Amid Middle East Carnage, US Gears Up for 'Regime Change' in Iraq
Intense diplomatic efforts are ongoing both to persuade Iraq to readmit UN weapons inspectors and dissuade the United States from a possible military attack against the Saddam Hussein regime. In recent weeks, the issue has been further complicated by the horrific escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians - which governments and public opinion in the region and more widely regard as the overwhelming political question to be addressed - and by confused signals from the Bush administration casting doubt on the merits and wisdom of sending weapons inspectors back to Iraq.
As reported in the last issue, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan discussed the crisis with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in New York on March 7 - a meeting Annan described the next day as "a very, very early beginning" but also "a good start". Speaking before the talks, Annan referred to the political relationship between the Iraqi and Israeli-Palestinian issues: "I wouldn't want to see a widening conflict in the region. I think we have our hands full with the tragedy that is going on there already... So I would want to see a situation where we are able to solve our differences diplomatically".
The US and Great Britain are leading calls for Annan to maintain a strict focus on Iraqi non-compliance, whatever the broader context of the discussions. In the assessment of Britain's Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock (March 8): "We're approaching the stage where we both have an inspection team ready to go and when we seem to have the beginnings of an indication that they may indeed be welcome - but they've got to be welcome under the conditions that are specified by the [Security Council] resolutions". America's Deputy UN Ambassador, James Cunningham, stated shortly (March 8): "From our point of view, we've already delayed far too long. Iraq should have complied some time ago - a long time ago - and the inspectors should already be back in." Cunningham added, however, that "we support the attempt by the Secretary-General to get an answer from the Iraqis..."
On March 18, Annan circulated to the Security Council a list of 20 questions submitted to him by Foreign Minister Sabri at their March 7 meeting. The questions, obtained and released by Reuters on March 20, raised issues of alleged US espionage during past weapons inspections by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and possible US and UK participation in future inspections by the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), as well as asking if "threats to invade Iraq and to change the national government by force violate Security Council resolutions and rules of international law". Naturally, the inquiries were greeted angrily by the US, Britain, and others. Ambassador Greenstock noted sharply (March 21): "There are two points here: implement the resolutions and talk to [UNMOVIC Chair] Mr. [Hans] Blix. I am sure this is the line the Secretary-General wants to take." An unnamed US official told Reuters (March 20): "The Iraqi questions pose unacceptable conditions and Iraq must unconditionally admit the entry of UN inspectors and give them free and unfettered access... There are some questions that require technical answers and those should be responded to. Other questions appear as conditions and we find them unacceptable..." State Department spokesperson Philip Reeker inveigled (March 22): "The questions, so-called...are an attempt once more by the Iraqis to distract the UN away from Iraq's non-compliance... Recent Iraqi statements have proposed specific time frames and other conditions to be negotiated before inspectors can return to Iraq. Let me just underscore that Iraq cannot set or demand such conditions."
Reeker may have been referring in part to comments made on March 18 by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, quoted in the London-based Saudi Arabian newspaper Asharq al-Awsat as stating: "Iraq rejects the return of international inspectors unless locations to be searched are identified and a timetable is set up and respected". Despite this indication of intransigence, the UN announced on March 25 that Annan and Sabri would meet again in New York for two days of meetings on April 18-19. According to the Secretary-General's spokesperson, Fred Eckhart: "The Secretary-General himself felt that two days rather than one might be necessary. He's hoping for substantive and focused discussions, specifically of the return of arms inspectors to Iraq... Iraq has now signalled to the Secretary-General, 'let's talk about compliance'. So what he hopes for is Iraq signalling to him - or to the Council through him - that they are ready to comply fully". On April 12, Iraq requested a postponement of the meeting, arguing it would distract UN attention from the intensifying crisis in the occupied territories. Eckhart told reporters on April 15 that new dates were being discussed and that "we don't expect the postponement is going to be a long one". (Note: on April 23, Eckhart announced that the talks had been rescheduled for May 1-3.)
In mid-March, US Vice President Cheney toured the Middle East to solicit support - political, if not logistical; tacit, if not overt - for possible military action against Iraq. By all reports, with the exception of the Israeli government, he received none. On March 11, Jordan's ruler, King Abdullah, stated unequivocally: "A strike on Iraq will be disastrous for Iraq and the region as a whole, and will threaten the security and stability of the Middle East". On March 12, King Abdullah remarked in an interview with Le Figaro: "I have told him [the Vice President] that the Middle East cannot support two wars at the same time - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an intervention against Iraq... To attack Baghdad now would be a disaster. The security and stability of our region would not be able to deal with it." Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, told ABC television on March 16: "I do not believe it is in the United States' interests, or the interests of the region, or the world's interest, to [attack Iraq]... And I don't think it will achieve the desired result..." On March 17, Bahrain's ruler, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, stated, speaking alongside Cheney: "The people who are dying today on the streets are not [dying as] a result of any Iraqi action...[but] as the result of Israeli action. And likewise, the people in Israel are dying as a result of action in response to those actions... So the perception of the threat in the Arab world really focuses around that issue and we are preoccupied by it, deeply so." On March 18, Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmer al-Jaber al-Sabah told journalists at a press conference with Cheney: "Kuwait calls on Iraq and hopes that it would agree to UN Security Council resolutions related to the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction... We feel that it will be the Iraqi people who would be exposed to any war or strike. Therefore, we hope that this won't happen, and hope that Iraq would appreciate the circumstances of its people..."
The Vice President took the welter of critical remarks in his stride. On the eve of his tour - speaking in London alongside Prime Minister Tony Blair, a staunch supporter of the war option despite considerable opposition in his own party (see Selected Comment, below) - Cheney noted (March 11): "We will confer...about the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the important choices that await us in the days ahead. In these matters, America is not announcing decisions." Speaking in Bahrain on March 17, Cheney reflected: "I sense that some people want to believe that there's only one issue I'm concerned about or that somehow I'm out here to organise a military adventure with respect to Iraq. That's not true. The fact is that we're concerned about Iraq. That's one of many issues we're concerned about." Back in Washington (March 21), the Vice President was quizzed about the success of his mission. Sitting beside President Bush, Cheney forcefully replied:
"I guess the way I would characterise [it] is they are uniformly concerned about the situation in Iraq, in particular about Saddam Hussein's failure to live up to the UN Security Council resolutions... And they are as concerned as we are when they see the work that he has done to develop chemical and biological weapons, and his pursuit of nuclear weapons; the past history that we all know about, in terms of his having used chemicals. If you haven't seen it, there's a devastating piece in this week's New Yorker magazine on the 1988 use by Saddam Hussein of chemical weapons against the Kurds ['The Great Terror', by Jeffrey Goldberg, March 25]. If the article is accurate - and I've asked for verification, if we can find it - he ran a campaign against the Kurds for 17 months, and he bombed literally 200 villages and killed thousands and thousands of Iraqis with chemical weapons. That's not the kind of man we want to see develop even more deadly capacity - for example nuclear weapons. And my experience is that our friends in the region are just as concerned about those developments as we are. And I went out there to consult with them, seek their advice and counsel, to be able to report back to the President on how we might best proceed to deal with that mutual problem, and that's exactly what we've done."
President Bush was equally forceful in his evaluation of the trip: "I think one other point that the Vice President made, which is a good point, is that this is an administration that when we say we're going to do something, we mean it; that we are resolved to fight the war on terror; this isn't a short-term strategy for us; that we understand history has called us into action, and we're not going to miss this opportunity to make the world more peaceful and more free. And the Vice President delivered that message. I was grateful that he was able to do so. It's very important for these leaders to understand the nature of this administration, so there's no doubt in their mind that when we speak we mean what we say, that we're not posturing. We don't take a bunch of polls and focus groups to tell us what...we ought to do in the world."
Speaking alongside Cheney in Sharm El Sheikh on March 13, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak suggested that the question of military action may soon become irrelevant as Iraq appeared increasingly amenable to resumed inspections: "We'll try hard with Saddam Hussein to [get him to] accept the UN inspectors...and we are going to meet with some of his special envoys and tell him that this is a must... I think, as far as my knowledge is, that he is going to accept the inspectors."
Whether the Bush administration would accept such an outcome as a legitimate means of defusing the crisis is, however, increasingly open to doubt. On March 9, an unnamed senior Bush administration official hinted that Washington may want any UNMOVIC inspection regime to be more stringent and intrusive than that established for the Commission's predecessor, the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). Quoted in the New York Times, the official argued: "It has to be a kind of go-anywhere-any-time sort of inspection regime if the world is going to have any confidence that they've lived up to it... There are those who suggest that our earlier inspections in Iraq were too limited." On April 15, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came close to ruling out US support for resumed inspections: "It would have to be an enormously intrusive inspection regime [for] any reasonable person to have confidence that it could in fact find, locate and identify the government of Iraq's very aggressive weapons of mass destruction programme... What one would want is an inspection regime that could give the rest of the world reasonable confidence that in fact Saddam Hussein was not doing that which everyone knows he has been trying to do. ... I just can't quite picture how intrusive something would have to be that it could offset the ease with which they have previously been able to deny and deceive, and which today one would think they would be vastly more skilful [at], having had all this time without inspectors there". The same day, State Department spokesperson Philip Reeker reiterated the administration's official line: "Iraq has to comply fully and unconditionally with all applicable United Nations resolutions, including the return of UN weapons inspectors, and cooperate fully with them".
The President has been making clear that any outcome to the crisis leaving Saddam Hussein in power is unacceptable to his administration. On April 5, for example, Bush stated: "I made up my mind that Saddam Hussein needs to go. I am confident that we can lead a coalition to pressure Saddam Hussein and to deal with Saddam Hussein. ... The policy of my government is that he goes. ... The policy of my government is that Saddam Hussein not be in power." The following day, speaking at the White House alongside Tony Blair, Bush reiterated: "I explained to the Prime Minister that the policy of my government is the removal of Saddam and that all options are on the table." The two leaders were then quizzed about the policy of removal:
"Question: 'Prime Minister, we've heard the President say what his policy is directly about Saddam Hussein, which is to remove him. That is the policy of the American administration. Can I ask you whether that is now the policy of the British government?'
Prime Minister Blair: 'Well...you know it has always been our policy that Iraq would be a better place without Saddam Hussein. ... But how we proceed in this situation, how we make sure that this threat that is posed by weapons of mass destruction is dealt with, that is a matter that is open. And when the time comes for taking those decisions, we will tell people about those decisions. ...'
President Bush: 'Maybe I should be a little less direct and be a little more nuanced and say we support regime change.'"
According to reports, the Blair government had been prepared a dossier of evidence of illicit Iraqi efforts to acquire WMD. On March 31, The Observer claimed that the release of the dossier by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, originally scheduled for early April, had been indefinitely postponed by the Prime Minister out of concern for Arab, and possibly domestic political, reaction. On April 7, reports suggested that the US had decided to postpone a public offensive of its own, again largely due to the Middle East crisis.
The evident problem for Washington and London, aside from timing, is the need to present credible evidence of a clear and present Iraqi threat to international security without appearing to be deliberately creating a pretext for war. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that, even with clear evidence, international support for such action is likely to be minimal. This dual difficulty - presenting evidence in the name of military action to an audience generally unpersuaded of the case for an attack regardless of the evidence - is encapsulated in remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in a March 13 interview with the Times:
"The US and UK has been talking much about a possible use of force-based action against Iraq of late. In so doing, they refer to the information that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and, possibly, their delivery means. We believe that if someone has such facts, then they should be submitted to the international community. And the Security Council should take a decision how to act in this case. No one has the right to act on behalf of the international community in circumvention of the UN Security Council. ... [Military] actions [against Iraq] would deal a serious blow to the anti-terrorist coalition itself. ... The chance of a political settlement is far from exhausted. We are actively working with the Iraqi leadership so that Iraq fully complies with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We regard the resumption of dialogue between Baghdad and the UN Secretary-General as an encouraging sign. ... In 1998 we tried to restrain the US and UK from military actions against Iraq. Regrettably, that failed and the military action did not resolve but complicated the situation. We hope the US and UK do not make the same mistake again."
Notes: on April 15, the Washington Post reported that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had asked the CIA, earlier this year, to "investigate the performance" of UNMOVIC Chair Hans Blix. The article claimed that the CIA complied with the request, provided Wolfowitz with a report in late January. The Post further alleges Wolfowitz was angry the CIA did not find strong grounds for portraying Blix and UNMOVIC as unlikely to be meet the challenge of resumed inspections in Iraq. The same day, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld took issue with the report, insisting there had been no such investigation. State Department spokesperson Reeker insisted (April 15): "Dr. Blix has our full confidence. He has stressed that his mandate is to conduct a thorough, no-holds-barred inspection of Iraqi compliance and its obligations." At UN Headquarters, Eckhard commented (April 15): "If it happened the way the article described, I think it would be an attempt at intimidating an international civil servant, and that of course would be unacceptable. The Secretary-General was concerned by that report."
Almost lost amid the war scare and international horror at the violence in the Palestinian territories, the Security Council has been working to finalise details of a Goods Review List (GRL) to form the basis of a new 'smart sanctions' regime permitting the automatic entry of non-GRL civilian goods and material. The new regime was agreed in principle by the Security Council in November, 2001, in resolution 1382, with a view to finalisation by the end of the current phase of the 'oil-for-food' programme on May 30 this year. US and Russian officials discussed the details of the GRL in Moscow on March 27-28. According to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement (March 28), the talks resulted "in substantial progress in agreeing the basic parameters of the future scheme." The statement added: "The drafts of the documents being discussed are to be handed over to the UN Security Council, where they will be refined taking into account the opinions of all Council members with a view to the adoption of an appropriate resolution."
On April 8, President Hussein announced a suspension of Iraqi oil exports for 30 days, or until Israel withdrew from the Palestinian territories. On April 9, Hasmik Egian, a spokesperson for the UN-operated oil-for-food programme expressed alarm at the impact of the decision on Iraqi civilians: "We are concerned. As we've been saying, there is already a funding crisis so this will not help". White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer commented (April 8) that "it's another sign of Saddam Hussein [being] willing to hurt his own people. This is a humanitarian programme administered through the United Nations' oil-for-food programme and it's another sign that Saddam Hussein is willing to starve his own people."
At the Arab League Summit in Beirut on March 27-28, Iraqi publicly committed itself never to reinvade Kuwait or threaten the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. The US immediately swatted aside the move as a hollow gesture. In the almost weary appraisal of State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher (March 28): "Iraq has never evidence real intent to respect Kuwaiti sovereignty and territorial integrity. It's got a deplorable record of flouting its international obligations and UN Security Council resolutions, and we have to remain profoundly sceptical that Iraq would treat this agreement any differently than the many others it's agreed to [before]".
Saadoun Hammadi, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, March 19: "Many Arab and non-Arab friends have called on Iraq to remove all pretexts for a US invasion of Iraq, so we are happy to cooperate with all countries...including the United Nations, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, to avoid new US attacks."
President Saddam Hussein, March 20: "They [US leaders] say that any country possessing weapons may have connections with what they call terrorist groups and may give these weapons to the groups to attack America... This sounds like a Flash Gordon movie that has never entered my imagination..."
US Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 19: "We continue to watch Iraq's involvement in terrorist activities. Baghdad has a long history of supporting terrorism, altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals. It has also had contacts with al Qaeda. ... It would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of state sponsorship [of the September 11 attacks], whether Iranian or Iraqi ..."
President Bush, March 14: "I am deeply concerned about Iraq, and so should the American people be concerned about Iraq, and so should people who love freedom be concerned about Iraq. This is nation run by a man who is willing to kill his own people by using chemical weapons. A man who won't let inspectors into the country. A man who's obviously got something to hide. And he is a problem, and we're going to deal with him."
US Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman, article in The Wall Street Journal, March 7: "Less than six months after the September 11 attacks, our will to do what is necessary to protect our security must not start wavering. That certainly goes for Iraq, where we must deal decisively with the threat to America posed by the world's most dangerous terrorist, Saddam Hussein. I am encouraged that President Bush appears to have turned the corner on Iraq, and now seems committed to changing the regime in Baghdad."
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, London, March 19: "Russia is against any attack on any country bypassing the United Nations Security Council. This is our position of principle and has no direct relationship to our battle against international terrorism. We have no factual evidence supporting the statement that Iraq has or may have weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons. Nobody has ever presented this to us."
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, article in The Daily Express, March 6: "If we fail to restrain Saddam Hussein, what is already a volatile situation in the region could easily become a world crisis... Saddam is continuing his chemical and biological programmes and is developing the long-range missiles to deliver them. ... Though Iraq seems far away and Saddam, for the moment, is on the defensive, it is in the interests of us all to face up to these threats with determination and resolve... President Bush will consult widely with his allies. Saddam Hussein would be wise not to mistake this for weakness."
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, article in The Times, March 5: "Evidence has been building up that the threat from Iraq's weapons programme is growing once more... Without the controls which we have imposed, Saddam would have had a nuclear bomb by now. We cannot allow Saddam to hold a gun to the heads of his own people, his neighbours and the world..."
UK Home Secretary David Blunkett, March 11: "There is no point in going to war unless you know what the objective is...[and you have] weighed up what the consequences would be..."
UK International Development Secretary Clare Short, March 10: "We need to deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein, we don't need to inflict further suffering on the people of Iraq..."
UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, March 10: "It is a most united Cabinet. It has concerns, of course it has, but so do the backbenchers as well... But they had them about Afghanistan where they all thought it would go for an awful long time and there would be many deaths ..."
UK Labour MP Donald Anderson, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, March 10: "I think that there are fairly reckless elements in the Pentagon who are on a roll now because of Afghanistan. I would hope part of the task of our government is to influence those who take a contrary view and want to work within the United Nations Security Council to get the weapons inspectors back..."
Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen, Washington, March 25: "I think that it is crucial that Saddam Hussein allow international inspectors to go into Iraq without any restrictions, without limitations. It's obvious to me that there is a danger. ... I believe that President Bush realises the importance of a strong transatlantic relationship, and he emphasised [to me] the importance of consultations before taking further steps in the fight against international terrorism".
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, after discussions with Russian President Putin, Weimar, April 10: "We both agree that pressure should be maintained on Iraq to bring about a change in the situation and secure the return of international inspectors to the country."
German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping, March 19: "[Iraq is] a serious problem. ... Anyone who began [to address it] with military means would be starting at the wrong end."
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Green Party conference, March 17: "I see the debate [among us] on Iraq with great concern... I want to say clearly that there is no majority in the German Parliament for a German military participation." (Note: the Conference adopted a new set of basic principles, including a renunciation of the Party's previous commitment to pacifism in the resolution of international disputes.)
Iranian Vice President Mohammed Abtahi, March 19: "We believe that attacking Iraq or any other country on the pretext of fighting terrorism does not solve any of the world's problems."
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, March 28: "I think we should try and use the UN agencies again... Eventually, Iraq will have to come around to accepting the need to satisfy the international community that they are not going to war against anybody or make use of weapons of mass destruction."
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, March 10: "An attack on Iraq will seriously affect Turkey... Turkey's economy is resting on very sensitive balances... While the Iraq issue hangs over us like some kind of nightmare, you can't expect much new investment to come to Turkey..."
Reports: Ambassador - Iraq not hiding weapons, Associated Press, March 2; Cheney to meet Blair in London, Iraq on agenda, Reuters, March 4; Blair fires new warning at Iraq, gets flak at home, Reuters, March 6; High-level UN-Iraqi talks begin under US threats, Reuters, March 7; Don't doubt Dems - they're backing the war effort, Washington File, March 7; US backs new round on UN-Iraq arms talks, Reuters, March 8; Iraq gets chance to end weapons issue, Associated Press, March 8; US supports Annan's arms dialogue with Iraq, Reuters, March 8; US seen as likely to stay on collision path with Iraq, New York Times, March 9; UK plays down Iraq force 'requests', BBC News Online, March 10; Mideast allies warn US not to attack Iraq, Washington Post, March 11; Cheney, Blair warn of terrorist, Iraqi desire for weapons of mass destruction, Washington File, March 11; Blair torn by conflicting allegiances on Iraq, Reuters, March 11; Jordan King urges no attack on Iraq, Associated Press, March 12; Cheney warned over Iraq attack, BBC News Online, March 12; Bush 'deeply concerned' about policies of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Washington File, March 13; Transcript of press conference by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at Headquarters, UN Press Release SG/SM/8160, March 13; Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's interview with The Times, Moscow, March 13, 2002, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Bush says Saddam still a menace, Associated Press, March 14; Transcript - Cheney speaks with Mubarak on Iraq, Palestine, Washington File, March 15; Jordan to US - attack on Iraq would be disaster, Reuters, March 16; Saudis rebuff US plans to confront Iraq, Washington Post, March 17; German foreign minister tells party 'no majority' here for attack in Iraq, Associated Press, March 17; Iraqi diplomatic drive to counter US war threat, Reuters, March 18; Cheney plays down Arab criticism over Iraq, Washington File, March 18; Transcript - Cheney discusses Iraq, Mideast conflict with Kuwait, Washington File, March 18; Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov remarks at joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, London, March 19, 2002, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Iraq signals softer line on UN arms inspectors, Reuters, March 19; Russia underlines opposition to US strikes on Iraq, Reuters, March 19; Excerpt - CIA's Tenet says Iraq pursues weapons of mass destruction, Washington File, March 20; Tenet warns of Iraqi terror role, Chicago Tribune, March 20; Saddam dismisses US weapons claims, Associated Press, March 20; Iraq asks UN to take position on US threats, Reuters, March 20; US objects to questions Iraq poses to UN, Reuters, March 21; Transcript - Bush, Cheney brief about VP's trip to Mideast, Washington File, March 21; Excerpt - Iraq's questions to UN seen as effort to distract, Washington File, March 22; UN, Iraq to resume talks on weapons inspections, Washington File, March 25; Annan to meet Iraqi team in April on inspectors, Reuters, March 25; Annan to meet with Iraqi foreign minister in April, Associated Press, March 25; Danish Premier urges no limits on inspections in Iraq, Dow Jones Business News, March 25; The Great Terror, by Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, March 25; Excerpt - US sceptical about Iraq's declarations of goodwill, Washington File, March 28 Russian-American consultations on Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 578-28-03-2002, March 28; Malaysia says don't attack Iraq, Associated Press, March 28; Thousands protest possible US action, Associated Press, March 30; Blair opts for delay on Iraq, The Observer, March 31; Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair in joint press availability, The White House, April 6; Bush won't be pinned down on plans for attack on Iraq, Washington Post, April 6; If Iraq bends, UN inspectors are ready, New York Times, April 7; US postpones plans to reveal findings on Iraq, Washington Post, April 7; Saddam announces cut in oil exports, Associated Press, April 8; White House report - Middle East, Iraqi oil, Washington File, April 8; Iraq's suspension of oil exports hurts humanitarian program, Washington File, April 9; Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov interview to German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, published on April 9, 2002, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Germany, Russia agree on major foreign policy issues, Reuters, April 10; Iraq postpones talks on weapons inspections with UN, Dow Jones Business News, April 11; Iraq's talks with UN Secretary-General are delayed, Associated Press, April 12; Germany's Stoiber disagrees with US on Iraqi threat, Dow Jones Business News, April 12; Iraq proposes dates for follow-up meeting with UN Chief on return of weapons inspectors, Associated Press, April 15; Skirmish on Iraq inspections, Washington Post, April 15; Excerpt - US had confidence in UN weapons inspector Blix, Washington File, April 15; Rumsfeld sceptical about Iraq arms inspections, Reuters, April 15; Rumsfeld talks of Iraq inspections, Associated Press, April 15; Iraq - CIA investigated head UN inspector, Global Security Newswire, April 15; UN-Iraq talks on weapons inspections to begin May 1, Washington File, April 23.
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