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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Powell getting tetchy..
    #1308813 - 02/14/03 08:55 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,896139,00.html

A case for war? Yes, say US and Britain. No, say the majority

Julian Borger in Washington and Ewen MacAskill
Saturday February 15, 2003
The Guardian

The US and Britain's drive to gain international backing for a war with Iraq was in deep trouble last night in the face of unexpectedly upbeat reports by United Nations weapons inspectors.

American and British diplomats had hoped to circulate draft language as early as today for a new UN resolution authorising an invasion. But after yesterday's heated security council showdown, in which the overwhelming majority made clear their opposition to war, that strategy is in jeopardy.

Britain last night insisted it would press ahead with framing the resolution. An official said it was unlikely that a draft resolution would be circulated over the weekend. Instead, it would be pushed back until Tuesday at the earliest. "If you slap down a piece of paper right away, it doesn't look like you were listening."

The French and Russian foreign ministers were given rare applause in the council chamber yesterday when they demanded more time for inspections, in striking contrast to the stony silence that greeted hoarse and irritable insistence that time had run out from Colin Powell, the US secretary of state.

Far from resolving differences, the reports by Mr Blix and Mohamed El Baradei, the two chief inspectors, appeared only to deepen the divide in the security council, and in effect called the US bluff on whether Washington is prepared to attack Iraq without UN blessing.

Mr Powell faced the additional humiliation of having the reliability of the intelligence evidence he had presented against Iraq 10 days earlier called into question by both chief inspectors.

It was, most of all, a disastrous day for Tony Blair, who has committed more than 30,000 troops to the US-led military build-up in the Gulf, but whose government has pledged that it would only go to war without UN backing if a war resolution was "unreasonably blocked" by one of the permanent five states.

This morning he will face a potentially hostile audience when he speaks to the Scottish Labour party in Glasgow. Public unease about the drive to war is also expected to be underlined in one of the largest protest marches in recent times, to be held in London today. If Mr Blair goes to war without a second resolution, he will face ministerial resignations and mass defections from the Labour party.

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, tried to hold the US-UK line against mounting opposition. He urged all 15 members to "hold our nerve" in the face of President Saddam Hussein.

Among the 13 other council members, however, his words fell on deaf ears. The US and Britain won clear support only from Spain.

Dr Blix surprised the security council with a mixed assessment of Iraqi compliance much milder in tone than his report 17 days earlier, in which he accused Baghdad of refusing to accept the need for disarmament. Yesterday, he focused on steps Iraq had taken to improve cooperation, reduce the number of minders accompanying inspectors, and provide more documents on weapons not accounted for.

Mr Blix directly challenged satellite photographs of a munitions depot which Mr Powell had claimed showed decontamination vehicles associated with chemical weapons. He said: "The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection."

Mr El Baradei, the chief nuclear inspector, also questioned the emphasis Mr Powell and British officials had put on the discovery of 2,000 pages of documents at the home of an Iraqi scientist. The US and Britain portrayed it as an attempt to hide papers, but Mr El Baradei said there was nothing new in the documents.

Visibly angry with the diplomatic rout, Mr Powell insisted "the threat of force must remain". He said he knew as a former soldier that war should be a last resort, but he insisted "it must be a resort". "More inspectors? Sorry. It's not the answer," he said.

He was scathing about the suggestion that Iraq had offered genuine concessions. Yes, the inspectors were being accompanied by fewer Iraqi government minders but "they're still being minded, still being watched, still being bugged".

The security council now faces a crisis. At best, it is likely to be deadlocked for days. At worst, the Bush administration may decide that it has waited long enough and go it alone.



--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
Posts: 1,351
Loc: BC Canada
Re: Powell getting tetchy.. [Re: Xlea321]
    #1309483 - 02/15/03 09:14 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Sorry, never heard of 'tetchy'.

Hmm, doesn't sound like the people at the UN are buying it, either. Who is? Just the duct tape buyers?



--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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