Lewinsky Subpoenas Ease Pressure on Iraq

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NEW YORK: U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson and a number of his senior staffers were today subpoenaed to testify before the Monica Lewinsky investigation, as the U.N. Security Council got down to discussing Saddam Hussein’s continued defiance.

“Ambassador Richardson appeared distracted this morning during Richard Butler’s report to the Security Council,” says Time correspondent William Dowell. Richardson’s staffers are reportedly resentful about reports that Lewinsky had been cleared for a job without going through the usual channels.

Dowell says some foreign diplomats fear that President Clinton’s current troubles will raise the temptation to attack Iraq in a “Wag the Dog” scenario. But the more likely effect of the White House crisis will be to delay any U.N. action against Iraq. Baghdad's diplomats are looking on, “more bemused than anything else, as the scandal in Washington diverts attention from the situation in Iraq,” says Dowell. “The Security Council is going to have to find consensus on a course of action against Iraq, and that’s not likely to happen while the U.S. government is distracted.” All of which could leave Saddam Hussein tempted to break out into “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”