- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 10, 2002

From combined dispatches
CAIRO Iraq yesterday accused the United States of blackmailing the United Nations to adopt a "bad and unjust" resolution requiring it to eliminate weapons of mass destruction or face certain military action.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein remained silent on the resolution unanimously adopted Friday by the U.N. Security Council, although his foreign minister said Saddam was studying the measure.
The official Iraqi News Agency and Baghdad's satellite TV channel, however, voiced the leadership's obvious anger over the measure.
"The whole world knows that the approval of this resolution was a result of U.S. blackmail and pressure exerted on the Security Council members," the TV broadcast said.
Iraqi News Agency denounced the resolution as "bad and unjust" but said Iraqi leaders "will study quietly this resolution and will issue the proper response in the next few days."
Foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab League, meanwhile, sought to convince Baghdad's envoy that Iraq should accept the U.S.-drafted document. Iraq has until Friday to decide.
President Bush said unanimous passage of the resolution, which included Syria's vote, vindicated his uncompromising policy on Iraq.
"The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address yesterday. "And my administration will see to it that the world's judgment is enforced.
"If Iraq fails to fully comply with the U.N. resolution, the United States, in coalition with other nations, will disarm Saddam Hussein."
A full discussion of the Security Council resolution was not scheduled until today, the second day of the Arab League session, but ministers turned to the issue last night after dispensing with routine business.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher met yesterday with both Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, David Welch, who pointed out that the resolution was consistent with Arab League decisions urging Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions.
"I think we can expect a positive position by the Iraqis," Mr. Maher told reporters after Mr. Sabri explained Iraq's position to the League foreign ministers.
Qatar's Al Jazeera television earlier quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as saying that Baghdad had accepted the resolution, "with the confirmation that Syria received that there would be no automatic military action."
Syria, a close ally of Iraq and member of the Security Council, said it voted for the resolution to avoid war.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called Mr. Maher and other Arab officials to ask them to impress on Iraq that the resolution was a "final opportunity." Egyptian media said Mr. Maher told Mr. Powell he would do so.
In eight weeks of negotiations, Mr. Sabri said, the international community succeeded in diluting what he called U.S. plans for aggression.
"The United States' use of the Security Council as a cover for aggression against Iraq was foiled by the international community because the international community does not share the appetite of the evil administration in Washington for aggression, murder and destruction," the Iraqi foreign minister said.
Mr. Bush in the past few weeks approved a Pentagon plan for invading Iraq should the new U.N. arms inspection effort fail, the New York Times reported on its Web site yesterday and in today's editions.
Several White House officials declined to comment on the report, which said the plan is to begin with an air campaign, then quickly seize bases in northern, western and southern Iraq from which U.S. and allied forces could operate. A key early objective would be to cut off the Iraqi leadership in Baghdad in hopes of a rapid collapse of the government, the report said.
The Washington Times reported yesterday that the Pentagon is ready to respond if Saddam interferes with the new arms inspections this winter, and would quickly build up a sizable force near Iraq ready to carry out Army Gen. Tommy Franks' battle plan by early next year.
Gen. Franks, who heads U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., presented Mr. Bush with war options ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 troops, The Washington Times reported. The plans rely on lightning-fast air and ground assaults, some indigenous forces and assurances that some Iraqi generals will turn on Saddam. A major aim would be speed and stealth to achieve quick victory and keep civilian casualties at a minimum.
The New York Times report said Gen. Franks' plan would begin with "a rolling start" of smaller numbers of troops while B-1 and B-2 bombers led an air campaign against Saddam's palaces, air defenses and bases.
"Those are the right words a rolling start," one official told Reuters news agency yesterday. "I doubt you would see this all come at once."
Babel newspaper, owned by Saddam's son Uday, said Saddam would not give the United States an excuse to attack. "Iraq has nothing to conceal and U.N. weapons inspectors are welcome," the newspaper said.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said he and an advance team would be back in Baghdad on Nov. 18 after a four-year absence. This group will set up logistics for the inspectors, expected to arrive about Nov. 25.
The inspectors have up to 45 days to begin work, and must report to the Security Council 60 days later on Iraq's cooperation. They are obliged to report any serious Iraqi violations before then.
Arab officials and commentators said the U.N. resolution, which was revised to satisfy French and Russian concerns, had set back the prospects for war.
Political analyst Abdel Moneim Said, of Egypt's Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, said the resolution would help Arab efforts to persuade Iraq to accept U.N. demands and avoid a war that could oust Saddam's regime.
"The issue was redefined as an issue of weapons of mass destruction, and no longer a regime change," he said. "Iraqis know that any little mistake will cost them a war."
Mr. Powell hinted that Saddam's government might be allowed to survive.
"If the Iraqi regime got rid of its mass destruction weapons and cooperates with inspectors, this will be considered a full change in the regime," the secretary of state told Al Jazeera television yesterday.
Some on the sidelines of the Arab League meeting, however, expressed the widely held view that Washington could use the resolution as an excuse to attack Iraq.
Jordanian political analyst Labib Kamhawi said Mr. Bush would see the resolution and the Republican victory in congressional elections Tuesday as erasing the last obstacles to a war to topple Saddam.
"He believes that he has his mandate both from his people and the United Nations to launch his war on Iraq," Mr. Kamhawi said.

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