President Saddam Hussein of Iraq met with his Cabinet yesterday and stressed that Iraq “does not seek conflict” with the United States. He expressed hope that a solution to the crisis involving U.N. weapons inspectors could be worked out. Iraq has opposed American members of the U.N. team, charging that they are biased. Despite the cool rhetoric, President Hussein did not signal any willingness to compromise, and Iraqi officials cautioned citizens to prepare for a possible U.S. air attack.
The controversy over the UN inspections teams is important because the UN must certify that Iraq has dismantled its major biological, chemical and nuclear weapons before a punishing international embargo against Iraq is lifted. At that point, Iraq can re-enter the world oil market. Although the sanctions stopped most of the oil out of Iraq, they’ve also devastated the country.
- Dr. Assad Bakir, an internist and kidney specialist at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He is a Chicago board member of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.