to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
I have the honor to refer to the series of discussions held between Your Excellency and the Government of the Republic of Iraq on the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions on the question of Iraq which took place in New York on 7 March and 2 May and in Vienna on 4 July 2002, as well as the talks which were held in your office in New York on 14 and 15 September 2002, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.
I am pleased to inform you of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions.
If he had ended the letter there, I would say, okay, now we have inspections. But he didn't end the letter there. He continues:
The Government of the Republic of Iraq has responded, by this decision, to your appeal, to the appeal of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, as well as those of Arab, Islamic and other friendly countries.
The Government of the Republic of Iraq has based its decision concerning the return of inspectors on its desire to complete the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction. This decision is also based on your statement to the General Assembly on 12 September 2002 that the decision by the Government of the Republic of Iraq is the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally importantly, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the lifting of sanctions imposed in Iraq and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 687(1991). T this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections.
No problem yet.
In this context, the Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all Member States of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and article (II) of the Charter of the United Nations.
Oops. What commitment to Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence would that be? Did the US make a commitment to respect Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence? Weren't any such commitments waived when Iraq executed the various commitments it undertook to end the Gulf War? What does respect for Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence have to do with weapons inspection? Nothing whatsoever. But the fact is that this was the basis Saddam used to throw the inspectors out in 1998: They were supposedly violating Iraq's sovereignty.
I would be grateful if you would bring this letter to the attention of the Security Council members.
Please accept, Mr. Secretary-General the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr. Naji Sabri
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Iraq
So the Arab League went to Saddam and told him in no uncertain terms that Bush meant what he said and there would be an invasion unless the inspectors were let back into Iraq without precondition. I have absolutely no doubt that, if ever the inspectors show up, there will be the same dog and pony show that we witnessed for the six or so years between the end of the war and the time the inspectors were tossed out of the country. Does this mean, as Steven Den Beste (capital D, I have been told) says
that Saddam thinks he is within a few months of making his bomb? I hope not.
Bush has established to my satisfaction that he is no bumpkin. He is not flying by the seat of his pants. This has been planned out with all of the foreseeable permutations accounted for. Certainly this is one of the foreseeable permutations. So now we sit back and watch how Bush responds.