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September 05, 1996 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-05

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.U.N. divided
over position to
take i n Gulft

NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 1996 - 11A

Crises spur Russian
sense of weakness

The Washington Post
UNITED NATIONS - President
Clinton's armed response to Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein's offen-
sive against Kurdish rebels has left
the United Nations divided about
what role it might play to help pre-
vent the confrontation from escalat-
ing.
I& The uncertainty affecting the U.N.'s
185 members was most evident last
night in the Security Council in a dis-
pute over a resolution proposed by
Britain, a strong backer of the U.S.
action, that would condemn Baghdad's
action and demand the immediate with-
drawal of Iraqi troops from northern
Iraq.
Russia, which was a close ally of the
U.S.-led drive against Saddam in the
*0991 Persian Gulf War, has threatened
to veto the British resolution because it
fails to mention the U.S. missile attacks
against air defense installations in
southern Iraq.
Efforts were under way last night
to see if some compromise can be
found that would bridge the gulf
between the British and Russian
positions and permit the council to
-take some action.
Most diplomats here were uncer-
tain last night about the chances of
finding a consensus when some
members feel that the United States
is legitimately responding to Iraqi
aggression, some believe that the
U.S. response has been dispropor-
tionate and grounded in dubious
legality, and some say that there is
truth to both arguments.
There also is concern here that the
latest U.S.-Iraq face-off may have jeop-
ardized'an oil-for-food deal, providing
for sale of Iraqi oil to raise money for
humanitarian aid to ease the impact of
six years of devastating trade sanctions
against the Iraqi masses. Secretary
General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
announced that he was postponing
implementation of the agreement,
planned to go into effect this month,
because of fears for the safety of U.N.
rsonnel in Iraq. The United States, in
particular, has hinted that it will be a
long time, if ever, before the deal can be

put back on track.
Some diplomats were pressing for
any resolution to call for resumption
of implementation of the deal as
soon as the current conflict in Iraq is
halted.
U.S. officials said that in
Washington's view there must be a
return to the situation that pertained
before the recent Iraqi attacks
against northern Iraq and a new
assessment of whether Saddam can
be trusted to treat the Kurds fairly in
carrying out the deal's provisions for
distributing food and humanitarian
supplies.
The roots of the confrontation - and
the problems it is causing for the U.N.
- go back to April 1991. At that time,
Iraq, its invasion of neighboring Kuwait
foiled by a U.S.-led military coalition,
accepted the Security Council's terms
for a cease-fire. Separatist-minded
Kurds in northern Iraq then revolted
against Baghdad's authority and were
repressed ruthlessly by Saddam's
forces.
On April 5, 1991, the Security
Council, responding to massacres that
were forcing thousands of Kurds to
attempt to flee into Turkey and Iran,
adopted Resolution 688. It condemned
the repression as a threat to internation-
al peace and security, and demanded
that Iraq halt military actions against
the Kurds.
Although the United States
became a co-sponsor of 688,
Washington initially was lukewarm
about the U.N. becoming involved in
northern Iraq, and the main impetus
for the resolution came from France,
then governed by the late Socialist
President Francois Mitterrand. In
order to avert a threatened veto by
China, the backers agreed to remove
all language explicitly or implicitly
authorizing use of military force
against Baghdad to enforce the reso-
lution.
That is the principal reason for the
current division of opinion here. In
launching cruise missile strikes against
Iraq, the Clinton administration con
tended that it was justified because
Saddam's government had violated

The Washington Post
MOSCOW - In the course of the
Russian presidential campaign.,
President Boris Yeltsin and his rivals
never tired of saying Russia is still a
great power despite its troubles. Yeltsin
once promised to create "the new
Russian grandeur."
But the events of recent weeks
have produced something less than
grand. Once again Russians have
seen potent symbols of their weak-
ness, of their reduced role in the
world and their helplessness against
a band of guerrilla fighters at home.
And Russian nationalists have wast-
ed no time in trying to exploit those
symbols of shame.
First came the rebel attack in early
August on the Chechen capital, Grozny,
where Russian troops were routed and
forced to retreat after 20 months of war.
In less than four weeks, Russia lost 500
soldiers. The army of a onetime super-
power, hungry and dispirited, was
unceremoniously kicked out of town,
and, unlike the pullout from
Afghanistan nearly a decade earlier,
this retreat was in full view in the
Russian news media.
Then, this week, came the U.S.
missile attacks on Iraq, once a Soviet
ally. The cries of protest from
Moscow were virtually ignored,
unleashing another wave of dismay
that Russia had been reduced to irrel-
evance. Virtually all the Russian com-
mentary about the attack has been to
criticize the unilateral American
offensive. The unspoken point is that
Russia was left on the sidelines, much
as it was during the NATO attack on
the Serbs in the Bosnian war last year.
Although it is not a burning public
issue in a country still preoccupied with
day-to-day survival, some specialists
say Russia's sense of weakness and
irrelevance will make it more difficult

- for other countries to build bridges to
Moscow and will fuel nationalists'
demands that Russia turn its back on
the West. This could be especially prob-
lematic in the next few months as key
decisions are looming to expand the
Atlantic alliance into Eastern Europe, a
prospect opposed by the entire Russian
political elite.
Foreign Minister Yevgeny
Primakov, a Middle East specialist
who has been close to Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein, has denounced the
U.S. bombardment of Iraq three
times in two days. In Bonn yesterday,
he lashed out against the United
States for "acting on its own initia-
tive." The Russian government
issued a second protest, charging
that "Washington is in fact claiming
the role of supreme arbiter, virtually
trying to replace the (U.N.) Security
Council."
Communist Party leader Gennady
Zyuganov, who often appeals to nation-
alist sentiments, denounced the United
States for appointing itself "policeman
of the world." He added that the attack
was "making the whole planet nervous."
Alexei Arbatov, a member of parlia-
ment from the centrist Yabloko faction
and a specialist on Russian foreign pol-
icy, said in a television interview that
Saddam is clearly leading a "criminal"
regime but "even criminals have to be
punished under the law." He criticized
Washington for acting "unilaterally"
without going to the Security Council
first and said any action against Iraq
should be based "on the force of law,
not the law of force."
But Arbatov acknowledged that
Russia had done the same in
Chechnya. "You remember," he said,
"how we waged war in Chechnya
and then discussed how to jntroduce
a state of emergency there, which
has yet to happen."

AP PHOTO
Rolf Ekens, executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission for
Disarmorment of Iraq, talks to reporters yesterday.

Resolution 688's injunction against
repression of the Kurds.
However, many Arab states and other
Third World countries note that the res-
olution does not authorize military
action, that no one here has ever tried to
argue within the Security Council that it
does and that the U.S. attacks thus rely
on a shaky legal justification. The crit-
ics charge that the U.S. position is made
even more dubious by the fact that the
missiles have been aimed against south-

ern Iraq rather than the Kurdish-inhab-
ited north.
Even those countries that have sup-
ported the U.S. attacks, among them
Britain, Germany and Japan. have not
tried to argue that the action is autho-
rized by 688. Instead they have taken
the line that Saddam has ignored 688's
call for letting the Kurds alone and that
the United States thus is justified on
moral grounds by moving to protect
them.

I

MMMMOMMmkinEq

First Baptist Ch
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1111

hurch

d 4p 4 Ir , eA le

Original work in many media to be exhibited by
members of the congregation from 11:15 a.m. to
2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 8 at the church,
512 East Huron between State and Division.
Free admission, free refreshments, free parking on
streets and in the Liberty Square parking structure
across from the Washington Street entrance.
Display only, no sales.

U By Giving Us Your Opinion
For University Housing Dining Services Test Kitchen
Help Evaluate Recipes, New Products, and Concepts.
Call 763-3612, or Stop in
Betsey Barbour Room B-5
or
" e-mail the Executive Chef at
"meyerss@umich.ed u"

. i 'w illr.:w wn" s

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