Pester on Baghdad


Amidst discernible icons of stress-all around-Hans Blix has eventually stepped onto the soil of Iraq with a tough squad to hunt  the ‘chemical n’ biological weapons’ seemingly being ‘masked’  by Saddam, a man-with verve-in today’s world. Ever since the adoption of a UN resolution, pressure has been mounting on    Baghdad to accept the new decree as Arab Foreign Ministers went into an in-depth dialogue on the Middle East scenario, with a meticulous focus to the endless US threats of war vis-é-vis Iraq. The moot in Cairo termed the resolution as Iraq’s best hope to avoid an impending military strike by the United States. Not only that Blix deems his current voyage as ‘the last chance for Iraq’, the  White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card-had simultaneously-said in clear-cut words  that the US doesn’t require UN permission to act against Iraq, if it fails to comply with the UN mandated weapons inspection programme.

Since then, affirmative indications have been approaching about Iraq’s nod to the Security Council motion. It is obvious from a statement by the   Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher and Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal wherein they expressed optimism that Iraq was ‘ready to accept the resolution’. The UN resolution-voted unanimously-by the  15-member Security Council including Syria had  warned Baghdad of ‘serious consequences’ if it fails to comply with its disarmament terms. Apart from unabated perils of war, posed by the US leaders, the Arab countries have also ascended force on Iraq to react to the resolution positively to shun hazards for the Middle East as a whole. It’s ill-fated due to the fact that Washington has hardly left any option for Baghdad to eschew execution of the Security Council resolution through any strategic gambit.  It ought to be mindful that President George W Bush is desperate to complete his father, Bush-the senior’s unfinished agenda to disarm and dislodge Saddam Hussein, as is evident from the US leaders’ reaction over the world body’s verdict. . Bush is-virtually-in search of an excuse–howsoever lofty n’ lame it may be-to take action against Baghdad. The situation, therefore, calls for acumen and sagacity on the part of the Iraq to snap the veracity in its true perceptions to save his land and the people from a perceptible turmoil-which would otherwise upshot into nothing except a reign of  fatality and obliteration. The loss of a million Iraqi children-due to the UN sanctions against Baghdad amply speaks of international community’s apathy towards scanty nation’s dilemma. There should be no illusion that it will again be a silent spectator to the annihilation of Iraqi nation at the hands of today’s’ solitary Supper Power-the United States in case of a nauseating reply from Saddam Hussein, who is fully aware of the contents of the Security Council’s tenacity, affirmed all the way through a tough US-sponsored resolution ‘giving Iraq one last chance to disarm or pay the cost-to the magnitude of ones mind’s eye.’ Russia, France and China have seemingly softened their stance towards the US sponsored resolution in the wake of Republicans’ victory in this week’s elections. They, however, deserve appreciation for not only carrying out protracted parleys on the resolution till after the Congress polls in the United States, but also for diluting the harsh conditionality to some extent. The fact, however, remains that Washington has ultimately succeeded in extracting a tough warning to Saddam Hussein from the world body either to accept the resolution or face ‘severest consequences’, as President Bush put it after the unanimous adoption of the resolution by the UN Security Council. The situation thus calls for a pragmatic response by the Iraqi leadership to avoid destruction of whatever military strength Iraq is left with. There is hardly any ambiguity about the US motives behind anti-Iraq designs, which are aimed at warding off any threat to Israel. Iraq should, therefore, have no illusion about Washington’s intentions and motives. We are mindful that it’s a difficult time for the Iraqi leadership, as it is supposed to protect its legitimate military strength on the one hand and to let the UN weapons’ inspectors destroy what they term as its capability to build ‘weapons of mass destruction’ on the other. It’s certainly time to avoid ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and allow the UN inspectors without any inhibition to carry out their assignment as per the UN guidelines. It is hoped that the UN weapons inspectors will also be judicious in their evaluation of the sites and would not put themselves in Richard Butler’s shoes, who had acted at the US behest to unduly prolong the inspections and deliberately complicate his task by seeking access to the sites, linked to Iraq’s sovereignty. It’s no time to sway emotionally. The situation rather demands that Baghdad should not provide any excuse to the US to act against her militarily, as Washington is desperately weighing its options for a long time to launch military strikes against her.

 The resolution gave President Saddam just a week to acknowledge the terms-listed therein-for arsenal’ inspections by the UN inspectors who landed in Iraq yesterday-Monday. Paradoxically, with all the bullying tones, the new gauge, set by the UN still leaves Washington free to molest Iraq-in a jiffy-even without a fresh ‘indispensable resolution’, thus authorizing the use of optimal might-at the disposal of the dominant powers-to get onto Iraq, setting aside the fact that it requires the world body to assess any grave infringement before an binding military smack. The only option-thus-left with Saddam is to ‘let Blix & Co’ embark on their atypical mindset. Let the ‘crusade of inspection’ be conducted-uninterrupted. Let them have ‘an entrée’ even to the dazzling Presidential Palace n’ elsewhere ‘so that the guys get back to New York with a buoyant n’ candid note-based on truth, if at all they are blessed with such a facet. It will only make every feature crystal clear in the best interest of the global peace in all-purpose and the Middle East in diligent.  In such a fashion Saddam will fetch marvelous adore from all the pragmatic nations which love peace by holding amity-deep into their hearts-and snub all types of brawls.

The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV.