Iraqi Parliament Weighs U.N. Resolution
Parliament speaker Saadoun Hamadi said as he opened the special session, which was broadcast live on Iraqi television, ”The ill intentions in this resolution are flagrant and loud in ignoring all the work that has been achieved in past years.”
Hamadi called the resolution “provocative, deceitful and a preamble for war.”
Salim al-Kubaisi, head of the parliament’s international committee, said he thought Baghdad should reject the U.N.’s demands.
“The committee recommends the following: the rejection of the Security Council resolution 1441 and not to approve it in accordance with the opinion of our people who put confidence in their representatives,” he said.
Discussion has continued among legislators on the 250-seat national assembly. There was no clear indication when it would call for a vote.
When the session concludes, the national assembly will recommend its response to the Revolutionary Command Council, Iraq’s major executive body headed by Saddam. The executive council will issue Baghdad’s official response.
Iraq has until Friday to accept or reject the U.N.’s strict resolution, unanimously passed by the 15-member Security Council last Friday. The resolution demands that Baghdad allow unfettered access to any suspected biological or chemical weapons production site or face “serious consequences.”
Baghdad has denied possessing weapons of mass destruction and has called the mandatory inspections an affront to its sovereignty.
Meanwhile, foreign ministers from the 22-member Arab League urged Iraq to cooperate fully with the U.N. demands to avert a military strike.
The league, which met in Cairo over the weekend, released a statement saying it “welcome[ed] Iraq’s acceptance of the return of the international inspectors unconditionally.”
“In our deliberations, the consensus was to deal with the Security Council resolution, accepting its direction, and this is left for the government of Iraq to decide,” Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told reporters after the conference ended late Sunday.
Arab League ministers issued several demands in an eight-point resolution released Sunday. They requested that Arab experts be included on U.N. weapons inspection teams and cautioned U.N. inspectors to refrain from making “provocations” against the Iraqis. The ministers also insisted the U.N. Security Council force Israel to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, saying such armaments “constitute a serious threat to Arab and international peace and security.”
Arab ministers warned that the U.N. resolution should not serve as a pretext for military action and stressed their unified opposition to an attack on Iraq — a move they said would be interpreted as a threat to all Arab nations.
Earlier Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” called the Iraqi parliamentary meeting “ludicrous.”
“Saddam Hussein is an absolute dictator and tyrant, and the idea that somehow he expects the Iraqi parliament to debate this — they’ve never debated anything else,” Rice said, adding, “I’m surprised he’s even bothering to go through this ploy.”
On Monday, President Bush said that “[s]hould military action become necessary for our own security, I will commit the full force and might of the United States military and we will prevail.”