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11/18/02 - IRAQ ACCEPTS U-N INSPECTIONS - 2002-11-18

The United Nations Security Council’s unanimous passage of Resolution 1-4-4-1 was a positive step toward ridding Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. The U-N has given the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein one last chance. The Iraqi regime has acknowledged the U-N resolution, which is obligatory on Iraq. U-N inspectors are slated to return to Iraq for the first time since Iraq ceased cooperating with them in 1998. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “It should now be clear to Saddam Hussein that this is not just a matter between Iraq and the United States, but between Iraq and a united world.”

Long experience with Saddam Hussein shows that the Iraqi dictator will only respond when confronted with a clear resolve backed up by the threat of serious consequences. The words of the U-N resolution are unambiguous. Iraq has been found in breach of its obligations not to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iraq must produce a comprehensive declaration of its weapons programs. Saddam Hussein must give the U-N weapons inspectors immediate, unimpeded, and unconditional access and actively cooperate with the inspectors. As Secretary of State Powell said, “The United States will support the inspectors in every way.” And the world will be watching.

U.S. policy will be one of zero tolerance. Backing U-N Resolution 1-4-4-1 with the credible threat of serious consequences is the best way to eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and to achieve Iraqi compliance with all U-N resolutions. The goal, said Mr. Powell, is to ensure “that Iraq does not threaten its own people, its neighbors and the world.”

The U.S. and its allies would prefer Iraq to comply and disarm peacefully under U-N auspices. The U.S. and its allies do not seek a war with Iraq. “But,” said Secretary of State Powell, “we will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council has confronted Saddam Hussein and his regime with a moment of truth. If they meet it with more lies, they will not escape the consequences.”