Waverer voted yes ‘to stop use of force and US right to go to war’
By Robert Fisk
Until the very last moment, it was expected that Syria would abstain from voting at the UN. Damascus has, for at least two years, publicly condemned the UN sanctions against Iraq which have cost the lives of half a million children, according to former UN officials
Syria’s minister of information, a senior member of the Baath party, told The Independent last night that his country voted for the resolution on Iraq’s arms inspection in order “to eliminate the [US] right to go to war against Iraq.” Adnan Omran, formerly Syria’s ambassador to London, said the resolution prevented the use of force by the United States and “guaranteed” the central role of the UN. Mr Omran said Syria had been assured by other members of the Security Council that the resolution did not give the US government the right to invade Iraq.
“We did not accept that the resolution permitted the US and Britain to go to war against Iraq,” he said. The Syrian government, Mr Omran said, accepts the “central role of the UN Security Council” in the crisis.
Until the very last moment, it was expected that Syria would abstain from voting at the UN. Damascus has, for at least two years, publicly condemned the UN sanctions against Iraq which have cost the lives of half a million children, according to former UN officials. Damascus and Baghdad have been renewing relations since 2000; even rail links between the two capitals have now been restored through Turkey. Much more serious for Syria, however, is the evidence that the US – or at least that part of the administration which supports Israel – is building a case to put Damascus on the “terrorist” list because of its support for the Lebanese Hizbollah in its war against Israel.
For many weeks, American newspapers have been claiming that the Hizbollah has new long-range missiles that could target Israeli cities – which appears to be untrue – and that the movement was behind the killing of 241 US military personnel at the American marine base in Beirut in 1993. For the Syrians, the real question will be: if the US invades Iraq, who will be next? Iran? Or Syria? —The Independent