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UN: Inspectors Continue Work As Iraq Steps Up U.S. Criticism

Baghdad, 21 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- United Nations inspectors continued their work in and around Baghdad today as Iraqi newspapers hotly criticized the United States' contention that Iraq is in "material breach" of its disarmament obligations. Today marks the 22nd day of work for UN inspectors looking for evidence Iraq is building weapons of mass destruction. Arms inspectors today visited at least four suspect sites.

Also today, Iraq's influential "Babel" newspaper, run by the elder son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, marked its return to the newsstand after a month-long ban with a tirade against U.S. President George W. Bush.

The newspaper, which had been banned for insulting Arab leaders, said despite "the transparency with which [Iraq] dealt with UN Security Council resolutions," the U.S. administration is "still pounding the drums of war."

A second newspaper, "Al-Iraq," accused the U.S. of playing "a preconceived game with a clear target: to invade Iraq militarily." The U.S. this week said Iraq's omission of information from its arms report represented a violation of its disarmament obligations.