- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2002

From combined dispatches
The United States has contacted groups opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a bid to encourage sabotage ahead of any U.S. military action against Baghdad, a report said yesterday.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said Washington is contacting "people who can do World War II-style resistance, breaking up the infrastructure of communications and command" in Iraq, according to Time magazine.
U.S. officials told the weekly that the move provides benefits by paving the way for an invasion should U.N. weapons inspections fail. Sabotage also may provide an alternative to bombing Iraq or marching into Baghdad, Time reported.
These acts of sabotage "could help promote the longer-term destabilization of Saddam's government," without necessarily committing U.S. forces, a State Department official told the weekly.
Also yesterday, France, Russia and China urged Iraq to comply with U.N. weapons inspections as U.N. officials in the Iraqi capital said they were ready for the arrival of 18 experts who will start a search for banned arms on Wednesday.
In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac said the U.N. inspections were essential to resolve any doubt about whether Saddam was harboring weapons of mass destruction.
"I hope that everyone is aware that war is always the worst of solutions," he said.
Mr. Chirac's call was reinforced by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers, who said after a meeting in Moscow that Iraq must fulfill its commitments to allow U.N. inspectors to search for any banned weapons.
Iraq's foreign minister, meanwhile, complained in a long, stern letter to the United Nations that the new Security Council resolution on weapons inspections provides a pretext for the United States to wage war against his country.
"There is premeditation to target Iraq, whatever the pretext," Foreign Minister Naji Sabri wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a letter dated Saturday and released yesterday.
The Iraqi foreign minister's letter to the United Nations had been expected, promised by the Iraqi official when he wrote to Mr. Annan on Nov. 11 to accept Resolution 1441, which sent the inspectors back to Iraq after a four-year absence. Mr. Sabri said then that he would follow with a second letter commenting on supposed violations of international law and other problems with the resolution.
The resolution, adopted unanimously Nov. 7, demands that the Iraqis give up any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, or face "serious consequences." It requires the Baghdad government to make a declaration by Dec. 8 of any weapons of mass destruction, facilities to manufacture them and "all other chemical, biological and nuclear programs," even those not related to military uses.
The foreign minister's letter, which analyzes the 2,200-word resolution paragraph by paragraph, complains that a key paragraph is unjust and unprecedented, "because it considers the giving of inaccurate statements taking into consideration that there are thousands of pages to be presented in those statements is a material breach."
Mr. Sabri wrote that the aim was clear "to provide pretexts to be used in aggressive acts against Iraq."
The weapons inspections are to begin even as the United States and Britain are being more aggressive in their enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq. Meanwhile, according to Time, the United States has increased its contacts with Iraqi Kurd opposition groups.
The United States also has reached out to neighboring Iran, although it is not certain how Tehran will react, Time reported.



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