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SEPTEMBER 19, 2002

The New York Times



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pect to fail as the needed triggering event for war. Still other Iraq experts believe that Saddam Hussein himself will invite the inspec tors back as a means of forestalling invasion if troops begin to move in his direction.

Whatever one's stance on how best to handle Saddam Hussein, it is crucial to understand one thing: United Nations inspections, as they are currently constituted, will never work.

There are several reasons for this. Consider the record of the United Nations Special Commission, an agency that was charged with inspecting Iraq's weapons programs from 1991 to 1998. While Unscom did manage to destroy tons of missiles and chemical and biological weapons, it could not complete the job. Iraqi obfuscations prevented it from ever getting a full picture of the entire weapons production effort. The commission's replacement, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, which has not yet been allowed to enter Iraq, will have even less suc cess given its structure and policies.

Unscom was staffed mainly by officials on loan from national governments who did not owe their jobs

to the United Nations; Unmovic personnel, on the other hand, are United

Gary Milhollin is director of the Wis-
consin Project on Nuclear Arms Con-
trol. Kelly Motz is the editor of
Iraq Watch.org.

Nations employees who are likely to
be hobbled by the United Nations'
notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.

These inspectors are not set up to
make effective use of intelligence
information. In the 1990's, American
intelligence officials supplied secret
information to selected Unscom in-
spectors, knowing that the informa-
tion would be protected and be used
to uncover hidden Iraqi weapons fa-
cilities. At Unmovic, however, no
inspector will be allowed to receive
intelligence information on a privi-
leged basis, a policy that increases
the risk of leaks to the Iraqis. Unmo-
vic has also declared that it will not
allow any information gathered
from its inspections to flow back to
national intelligence agencies. This
eliminates the main incentive for
intelligence sources to provide Un-
movic with useful information in the
first place.

Even if it is allowed into Iraq, Unmovic will run up against obstacles at least as formidable as those that stymied Unscom. After years of practice, Unscom became adept at launching surprise visits to weapons sites, yet Iraq's intelligence operatives defeated it more often than not. It was a rare inspection when the fraqis did not know what the inspectors were looking for before they arrived. Most Unmovic inspectors have little experience in Iraq and even less in handling intelligence information.

Compounding this handicap is the fact that fraq has taken consider. able pains to make its weapons pro

grams mobile. Laboratories, components and materials are ready to hit the road at a moment's notice. Once, as an experiment, Unscom had pho tos taken from a U2 spy plane of a site that it was about to inspect. First the photos showed no activity, then large numbers of Iraqi vehicles leaving the site, then no activity, then the inspectors' vehicles arriving.

Unmovic is also stuck with a deal the United Nations made in 1998 on "presidential sites." Iraq is allowed to designate vast swaths of land (big enough to contain entire factories) that the inspectors can visit only after announcing the visit in advance, disclosing the composition of the inspection team (nuclear or biological experts, for example) and taking along a special group of diplomats. This loophole creates refuges for mobile items and could defeat virtually any inspection effort.

New inspections will occur under the threat of imminent American military action. Any announcement that Iraq is not cooperating could be a casus belli Such a risk might encourage Unmovic to monitor what is already known rather than aggressively try to find what is hidden. This could mean that the goal of inspections the disarmament of Iraq- might never be achieved.



hich brings us to the heart of the matter. Inspections can only do

one thing well: verify that a country's declarations about a weapons program are honest and complete. It is feasible for inspectors to look at sites and equipment to see whether the official story about their use is accurate. Inspectors can rely on scientific principles, intelligence information and surprise visits to known weapons production sites to test what they are told. It is a different proposition altogether to wander about a country looking for what has been deliberately concealed. That is a task with no end.

For inspectors to do their job, they have to have the truth, which can only come from the Iraqis. As President Bush told the United Nations Last week, the world needs an Iraqi government that will stop lying and surrender the weapons programs. That is not likely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.

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Iraq: The Snare of Inspections Gary Milhollin & Kelly Motz

`VERY TIME war clouds gather over Baghdad,

may allow UN arms inspectors to return. Similarly, every time war clouds gather over Baghdad, voices in the United States and elsewhere, including some in or near the Bush administration, can be heard urging a new and improved system of inspections. Today, some of those voices belong to critics of administration policy who are opposed to war with Iraq. Others favor war but think a provocation, or "triggering event," is lacking, and they see inspections (which they fully expect to fail) as providing the necessary trigger.

The inspectors departed Iraq in 1998 after enduring more than seven years of tricks and obfuscations, all aimed at protecting the country's programs for building weapons of mass destruction. Since then, Saddam's interest in renewed inspections has been aroused in direct proportion to the perceived risk that his country will be invaded. When things are quiet, he has refused even to consider letting the United Nations back-in egregious violation of his pledges under UN resolutions and therefore of international law. But now

GARY MILHOLLIN is the director of the Wisconsin Project in Nuclear Arms Control in Washington, D.C., and KELLY Morz edits the Project's Iraq Watch.org website. The present article is based in part on the conclusions of a panel of fre former UN inspectors and a former intelligence official who met in June under the auspices of the Wisconsin Project to assess the prospects of a resumed inspections regime in Iraq.

that Washington is seriously contemplating "regime change," he may well announce that inspectors are once again welcome.

If he does, he can count on Russia and France, Iraq's allies on the Security Council, to rally the world in favor of giving peace a chance. Any delay on Saddam's part in admitting or cooperating with inspectors will then still look better than war, and it will become that much harder to argue that Uncle Sam should use soldiers and bullets to do what international civil servants could do with blue helmets and notebooks. If inspectors go back in, said Jack Straw, Britain's Foreign Secretary, only last month, "plainly the case for military action recedes."

Whatever one's stance on the question of how best to handle Saddam Hussein, it is vital to understand one thing. Unless the Iraqi dictator should suddenly and totally reverse course on arms inspection and everything that goes with it, or be forced into early retirement-in other words, unless Saddam Hussein's Iraq ceases to be Saddam Hussein's Iraq-inspections will never work.

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