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UN to upset Bush's war plans with one-year deadline for Iraq [?]

According to this scenario, Bush and Blair might be boxed in by a one year deadline. But wouldn't Bush, perhaps to Blair's consternation, simply manufacture an excuse to take unilateral military action if necessary. Both Blair and the UN would then be defined as "irrelevent" thus confirming the facts on the ground.
UN to upset Bush's war plans with one-year deadline for Iraq

By David Usborne in New York

The Independent
September 19, 2002

The United Nations is likely to throw into disarray America's war plans for Iraq by introducing a timetable for weapons inspections that could give Saddam Hussein a breathing space of almost 12 months.

The extended timetable, which would allow the inspectors first to deploy in Iraq and then to begin and complete their complicated mission, could exhaust the patience of Washington, which envisages attacking the country much earlier, probably in February.

Yesterday the Bush administration asked Congress to endorse the military option before the UN makes its move. President Bush "reserves the right to act in the interests of the
United States and its friends and allies", his spokesman said.

Such a disavowal of the United Nations by the United States would spell both war and diplomatic disaster for the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who helped to persuade Washington to bring the crisis back under the UN's umbrella.

Britain's global influence depends largely on its permanent seat at an effective and respected UN Security Council.
The organisation will be shunted into irrelevance,
diplomats fear, if President Bush unilaterally goes to war.

Even as envoys scurried in New York to craft a new resolution on Iraq, the Pentagon was privately briefing on plans to deploy 250,000 ground troops in the country to spearhead an assault aimed at toppling President Saddam and his regime.

Nailing down a schedule for the inspections will be the primary objective of the new resolution on Iraq that Britain wants to see passed in the Security Council before 30 September. On that date, Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, is due to start talks with Iraqi officials in Vienna on practical arrangements for the return of his teams.

Mr Blix is not expected to be able to begin serious deployment of inspectors and their staff before the end of October, a process likely to take two months. Thereafter, an existing Security Council text on Iraq - UN Resolution 1284 - stipulates that inspectors will need 60 more days to decide on what they need to do on the ground.

The inspections proper would only begin, therefore, in early March, and last six months, until the end of August.

Diplomats acknowledge that the process could be shattered at any time if President Saddam reneges on the promise made on Monday to give inspectors unfettered or unconditional access. Indeed, any snag or hiccup in the process could give Washington a pretext to go to war with Iraq.

It is for that reason that Britain will try to
convince doubters in the Council - principally Russia and France - that a resolution reinforcing 1284 with new deadlines and demands must be adopted soon. Failure to do so would leave President Saddam with greater leeway to manipulate the process and increase the likelihood of US aggression.



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