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What Does Disarmament Look Like?

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On September 12, 2002, President Bush called on the United Nations to live up to its founding purpose and enforce the determination of the international community – expressed in 16 UN Security Council resolutions – that the outlaw Iraqi regime be disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction.

On November 8, the Security Council unanimously passed UNSCR 1441, which gave the Iraqi regime “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” (OP 2).  Recognizing that genuine disarmament can only be accomplished through the willing cooperation of the Iraqi regime, the resolution called for the reintroduction of weapons inspectors into Iraq, to test whether or not the regime had made a strategic decision to give up its mass destruction weapons.

The world knows what successful cooperative disarmament looks like.  When a country decides to disarm, and to provide to the world verifiable evidence that it has disarmed, there are three common elements to its behavior:

  • The decision to disarm is made at the highest political level;

  • The regime puts in place national initiatives to dismantle weapons and infrastructure; and

  • The regime fully cooperates with international efforts to implement and verify disarmament; its behavior is transparent, not secretive.

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