President George Bush declared to the press on Tuesday that “To prove to the world that he is not making weapons of mass destruction, he must let the UN inspectors return”. President Saddam Hussein banned the UN arms inspectors in 1998, after these were accused of spying.
Any threat which Baghdad poses to the region is viewed with greater scrutiny since the September 11th attacks. The USA is caught between the hawks, who favour an armed attack against Iraq and the doves, who prefer not to upset the Arab world until all the tentacles of Al-Qaeda are destroyed.
Regarding Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda, Charles Duelfer, ex-vice president of UNSCOM, the UN inspection organism which operated in Iraq, has claimed that “I think there will be very clear proof as the investigation gets under way” in an interview to a Portuguese radio station, TSF.
He added that the type of collaboration which will come to light in the coming weeks points towards Iraqi specialists visiting Al-Qaeda bases. He claims there is documentary evidence provided by deserters and photographs taken from the air which substantiate the claim.
However, Jack Straw, the British Foreign Minister, has stated that there is no evidence whatsoever linking the regime in Baghdad to Al-Qaeda.
It is evident that George Bush Junior would like to finish off the work that George Bush Senior failed to do, namely to topple Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime and install a government friendly to Washington. This would give Washington greater influence in the region.
Together with a friendly regime in Kabul, and with interests in Central Asian oil and gas exploitation, the USA would thus gain direct additional influence over 50% of the world’s oil supply.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru