British coalition will disintegrate because of internal reasons and because of the pressure of public opinion in the American and British street."

-- Saddam Hussein, Interview with Egyptian weekly, Al Usbou, November 2002.

Iraq has violated UN Security Council mandates dozens of times, been called to account and, until the pressure dies down, uses tactics of cheat and retreat. The example below illustrates the Iraqi regime's cosmetic compliance.

1996 -- 1998

March 1996: UNSCOM begins a program of intrusive inspections after the 1995 defection of Hussein Kamel revealed Iraq had deceived inspectors.

March 1996: Inspectors are blocked and the President of the Security Council issues another formal condemnation of Iraq.

June 14, 1996: Iraq blocks new series of inspections, provoking another Statement by the President of the Security Council condemning Iraq's actions.

June 19, 1996: At the request of the Un Security Council, UNSCOM head Rolf Ekeus travels to Baghdad as last chance to avoid enforcement actions. The United States consults with allies to gain consensus that Iraq's actions are a material breach of its obligations requiring enforcement action. Military preparations begun.

June 22, 1996: Ekeus negotiates three agreements: a joint statement committing Iraq to provide immediate unconditional access; a program of work that could lead to a report that Iraq had disarmed; and "agreement" on modalities for inspecting "sensitive sites." Council relieved of enforcement decision.

December 16, 1998: After continued Iraqi failure to comply fully and obstruction of inspections at sensitive sites, inspectors depart before enforcement action. Iraq retains its WMD programs.

2002 -- 2003

November 8, 2002: Security Council Resolution 1441 deplores repeated Iraqi obstruction of immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by inspectors and demands full and immediate compliance.

November 27, 2002: UNMOVIC returns to Iraq at the direction of the Security Council to pursue an enhanced inspection regime after a four year interruption of inspections by Iraq.

December 7, 2002: Iraq fails to make a "currently accurate, full, and complete" declaration; the inspectors say later that "Iraq is not giving us what we need."

January 18, 2003: The heads of UNMOVIC and the IAEA travel to Baghdad. The United States makes clear to its allies that, one way or another, Iraq will be disarmed, if necessary, by a coalition of the willing. Military preparations continue.

January 20, 2003: Blix negotiates a joint statement which commits Iraq to provide access to all sites, but Iraq does not commit to meeting key obligations under UNSC Resolution 1441, including resolution-mandated right to private interviews. They commit only to "encourage" such interviews.

February 9, 2003: Iraq continues to not comply with UNSC Resolution 1441. In Baghdad again Blix says he has not achieved a "breakthough" and that on substantive issues, Iraqi concessions were "less good" than he was expecting.

(end text)


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).