UN Confusion on Iraq
Jude Wanniski
October 23, 2002


There is a great deal of confusion in the news accounts of the Iraqi situation at the United Nations. I think it is the result of a Bloomberg report that quotes Iraq`s UN Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri at noon today as saying the U.S. resolution was "unacceptable" and predicted the Security Council will reject it. "It is a declaration of war," al-Douri said. Iraq had expected "that the U.S. would take into consideration the objections raised" to the earlier draft, he said. "They stuck to their initial position and it is really worse than before. They don`t really want inspectors back in Iraq."

We are still trying to sort this out, but believe al-Douri was reacting to an earlier draft than the one that appeared in the NYTimes today as the latest "working draft." The "declaration of war" draft was in fact an earlier one that contained the "dealbreakers" which Iraq could never accept. Ambassador al-Douri was simply reading his government`s reaction. The US/British draft that appears in the NYT is clearly a compromise that seems very close to one that the Security Council could accept... and that Iraq would live with. We will follow this with a longer analysis as soon as we can clear up the confusion.