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Why the recent war took place.

Reader comment on item: Iraq's Weapons & The Road to War

Submitted by Steve T (United Kingdom), Jun 5, 2003 at 06:54

In 1991 Iraq agreed with the UN to prove that it no longer had any WMD, and that this had to be done within an agreed timescale (end of 1991).

This year (2003), the UN inspector Hans Blix was still saying that the Iraq government was being obstructive. This was said in every report Hans Blix gave. He did say the level of cooperation varied, noticeably getting better as forces built up in the area. His reports however still concluded that there were things that the Iraq government were not helping with. all relating to WMD.

Clearly the agreement was for Iraq to prove compliance, not for the UN to try and catch Iraq out. Countries are too big for a few dozen inspectors to really check out. Their job is to verify the evidence produced by the Iraq governement.

So what were the Iraq governement hiding?

You have to assume that it must be WMD, otherwise they could have had sanctions lifted and so on. That is a big carrot if the UN accept the proff provided.

At this stage the UN should have stepped in, after all it was now 12 years after the UN / Iraq agreed deadline.

However the French and Russians have (had) close ties with Saddam. There is a long history of cooperation between Chirac and Saddam. This prevented the UN from fulfilling it's role (and explains why this has stretched on for so long).

We may never find WMD, countries are big places, they could have been sent abroad (Syria, or even Iran), they may have been destroyed, but this isn't the point.
The point is that Iraq did not comply with it's ceasefire aggreements, that it had to prove that it didn't have WMD, not that it could successfully hide them from the inspectors

Steve, England
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