|THE IRAQ SITUATION
Will Saddam Hussein comply with the latest agreement?
February 27, 1998
in this forum:
Why are we so concerned with Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction? Upon what basis of authority does Washington stand in planning a unilateral military attack on any country? Has the U.S. lost its credibility in the region as an honest broker? Will the Arab states support U.S. policies against Saddam in the future? Has the U.N. brokered deal with Iraq resolved the crisis or is it just an interlude to war?
February 23, 1998
Sec. Albright discusses the U.N. brokered deal with Iraq.
February 23, 1998
Four policy experts discusses the latest deal.
February 16, 1998
How significant a threat does Saddam Hussein's country really pose?
February 11, 1998
Ambassador Richardson discusses the ongoing crisis with Iraq.
February 4, 1998
Secretary Albright tries to marshal support for a possible attack on Iraq.
January 14, 1998
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon, defends his country's actions.
What's the best way to deal with Iraq?
November 17, 1997
Arab perspectives on the Iraqi crisis.
November 13, 1997
Deputy PM Aziz defends his country's expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors.
November 3, 1997
U.N. Ambassador Richardson discusses tensions between the U.S. and Iraq.
Online Forum: 1996:
The plight of the Kurds in Northern Iraq.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Middle East.
American Enterprise Institute
Dan Williams of Boston, MA, asks: Do you believe that the U.N. brokered deal with Iraq has resolved the crisis or is it just an interlude to war?
Dr. John Calabrese, resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, responds:
If countering Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs is as important as U.S. policymakers say it is, then UNSCOM is back and that is a good thing. For, despite the pattern of obstruction and harrassment that plagued UNSCOM operations from 1991-98, these inspections turned up and destroyed a great many weapons, delivery systems, materials and technology. In my opinion, air strikes could not have accomplished what inspectors/monitors on the ground have proven they can.
But the jury is still out concerning how the Annan arrangements for renewed inspections will proceed. Will the diplomats accompanying technical personnel exercise a veto over the inspections or compromise the element of surprise necessary to defeat Saddam's games of deceit and concealment in order to show "sensitivity" toward Iraq's sovereignty and national dignity? It is a bit too early to tell whether the new inspection arrangements will provide Saddam with qualitatively improved loopholes to exploit.
Perhaps the two more pertinent questions to ask are these: Has the threat of force (and the continued presence of large forces in the Gulf) cowed Saddam? Have the events of the past several weeks fundamentally altered the prospects for a way out of "our box?" In my opinion, the answer to both of these questions is an emphatic no. Saddam's objectives are now, what they were prior to this crisis: removal of economic sanctions without surrendering his strategic military option (i.e., weapons of mass destruction). When the inspection regime resumes in earnest, so will Saddam's cat-and-mouse game. At some point, the U.S. will have to decide what level of obstruction warrants the use of force, and will have to persuade the same constituencies it failed to persuade this time around that force can work. Unless U.S. policymakers use this "interlude" to devise a strategy for encouraging/actively assisting Iraqis to overthrow Saddam in the event that he has not changed his tune, we will coninually face the same dilemma.
Mr. John Bolton, senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, responds:
As I indicated in response to the previous question, the U.N.-Iraq deal is a stopgap measure at best. What it reveals more deeply is the need for the United States to keep control of its policy in the Persian Gulf, and to make its own decisions about the pace and terms of any resolution of the crisis. The active involvement of the U.N. at this stage might, unfortunately, make it harder for the U.S. (at least under the Clinton Administration) to act independently in the inevitable next stage of this crisis.