France Calls U.S. on Iraq

  • Share
  • Read Later
Never mind Saddam's pesky air defenses -- Washington's taking more heat about Iraq from a French U.N. policy document. A fourth consecutive day of "no-fly" zone skirmishes Thursday followed France's proposal for a new, more humanitarian strategy on Iraq. "Much of Paris's plan is unacceptable to Washington," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "But the French initiative highlights the fact that Washington right now doesn't have a plan of its own."

Special Report The U.S. Thursday endorsed France's call to lift limits on Iraq's oil-for-food sales, but it remains opposed to the proposed replacing of UNSCOM with a financial monitoring system. Dowell points out that even the existing oil-sales limit amounts to more oil than Baghdad is currently able to produce. "It won't mean much unless Iraq can import machinery to upgrade its oil production, which is forbidden under current sanctions," says Dowell. While France believes sanctions are ineffective and exacting a brutal toll on the Iraqi people, Washington sees them as essential to contain Saddam. "But without a comprehensive Iraq strategy, Washington faces the danger that the current impasse causes an informal collapse of sanctions," says Dowell. "That would be a significant erosion of U.S. global leadership."