Wednesday, March 12
How Kofi Annan Can Stop the War
Paul F. deLespinasse,, March 11, 2003

According to recent reports, the United States may be about to warn the U.N. inspectors and reporters to leave Iraq within three days. The purpose of this warning will be to protect the inspectors and reporters from harm when U.S. forces attack Iraq, perhaps late next week.

The situation provides an interesting opportunity for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. If the U.S. issues the expected warning, he can and should announce that the U.S. has no authority to evict the inspectors, who are United Nations employees. Furthermore, Annan can say that he will not withdraw the inspectors from Iraq unless he is ordered to do so by the U.N. Security Council or the inspectors report that they are not being allowed to do their job.

Any effort to get the Security Council to order the inspectors out under current circumstances would undoubtedly fail, and if by some miracle it did get the needed nine votes it would certainly be vetoed by France, Russia, or China.

Such an announcement by the Secretary General would have three very beneficial consequences. First, it is unlikely that President Bush and his advisors would proceed with an attack, which would be a public relations nightmare as long as the inspectors are still in Iraq.

Second, the announcement would not undermine the work of the inspectors, but could even increase their clout, and that of the Secretary General, vis-à-vis Saddam Hussein. As long as they remain, the inspectors would protect Iraq from an American attack, [...]

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