Iraq: What Will Happen On Monday's Deadline

  • Share
  • Read Later

Blix's teams have uncovered weapons-related smuggling but it is unclear if the goods can be linked to weapons of mass destruction

As the U.S. prepares to make its case for going to war in Iraq, a senior diplomat on the UN security council tells TIME the report Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix will submit Monday won't provide a smoking gun — and that while the U.S. will see that as reason enough to go in, the rest of the council will seek for more time for inspections to continue.

"The Americans will make a statement to us on Monday," the diplomat says. "It will be an ultimatum. If such and such doesn't happen in so many weeks, then the inspections are over." What happens then is still up an the air. "Any ultimatum will also have to be negotiated," the diplomat notes. "Will the Council meet again at the end of however many weeks? Or if the demands are not met on time, will war be automatic?"

The big task for the Bush Administration in the coming weeks is to engage in a immense retail lobbying operation, trying to convince the other Security Council members to agree to war. Secretary of State Colin Powell is spending the weekend at the World Economic Forum in Davos engaged in a country-by-country lobbying effort. "Starting this weekend gigantic pressures will be put on our capitals, with the Americans assuming that every country has a price," the Security Council Diplomat says. "The only way to make something that is unilateral multilateral, is to proceed bilaterally. The U.S. will agree to an extension of time to make these bilateral deals."

How much time is still uncertain. Still, as the diplomat notes, "This will not end next week. There is a lot of anger in Washington. But now they are trapped, haunted by the Security Council. The agony is that we may be trapped with each other for weeks."