|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War: Report on unofficial contacts with Iraq prior to the war. There is less there than the headline implies; the CIA is reported to have worked many other channels, and official channels were open and unused (including via the Russians, French, and Saudis). It seems to me that official third parties would have been better for propaganda value as well as negotiation. Christopher Hitchens argues that the reports appear to be accurate, and if you believe the offers were sincere, they would validate assumptions made in the buildup to war:
- approaches were made to the hawks, not "to the Carter Center", indicating that only the threat of force was taken seriously
- UN inspections were a farce, so inspection by "2000 FBI agents" and unlimited US military was offered as a serious inspection regime
- Iraq housed an important al Queda operative (wanted for the 1993 WTC bombing), and had for a long time
- Iraq could drop its support for Palestinian suicide bombers and other militants, confirming their cynical use of the issue (consistent with reports of manipulation of Palestinian students, etc.)
- access to Iraqi oil was on offer, so war wasn't necessary if that's all the US wanted