December 6; When ordering parts for medical equipment, Iraq was discovered ordering six times as many electronic switches as the medical equipment needed. It turned out that the surplus switches were capable of being used to build nuclear weapons. This is a common situation with current technology. Many components in military equipment is also found in civilian gear. US warplanes attacked targets in southern Iraq because of Iraqi challenges to US airborne patrols over the no-fly zones.
The UN Security Council continues to debate a new oil-for-food resolution regarding Iraq. The last six-month program ended on 20 Nov; the UN Security Council agreed to a two-week extension to continue negotiating a comprehensive extension that would return UN arms inspectors. Iraq, furious that it did not get the new program it wanted, cut off oil exports. The two-week extension expired on 4 Dec, and the Council has now voted for a one-week extension (as the US wanted) not the four-week extension France wanted. The French, Chinese, and Russians want a new comprehensive resolution that would extend oil sales, return inspectors, extend humanitarian aid, and quickly end UN sanctions on a specific date. The US and Britain want a similar comprehensive resolution, but one that does not lift sanctions until the Iraqis "answer all outstanding questions". And therein lies the old conflict. Iraq says it has answered all of the questions and that sanctions must end; the US and Britain note many discrepancies in the Iraqi replies (not to mention many proven falsehoods) and demand further answers. The Russians and Chinese (and to a lesser extent the French), are satisfied with the answers to date.--Stephen V Cole