The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) is a formal body of the United Nations created in 1999 as a replacement for the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) which preceded UNMOVIC.  The mission of both UNSCOM and UNMOVIC has been to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction; including chemical, biological weapons, and missiles with a range of more than 150 km.  UNSCOM and UNMOVIC were further charged with devising and operating the current Iraqi weapons inspection program. The specific mandates for UNSCOM and UNMOVIC are contained in a series of 16 UN Security Council resolutions over the past 10 years.

UNMOVIC inspectors are the guys on the ground in Baghdad .  If you are looking at headlines lately, they're the folks in the pictures holding empty gas shells, and pointing at missiles that violate the 150 km requirement and are thus expressly proscribed for ownership by Iraq.  I'm thinking that they've got one of the hardest jobs on earth right now.

The UN Secretary General appointed Dr. Hans Blix of Sweden to be the Commission’s Executive Chairman.  As Chairman, Blix reports directly to the UN Security Council on the current status and efficacy of the inspection regime in Iraq.  The transcript of Dr. Blix's most recent report can be found in Hans Blix's report to the U.N. Security Council on February 14, 2003.



Reference materials courtesy United Nations Website:

UNMOVIC guys are much better known as "arms inspectors".

Currently, UN arms inspectors are in Iraq, looking for weapons that they shouldn't have as part of the agreement that ended the last undeclared war between the United States and Iraq.

These inspectors look like tourists, not clean, efficient German tourists, but shabbier tourists. The only thing that tells you they might not be tourists are the hats in that special UN light-blue color that they wear.

The current administration in the White House is trying to convince people that these arms inspectors aren't getting anything done, and that Saddam is easily able to deceive these guys by hiding weapons of mass destruction and moving stuff around on trucks. The Dick Cheney mantra is "ineffective arms inspectors". If arms inspectors are supposed to provide a very good reason to blow Iraq up, they haven't been effective. If they were supposed to make other Iraqis want to blow up Saddam Hussein, they haven't been effective.

Though the inspectors don't seem to be finding huge stockpiles of anthrax, sarin, or other weapons that other countries have lost track of in their own back yards, I haven't heard of any Iraqi attacks using any sorts of weapons, or any terrorist attacks using Iraqi weapons - while the blue-hatted gentlemen have been on the ground. Fairly effective, from the viewpoint of potential victims of said weapons of mass destruction.

I'm all for putting light-blue hats on the hundreds of thousands of US troops already in the area, and letting them sightsee throughout the cradle of Western civilization, keeping Iraqi truck drivers employed moving weapons around where they can be hidden but not used.

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