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A. The message from Bush is clear: War against Saddam is inevitable, Independent, 12 March B. Behind the warm words of President Bush lurk some dangerous thoughts, Independent 12 March [leading article] C. 'Inaction is not an option', Guardian, 12 March D. Tough talk on Iraq, Guardian, 12 March [leading article] E. Stop Saddam 'marriage of terror', Telegraph, 12 March F. Bush targets Iraq for Phase Two, Times, 12 March G. Coalition politics, Times, 12 March [leading article] H. Fighting terror and its roots, FT, 12 March [leading article] I. Blair tries to placate MPs over Iraq, FT, 12 March Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org Guardian: email@example.com Telegraph: firstname.lastname@example.org Times: email@example.com Financial Times: firstname.lastname@example.org Today's coverage is dominated by Bush's latest speech and the Cheny visit. The following must be the quote of the day: 'Men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the ultimate instruments of death.' Unfortunately, they already have them. Blair continues to claim that Saddam Hussein 'has acquired' weapons of mass destruction, whilst the Times reports that the British Government continues to accept 'as it has sinece September 11, that there was no evidence to link with al-Qaeda.' What has happened to the 'intelligence-based dossier' complied by the US and Britain alleging such links (Allied dossier links Saddam to al-Qa'eda, Telegraph, 9th March) is not explained. List member Peter Brooke has a letter in today's Independent. Keep on writing! [Remember to include a telephone number and address, and that the Times demand exclusivity for all their letters]. Best wishes, Gabriel ***************************************** A. The message from Bush is clear: War against Saddam is inevitable By Rupert Cornwell in Washington and Andrew Grice Political Editor Independent 12 March 2002 George Bush vowed to wage an unrelenting war against terrorism and the states that sponsored it yesterday, and called on the rest of the "civilised world" to join him. Speaking at a White House ceremony exactly six months after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington, the American President did not mention Iraq by name, but left no doubt he was determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein. States that sponsored terrorism were seeking weapons of mass destruction and terrorist groups hungry for these weapons "would use them without a hint of conscience". The anti-terror coalition had to confront these facts. "They cannot be denied. Inaction is not an option," Mr Bush said. Dick Cheney, the US Vice- President, warned that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction must be dismantled before President Saddam formed an alliance with al-Qa'ida or other terrorist groups. Speaking after almost two hours of talks with Tony Blair in London, Mr Cheney said: "We know that clearly, given their past track record, they [Saddam's regime] would use such weapons should they be able to acquire them. We have to be concerned about the potential marriage between a terrorist organisation like al-Qa'ida and those who hold or who are proliferating knowledge about weapons of mass destruction." However, Downing Street admitted last night there was still no evidence linking Iraq to the 11 September attack. As Mr Bush addressed an audience of 1,300 dignitaries, including 100 ambassadors in Washington, his resolve was strengthened by a new opinion poll showing Americans united behind him. A massive 88 per cent endorsed his handling of the war against terrorism, and a large majority of his countrymen supported the dispatch of US troops to carry the war into other countries. More than three quarters of respondents were confident America would not be bogged down in another unwinnable Vietnam. Mr Bush spoke as the 10-day battle of Shah-i-Kot, the bloodiest of the ground war so far in Afghanistan, was winding down. But, he warned, "Shah-i-kot won't be the last battle in Afghanistan, and there will be other battles beyond Afghanistan." Every terrorist, he said, "must be made to live as an international fugitive with no place to hide, no government to hide behind and not even a safe place to sleep". The US expected every country to "remove the terrorist parasites that threaten their own countries and the peace of the world". If friendly governments needed help America would provide resources, he promised, citing the Philippines, Georgia and Yemen. The mission, Mr Bush declared, would only end "when the work is finished", when terror networks of global reach have been destroyed – "and they will be destroyed". But in contrast to the recent go-it-alone approach in Washington, Mr Bush went out of his way to stress the importance of the international alliance against terrorism. He praised some 20 countries, and referred repeatedly to the "community of civilised nations" engaged in a common struggle. Mr Blair is believed to have warned the US Vice-President that it was vital to create as wide an international coalition as possible for any action against Iraq. Mr Cheney told a joint press conference with Mr Blair at Downing Street that if United Nations weapons inspectors were allowed back into Iraq, it would have to be "a go anywhere, anytime" inspection regime. Mr Cheney, who will also visit 11 Middle East countries, said he would "engage in frank discussions and solicit opinion from our friends and allies". Both Mr Cheney and Mr Blair played down any link between Iraq and the Middle East after warnings that attacking Iraq could undermine efforts to revive the peace process. The Prime Minister said: "There is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired. It is not in doubt at all. The coalition that we have assembled has acted in a calm and a measured way and this will continue." Downing Street emphasised that no decisions were taken about military action, saying: "It is important to get away from the idea that something is imminent." The domestic pressures on Mr Blair to act with caution mounted when David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, joined a number of cabinet ministers expressing doubts. He called for an "intelligent debate" about Iraq's weapons and added: "Britain has not only been a good friend [to America] but the best friend and best friends sometimes tell you what you don't want to hear." *********************************************************** B. Behind the warm words of President Bush lurk some dangerous thoughts Independent 12 March 2002 President Bush's speech at the six-month commemoration of 11 September in Washington and Vice-President Cheney's visit to London both offer evidence of one welcome change. The US administration appears to have understood that the impression of unilateralism that it has projected in recent months has harmed the United States abroad, and was in urgent need of correction. Eschewing his "axis of evil" rhetoric, Mr Bush dwelt on the assistance being provided by other countries to the campaign against terrorism inside and outside Afghanistan. It may have surprised many Americans to learn that more than half the troops now operating in Afghanistan are non-Americans. The display of flags on the White House lawn for the commemoration sent the same message. For the first time almost since the military campaign began five months ago, Mr Bush set out to rekindle the international solidarity that was so spontaneously offered immediately after the terrorist attacks, and so heedlessly squandered by Washington thereafter. Dick Cheney, meanwhile, was in London, partly no doubt recovering from jet lag before embarking on the rigours of an 11-nation, 10-day tour of the Middle East and the Gulf. Mainly, though, his stopover embodied a similar message. He could have broken his journey in Paris, Rome or Madrid. Instead, he chose London, and talks with Mr Blair, the administration's staunchest supporter, who has sometimes seemed more zealous in his "war" against the terrorists even than George Bush. Amazing though it may seem, this was Mr Cheney's first vice-presidential trip abroad in more than a year in office. As such, Mr Cheney's coming tour of the Middle East and its inauguration in London take on additional significance. They signal, first, that Mr Bush appreciates the support he has had from Mr Blair and, second, that – although it may have been somewhat self-absorbed recently – the United States realises that it must nurture and cultivate its allies. The alternative is less isolationism than isolation. Both Mr Cheney and Mr Bush were also careful of their friends' sensibilities. The belligerent identification of Iraq as the next target of military action went largely missing from their utterances. Mr Bush left his warnings general; Mr Cheney left the war-talk to Tony Blair, who took up the verbal fight against Iraq with disturbing alacrity. Mr Cheney went out of his way to deny that the US had specific countries in its nuclear sights. An interpretation of a leaked Pentagon planning report, he said, was "over the top". The less strident, more collaborative tone of American pronouncements was a positive sign. So is the evidence, from the list of countries Mr Cheney will visit and the imminent dispatch of the US State Department's special envoy, Anthony Zinni, that Washington is reviving its involvement in the Middle East. If the US is abandoning its rhetorical unilateralism, that is all to the good. Tone counts for little, however, if the substance does not match. And beneath the more emollient language of Mr Bush lurked several worrying themes. One was the assumed desirability of US "help" for countries with their own terrorist – or insurgency – problems. Another was the startling pledge that: "We will not send American troops to every battle, but America will actively prepare other nations for the battles ahead." Mr Bush has long had a tendency to see foreign countries as would-be Americas, suffering from American problems that are amenable only to American solutions. In six months, he has adjusted his view of the world a little, but not nearly far enough. *************************************************** C. 'Inaction is not an option' Julian Borger in Washington, Ian Black in Brussels, Michael White and Ewen MacAskill Tuesday March 12, 2002 The Guardian President George Bush attempted to pull the international coalition against terrorism back into line yesterday amid growing unease about the proposed military campaign against Iraq. Most of the European and Arab members of the coalition have expressed alarm about the speed with which he switched the target from Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan to the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. Mr Bush used a speech in Washington to mark the six-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks to try to soothe their feelings. The message was reinforced by the prime minister, Tony Blair, and the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, after a two-hour meeting at Downing Street. But oil prices rose yesterday as jitters grew over the prospect of war in the Middle East. Mr Bush outlined goals for the second phase of the war against terrorism, stressing that the US was intent on dealing with the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. He said that "inaction was not an option". He confronted for the first time accusations that the US was acting unilaterally. He used the speech to single out the contributions of other members of the coalition in Afghanistan. To help repair the diplomatic damage, the president spoke, in front of more than 170 national flags, to over 100 ambassadors. Although he did not mention Iraq by name, White House officials briefing reporters beforehand directed attention to Baghdad's failure to comply with UN weapons inspections. The officials acknowledged that some US coalition partners had been taken by surprise in January by Mr Bush's diversion of the anti-terror campaign from al-Qaida to the "axis of evil". Mr Blair, in a press conference with Mr Cheney at Downing Street, concentrated on maintaining the unity of the coalition, emphasising it would not take hasty action: "The coalition that we have assembled has acted in a calm and a measured way and this will continue." Sensitive to anti-war-criticism - Labour MPs later delivered a warning letter to No 10 - he said: "No decisions, of course, have been taken yet." Aides stressed that, whatever action against Iraq is decided, nothing is likely to happen for many months. But Mr Blair was more hawkish than Mr Bush, declaring emphatically that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: "There is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired. It is not in doubt at all." Mr Cheney, who visited Britain on the first stage of an 11-nation tour that will take in mainly the Middle East, said Washington was concerned about the "potential marriage between terrorist organisations like al-Qaida" and states which were acquiring or "proliferating" weapons of mass destruction. The US and Britain are ratcheting up the rhetoric in the hope of persuading Saddam to allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq to check whether he is hoarding biological and chemical weapons and attempting to develop a nuclear capability. If he fails to bow to these demands, he faces the prospect of military action from the US and possibly Britain. Amid the first open sign of divisions inside the EU, Belgium called for the dispatch of a high-level mission to Baghdad to persuade the Iraqi leader to back down. EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, rejected the request. Instead, they called on Iraq to abide by UN resolutions and allow the return of weapons inspectors. Diplomats from other countries said privately there was no chance of such a mission for fear of allowing Iraq to exploit differences between the US and Europe. A diplomatic source said there had been a proposal last week to put out a joint EU statement on Iraq but this had to be abandoned because of disagreements between Britain and France. Although the Iraqi vice-pres ident, Taha Yassin Ramadan, ruled out at the weekend the return of weapons inspectors, Iraq has not adopted a definitive position. It may yet bargain on terms for their return. Mr Cheney raised the threshold, saying that simply allowing inspectors in was not sufficient and that Iraq would have to give them "go anywhere, any time" access. The vice-president also played down the weekend leak of what he called a routine review on the use of nuclear weapons that suggested they could be used against Iraq and other countries. "The notion that somehow this means we are planning pre-emptive nuclear strikes against seven countries, well, I would say that is a bit over the top,"he said. ******************************************************* D. Tough talk on Iraq Bush has yet to justify his new war aims Leader Tuesday March 12, 2002 The Guardian Seen from Baghdad, the intensifying western debate about enforced "regime change" in Iraq must seem a trifle odd, even surreal. After all, the Americans have been talking about overthrowing Saddam Hussein since August 1990. Yet 12 years on, President George Bush is still constrained by the same unpromising options that confounded his father. Any attempt to conquer Iraq by force would involve upwards of 250,000 ground troops, could quickly escalate into a regional conflict sucking in Israel, may involve chemical or biological weapons, and will certainly bring yet more civilian casualties. According to US contingency plans, it may even lead to use of battlefield nuclear bombs. One alternative, hiring proxy forces as in Afghanistan, has already been tried. The divided Kurds have proved unreliable allies while Saddam's repressive grip on the southern Shia is formidable. Exiled opposition forces also lack credibility. The other most frequently discussed option, a CIA-backed coup, or variants thereof, to topple Saddam from within, has become a bad joke. Mr Bush's speech yesterday marking September 11 did not mention Iraq. But his vow to treat as enemies states he believes to be developing weapons of mass destruction, regardless of their proven links to terrorism, clearly presages a new attempt on Saddam. Yet neither he nor his over-loud backing chorus in London seem to have any fresh ideas about how this might be done. Even stranger, as this dangerous scenario unfolds, is the apparent assumption that Saddam will conveniently sit back and wait to be attacked. All previous experience suggests, on the contrary, that he will tease out negotiations at the UN, possibly letting weapons inspectors return at the last minute, and play for sympathy in the Arab world. Yesterday, for example, he increased Iraq's financial aid to the Palestinians. He will appeal as before to Russia's and China's self-interest in restraining the US and will bribe others with contracts and oil. He will threaten his Saudi and Kuwaiti neighbours and may try to suborn Kurdish leaders with offers of autonomy, especially if Turkey shows signs of assisting the US. He will warn of apocalyptic destruction should Iraq be attacked, (while denying possession of WMD), stir up anti-war and anti-American sentiment in Europe, and try to hoodwink and exploit the western media. At the same time, Saddam will ostentatiously draw attention to a still considerable Iraqi conventional military capability that includes a 375,000-strong army, six Republican Guard divisions, up to 2,200 main battle tanks and (if US intelligence is correct) numerous mobile short-range missiles. If all else fails, he will hide behind his own people, fighting as before from schools, hospitals and milk factories. It is worth recalling at this point that Saddam is utterly ruthless. That is how he has survived. Mr Bush has so far failed to develop a credible plan to beat him. Crucially, he has also failed to show why yet another American war should be supported in the first place. ***************************************************************** E. Stop Saddam 'marriage of terror' By George Jones, Political Editor and Ben Fenton in Washington Daily Telegraph (Filed: 12/03/2002) SADDAM HUSSEIN'S development of weapons of mass destruction must be stopped before he can pass on Iraq's expertise to terrorist networks such as al-Qa'eda, Tony Blair and Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, agreed yesterday. President Bush: 'Men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the ultimate instruments of death' Six months to the day since the September 11 attacks, they stepped up their justification for action against Saddam by warning of the danger of a "marriage" between terrorist groups and states developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Although no direct link has been established between Iraq and the events of September 11, Mr Cheney said America was concerned that Saddam could pass on technology for a second round of more terrible attacks, costing hundreds of thousands of lives. The Prime Minister, with Mr Cheney standing beside him at No 10, said there was no doubt that Saddam posed a threat. But he emphasised that the international coalition against terrorism would take action against Iraq in a "calm and measured way". Mr Blair and Mr Cheney spoke as President Bush declared in Washington that "men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the ultimate instruments of death". Addressing a ceremony to mark the six months since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, he said "inaction is not an option" in preventing potential alliances between states with nuclear or biological weapons and terrorists with no compunction about their use. The war against terrorism was entering a second phase, he said in a sombre speech on the South Lawn of the White House. "Some states that sponsor terror are seeking or already possess weapons of mass destruction. "Terrorist groups are hungry for these weapons and would use them without a hint of conscience. We know that these weapons, in the hands of terrorists, would unleash blackmail and genocide and chaos." Mr Bush tried to calm fears that America was rushing headlong into war with Iraq. He said the second phase of the war on terrorism was to concentrate on denying al-Qa'eda a haven in the world after its ability to operate from Afghanistan was destroyed. He referred to actions in the Philippines, Yemen and Georgia as examples of what he meant, apparently seeking to make it clear that war on Iraq was, at its most imminent, only the third phase of operations envisaged by Washington. Mr Blair, speaking after nearly two hours of talks with Mr Cheney, said that no decisions had been taken on how to proceed in the wider campaign against terrorism. "There is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired," he said. "It is not in doubt at all." He expressed concern that al-Qa'eda would have used chemical, biological or nuclear weapons on September 11 if it had managed to acquire them. He said it was right to expose and stamp out the trade in the technology of such weapons. Mr Cheney backed up the message, saying that information obtained from al-Qa'eda's training camps and caves in Afghanistan showed that the network was "aggressively seeking" to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capability. He said: "How far they got, we don't know. But we know that, given their record, they would use such weapons were they able to acquire them." He said the West had to be concerned about a potential "marriage" between al-Qa'eda and those who wanted to help the organisation or were spreading knowledge about weapons of mass destruction. "We need to find ways of making sure the terrorists never acquire that capability and that it can never be used against the United States, the United Kingdom or our allies." Mr Cheney, called at Downing Street on his way to a tour of 11 countries in the Middle East, where the issue of Iraq and, more urgently, the Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed will dominate his discussions. He made clear that any decision on military action would be taken in the closest possible consultation with Britain - but stressed that Britain retained the right not to take part. There are strong doubts in the Cabinet and among Labour MPs about Britain becoming involved in new military action against Saddam. The Prime Minister made a clear attempt to reassure his party and European allies that America and Britain would not rush into a new conflict, saying: "What is important is that we consider, reflect and deliberate." After Mr Blair's talks with Mr Cheney, he received a blunt reminder that backing American action against Saddam could precipitate a major revolt among Labour MPs, possibly the biggest since he came to power. Two leading Labour dissenters, Alice Mahon and Tam Dalyell, delivered an open letter to No 10 which said: "Take no part in the decision to murder more helpless civilians." More than 70 MPs have signed a Commons motion expressing "deep unease" at any further action against Iraq. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, reflected some of the tensions in the Government when he underlined the need for an "intelligent debate" on the options for dealing with Saddam. He told BBC Radio: "There is no point in going to war unless you know what the objective is, that you weighed up what the consequences would be in terms of other major events that affect social cohesion or support." **************************************** F. Bush targets Iraq for Phase Two By Philip Webster, Political Editor and Damian Whitworth in Washington The Times March 12, 2002 No neutrality in war on terror, warns US PRESIDENT BUSH targeted Iraq yesterday as he opened the second phase of the war on terrorism with a warning to ambassadors from 120 countries that there could be no neutrality in the battle ahead. Mr Bush marked the six months since the attacks on America by making plain that he was trying to reassemble the international coalition for the next stage of the conflict. As he did so, America and Britain tried to bolster the case for military action against Iraq with a warning that Saddam Hussein should be stopped before he could pass on his nuclear know-how to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. In a deliberate move to link future action against Iraq with the terrorists behind the September 11 attacks on America, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, and Tony Blair both raised fears of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists. Mr Cheney, speaking after Downing Street talks with Mr Blair and other Cabinet ministers, said there had to be concern about a “potential marriage” of groups such as al-Qaeda and those who would help them or were handing on knowledge about lethal weapons. Mr Blair pointed out that as early as September 14 he had spoken of the threat of countries “trading” in such weapons. It was the most concerted effort so far to justify action against Iraq as an integral part of the war against terrorism, even though there remains no evidence of a link between Iraq and September 11. In Washington President Bush, in his White House speech, also called for a global effort to keep chemical, nuclear or biological weapons out of terrorists’ hands. He said: “Men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the ultimate instruments of death.” Mr Bush said that he was rallying the international coalition for support in the next phase of the war on terror, telling the ambassadors that “there can be no neutrality”. He thanked America’s allies, singling out Britain among those who had played a vital role in the war in Afghanistan. The President pledged to go after terror networks of “global reach” as well as state sponsors of terrorism. Without specifically mentioning what he has called the “axis of evil” countries — Iraq, Iran and North Korea — Mr Bush was clearly referring to Iraq when he said that countries that were known to be trying to build weapons of mass destruction could expect to be targeted. “Every nation in our coalition must take seriously the growing threat of terror on a catastrophic scale, terror armed with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons,” he said. Of the al-Qaeda network, he said: “We face an enemy of ruthless ambition unconstrained by law or morality. They are determined to expand the scale and the scope of their murder. The terror that targeted New York and Washington could next strike any centre of civilisation.” He said that the coalition must act deliberately, “but inaction is not an option”. Britain and the United States went out of their way to say that decisions on how to tackle the Iraqi threat were some way off, with Downing Street saying the discussions were in their infancy. Mr Cheney, however, when asked how America would convince the world that action against Iraq was justified, said that additional facts had emerged since September 11. He said: “We know from the work we have been able to do in Afghanistan that in the training camps and caves where al-Qaeda were holed up, they were aggressively seeking to develop the same capabilities of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. How far they got we do not know. But we know that, given their past track record, they would use such weapons were they able to acquire them. The threat is real and great. We need to find ways of making sure such terrorists never acquire that capability, so that it can never be used against the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies.” Mr Blair’s spokesman said later that the Prime Minister agreed absolutely with the link that Mr Cheney was making. “What September 11 showed us is that there are some very evil people in the world, people who, had they had the capability to attack New York with weapons of mass destruction, would have done so. The result then would not have been thousands of deaths, but tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of deaths. The British Government accepted, as it has since September 11, that there was no evidence to link Iraq with al-Qaeda. Mr Blair and ministers used the absence of evidence linking Iraq with the September 11 attacks to play down the likelihood of an attack on Saddam in the weeks when they were building the coalition for action in Afghanistan. However, since Mr Bushs axis of evil speech, the Government has been preparing the ground for the second phase of the campaign, including Iraq. Labour MPs opposed to military action against Iraq have accused Mr Blair of latching on to Mr Bushs coat-tails over the second phase of the anti-terrorism war. However, Mr Blair said yesterday that he had said in September that there were groups of people, occasionally states, which would trade the technology and capability of such weapons. The Prime Minister said the anti-terrorism coalition had acted in a calm and measured way. We have also said right from the outset that the threat of weapons of mass destruction will have to be addressed, he said. No decisions, of course, have been taken yet on how we proceed, but this is a time when we discuss how important it is that the issue of weapons of mass destruction is properly dealt with. He added: There is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired. As expected, he also spoke of the importance of seeking an end to the Middle East conflict, saying: We want to see a resolution to the Middle East peace process; thats vitally important, not just in terms of the stability of the region, in terms of sheer humanity. ************************************************* G. Coalition politics Bush makes the case for international action on terror The Times 12 March The ceremonies conducted in New York and Washington yesterday were predominantly designed as an act of remembrance for the 3,000 victims of terrorism on September 11. But they also provided George W. Bush with the opportunity to report on the progress of “Phase One” of the War on Terror and to indicate how matters will develop as the campaign in Afghanistan is drawn to a close. There has been much idle talk, in Europe especially, of America acting in its own interests, taking no account of the opinions of ot her nations, and abandoning diplomacy in favour of raw military power. The President’s address sought to tackle that contention directly and make the internationalist case for action against terror. It was a forceful and measured performance. Mr Bush acknowledged the practical assistance that the United States had received from other nations in Afghanistan. He put enormous emphasis on the importance of consultation within the coalition of countries that had come together after September 11. He stressed that it was not his intention to dispatch American troops to every corner of the planet, but that he would provide resources to those leaders who wished to take on terrorist factions within their borders. He outlined the benefits which would result, not only to the US but to all concerned, through the isolation and elimination of terrorist organisations which possess a global capacity. And he confirmed, if that were needed, that “Phase Two” of the conflict had already been initiated. This was hardly a recklessly “unilateralist” speech nor one that displayed an arrogance born of rapid success in ejecting the Taleban from power and pushing al-Qaeda deep into the mountains. It was in stark contrast to the hysterical coverage that a Defence Department study — which the Administration is mandated by law to present to Congress — has received since it was first leaked at the weekend. Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, dealt neatly with that document at his press conference alongside Tony Blair in Downing Street. He observed that America does not target nuclear weapons on a day-to-day basis against any nation at present. The notion of a plan for multiple pre-emptive missile strikes was, he noted dryly, therefore “a bit over the top”. Both Mr Cheney and the President made it clear, however, that the issues of rogue groups, such as that headed by Osama bin Laden, and rogue states, such as the Iraq led by Saddam Hussein, could not be neatly separated. One was in the market for weapons of mass destruction while the other would be content to supply such material for use against a common enemy. Mr Bush made plain his view that the threats of “mass terror” via a formal state and of “terrorism” through informal organisations were to be treated as equally dangerous. He argued persuasively that “men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the ultimate instruments of death”. That sentence and sentiment have become the absolute essence of American foreign policy. As Mr Blair again recognised yesterday, this is a stance that those outside of the United States should welcome. No other nation is in any position either to smash terrorists who are determined to attack liberal democratic values or to prevent regimes dedicated to acquiring biological, chemical and nuclear weapons — for blackmail or battle — from realising their objectives. Nor is there good reason to assume that such networks or nations will desist of their own accord or in response to friendly overtures. The US must not feel constrained to act by the concerns of others but, as the President said yesterday, would still work best in concert with a coalition. On these issues, Mr Bush rightly insisted, there can be no immunity and no neutrality. *********************************************************** H. LEADER: Fighting terror and its roots Financial Times; Mar 12, 2002 President George W. Bush yesterday sought to stiffen the resolve of his allies in his global campaign against terrorism. Six months after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he signalled his determination to maintain the momentum of the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists and to turn them into permanent international fugitives. For the terrorists there would be no immunity, he said, and for states where they are sheltering "there can be no neutrality". The message was both blunt and necessary. With the first phase of the war in Afghanistan nearing its end, the second phase will be both more diffuse and more sensitive diplomatically. The US administration's attention is turning to routing al-Qaeda cells in countries such as the Philippines and Georgia and particularly in Yemen. But the critical focus of the second phase in the anti-terror struggle is on the threat posed by rogue states seeking weapons of mass destruction. In that campaign, Iraq is emerging as a likely battlefield later this year. Pledges of solidarity in the anti-terrorist campaign were swiftly forthcoming yesterday both from Europe and from many other parts of the world. But maintaining the cohesion of the alliance in an area as divided and conflict-torn as the Middle East is going to be critical to its success. To do that, Mr Bush and his team must demonstrate that they are prepared to put just as much effort into bringing peace to the ever-bloodier Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they are in seeking to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. The message Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, will hear repeatedly on his tour of the region this week is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict breeds radicalism in the Arab world and feeds recruits to terrorist networks such as al-Qaeda. The US is right to call on the rest of the world, particularly Europe, to take more seriously the threat of proliferation. But if it perceives the Iraqi regime to be the most immediate problem, it must first build a strong case for military action and act through the United Nations Security Council. At least in its public statements the US has laid out the conditions that would avert military action: Iraq must allow UN weapons inspectors unconditional and unfettered access. Other Security Council members agree on the need for a resumption of inspections as the best means of checking Iraq's ambitions. Mr Saddam has received the message. This is why he has resumed talks with Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, on the possible return of arms monitors. But he will probably seek in the next few weeks to create divisions within the UN by making enough concessions to satisfy Russia, France and China - the three security council members that have been most sympathetic - but not the US and the UK. To counter this approach the US and its partners on the Security Council must agree the exact terms of the demands to be made on Iraq. If they want to avoid a military conflict, Baghdad's friends should then make it clear that Mr Saddam's only option is to comply. The Iraqi leader is also counting on Arab opposition to a new Gulf war to save him from decisive US military action. Arab leaders fear unbearable domestic pressures in the current climate of popular hostility towards the US and raging violence between Palestinians and Israelis. The other essential focus of US policy in the Middle East must therefore be to restrain Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister. His pursuit of a purely military strategy to put down the Palestinian intifada has allowed the conflict to spiral out of control. At least so far the US, the only power that has leverage over Israel, has resisted Arab - and European - appeals to put pressure on the Israeli government. The assumption in Washington seems to have been that Iraq can be divorced from the other crisis in the region, that the Arab-Israeli conflict can be contained and that the region's authoritarian regimes can suppress popular opposition to a campaign against Baghdad. That is doubtful. Mr Bush has decided to dispatch Anthony Zinni, his Middle East envoy, to the region this week to mediate another ceasefire. The renewed US interest in the conflict should not be limited to temporary appeasement of Arab allies. In the Middle East, much anger towards the US is fuelled by popular perceptions of unconditional American support for Israel. Whether in the refugee camps of Gaza or the middle-class neighbourhoods of Amman, resentment is increasing. Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict remain the twin cancers of the region. Neither can be separated from the other. All the states seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction use the conflict with Israel as an excuse. That is why Middle East peace is an essential part of the process of stopping weapons proliferation and curbing terrorism. ********************************************************* I. Blair tries to placate MPs over Iraq Financial Times; Mar 12, 2002 By ROSEMARY BENNETT Tony Blair yesterday attempted to placate growing opposition from Labour MPs over future military action against Iraq, saying nothing had yet been de-cided on how to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Following talks with Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, on the next phase of the war against terrorism, the prime minister said while the threat to security from Iraq was real, discussions over how to deal with it were in their infancy. "What's important is that we consider, reflect and deliberate," Mr Blair said. "The coalition that we have assembled has acted in a calm and a measured way and this will continue," he added. More than 70 Labour MPs, including some former ministers, have signed a Commons motion calling military action against Iraq "unwise" and a threat to the anti-terrorism coalition. One signatory said the government would suffer its biggest rebellion yet if Mr Blair offered the US military support in any future action. MPs are uneasy about the lack of evidence supporting statements that Iraq threatens the security of the west, and what sort of military tactics would be employed to overthrow Mr Saddam, the president. They stepped up their campaign after Mr Cheney's visit, delivering an open letter to Downing Street calling on the government to take "no part in the decision to murder more helpless civilians". Mr Blair may even face resignations from the government if he backs the US. Robin Cook, leader of the Commons, and Clare Short, international development secretary, voiced their reservations at a cabinet meeting last week. Yesterday, David Blunkett, the home secretary, did nothing to dispel reports of ministerial splits, saying the government faced "genuine dilemmas". "There is no point in going to war unless you know what the objective is, (unless you've) weighed up what the consequences would be," he told BBC radio. However, Mr Blair is also keen to protect his close relationship with President George W. Bush, forged after the September 11 attacks on the US and yesterday talked up the threat from Iraq. Following talks with Mr Cheney, the prime minister said governments needed to learn the lessons from their failure to act years ago in Afghanistan and prevent it becoming a training ground for terrorists. "That there is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired, is not in doubt at all," he said. He will hold talks on Iraq with Mr Bush next month when he flies to the president's Texas ranch for the weekend. *********************************************** _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk