Thursday, March 13, 2003

How Kofi Annan Can Stop the War

According to recent reports, the United States may be about to warn the U.N. inspectors and reporters to leave Iraq within three days. The purpose of this warning will be to protect the inspectors and reporters from harm when U.S. forces attack Iraq, perhaps late next week.

The situation provides an interesting opportunity for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. If the U.S. issues the expected warning, he can and should announce that the U.S. has no authority to evict the inspectors, who are United Nations employees. Furthermore, Annan can say that he will not withdraw the inspectors from Iraq unless he is ordered to do so by the U.N. Security Council or the inspectors report that they are not being allowed to do their job.

How will this help? Firstly, it'll make it difficult for Bush to start bombing. Sure, he could invade anyway, but it would be a public relations nightmare. And secondly, it will seriously up the pressure on Saddam, becuse the moment the inspectors feel they're being obstructed, they'll leave, and the Americans will have a free hand. Reinforcing the authority of the UN and sticking it to the US are just bonuses.

Of course, it's a bit risky for the inspectors themselves, which is why Kofi won't do it. [sigh]