Ritter-There's a drunk at the wheel of US foreign policy - Dawn [Pakistan]

Ralph Johansen michele at maui.net
Tue Feb 11 12:55:28 MST 2003

   <"There's a drunk at the wheel of US foreign policy, drunk on power and
arrogance," the controversial Ritter told a packed forum here on Saturday,
after coming from Japan where he kept up his criticism of US handling of the
inspection process in Iraq.>

Dawn [Pakistan]
11 February 2003  Tuesday  09 Zilhaj 1423

US war plans bode ill for UN
By N Janardhan

DUBAI: A US-led attack on Iraq without the approval of the United Nations
would spell doom for the world body and be another ominous sign of
unilateralism in international affairs, say analysts in the region.

Already, the United States has come under fire in many Middle Eastern
countries for eyeing not really the weapons of mass destruction Iraq is
suspected of having - but the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

If and when it pushes through, such a war could become a case study to
implement US unilateralism not just in the Middle East, but in other parts
of the world as well, critics point out.

So far, UN officials report "good progress" after two days of talks in
Baghdad over arms issues. Washington is not keen on using the inspection
path to resolve the crisis over Iraq - but France and Germany are now eyeing
a proposal to send more UN presence and hold more inspections there.

But if after the inspections process, "all three or even one of the
permanent Security Council members - France, Russia and China - decide to
exercise veto powers against military action, and the United States still
attacks Iraq, where does that leave the United Nations?" asked political
analyst Ghassan al-Jashi.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterated on Saturday that using force to
enforce Security Council resolutions "is not an issue for any one state, but
for the international community as a whole". But those like Scott Ritter, a
former US Marine and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and
1998, say the imminent conflict in Iraq is about Washington's "impure
motive" in targeting Saddam Hussein and marks the "beginning of America's
imperialist policy of world domination".

"There's a drunk at the wheel of US foreign policy, drunk on power and
arrogance," the controversial Ritter told a packed forum here on Saturday,
after coming from Japan where he kept up his criticism of US handling of the
inspection process in Iraq.

Because Washington's main aim is to depose Saddam Hussein, "the United
States would block attempts to set up long-term inspections (in Iraq)," he
told a lecture at the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up.

This approach makes most in the Arab world believe that the United States
would attack with or without a new UN Security Council resolution.

For instance, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's top aide Ibrahim Nafie
predicted in 'Al Ahram Weekly' on Friday that the United States would attack
Iraq "within weeks". "That the United States wants to attack Iraq, with or
without UN approval, is clear not just from the present crisis, but since
last year," Jashi said.

He recalled that in June last year, when Iraq and the United Nations were
talking about the possibility of inspectors returning to Iraq, "the United
States was hinting that even if the inspectors were allowed back, it might
not be enough to prevent a war".

Ritter said more time is needed for the inspections in Iraq. "We have a much
healthier inspection environment today than we've ever had. The recent Iraqi
concessions, including allowing some scientists to be interviewed privately,
means that a credible inspections process could get underway," Ritter
pointed out.

Ritter had resigned from the UN inspection function in August 1998, citing
lack of UN and US support for his disarmament techniques. In December that
year, the UN weapons inspectors left Iraq, saying Saddam Hussein was
hindering their work.

But "if the weapons inspectors fail to find anything incriminating, Iraq
will become a part of the international community with Saddam Hussein as its
leader, thus defeating the policy of regime change which Washington is
aiming for," he said.

"It is the start of American imperial policy of global domination. Iraq
cannot be treated in isolation," Ritter maintained. "North Korea will be the
next target for regime removal and it is very unlikely that they will just
stand by and have the US implement its policy."

That could well mean the beginning of the end for the United Nations,
experts say.

"Let there be no doubt that Iraq did possess weapons of mass destruction,"
Ritter said, adding: "But Iraq no longer possesses a meaningful capacity to
produce weapons of mass destruction."

He dubbed US Secretary of State Colin Powell's case for a US- led war on
Baghdad, which he presented before the UN Security Council last week, as
"smoking mirrors" that had nothing to do with reality.

But defending the Bush administration's hardline approach, the vice
president of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, David Mack, said in
an interview: "The United States tried to use the policy of containment with
Iraq in the mid-1990s, but failed. Consequently, the US administration
contemplated a regime change."

Mach, a former US ambassador to the UAE and a key figure in charge of
garnering political support for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
during the Gulf War, rejected the assertion that the United States was
undermining the United Nations, and said it actually decided to cooperate
with the United Nations in passing the anti-Iraq resolution in November.

Mack said it is not too late for Saddam to stop a war, but this would
require total disarmament through "proactive cooperation". He cited as
examples South Africa, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, all of whom opted for
disarmament and said Iraq should have followed them.-Dawn/The InterPress
News Service.

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