Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, February 19, 2003

US Has no Reason to Launch Imminent War on Iraq

The US has no reasons to imminently launch a military attack on Iraq and there should be no war at least "within weeks" as a result of the anti-war efforts by the world community and the latest reports by the UN inspectors, a leading Chinese newspaper said on Monday.


The United States has no reasons to imminently launch a military attack on Iraq and there should be no war at least "within weeks" as a result of the anti-war efforts by the world community and the latest reports by the United Nations inspectors, a leading Chinese newspaper said on Monday.

Arms inspectors' reports submitted to the United Nations Security Council last Friday may have embarrassed the United States, because they resulted in an agreement to continue the inspections in Iraq, instead of disarming the Arab country with a US-led military action, said an article by Zhu Feng published on the China Youth Daily.

The reports submitted by Hans Blix, executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also refuted US Secretary of State Colin Powell's allegation that Iraq is cheating the United Nations, Zhu said.

However, Zhu believed that the updated reports have provided excuses for the pro-war US and its allies to seek tougher policy while these excuses are also reasons for the inspectors to push for Iraq's "complete cooperation."

The reports by the inspectors presented a mixed picture. There were improvements in Iraq's cooperation with UN inspectors, although still not enough. UNMOVIC and IAEA had not found any weapons of mass destruction or a nuclear program in Iraq, except for a small number of chemical munitions that should have been declared and destroyed.

But the reports said that serious problems still remain. Iraq had still not accounted for many banned arms, and had not provided new evidence regarding anthrax and growth material, the nerve agent VX and missile production.

Zhu, a professor in Peking University, indicated that a military pressure is indispensable to the success of arms inspection in Iraq. "But military pressure cannot replace the work of inspection," he stressed.

Under the US military pressure and the threat of suffering "serious consequences" if it did not disarm as required by the Security Council last November, Baghdad has become more and more cooperative with UN inspectors.

Only hours before the Security Council held the session to hear the inspectors' reports on Friday, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein finally ordered the ban on producing and trading mass-destruction weapons.

So long as there is no "immediate, active, unconditional cooperation" on the side of Iraq, the danger of war will persist since the United States will not give up its preparation for war, the author said.

However, Zhu said that the United States, when deciding on war,should also consider the development of inspection, the work of the inspectors and the stance of the world community.

Zhu argued that the "serious consequences" Iraq will face, as written in the UN Security Council resolution 1441, is after all a means to achieve the aim of disarmament in Iraq.

"If the United States seeks only to find legal excuses to launch a war through inspection, ignoring the real progress in the process, that would be a challenge to the authority of the United Nations and a contempt for the value of peace," he added.

Zhu believed that the goal of removing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq can be reached politically and diplomatically through more inspection with more guide and help from the UN Security Council.

He called on the United States and those arguing for use of force to show more patience and give a chance to the international community for more inspections and seeking a political solution.

The author noticed that US Secretary of State Colin Powell had announced last Friday that the United States would decide in weeks whether to begin military actions against Iraq.

"Under the current situation, the United States has no reason to arbitrarily decide to launch a war," Zhu concluded.

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