- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) — The United States said Monday that if U.S. forces entered Iraq, they would not stop until Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

"Nobody should think — not even for a second — that military action could be possibly taken to disarm Saddam Hussein that would leave Saddam Hussein at the helm for him to re-arm up later. No, that's not an option," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters Monday.

Also, Fleischer said, "nothing less, nothing less, nothing less than complete, total, immediate" disarmament would allow Iraq to evade military invasion.

Earlier Monday, sources at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission said Iraq will give the United Nations detailed documents about its past chemical and biological arms programs within the next week. The promised document, along with Iraq's last-minute agreement this weekend to destroy its al-Samoud 2 missiles, is seen by many as a stalling technique to deprive the United States and Britain of a pretext for promoting adoption of their Security Council draft resolution that could provide justification for using military force on Iraq.

Such reports, however, would not even delay a possible presidential decision on war, Fleischer said. "The president has said the timetable is weeks, not months. He said that just over a month ago and nothing has changed that timetable."

When reporters Monday again asked Fleischer if Saddam could stay in power if he accepts the U.S. demand, Fleischer said he would make no promises. "Well, let's first see him completely, totally and immediately disarm, and see if that takes place," he said.

Iraq destroyed 10 surface-to-surface al-Samoud 2 missiles over the weekend at a military camp at al-Taji, north of Baghdad. Amir Al-Saadi, Saddam's science adviser, promised that Iraq would produce two to six missiles daily for destruction under UNMOVIC monitoring. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix had given Iraq until last Saturday to begin destroying the weapons.

Iraq has said it would stop destroying missiles if it was attacked. It is believed to possess between 100 and 120 al-Samoud 2s that the U.N. claims exceed a permitted range of 93 miles.

Fleischer said Monday, however, that the current weapons destruction, of less than 10 percent of Iraq's assumed arsenal of medium-range weapons, did not constitute real disarmament.

"It is not real disarmament. There's only one standard of disarmament: full, complete and immediate. The United Nations resolutions did not call for a little piece of disarmament. It didn't say, 10 percent disarmament four months after we call on you to do it immediately. None of that was in (Resolution) 1441."

Resolution 1441, adopted in November with strong U.S. pressure, allowed the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq and warned of "serious consequences" if Saddam failed to disarm.

Meanwhile, arms inspectors searched on Monday 11 sites suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction in and around Baghdad. Among the sites were three plants for military industries and a factory for the production of plastics. Other joint chemical and biological teams headed to the northern city of Mosul, 270 miles north of Baghdad.

-0-

(With reporting by Ghassan al-Kadi in Baghdad.)

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide