UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 13 — Iraq said very reluctantly today that it would "deal with" a Security Council resolution obliging it to disarm and allow United Nations weapons inspectors to begin work, but it also denied that it possessed any prohibited weapons.Not overly surprising; Iraq knows that if they don't agree, they'll be giving carte blanche to the Americans to come in with guns blazing. I had thought that perhaps the parliament rejecting the resolution would mean something, but apparently not. Not surprising, if the NY Times is correct in calling it "vintage Hussein stagecraft".
Most Security Council nations welcomed Baghdad's statement, which came two days before a deadline set in the resolution that the council unanimously approved last week. Iraq's response came in a nine-page letter that its United Nations ambassador, Muhammad al-Douri, delivered today to the office of Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The only trick here is, of course, their denial that they have any weapons. I think that if there is going to be a dealbreaker (or, more cynically, an opening for the U.S. to get their war), it's going to be this. The Iraqis probably aren't going to say that they have weapons, because it'd go against their line for the past few years and possibly have negative reprecussions within Iraq itself. They'll allow the inspectors in, and they probably won't block them from doing their work, but I doubt that they'll give an itemized list of what weapons they might have, either.
Oh, and one cute comment in the latter story:
In Washington, President Bush dismissed the Parliament's action, saying the only opinion that counts in Iraq is Mr. Hussein's. "The Iraqi Parliament is nothing but a rubber stamp for Saddam Hussein," Mr. Bush said. "This guy's a dictator, so we'll have to wait and see what he says."Considering the cohesion of the Republican party and their newfound control of Congress (and their obligation to Bush for leveraging his popularity in getting it for them), that "rubber stamp" remark pretty accurately describes what the U.S. is in for, too.
Unless, of course, the Bush administration is dumb enough to set one Republican faction against another. Therein lies the question, doesn't it?