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Filed October 29, 2002 By Jeremy Scahill
Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister, Saeed Al-Musawi, said "The threat to attack under the pretext of the containment of weapons of mass destruction is a position that no longer stands and is no longer believed by the members of the international community." Photo by Thorne Anderson.

BAGHDAD▄A Senior Iraqi diplomat has told that he believes if the United Nations Security Council voted today on Washington's Iraq Resolution, at least two nations, France and Russia, would veto it.

"The issue has gone beyond the question of weapons of mass destruction inspectors," said Saeed Al Musawi, a Deputy Foreign Minister and Iraq's former Ambassador to the UN. "No, it's a struggle between the interests of big powers in the region. This is what is at stake after 10 years of this. [Russia, France and China] won't be used as a rubber stamp as they used to be during the 59 [previous] Security Council resolutions on Iraq. The 60th will be totally different."

Musawi said that US policy on Iraq over the last decade has called the question on what he termed US hegemony. "We suffered a lot as Iraqis but our suffering really helped the international community to realize that one arrogant power, if it has the hegemony on the world, will return us back to the law of the jungle."

He said that the world sees clearly that since the Gulf War, Washington has prosecuted an unjust policy in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.

"The US used the events of August 2 [1990] (Iraqi troops entering Kuwait) to promote illegal aims▄which is the domination by force of the region and its resources, especially the oil," he said. "After 12 years, none of these aims have been achieved. On the contrary, the image of the United States has been distorted to such a level that the coalition with Iraq is 70 or 80 countries, while the coalition with the US is only the Anglo-Saxon countries."

In speaking about the Gulf War, Musawi acknowledged that Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait provided the legal justification for the administration of Bush the father to build a coalition. But he says that Bush the son has no justification the world will accept.

"You see 1990 is not 2002. Yes, Iraqi troops entered Kuwait. Yes, it was a use of force against a sovereign country. The situation was rectified and Iraq paid a heavy price," he said. "Now, they say 'we want to change the government. We don't like the president.' We are a nation of 7,000 years of civilization. This talk is not only an insult to us but to the dignity of all human beings."

Al Musawi said he is under no illusion that objections from members of the Security Council opposed to an attack on Iraq, such as Russia, China and France, will be able to stop Bush from proceeding unilaterally.

Al Musawi, who served as a member of the Iraqi team at the discussions last month in Geneva on the return of weapons inspectors, said that some nations at the UN have urged Iraq to compromise and accept some of Washington's demands. "Some members of the council are saying, 'if you don't give concessions, they will attack you.' We told them, 'look▄it would be better for them to attack us unilaterally than getting a pretext of international legitimacy.'"

Iraq is holding out hope that world pressure will result in the quick return of weapons inspectors. Al Musawi says that at the recent discussions between Iraq and the UN on the logistics of returning the inspectors, Hans Blix, the Chief Inspector, assured the Iraqis that "UNMOVIC [the current name of the team] is not UNSCOM [the former name of the team]." In 1998, Washington infiltrated the weapons inspections team with spies and conspired with then-Chief Inspector Richard Butler to withdraw the inspectors, paving the way for bombing in December of that year.

Al Musawi said that Iraq cannot accept the current draft resolution being pushed at the UN by Washington. The Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri recently described it as a "declaration of war against the UN." Musawi highlighted the language in the draft that states that action may be taken against Iraq in response to any difficulty encountered by the inspectors.

"A delay of half an hour for an UNMOVIC [UN weapons inspection team] plane to land in Iraq would be considered something that needs to be addressed in order to 'restore peace and international security,'" he said. "The crimes in Palestine▄the genocide, the war crimes, the confiscation of land, blockade to cities and villages has nothing to do with international peace and security. [With Iraq], 'peace and international security' has another dimension."

Regarding President Bush's threats of regime change in Iraq, Al Musawi recalled the first President Bush's statement in March of 1991 that Saddam Hussein's days were numbered.

"If Mr. Bush▄the father or son▄have any wishful thinking, then they are deadly wrong."

Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating, the only website providing regular independent reporting from the ground in Baghdad.

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