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UN Resolution 1325
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Date posted: October 27, 2002
By Phyllis Bennis

The U.S. has put before the 15 members of the Security Council the latest version of their draft resolution on Iraq. The new version includes several small but significant concessions to French and Russian opposition. These include dropping the demand for UNMOVIC inspectors to be chosen primarily from the U.S. or other major military powers; eliminating the call for regional UNMOVIC bases to be set up throughout Iraq; , removing the use of national (including U.S.) troops to enforce exclusion zones and other aspects of the inspections.

Despite those shifts, the resolution still is designed to legitimate a unilateral U.S. war. It is clear, however, that the Bush administration is feeling the pressure of domestic opposition, military unease, and widespread international resistance. That resistance was most visible in the 50+ countries that spoke directly in opposition to a U.S. war, and in favor of inspections and UN decision-making at the special session of the Security Council on October 16 and 17th. Initiated by South Africa as head of the Non-Aligned group at the UN, the open Council debate provided an immediate and intense challenge to U.S. backroom warmaking.

Linking the growing domestic U.S. anti-war movement and the skyrocketing global mobilization against Bush's war, with the emerging UN-based opposition of countries led by South Africa and others of the global South remains an urgent task.

The Resolution:

1. DECIDES that Iraq is still, and has been for a number of years, in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including Resolutions 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the I.A.E.A. (International Atomic Energy Agency), and to complete the actions required under Paragraphs 8 to 13 of Resolution 687 (1991);

This language is specifically designed to set the stage for a U.S. military attack. Being in "material breach" is the precursor to the Council authorizing military enforcement. The assertion that Iraq "is still, and has been" in material breach is part of the U.S. effort to claim a continuing authorization of the use of force. If the U.S. were serious about determining Iraqi compliance or non-compliance, it would ask the UN inspectors to return immediately to Iraq, and only after they finished their work and reported to the Security Council would the Council make a determination regarding compliance or breach. Washington's insistence on this term is a major part of the French and Russian opposition to the U.S. proposal.

2. RECALLS that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;

The problem is how to define the consequences. Washington uses the term to refer explicitly to military force; for this reason, France and Russia have objected to the use of the term in the new Council resolution. In 1998, when the UN Security Council passed a resolution endorsing Kofi Annan's negotiated stand-down with Iraq, the resolution called for "severest consequences." At that time, every Council ambassador except that of the U.S. said explicitly that use of the term did NOT constitute an automatic authorization of the use of force for any country or group of countries. It did not, they said, include what the Russian ambassador called "automaticity." The U.S. ambassador, Bill Richardson, alone of all the Council, said, "we think it does" authorize immediate unilateral use of force.

3. DECIDES that in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the government of Iraq shall provide to Unmovic (the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) and the Security Council prior to the beginning of inspections, and not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, an acceptable and currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its programs to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other delivery systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, subcomponents, stocks of agents and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological and nuclear programs, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

This seems to be an effort to insure Iraq's inability -- regardless of intent -- to comply with these very stringent terms. This is asking Iraq to essentially do the initial work of the inspection team itself, cataloguing its entire WMD programs as well as programs never included in the earlier demands. The original inspections mandated in resolution 687 did not include, for example, "delivery systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons" etc. Resolution 687 also included only long-range missiles, with a range over 150 km, not "all" ballistic missiles. The terms are significantly stricter here.

4. DECIDES that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute further material breach of Iraq's obligations;

This sets Iraq up with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If they claim they have no WMD material to declare, Washington will find that evidence of the "continuing breach" based on the [unproved but functionally unchallenged] U.S. assertion that Iraq does have viable WMD programs. If Iraq actually declares viable WMD programs, it similarly proves the U.S. claim of continuing breach of resolution 687.

5. DECIDES that Iraq shall provide Unmovic and I.A.E.A. immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons whom Unmovic or I.A.E.A. wish to interview in the mode or location of Unmovic's or I.A.E.A.'s choice, pursuant to any aspect of their mandates; further decides that Unmovic and I.A.E.A. may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government; and instructs Unmovic and requests the I.A.E.A. to resume inspections no later than 45 days following adoption of this resolution and to update the Council 60 days thereafter;

The effect of moving scientists and their families outside of Iraq would be to have UN arms inspectors acting as asylum officers. Certainly many, perhaps most scientists would jump at the opportunity right now to leave Iraq with their families and be granted asylum somewhere else. They are living, after all, in a country not only devastated by 12 years of crippling economic sanctions and the ravages of a repressive political regime, but also facing the likely possibility of imminent war. There are certainly legitimate reasons why many Iraqi scientists would want to live and work somewhere with greater safety and political freedom. There is also, however, the consequent and understandable likelihood of scientists exaggerating the level of Iraq's military or WMD programs as well as their own role in those programs, in the hope of persuading international immigration officials of their importance. And finally, another longer term result of such an effort, if carried out on a large scale, will be the stripping of a key component of Iraq's national intellectual and scientific base, with seriously deleterious effects on future efforts to rebuild a modern society.

6. ENDORSES the 8 October 2002 letter from the executive chairman of Unmovic and the director general of the I.A.E.A. to General (Amir) al-Saadi of the government of Iraq, which is annexed hereto, and decides that the letter shall be binding upon Iraq;

This letter asserts a set of arrangements allegedly agreed to by Iraq, without confirmation from Iraq that it did indeed accept those arrangements.

7. DECIDES that in view of the prolonged interruption by Iraq of the presence of Unmovic and I.A.E.A., and in order for them to accomplish the tasks set forth in Paragraph 3 above, the Security Council hereby establishes the following revised or additional procedures, which shall be binding upon Iraq notwithstanding prior understandings, to facilitate their work in Iraq:

In general, sidelining existing resolutions and agreements made between Iraq and the United Nations undermines the legitimacy, consistency and coherence of UN resolutions.

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall determine the composition on their inspection teams, and all their personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities corresponding to those of experts on mission;

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have unrestricted rights of entry into and out of Iraq, the right to free, unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access to Presidential sites equal to that at other sites, notwithstanding the provisions of Resolution 1154 (1998);
Sidelining the existing terms of 1154 (which set special arrangements, including diplomatic accompaniment, for inspection of the eight designated "presidential sites") undermines the legitimacy of UN decision-making.

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have the right to the names of all personnel associated with Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the associated research, development and production facilities;

*Security of Unmovic and I.A.E.A. facilities shall be ensured by sufficient U.N. security guards;

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have the right to declare, for the purposes of freezing a site to be inspected, no-fly/no-drive zones, exclusion zones and/or ground and air transit corridors;
These two together blur the distinction between inspection and occupation. If Washington gets its way in the Council, the resolution will require Iraq to accept unlimited numbers of UN military troops -- UN Blue Helmets -- to guard the inspectors' facilities. Since there is no mandate yet specified for the UN guards, that could mean armed forces prepared to use their weapons against any Iraqi -- official or otherwise -- who so much as blinks.

There is no history of UNSCOM inspectors at their bases or centers being threatened in the past; the need for armed guards there has no clear basis. There is no clarity here what "UN security guards" mean; will the U.S. be satisfied with normal UN blue helmet security personnel, perhaps seconded to Iraq from their positions as security guards at UN headquarters in New York? Or will Washington use this language to demand more heavily armed military personnel, perhaps seconded not from other UN posts but from member states, ostensibly operating under UN authority? Although the earlier draft's reference to "member states" providing troops to enforce the no-fly/no-drive zones was deleted from this most recent draft, it is not clear that the U.S. has completely given up on including national military forces -- presumably including U.S. troops.

Even without a direct authorization for national armies to participate, the resolution calls for what amounts to a functional occupation of Iraq by UN military forces. Authorizing the UN inspection agencies to declare "no-fly/no-drive" zones will allow them to control potentially huge swathes of Iraqi territory. Creation of "no-fly/no-drive" zones itself reflects the U.S. history of taking control of large parts of Iraqi air space, and consequently Iraqi land, through the unilateral creation of "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq. These existing zones, imposed by the U.S. and the British (France briefly participated, then backed out) have no basis in international law; they are not authorized, or even mentioned, in any UN resolution. Inclusion in this new resolution would impose a UN imprimatur on a continuing violation of UN resolutions -- particularly the references to other countries respecting Iraq's territorial integrity.

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed and rotary winged aircraft, including unmanned reconnaissance vehicles;

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have the right, at their sole discretion, verifiably to remove, destroy or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof;

*Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have the right to free import and use of equipment or materials for inspections and to seize and export any equipment, materials, or documents taken during inspections without search of Unmovic or IAEA personnel or official or personal baggage; and
While some may believe it is implicit, this section does not identify "weapons material" or some such standard to judge what may be "taken" and "exported." The clear language, as written, would allow inspectors to seize and "export" anything they come across in the course of doing inspections -- trucks, computers, carpets -- whether or not it has anything to do with prohibited materials or prohibited WMD or missile programs.

Unmovic and I.A.E.A. shall have access to any information that any member state is willing to provide;
This implies that national intelligence agencies will provide information to Unmovic or IAEA without expecting reciprocity. If indeed information goes one way -- into Unmovic but not out of it -- there is no problem. But if ordinary exchange understandings take hold, UNMOVIC or IAEA inspectors may find themselves in the position of UNSCOM inspectors during the last round -- in which they are providing intelligence data back to national intelligence agencies which have no legitimate basis to receive such information. During the UNSCOM years intelligence information was provided to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies -- including data that had no relevance to disarming Iraq's WMD programs but had major relevance to stated U.S. goals of hostile "regime change" in Iraq.

It remains unclear whether any national intelligence agencies -- especially that of the U.S. -- would provide information to UNMOVIC inspectors without requiring reciprocal access to what UNMOVIC finds. Given the terms of Article 10 (below), it is highly unlikely that the U.S. in particular would not attempt to gain access to UNMOVIC's information.

8. DECIDES further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or of any member state taking action to uphold any Security Council resolution;

This language is aimed at demanding Iraqi compliance with the U.S.-British air patrols and bombings going on in the so-called "no-fly" zones. Neither creation or military enforcement of those zones was ever authorized by the United Nations; no UN resolution before this one ever even mentioned "no-fly" zones. This section would serve to legitimize the eleven-year-long illegal U.S.-British imposition of "no-fly" zones, and the four-year-long illegal bombing raids carried out there. The U.S. claims that those bombing raids, and the imposition of the zones themselves, are to "enforce" UN resolutions -- specifically 688, which calls on Iraq to protect the human rights of various communities. But in fact the bombing is without any actual UN authorization. So far the Security Council has never called the U.S. and Britain to account for their illegal actions; this language serves to legalize those actions instead. While not specifying what would constitute "any member state taking action to uphold any Security Council resolution," it clearly demands that Iraq allow any action -- including illegal military actions -- that the U.S. or another country CLAIM is designed to enforce a resolution.

It also denies the reality that not all Council resolutions may be enforced with military force at all, even if the Council itself makes the decision. Only resolutions specifically passed under the terms of Chapter VII can lead to the use of force. Resolution 688 was not passed under Chapter VII; quite the contrary, it reaffirms " the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq."

9. REQUESTS the secretary general immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution and decides that within seven days following such notification, Iraq shall state its acceptance;

Because there is no specified consequence here for a potential Iraqi delay, it is likely the U.S. will interpret this section as authorizing immediate and unilateral military force. No such force would be appropriate, but there is a history of usurpation of such language.

10. REQUESTS all member states to give full support to Unmovic and the I.A.E.A. in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by Unmovic and the I.A.E.A.;

This implies that UNMOVIC must share its actual findings and raw data with "the Council," meaning intelligence operatives from Council member states, including those pledged to overthrow the Iraqi regime (such as the U.S.). When UNMOVIC was created, its director made clear that his view of intelligence sharing was that it could only be "one way" -- meaning member states could provide UNMOVIC with information to assist their inspection work, but UNMOVIC would not provide reciprocity to national intelligence agencies. That would, he rightly recognized, repeat the disaster of UNSCOM's unauthorized sharing of intelligence material with U.S. intelligence agencies. Calling here for UNMOVIC to report "the results" of its interviews and data to the Council indicates a clear U.S. intention to gain access to UNMOVIC and IAEA data.

11. DIRECTS the executive chairman of Unmovic and the director general of the I.A.E.A. to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;

12. DECIDES to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with Paragraph 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in order to restore international peace and security;

This clear language should prohibit any country -- including the United States -- from acting unilaterally in response to any perceived Iraqi obstruction. However, given Bush administration officials' consistent claim that they need "no further" UN resolutions to authorize the use of force "to enforce" UN resolutions, it is highly doubtful that Washington intends to adhere to this language.

The inclusion of the reference "in order to restore international peace and security" is a code for proceeding immediately to using force, whether or not authorized by a new "consideration of the situation". It is certain the Bush administration will point to this reference if they choose to go to war without actual Council consent. The fact that they specifically do not call for an actual formal meeting of the Council, and do not call for a new resolution or new decision, but only the informal call "to convene" implies a lack of seriousness about the right of the Council alone to determine sufficiency of compliance and possible consequences.

13. DECIDES to remain seized of the matter.

This is a fundamental point of principal -- it means that the issue of Iraqi requirements and Iraqi compliance remains on the Security Council's agenda, and only the Council itself can make decisions as to future interpretation or enforcement.

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