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HEAD OF IRAQI PARLIAMENT: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY POISED TO REJECT WASHINGTON'S UN RESOLUTION
Filed November 11, 2002 By Jeremy Scahill
 
BAGHDAD—The Iraqi parliament was in an emergency session late into the night in an extraordinary meeting called by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. On the agenda was whether or not Iraq's highest legislative body will accept Washington's UN resolution. Baghdad has until Friday to submit its final answer to the Security Council. A rejection would almost certainly spark an all-out attack by the Bush Administration. In an interview with IraqJournal.org, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament said the body stands poised to do just that. "From what I can see the national assembly is totally against the resolution," said Saddoun Hamadi. "It is united behind our leadership to evaluate the situation and take whatever action it finds necessary to protect the independence of Iraq and the integrity of the Iraqi people."

"From what I can see the national assembly is totally against the resolution," said Saddoun Hamadi. "It is united behind our leadership to evaluate the situation and take whatever action it finds necessary to protect the independence of Iraq and the integrity of the Iraqi people."

The atmosphere inside the parliament was tense. Everyone in Iraq knows the country is entering the eleventh hour. During the session, legislator after legislator spoke out against the resolution, with many saying they believe Washington will attack regardless of how cooperative Iraq is.

"There are a lot of lies in this resolution," Hamadi said in his opening remarks to the parliament. "It says that Iraq blocked the work of international inspectors. But everyone knows the inspectors left Iraq under orders from Washington. The parliament, as it represents the people of Iraq, rejects tyranny, evil, and the bad intentions implicit in this resolution."

Following initial remarks by Speaker Hamadi, the chairman of the parliament's Arab and International Relations Committee put forth a formal resolution. "I recommend to reject the UN resolution and not approve it," said Mohammed Arawi. "I further recommend to ask the leadership of the country to take any decision necessary to protect the nation."

"It violates the UN Charter and international law," said Saeed Al-Musawi of Iraq's foreign ministry. "The resolution has no clear changes from the initial draft presented by the United States; rather it provides suitable background for a new crisis.".

The speech was met by applause from the legislators. Saeed Al-Musawi of Iraq's foreign ministry then read an extensive analysis of the resolution. "It violates the UN Charter and international law," he told the parliament. "This resolution is based on hypotheticals that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction without giving any proof. The resolution has no clear changes from the initial draft presented by the United States; rather it provides suitable background for a new crisis."

In interviews outside the chamber, legislators were vocal in expressing their opposition to any cooperation with the resolution. "This resolution from my point of view is unapplicable, unachievable, and is impossible to meet," said Mohammed Al Adhami, a member of the parliament and dean of Baghdad University's political science department. "I will vote against it."

"This resolution from my point of view is unapplicable, unachievable, and is impossible to meet," said Mohammed Al Adhami, a member of the parliament and dean of Baghdad University's political science department. "I will vote against it."

The members of the Iraqi parliament say they speak for the Iraqi people, but their decision will not be Iraq's final answer. Ultimately, President Saddam Hussein will make the final call, albeit at the recommendation of the parliament. Last week the Iraqi leader indicated that he would be willing to accept the new resolution if it respected Iraq's sovereignty and would not serve as a pretext for attacking the country. But speaker Hamadi said the resolution does neither of these. "[The resolution] totally ignores that Iraq is an independent country," said Hamadi. "It is also drafted with a bad faith. It does not have good intentions. It prepares to find a pretext for a military action against Iraq. So in its essence, it tries to build up a legal cover for the real intention of carrying out a military aggression against our country."

Some analysts say that the debate at the parliament is a carefully scripted response to a devastating resolution passed unanimously last week by the UN Security Council. Most observers say that in the end, Iraq will accept the resolution in the name of peace and diplomacy. One member of the parliament said Iraq cannot afford to be viewed as the party that starts what many here see as an inevitable war. "Look, this resolution will bring the war whether it is accepted or not," said Al Adhami. "This resolution threatens the sovereignty, threatens the independence, because the inspection teams will have with them security men. There will be airplanes flying everywhere and landing anywhere. So this means actually against the sovereignty, against the independence. This is my point of view."

After the parliament votes on whether or not to accept the resolution the ball will then be in Saddam Hussein's court. He could very well say yes to a resolution that the parliament says violates the country's sovereignty. IraqJournal.org asked speaker Saddoun Hamadi if he believes Iraq could claim it is a sovereign country if it accepts the UN resolution. "This is up to the leadership, he said.


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Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating Iraqjournal.org, the only website providing regular independent reporting from the ground in Baghdad.


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