Saddam's little delaying tactic today was depressingly predictable. Four days ago Tariq Aziz (the deputy Prime Minister of Iraq) issued a statement declaring that (Iraq) "Would never allow the UN unrestricted access". Then we have today's announcement. Ho-hum. Do we believe Saddam this time? No we don't. As has been already been said in this thread, he is playing for time, and taking desperate political measures to forestall the coming invasion.
Will the inspectors who will be arriving in Baghdad in the next few days have full access? Probably not.
Is Saddam Hussein a despicable dictator who has developed and used weapons of mass destruction? Yes.
Does he still have and is he intending to use those weapons against Western/Israeli targets? We have no idea.
Last week, two reports were released on the same day. The one you have all heard about through the US/UK media, from an individual inspector from UNSCOM
, said that there was a chance that given an outside supply of nuclear material
, Saddam could build an atomic device within six months. UNSCOM itself refused to confirm the report.
The other report, from the International Atomic Energy Agency
, said that there was no reason to believe that the Iraqi regime was anywhere near building an atomic weapon. This report (shock, horror!) was nowhere near as widely reported.
Saddam Hussein presents NO greater threat today than he did after the Gulf War, or any time since.
So when the inevitable invasion happens in the next few months, it will be interesting to see the choice of targets for the bombers. A prime strategic target for any invading army is always OIL. After all, without it, tanks can't fight, trucks cannot move troops and munitions, and planes cannot take off. Without oil, you lose. Period. So will the US and UK planes bomb the oil refineries? Will they fuck. Bush got elected off the back of US oil money, and this is his payback to his masters. In two years time US companies will be making trillions off the second largest oil market in the world (Iraq with a US-friendly government), and Bush may just get his second term. The invasion will lay waste to many thousands of people, (both military and civilian), but I'm prepared to bet the oil-producing infrastructure will get off unscathed, somehow...
The world would be a better place without Hussein, but to paint this invasion as purely the next phase of "The War Against Terror" is naive to the extreme.