The Iraqi Shell Game

It appears that the Iraqis are already trying to thwart UN inspectors. They’re claiming that key equipment to create medium-range Scud missiles was either moved or destroyed by Allied bombing. UN inspectors will try to follow up on these claims, but given the limited time for inspections, it remains to be seen if they will locate the missing equipment.

The Iraqis are scrambling to appear compliant to UN resolutions while hiding their chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons faciilities. However, no matter how well they try to fool the UN inspectors, the chances of Iraq presenting an accurate and truthful list of their weapons by December 8th is virtually nil. At this point, Saddam can try to hide his weapons and lose in a war with the US, or he can admit everything and also lose his ability to keep his people from rising up against him. Either way, Saddam Hussein is on his way out, and it unfortunately looks like he’ll pursue the more bloody option.

Another curious bit from the article:

"They surprised us with a visit today," Albert Moussa Younan, manager of one of the sites, told the Associated Press news agency.

"They did not find anything because we are a company that produces alcoholic beverages."

Isn’t alcohol prohibited under the Koran? One wonders why the supposedly pious Muslims in Saudi Arabia are so wary of a US action against Iraq…

UPDATE: The Washington Post has
my answer

Production of alcoholic beverages is legal in Iraq and is a specialty of the country’s Christian minority. Consumption is legal in homes but has been banned in public places since the government put increased emphasis on Iraq’s Islamic heritage after the 1991 war.

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