The following editorial appeared in Thursday's Los Angeles Times:
The U.N. Security Council argued for more than a month and rejected more than 25 candidates before agreeing this week on Hans Blix of Sweden, the former head of the Vienna, Austria-based International Atomic Energy Agency, to lead the commission charged with finding and destroying Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. But Baghdad has already denounced the new body as a tool of American spying. If it holds to its defiance and refuses to cooperate with further arms inspections, the Security Council's readiness to enforce its own resolutions will again be tested.
Firm action is by no means a given. France, China and Russia, all with veto power on the council, abstained on the December vote that set up the new U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.
That gives the three countries the option of claiming they have not endorsed its purposes. All want to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq nine years ago because all are eager to resume lucrative trade and commercial relations with Baghdad.
Only unhindered on-the-ground inspections by experts can assure that.
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