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Iraqi Parliament Meets in Emergency Session to Discuss UN Resolution - 2002-11-11


Iraq's parliament meets in an emergency closed-door session Monday to discuss the U.N. Security Council resolution giving U.N. weapons inspectors full access to sites suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction. But high-level Arab officials say the decision to accept the terms of the resolution has already been made.

The emergency session of the Iraqi parliament is, according to a high-level source within the Arab League, just a procedural prelude to Iraq's acceptance of the U.N. Security Council's resolution on disarmament.

Iraqi officials say the government is reviewing the resolution, but the Arab League official told VOA, Iraq has already assured League officials it will fully accept the terms.

On matters of national security, the Iraqi parliament traditionally votes to express its support for Iraq's leadership. President Saddam Hussein is the one who decides on such matters.

But despite assurances that the Iraqi leader intends to accept the terms of the U.N. resolution, some observers are not convinced. The head of the political science department at American University in Cairo, Dan Tschirgi, thinks Saddam Hussein will attempt to find another option.

"I really am expecting what you're going to get is something that is not a categorical rejection, something that sounds moderate, but something that is, in substance, a rejection of the resolution. I think how he can do it, or why he would do it, is found in the history of his dealings with the West. I mean the man is tenacious, always tenacious and always is looking for a way out and very much playing for time," he said.

On Sunday, the 22-member Arab League unanimously accepted the Security Council resolution, calling it the only way for Iraq to avoid war.

Political analyst Mona Makrahm Ebeid agrees. The professor at American University in Cairo said that while Saddam Hussein has historically exhibited defiance toward the U.N., this time he has no choice. "You know, with Saddam Hussein, everything is possible, and he loves these kind of electric shocks that puts all the world into a turmoil; but I think, this time, the pressure is too strong. This is a final opportunity for Iraq to comply with U.N. inspectors, and there is also the possibility of lifting sanctions. So, I don't see that there is any alternative in front of President Saddam Hussein," she said.

Iraq has until Friday to decide whether to agree to the resolution that was unanimously approved by the 15-member Security Council last Friday. U.S. officials have said Iraq must comply or face attack.