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Showdown Iraq: Interview Former U.N. Weapons Inspector

Aired November 12, 2002 - 12:15   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Allied forces liberated Kuwait on February 26, 1991. Soon afterwards, the United Nations weapons inspections and monitoring program was sent over to Iraq. One of those inspectors is with us today for our "One-on-One" segment.
Live from London, we're joined by the former U.N. weapons inspector, Olivia Bosch.

Olivia, thanks so much for joining us.

Do you believe this current round of inspections, if in fact they get into Iraq, if they get off the ground, will succeed in disarming Iraq?

OLIVIA BOSCH, FMR. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, there would appear to be a better opportunity for this to occur. Firstly, to backtrack for one second, the obligation is for the Iraqi regime to comply with their obligations, the mother of all resolutions having been Security Council Resolution 687 of 1991. It is not for the inspectors to seek and find and hunt down items. This is to be a verified process.

And why this time might be different than before, firstly, the world attention now is on the Iraqi regime. We had the unanimous vote -- quite surprisingly being unanimous, as Syria had joined in on that -- for the Iraqis to comply to this new resolution and all of their previous ones, as well.

Secondly, in this resolution, it is said that this is a final opportunity, and if there are considered breeches of obligations, etcetera, then there will be serious consequences. So, what we have, in effect, is the threat of use of military force is still hanging over the Iraqi regime...


BOSCH: ... and after all, it has been over the last -- yes.

BLITZER: I was going to say, Olivia, but as you know, a lot of people are skeptical that even if those inspectors do get back in, that the Iraqis would fully comply in seeing all of their potential programs in biological, chemical and nuclear weapons destroyed.

Do you believe -- let me get back to the issue at-hand -- that if the inspectors get back in, they can succeed in disarming Iraq?

BOSCH: Well, on this side of the ocean, there is a bit more of a debate about the possibility of that happening. As I mentioned, the world attention is on the Iraqis, so they cannot -- they can no longer be doing those -- what previously has been the journalistically- appealing car park incidents we're heard about or the occasional gun shot. That is certainly not something that would be expected from the Iraqis. So, in terms of that, that is unlikely to occur. So, we will see compliance.

What will be very interesting and a first test to the credibility of the Iraqi regime is in 30 days from last Friday, when they do produce their declaration, then attention will be focusing on what that is.

Now, at least over here, there has been considerable press misreporting of exactly what that declaration might be. It is actually to declare the programs that they have had concerning weapons of mass destruction and their missile deliveries. So, what we're looking for is a program, which is not just a complete missile or a complete weapon, but the facilities that they've had, any possible stockpiles of agent, research-and-development facilities, the personnel that have been involved. It is a large list of items.

BLITZER: And if the Iraqis...

BOSCH: And there is expectation...


BLITZER: I want to just interrupt -- Olivia, I just want to interrupt and make the point, though, that if the Iraqis aren't 100 percent clean and accurate in providing that list to the United Nations inspectors, at least from the U.S. perspective, the Bush administration sees that in and of itself as potentially a spark plug that could cause a war.

Let me read an e-mail that we received -- a question from Derek in California, wants to ask you this question: "Given the reports that Saddam would unleash chemical or biological weapons during the beginning of an invasion, and the fact that Iraq has been given plenty of time to relocate their WMD" -- weapons of mass destruction -- "what precautions has the U.S. military taken to ensure that these Iraqi weapons are not fired from locations beyond the Iraqi border?"

Do you have any sense of that?

BOSCH: Well, I'm not going to speak about the various military preparations. As before, no doubt, they will take precautions for that. The military will be well aware of the possibility of this.

But I do -- I must insist on going back a little bit here -- that the resolution did not allow an automatic use of military force. Even when the Iraqis do make their declaration, and it is a pedantic point, is a declaration, not a disclosure. And we can discuss that in a month's time.

That if there is something that may be not listed, then the U.S. or whoever can make a report to the Security Council, and which the Security Council is obliged to meet. OK. That process is in the resolution, and that's a process that everyone, including the United States, has agreed to.

So, it's a little -- one has to remember that. It's not an automatic use. There's no automatic trigger on this.

BLITZER: Right. The only thing that the Bush administration, the only point, Olivia -- and unfortunately, our time is very short. The only point the Bush administration says the only thing they have agreed to is to have another meeting, but no requirement for another U.N. Security Council resolution.

Once the meeting is under way, if the U.S. wants to act, even unilaterally, it would then have the authority to go forward. Nothing would prevent, in effect, the U.S. from doing so. They wouldn't need that second resolution.

Unfortunately, Olivia Bosch, we have to leave it right there, because we are all out of time. But we'd love to have you back on another occasion, and we'll continue this conversation. Thanks so much.

BOSCH: Right, OK.

BLITZER: Thank you.


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