Letter: What now for Iraq?

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SADDAM HUSSEIN recognises when it is necessary to take one step back in order to be able to take two steps forward later on.

He will now do what is necessary to get the UN inspectors off his back and out of Iraq as quickly as possible. With sanctions consequently lifted, he will buy new weapons, and rebuild his chemical and germ warfare capabilities. The latter are cheap and quick to construct, and are easily camouflaged as food, pharmaceutical or chemical industries - as the UN has found.

Bill Clinton won't still be around in three years; Saddam will. He can afford to gamble on a less resolute US, an inconsequential Britain and an indecisive EU. With no UN inspectors to keep him in check, there is every prospect of an escalated repeat showing of this latest Gulf crisis at the start of the Third Millennium - but with a different outcome. The need to be rid of Saddam has not gone away.

PHILIP RATCLIFFE

Maidenhead, Berkshire

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