UN may resort to force over Iraqi weapons

BAGHDAD yesterday increased the pressure on a UN inspection team charged with disarming Iraq, as thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Ministry of Agriculture and shouted insults at the inspectors maintaining a vigil outside the building.

'Tell the whole world, Iraqi workers have lost patience. They can no longer stand the humiliation,' declared Fadhil Mahmoud Khareer, a trade union leader.

The government appears intent on drawing a line beyond which it will not allow UN inspectors to pry. 'We will never allow you from now on to humiliate Iraq,' the union leader shouted at Mark Silver, the head of the inspection team. 'We are under great pressure from our workers. If we could control them in the past, we won't be able to contain them in the future.' Iraqi guards are protecting the inspectors from demonstrators hurling eggs and fruit.

Iraq's latest attempt to break the shackles imposed on it by the Security Council has raised serious concerns among policy-makers in Washington, London and Paris, where force to break Iraq's will is once again being contemplated, however reluctantly.

Rolf Ekeus, the Swedish head of the UN Special Commission which is disarming Iraq, returned from Baghdad empty-handed yesterday after failing to persuade the authorities to allow UN weapons inspectors to enter the Ministry of Agriculture. The inspectors believe it contains a treasure trove of information on Iraq's long- range ballistic-missile projects. Mr Ekeus will now report to the Security Council, possibly precipitating a new confrontation with Iraq.

The United States will consult other members of the Gulf war coalition on how to resolve the stand-off, a State Department spokesman said yesterday. 'The US is determined to see that Iraq meets all its international obligations under Security Council resolutions. We hold Iraq responsible for the safety of all UN personnel in Iraq,' a spokesman said.

Any punitive tactics with Iraq are bound to draw unfavourable comparisons with the Council's easy-handed treatment of Serbia, which is blamed for numerous human rights abuses committed by its allies in Bosnia, the failure of the latest ceasefire and the steady bombardment of Bosnian civilian positions. The stronger the action against Iraq, the louder the accusations of double standards will ring, Western diplomats fear.

Although the Special Commission is based at UN headquarters in New York, it takes its direction from Washington, and has close links with US army intelligence, the CIA and the National Security Agency. US army officers have played a prominent role in its many missions to ferret out and destroy secret stockpiles of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

President George Bush and his advisers are equally aware that the allied victory over Iraq looks increasingly hollow. Iraq has made the work of humanitarian agencies more perilous with a series of attacks, one of them fatal, on UN guards in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Baghdad has also refused to sell oil so that war compensation payments can begin and it is stepping up its economic blockade of the Kurds. One of its most serious acts, from Kuwait's point of view, is Baghdad's refusal to accept the new border drawn between the two countries by a UN commission.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teacher require...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style