Oil, atoms and the US elections
The long United States harassment of Iraq has again become a threat to world peace. This time, so-called United Nations weapons inspectors are laying siege to Iraq's agriculture ministry, claiming that parts of the country's alleged nuclear capability might be concealed there. It is not surprising that Iraqis are becoming thoroughly sick of these international bullies, militarily backed by the US, barging into offices and industrial plants around the country. This growing resentment is evident in growing protests over the UN's activities.
The continuing harassment of Iraq is due not to any real need to identify and destroy that country's nuclear armaments program. International scientific opinion is well informed on the state of nuclear technology around the world, and it is generally accepted that Iraq is not capable of building nuclear weapons. Only a little very contorted, obviously political, disinformation stands against this overwhelming scientific opinion. Moreover, it is very unlikely that the CIA doesn't know exactly what Iraq is capable of in this field, and where its nuclear resources (if any) are located.
With a recession-stricken George Bush trailing badly in opinion polls, the main danger in the Middle East is not a mythical Iraqi bomb, but the political imperatives of the US elections. The "inspection team's" antics are transparently designed to provide a pretext for military action to bring down the present Iraqi government if that should become necessary for Washington's political needs. Besides Bush's re-election, these needs include a compliant government in Iraq to help ensure long-term US control of one of the world's main reserves of a dwindling oil supply.
None of this is to say Saddam Hussein's brutal regime is in any way worthy of support. It has a murderous record against oppositionists and members of minority nationalities and religious groups. But who governs Iraq, and how, is a matter for Iraqis to decide. All the evidence to date is that the US harassment of Iraq, conducted under the cover of the UN, simply reinforces support for the present government. Even among the country's persecuted minorities there is very little evidence of support for the ongoing imperialist interference in Iraq's internal affairs.