- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The New York Times

The mixed report on Iraqi weapons compliance presented yesterday by the United Nations' two chief weapons inspectors begins an intense week of diplomacy and decision-making on the next steps in the international campaign to disarm Saddam Hussein. Their findings argue strongly for giving the inspectors more time to pursue their efforts and satisfy international opinion that every reasonable step has been taken to solve this problem peacefully. As President Bush has repeatedly said, war, if it comes to that, must be a last resort. …

Without Baghdad's full cooperation, inspectors cannot disarm Iraq. They can, however, keep enough pressure on Baghdad to contain its unconventional weapons development and perhaps produce evidence that would mobilize an international consensus for additional steps.

Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Baghdad yesterday that not much time remains to begin disarming, but he said a peaceful solution was still possible if Iraq changed course. The White House should not be impatient to invade Iraq. War there could be a messy, bloody business. The world must be reassured that every possibility of a peaceful solution has been fully explored. To that end, the inspectors should be granted additional time.


Washington Times

In his report to the United Nations yesterday, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix presented a compelling case that Iraq is in material breach of U.N. disarmament resolutions, in particular, Security Council Resolution 1441, approved last November. While the Swedish diplomat expressed his opinion that more time should be allowed inspectors from his organization, UNMOVIC, to continue their work, the facts reported suggest that this would do little more than give Saddam Hussein more time to evade disarmament and conceal his chemical and biological weapons arsenal. Indeed, Mr. Blix stated that "Iraq appears not to have come to genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded" of it. …

Now that they've documented Saddam's continued cheating, the members of the Security Council are obliged to apply the factual findings to Resolution 1441, particularly paragraphs 4 and 13. Applying paragraph 4 of Mr. Blix's factual report requires a finding of a material breach. Paragraph 13 triggers "serious consequences," understood by all parties to be military action. (Q.E.D.: quod erat demonstrandum.)


Washington Post

The vital point of the presentations by Iraq arms inspectors to the United Nations Security Council yesterday came at the beginning. "The fundamental aim of inspections in Iraq has always been to verify disarmament," said chief weapons inspector Hans Blix. But Iraq, he said, "appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it." Mr. Blix went on to present, in a deliberately understated way, a devastating catalogue of lies, omissions and obfuscations by Iraq in the 21/2 months since the council passed Resolution 1441, which was meant to give Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity" to give up weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of nuclear inspections, made it clear that Iraq did not embrace that chance. Yet the two men dodged the obvious question their reports raised: If Saddam Hussein did not accept voluntary disarmament, what purpose could be served by the continued inspections they both advocate? …

Rather than yield to the inspectors and offer Iraq yet another last chance, the council would do better to simply obey the resolution it approved unanimously just 11 weeks ago. The terms of 1441 said that if Iraq submitted a false declaration of its weapons — as all agree it did on Dec. 8 — and failed "at any time" to "cooperate fully" — Mr. Blix detailed a number of instances — Baghdad would be in "material breach" of the resolution and the council would be bound to meet to consider consequences. Only if the council sticks to its own decisions will there be any chance that Saddam Hussein will change his.


Baltimore Sun

Iraq - surprise, surprise — is not cooperating. The chief U.N. weapons inspector delivered his long-awaited report yesterday, and said that Saddam Hussein's regime was not coming clean on questions of disarmament and in fact does not appear to have accepted the idea that the country should disarm.

Does this mean war? …

So far, the Bush administration's diplomacy on Iraq has been a spectacular failure, as one ally after another jumps ship. That doesn't hold out much promise for the war to come.

Mr. Hussein's thumbing of his nose at the U.N. inspectors means it's all the more important for the United States to step up its diplomatic efforts, to make a persuasive case for action to the rest of the world and to win back its allies. Instead, President Bush's aides spent the weekend threatening a nuclear attack. That's pure insanity.


Chicago Tribune

In an indictment laden with particulars and devoid of spin, United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix told the UN Security Council what it knew but perhaps didn't want to hear: Saddam Hussein has failed to comply with much of the council's direction.

The council, you'll recall, voted 15-0 last November to back Resolution 1441, demanding yet again that Hussein disclose his most dangerous weaponry and disarm. If he did not, the resolution said, he would face "serious consequences."

On Wednesday the Security Council will debate how Blix's report influences that threat. …

So as the Security Council reacts to Blix's report, its members face two urgent questions. Will those who embraced a multilateral approach toward Iraq now honor their word? Or was 1441 a stalling tactic worthy of Saddam?


Boston Globe

In his report yesterday to the UN Security Council on the work of weapons inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix, head of the United Nations inspection commission, was not supposed to deliver the kind of a war-or-peace judgment that only the council can make. What he did say, differentiating between the process and the substance of Saddam Hussein's dealings with the UN inspectors, left no doubt that the Iraqi dictator continues to refuse to comply with the December UN resolution calling on him to disarm and with all preceding UN disarmament resolutions going back to 1991. …

Although Blix found that Saddam has not been disarming, he cannot answer the central question facing President Bush and other Security Council members: How long should the inspection process go on, and under what circumstances should force be used to disarm the dictator. …

Now it is up to the United States and its allies to balance Blix's ''sense of urgency'' and their need for a reasonable period of inspections.


Dallas Morning News

Weapons inspectors reported yesterday. The news was neither good nor surprising. Sixty days of inspections revealed Iraq uncooperative and duplicitous. …

Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this weekend of the need for America to go it alone against Iraq if need be. But that's likely not necessary. Britain stands besides us. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands and others are believed to be supporters of acting sooner rather than later to confront Saddam Hussein.

The U.N. Security Council must live up to its name when it meets again tomorrow. Members should understand what a dangerous place the world will become if Mr. Hussein's flouting of the law continues to be routinely ignored.


Los Angeles Times

In a hateful message driven by anger, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Sunday called on the ideologically faithful (detractors call them the globalifobicos) to bury capitalism.

As Chavez spoke at the World Social Forum in Brazil, on the other side of the Atlantic — at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland — hundreds of the world's most powerful and, no doubt, well-fed business leaders and politicians heard another leftist's plea for the poor. "Hunger," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, "cannot wait." And he called on the Group of 7 industrialized nations and international investors to create a new agenda of shared global development and an international anti-poverty fund.

It was more than altruism that made people cheer so heartily at the gatherings. Lula and Chavez are two in the latest wave of Latin American leftists voted into office by those willing to take desperate measures to solve the seemingly intractable problems of hunger, poverty, inequality and injustice. …

Lula has been in power for less than a month and has vowed to control inflation by limiting deficits; to pay Brazil's debt; to streamline the country's pension system; to reform the nation's labor laws, and to fight hard against corruption. So far, it looks as if Lula is the kind of man with whom the Western world can and should do business.


Miami Herald

When a Mack truck is speeding toward a brick wall, something has to intervene to avert a crash. Thus, proposals and pressure from outside Venezuela raise hope of a break in the hostile impasse between President Hugo Chvez and his tenacious opposition.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter offered two electoral proposals last week. That alone is an accomplishment. The six nation-friends — including the United States — seeking to help end Venezuela's stalemate, add another critical ingredient: international guarantees that both sides will comply with agreed-upon conditions. That is key considering the mutual distrust of Mr. Chvez and the opposition, which for good reason wants him out of office.

Each proposal would require the opposition immediately to end the crippling strike that now is in its ninth week. …

Mr. Carter's electoral proposals pave new paths from what had become a painful dead end. Now it's up to Mr. Chvez and the opposition to show that each can be reasonable.


Minneapolis Star Tribune

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix was blunt Monday in his assessment of Iraq: It "appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance — not even today — of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace."

The world knew this, of course, but it was oddly reassuring to hear Blix say it. He's making no excuses for Saddam Hussein, and that is good to know. It suggests the world can have faith in the inspections regime if not in Iraq, and that giving the inspectors the time they need to complete their task would be a wise investment. …

The ongoing consultations at the United Nations most likely will involve some sort of horse trading, with Washington agreeing to extended inspections in return for a commitment from France, Germany, China and Russia to support military action if Iraqi cooperation does not improve greatly over the next few months.

That's not a bad outcome. Blix and ElBaradei demonstrated in their briefings that to a significant degree they don't depend on Iraqi compliance. There is a great deal they can do on their own. They should get a full chance to do all they can.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Chief U.N. Iraq arms inspector Hans Blix presented his required 60-day-in report to the U.N. Security Council in New York yesterday. It contained no surprises. Its clear message was to pursue the inspections, with even more intensity and perseverance. The message to those in the Bush administration eager to conclude that the inspections are already a failure was: Hold your horses a bit. …

The United States cannot allow the U.N. inspections process to fail for want of information it could provide and then cite this failure as justification for an attack. That is a level of bad faith in dealing with the United Nations and our allies that is not consistent with American principles. …the United States must never get to the point where momentum toward war overcomes the dictates of good judgment.


Portland Oregonian

Hopes dimmed Monday that more weapons inspections could lead to disarmament in Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell, sometimes described as the Bush administration's "dove" and definitely its strongest advocate for diplomacy, made it clear that Iraq had failed to take a succession of "diplomatic exit ramps" that could have steered the world away from war. …

At the moment, it seems far more likely that Saddam would share his weapons with al-Qaida than disclose them to U.N. inspectors. And if he does share them, we can be pretty sure who'll be at the top of the target list.


(Compiled by United Press International)

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