Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Iraqi Hijinks Alert!
(Via Rantburg) Some selections from UPI hears....:
Reports from Paris say that President Jacques Chirac, fearing that intense U.S. diplomatic pressure is having its impact on the wavering votes in the Security Council, is privately urging Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to make a grand gesture. Chirac is proposing that the Iraqi leader convene a big news conference in Baghdad -- including the CNN, BBC, and al-Jazeera TV cameras -- and announce the dismantling of a headline-catching weapons system as a concession to the U.N. inspectors. The only problem seems to be Iraq's previous statements that it has no remaining weapons systems to hand over -- despite the small print of the 173-page UNMOVIC inspectors' report that Hans Blix failed to specify in his U.N. address Friday.
Don't worry Jackanapes - if you talk fast, no one will notice.
Intelligence reports of Iraqi troops placing explosives in the oil fields around Kirkup, apparently preparing the well-heads for demolition, come with the disturbing footnote that local sources claim the troops are not Iraqi soldiers, but Iranians from the Mujaheddin-al-Khalq (MKO). Fierce opponents of the ayatollahs, the MKO have long been given protection, including bases, arms and training grounds, by the Iraqi regime. MKO defectors in Tehran last month told reporters from Britain's Sunday Times that Iraq had hidden large underground laboratories beneath a swimming pool at Ashraf, the MKO's main military base 43 miles north of Baghdad. U.N. inspectors have been barred from Ashraf, because Baghdad says the MKO bases are the sovereign territory of the Iranian government in exile, claiming it has no jurisdiction over them.
Saddam's employment of foreign thugs is no surprise, but I like the extraterritoriality claim for their bases. And, of course, Hans Blix and the UNsters bought it. You truly can't make stuff like this up.