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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 80 / 216

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265.

Officials went on to note that:

The return of UN weapons inspectors would allow greater scrutiny of Iraqi WMD programmes . . . If they found significant evidence of WMD,were expelled or, in face of an ultimatum,not re-admitted in the first place,then this could pro vide legal justification for large-scale military action . . .

but cautioned that:

Saddam is only likely to permit the return of inspectors if he believes the threat of large-scale US military action is imminent and that such concessions would prevent the US from acting decisively. Playing for time,he would then embark on a re newed policy of non co-operation . . .

and that:

. . . although containment has held for the past decade,Iraq has progressiv ely increased its international engagement. Even if the [Goods Review List] makes sanctions more sustainable,the sanctions regime could collapse in the lo ng-term.

  • 266.

    Secondly, in the context of the policy option of regime change by military means, officials noted that a full opinion would need to be sought from the Government’s Law Officers if the policy option were to be taken further. The paper advised that regime change of itself had no basis in international law. It noted the judgement of the JIC that there was no recent evidence of Iraqi complicity with international terrorism, and thus no justification for action against Iraq based on action in self-defence to combat imminent threats of terrorism. It therefore concluded that offensive military action against Iraq could only be justified if Iraq were held to be in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which imposed obligations on Iraq in regard to the elimination of its prohibited weapons programmes. It also noted that Resolution 687 did not terminate the authority to use force mandated in Security Council Resolution 678, so that a violation of Resolution 687 could revive the authorisation to use force in Resolution 678.

  • 267.

    Officials noted, however, that for the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and the majority of the 15 members of the Council to take the view that Iraq was in breach of its obligations under Resolution 687:

  • -

    They would need to be convinced that Iraq was in breach of its obligations regarding WMD,and ballistic missiles. Such proof would need to be incontrovertible and of large-scale activity. Current intelligence is insufficiently robust to meet this criterion . . .

or

  • -

    If P5 unity could be obtained,Iraq refused to readmit UN inspectors after a clear

ultimatum by the UN Security Council.

or

  • -

    The UN inspectors were re-admitted to Iraq and found sufficient evidence of

WMD activity or were again expelled trying to do so.

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