Saddam: Keep Those Inspectors Out

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Your move, Washington. A day after a U.S. got the UN Security Council to approve a new system to get arms inspectors back into Iraq, Saddam Hussein gave his answer: Nobody's coming in here until the UN lifts its sanctions against my country. Under the proposed deal, the previous inspection body, UNSCOM, would to be replaced by an entirely new organization, UNMOVIC (U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) with little continuity in staff. "The old hands at UNSCOM fear that the new body will be a papier-mâché organization, unable to carry out effective inspections," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "But Washington's primary objective here is to keep sanctions in place at all costs, and they were willing to accept compromises on the inspection system as long as they got a resolution that allows them to maintain sanctions."

Will Saddam be able to keep the inspectors from calling? Perhaps. He's helped by the fact that Iraq has some allies on the Security Council —Russia, France and China, which abstained from Friday's vote. "The U.S. wants to keep sanctions in the belief that they're essential to overthrowing Saddam," says Dowell. "But the French believe sanctions are destroying the fabric of Iraqi society, which could mean that after Saddam there'll either be another despot or else Iraq will break up into an endless civil war situation, like Lebanon in the '70s."