The United States may consider the weapons of mass destruction it claims Iraq possesses a powderkeg of regional insecurity, but it should also consider the implications of its own strategy. Simmering Arab and Muslim discontent with perceived American aggression could prove just as explosive. Iraq handed its inventory of weapons to the United Nations yesterday, fulfilling a day early a key obligation of the latest Security Council resolution. The weighty document, said by Iraqi officials to be an exhaustive list, will be considered in the coming week by the council's members. But even before the document was presented, US President George W. Bush was reiterating that no matter what Baghdad said, there was already conclusive evidence of its weapons of mass destruction. UN weapons inspectors, in Iraq for more than a week, have yet to find that proof. Iraq has co-operated and allowed them access to whatever suspected weapons production or storage sites they have wanted to visit. Iraq's President Saddam Hussein may not have been so helpful in the past, but this time he has taken to heart the threat of American-led military action if he does not comply. The inspectors have reported only one suspicious anomaly - the apparent removal from a factory of equipment they believed may have been used for weapons production. Before and throughout the inspections, Mr Bush and his ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and their senior officials, have not given Iraq breathing room. They have issued frequent statements condemning Mr Hussein's regime and the biological, chemical and nuclear weapons they say it has been trying to acquire or develop or may already have in its possession. Mr Bush and Mr Blair say they have firm evidence, and they may be right, but no supporting evidence to their claims has yet been given. Mr Hussein is in a no-win situation. But the US and its allies must also remember that the more they push Mr Hussein's regime, the more they are being perceived by Arabs and Muslims as anti-Islam. Although Mr Hussein may not be well liked in the Muslim world, there is a danger of his being elevated to martyr status. As increasing numbers of young Muslims turn to extremist, anti-American groups, it is clear Mr Bush is playing a dangerous game. He and his advisers would be wise to tone down their rhetoric and let Mr Hussein be judged fairly, rather than force him into a war with uncertain implications.