Ritter Shames U.N.

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NEW YORK: Scott Ritter is back on point for the U.N. arms inspection team -- but this time he's targeting the Security Council and the Clinton administration. Ritter resigned from UNSCOM Wednesday, accusing the Security Council -- with the tacit support of Washington -- of caving in to Iraq. Ritter's departure follows the U.N.'s decision, backed by the U.S., to refrain from undertaking arms inspections that would turn Iraq's recent refusal to cooperate with UNSCOM into a new confrontation.

"Ritter's very public resignation is designed to raise pressure on the U.N. to hold the line against Iraq amid signs that the U.S. is looking for a compromise," says TIME U.N. reporter Stuart Stogel. "The fact that his letter of resignation was released to the media by Richard Butler even before it went to the Security Council suggests that Butler may concur with some of its sentiments." Despite Ritter's principled protest, the tide of realpolitik may have turned against him -- Kofi Annan's call for a "comprehensive review" of the UNSCOM-Iraq relationship reflects an emerging consensus in the U.N. to try to bring the arms control-sanctions saga to a close.