– Now that UN weapons inspectors have arrived in Iraq, will they be strong enough to withstand U.S. intimidation and name-calling and go about their business fairly and objectively? We hope so, but it will take strong resolve from the weapons inspectors leader, Hans Blix.

Even though each of the 15 UN Security Council members voted in support of a U.S.-led resolution that sent weapons inspectors back into Iraq, none of them agree in their hearts that President Bush has good intentions about the venture. They all know he is dead set on provoking a war on the tiny Muslim nation. In fact, the world body had to be threatened by the world’s superpower to pass the resolution–or else! Bush had stated that with or without approval, his war with his and his dad’s arch nemesis, Saddam Hussein, would go forth. His administration’s foreign policy objective, after all, is a “regime change” in Iraq.

The Security Council voted unanimously for the resolution because many of them had no other choice–at least not one they were prepared to live with. Most of the 10 non-permanent members–Cameroon, Guinea, Mauritius and Mexico among them–knew that if they did not acquiesce to Bush’s demand for passage of the resolution, they would fall from U.S. grace and lose millions of dollars in U.S. military and economic aid. They knew this because that’s what happened to Yemen in 1990 when that country voted against a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution to militarily boot Iraq out of Kuwait. Yemen lost about $70 million in aid.


Even the permanent members needed strong cajoling. France, Germany and Russia were the most outspoken about Bush’s intentions in Iraq. But even they were brought around to Bush’s point of view. Was it because the UN wanted to maintain some control, regardless to how little, over the bull in the china shop? Or was it that they each got something out of the deal?

We know that Germany’s opposition rose to a high level because of the election in that country, and President Gerhard Schroeder wanted to be re-elected. Therefore, he had to appear to follow the will of the people and be vocal against invading Iraq. But now the election is over.

We also know that Russia was very concerned about the $8 billion plus interest owed to it by Saddam Hussein and very lucrative oil contracts with Russian oil firms to develop Iraq’s oil fields. Yet, despite the chaos an invasion on Iraq would cause, Russia muted its voice of opposition in voting for the resolution.

Could it be that Russia has received assurances that all contracts would be honored and Russian firms will have access to future contracts on Iraqi oil? Bush took it upon himself to reassure the Russian government on Russian television recently, saying if there is regime change in Baghdad, “we fully realize that Russia has economic interests in Iraq. Of course, these interests will be taken into account.”

In another recent speech, this one to NATO members, Bush declared: “If the collective will of the world is strong, we can achieve disarmament peacefully. However, should he choose not to disarm, the United States will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him.”

Bush did not discuss what would happen if the “collective will of the world” decided that war with Iraq is not an option. Perhaps such a discussion with Bush is not an option.

We shall soon see.