UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- The U.N. Security Council voted 14 to 0 Friday to immediately shut down the U.N. weapons-inspection unit for Iraq, drawing to a close 16 years of international scrutiny of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.It's not like I'm advocating Chapter VII action against the United States for invading Iraq on false pretexts, but how about at least letting the UN admit there were no WMDs in Iraq?
The action ended more than four years of political deadlock between the United States and Russia over the fate of the inspection effort. Russia abstained, citing U.S. and British refusal to permit the inspectors to provide a final report confirming Iraq's disarmament.
The resolution -- sponsored by the United States and Britain -- offers no formal judgment on the status of Iraq's weapons program. Instead, it refers to the findings of a CIA inspection team that concluded in 2004 that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
"These efforts have demonstrated that the current government of Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction or delivery systems," Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said after the vote. Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, had made a personal pledge to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki before leaving Baghdad to shutter the U.N. weapons programs.
Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Hamid al-Bayati, hailed the decision, saying an "appalling chapter in Iraq's modern history" has been closed. He said he welcomed the council's decision to return about $63 million in Iraqi oil proceeds -- which have been used to fund the inspections program -- to Iraq.