The Mirage Plan, hatched by France and Germany and backed by Russia and China, was a far-reaching and detailed proposal to increase the number of weapons inspectors inside Iraq threefold while at the same time setting up a UNO agency inside the country to direct operations, in a spirit of collaboration with the Iraqi authorities.
Without even discussing this plan, Washington rejected it outright: it would go against the intentions the USA has long had, to invade Iraq militarily, install a puppet government which has already been formed, and cement its presence in the region.
Claims by Washington that attempts to stall the war are at the same time attempts to favour the Iraqi regime, are shallow and incomplete. The Russian Federation has made its position clear on this issue. Moscow insists that Iraq should disarm if it has weapons of mass destruction but that it is the job of the United Nations inspection teams (UNMOVIC and IAEA) to check whether or not there are such weapons and if so, to destroy them. That was their mission, which has still not been completed.
For this reason, the position held by Washington and London is untenable because to wage a war, there has to be a pretext. To date, everything has been presented as such, except firm evidence. We heard garbled messages about the possibility of banned ammo between Iraqi officials, we saw unfathomable satellite photographs, we discovered that the “magnificent” evidence gathered by the British intelligence services was 12 years out of date and we heard Colin Powell claiming that because Bin Laden mentioned Iraq, it is proof that they are collaborating.
Democracy is supposed to be based upon dialogue. To deride alternative opinions as being “against us” if you are not “with us” and to make snide remarks such as “old Europe”, Washington has yet again failed its exam in diplomacy. It has even managed to provoke a rift within NATO over the issue of sending defence systems to Turkey, intrinsically connected with the Iraqi question.
The fact that Europe is divided, the fact that NATO is divided, the fact that the world is divided on the issue means that now is the time for dialogue, especially since there are other storm clouds brewing over Iran and Korea, before the irreversible mechanisms are set in motion, mechanisms which can lead to exponential consequences.
Now is not the time for unilateralist arrogance based on caprice and whim, but not on substance.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru