UN Close to Imposing Unprecedented Demands on Iraq
UNITED NATIONS, N.Y.
THERE is no precedent for the sweeping postwar measures that the United Nations Security Council is preparing to enact, possibly later this week, against Iraq. The terms under discussion would require a humiliating Iraqi surrender and would effectively put Iraq under partial Security Council trusteeship for an indefinite period of time.
Under the proposed plan, Iraq would be required to:
Dismantle and destroy all chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons capabilities - and any missiles capable of delivering such weapons of mass destruction.
Recognize a 1963 border agreement with Kuwait, which Iraq insists it never ratified.
Pay a percentage of its future oil earnings into a UN-administered fund to reimburse any country with claims for loss and damages resulting from Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.
Forego its claims to compensation.
Seek permission for imports of any goods other than food or medicine (all military imports would be banned).
Submit to international inspection to monitor and verify its compliance with the resolution.
The proposed resolution would be the first Security Council involvement ever in disarming a country or deciding a boundary dispute.
The draft preamble expands the legal basis for the measures and makes it clear that Iraq is being held accountable for more than its actions in Kuwait.
The proposed resolution cites Iraqi threats, well before its move against Kuwait last summer, to retaliate with chemical weapons to any Israeli attack.
Going back more than a year, the document lists Iraqi attempts to acquire material for a nuclear weapons program.
It also mentions the use of ballistic missiles in "unprovoked attacks," another reference to Israel and Saudi Arabia. And it indicts Iraq for holding foreign nationals as hostages during the United States military buildup in the region and for its calls urging terrorist actions against US and coalition interests around the world.
As diplomats debate the details, the one big question is whether Iraq will accept the tough terms. Abdul Amir Al-Anbari, Iraq's UN ambassador, was cautious in an interview with the Monitor on Friday. He said he was not yet able to indicate what his government's response would be and diplomats are still working on the text.
Arab diplomats say that Iraq is in no position to refuse the resolution and most likely will accept it, but with reservations.
THE Iraqi ambassador did note that editorials in Iraqi official media have strongly denounced the proposed measures. He added, however, "Iraq is now occupied by an overwhelming force, so if the government did accept the resolution, it could not be wholeheartedly.... But if it refused, definitely there would be a real difficulty."
He said that Iraq, which attended an Arab League meeting in Cairo over the weekend for the first time since the early days of the invasion, would not ask other Arab countries for help. "All we need is to be left free to reconstruct our own country. The other Arab countries, though they may have vast oil resources, are poor, both in potential and in human resources. Iraq is much richer."
An editorial in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram urged the Arab League to discuss the proposed Security Council measures. "The draft resolution goes far beyond the objective of liberating Kuwait and will have far-reaching impact on all Arab countries if Iraq's weapons and missile systems are dismantled unilaterally," the editorial said.
It urged the Arab ministers "not to give the big powers the only say in Arab affairs," and to reject the UN resolution.
Iranian diplomats at the UN have also spoken out against the resolution as an unacceptable act of interference in Iraq's sovereignty and as a worrisome precedent that may be used against other countries in the future.
"The resolution gives an opportunity to the Iraqi government to comply with the policies adopted by the Security Council and to remain in power - and the [Iraqi] people would continue to be the victim of this process," Kamal Kharrazi, Iran's UN ambassador, said on Cable News Network Saturday.