Butler provokes new Iraq crisis

South News commentary
Nov 22

The level of provocation against Iraq is far more subtle and destructive than is immediately apparent. UNSCOM executive chairman Richard Butler - an Australian who appears only too willing to participate in an Iraq goading campaign- now has his inspectors back on the ground in Iraq. The potential for mischief making that he has in this position is virtually limitless.

The US are seeking, using UNSCOM as their pawn, to force Iraq into again taking protest action against UNSCOM's inspectors. They will then use this as a pretext to mount the attacks they appear to so dearly wish to undertake.The present crisis in Iraq threatens the very existence of the United Nations itself.
 
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Sunday accused UN arms chief Richard Butler of stirring a fake crisis over documents and "undermining" preparations for a review of UN sanctions. Recently Butler drew widespread criticism for claiming Iraq still had the chemical weapons potential to wipe out Tel Aviv.

"He's either creating a superficial pretext to justify the American aggression or he is trying to confuse and undermine the comprehensive review," Aziz told reporters.

"This kind of behavior serves the general policy of the United States government," he said when asked if Iraq's refusal to hand over a list of arms documents could spark a US attack. Aziz accused Butler, chairman of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq's disarmament, of "undermining and confusing the preparations for a comprehensive review" of sanctions expected to start next month. "This is the crisis," he said.

In the week since the world went to the brink of Armageddon in the Gulf for the second time this year, the game plan of the Allied US and UK forces in the Gulf, and of their respective governments, is now clear.The plan was to bomb Iraq for several days without stop. Estimated casualties from the Pentagon were 10,000 dead - a mid range estimate. It had been decided not to pursue a "bomb-pause to negotiate-bomb" policy as that might allow Iraqi military equipment to be hidden and the defenders to prepare to fight back.

In many respects the latest flare-up between the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and Iraq seems part of a familiar pattern.In February UNSCOM executive chairman Richard Butler put his hands in the air and declared Iraq offside. The Security Council burnt the midnight oil trying to decide what to do while the Pentagon planned military strikes. The February crisis was resolved at the 11th hour when UN Secretary General Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad and secured something of a backdown from the Iraqi's.

Even the Pentagon's spin doctors have been unable to prevent UNSCOM losing credibility as fast as holed jet-liner loses air. For several weeks now former UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter has been singing like a bird. A rampant hawk who wants Iraq pummeled into submission, Ritter's observations on the modus operandi of UNSCOM and the Security Council are horrifying .
 
According to Ritter the following are the facts concerning UNSCOM's mission in Iraq. 

1. UNSCOM does not report directly to the UN Security Council with detailed intelligence concerning their operations because, "the UN Security Council has too many members sympathetic to Iraq."

2. Sympathetic nations on the Security Council do not act on their sympathy to get the sanctions lifted because to do so would mean, "an end to the security council", presumably because the US would walk out.

3. Due to the difficulties encountered in its task UNSCOM was forced from the outset to rely primarily on US intelligence and military agencies for all its intelligence and operational support work.

4. Around 1994 Ritter was sent to Israel to negotiate a further, "special relationship", with an intelligence organisation, this time Israel's. Thereafter, according to Ritter, the Mossad provided UNSCOM with intelligence indicating targets they should be interested in examining.
 

Iraq has charged UNSCOM as an unreasonable organisation, accountable to no one, run by the US, Great Britain and Israel which is persecuting Iraq far beyond the point at which the process of disarmament should have been finished. .

The modus operandi of UNSCOM appears to have been to act on the basis of Mossad supplied information to deploy the technology and manpower resources of the vast US intelligence and military machine. In effect Israel has been driving UNSCOM's activities, just as Iraq has been claiming for years.

Iraq further charges Mr Butler personally for his intransigence and seeks to have him dismissed. Iraqi's are not the only ones with a dim view of Mr Butler. Last week a Scottish MP commenting on reports of Mossad infiltration of UNSCOM described Butler as a, "congenital liar".

Since the beginning of the year Iraq has been demanding what it calls a, "comprehensive review", of the weapons inspection process and the economic sanctions imposed in support of UNSCOM's activities. It was this that led the world to the brink in February and again last week.

Iraq - for increasingly obvious reasons - want the Security Council to formally investigate the operation of UNSCOM - and particularly the activities of its chairman Richard Butler.

For equally obvious reasons Iraq also want the Security Council to investigate the impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population. With other UN agencies estimating the number of children's deaths caused by the sanctions at 750,000+, this too can hardly be seen as an unreasonable demand.