As I believed earlier, the reports that Saddam Hussein had rejected the idea of a UN resolution on weapons inspections were incorrect. I spoke to Mohammed Aldouri, the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, in the last few minutes and he said these reports were "silly," as there is no resolution to reject. There will be a resolution drafted in Vienna next week and if it is acceptable to the UN Security Council, it will be acceptable to Iraq. Aldouri continued to stress that the letters sent to Kofi Annan by his government indicate there will be no restrictions placed on the inspectors.
It was no doubt the suggestion about having UN troops accompany the inspectors on their rounds that caused the rumble from Baghdad. The bizarre idea was included as a possibility in the op-ed by former US Secretary of State James Baker III two weeks ago and showed up again over the weekend in a NYTimes op-ed by Jessica Matthews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. The likelihood of the UN Security Council agreeing to such a precondition is less than zero as it would repeat on a larger scale the problems of UNSCOM in 1998, where the "inspectors" turned out to be spies who were spotting likely bombing targets for the Clinton wag-the-dog bombing in December of that year. The revelations were so embarrassing to the UN that the old UNSCOM regime was disbanded and the new UNMOVIC regime was established to prevent Washington`s perverse use of the UN resolutions. FoxNews continues to report that Saddam "kicked out the weapons inspectors" when they in fact left on the orders of Washington, which was about to use its intelligence in a five-day bombing campaign that killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians. Why would Iraq allow a return of Richard Butler and his spy team after the smoke cleared?