The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] from today's papers: 08-04-02

A. Israel in Ulster's mould, Daily Telegraph, 8th April [leading article]
B. A small nod in the direction of Labour critics, Daily Telegraph, 8th
C. We are ready to hit Iraq, says Blair, DT, 8th April
D. Meeting of minds at ranch deep in the heart of Texas, Financial Times,
8th April
E. Mr Blair should point out the real links between Israel, Iraq and
al-Qa'ida, Independent, 8th April [leading article]
F. Hawkish Blair tries to calm the doubters, Independent, 8th April
G. Blair warns of 'regime change' in Iraq, Independent, 8th April
H. Blair gets engaged, Guardian, 8th April
I. Tension grows as Iraq dismisses Blair demands, Guardian, 8th April
J. This was a week that will change the world, The Times, 8th April [opinion
piece by William Rees-Mogg]
K. Blair and Bush in new plan for Israel, The Times, 8th April
L. Summit statesmanship, The Times, 8th April [leading article]
M. Blair's 7th April speech in full [taken from The Times' web-site]

Financial Times:
The Times:

[Letter Writers: Please remember to include your address and telephone
number and that The Times require exclusivity for all their letters.]

The above make up most of the Iraq-related coverage in today's broadsheets.
Note the following reference to sanctions in E:

'The misery suffered by the Iraqi people is one of the grievances of
Arab-Muslim extremists against America, because the mismanaged policy of
sanctions has allowed Saddam to persuade much of Arab – and some credulous
western – opinion that Iraqi children are dying as a result of the US's
policy rather than his own. The logic of that is to change the sanctions
rather than to inflict further suffering on Iraqi civilians.'

Are CAFOD, Save the Children, Human Rights Watch [who call for Saddam
Hussein's indictment for war crimes], the Church of England's International
and Development Affairs Committee all included in the category of 'credulous
western opinion' I wonder?

Best wishes,

voices uk

A. Israel in Ulster's mould

Daily Telegraph
(Filed: 08/04/2002)

TONY BLAIR'S support for President Bush is brave and right. Many Labour
supporters - by no means just the radical Left - will be repelled by the
sight of the Prime Minister spending the weekend at the President's ranch
and discussing a new war in Iraq. Yet Mr Blair understands that his
closeness to the President gives him unique influence. Never has his
cherished vision of Britain acting as a bridge between Europe and the United
States looked more realisable.

There was a dissonance, however, between Mr Blair's flintiness vis-a-vis
Iraq and his desire to deploy British monitors on the West Bank. The correct
attitude to terrorism, as Mr Bush knows, is uncomplicated opposition. When
New York and Washington were attacked, the response was direct and pitiless.
Yet Israel, which has suffered proportionately more from terrorist outrages
than any other state, is expected to respond by making concessions to the
men of violence.

Mr Blair drew a parallel between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the
politics of Northern Ireland. It is a good analogy, but not quite in the way
he intended. Mr Blair's policy in Northern Ireland was, in effect, to
appease the gunmen in return for a cessation of violence. Now Mr Blair wants
the Israelis to do the same. Bringing in foreign monitors would amount to an
implicit equivalence of Palestinian terrorism and the actions of the Israeli
army - just as the internationalisation of Northern Ireland bolstered the
IRA's claim to legitimacy. Understandably, the Israelis believe that
conceding this long-standing Palestinian aim would reward violence.

Of course it would be helpful to have a ceasefire in place before any action
in Iraq. But it is morally wrong, as well as politically foolish, to link
the two issues. Unless and until there is a genuine hunger for peace on both
sides, there will be no ceasefire to monitor.

B. A small nod in the direction of Labour critics
By Andy McSmith, Chief Political Correspondent and Ben Brogan

Daily Telegraph
(Filed: 08/04/2002)

TONY BLAIR made a small concession to Left-wing critics of his Iraq policy
in a speech in Texas yesterday, when he called upon Saddam Hussein to give
free access to UN weapons inspectors, reminding the Iraqi president that
this was what "the international communities demand".

The reference to international opinion suggested that the Prime Minister had
not completely ignored the public warning from more than 120 of his own
backbench MPs, who have expressed "deep unease" at the prospect of Britain
being involved in military action other than under UN auspices.

However, the thrust of his speech last night was uncompromising: he was
willing to consider military action to bring about a change of regime in

Rebel backbenchers had already been irritated by Mr Blair's performance in
Texas. The new harder line is likely to provoke further trouble.

A Commons motion warning against military action in Iraq has been signed by
146 MPs, almost all of them Labour, threatening Mr Blair with what would be
one of the biggest rebellions since he came to power.

Tam Dalyell, the Labour Father of the Commons and a long-term opponent of
attacks on Iraq, said even Iraq's enemies in the Middle East opposed
American plans to depose Saddam.

Jeremy Corbyn, another Labour Left-winger, said there was nothing to link
Iraq to the terrorist attacks of Osama bin Laden.

Saddam continued to be "brutal towards a large number of people" but other
regimes in the area, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, had "equally poor"
human rights records, he said.

C. We are ready to hit Iraq, says Blair
By Andy McSmith and Toby Harnden in Crawford

Daily Telegraph
(Filed: 08/04/2002)

TONY BLAIR declared for the first time last night that Britain was ready to
take military action against Iraq and publicly endorsed President Bush's
contentious policy of a "regime change" to oust Saddam Hussein.

Speaking in Texas after a weekend summit with Mr Bush, the Prime Minister
brushed aside the concerns of his Labour backbenchers to deliver his
toughest message yet that war against Saddam might be inevitable and to
emphasise that Britain would act with America.

"We must be prepared to act where terrorism or weapons of mass destruction
threaten us," said Mr Blair in his speech at the George Bush Senior
Presidential Library in College Station. His audience included George Bush
Snr, the former president who led the coalition against Iraq in 1991.

"If necessary, the action should be military and again, if necessary and
justified, it should involve regime change," Mr Blair said to sustained

"I have been involved as British Prime Minister in three conflicts involving
regime changes - [Yugoslavia's president] Milosevic, the Taliban, and Sierra
Leone. Britain is immensely proud of the part our forces have played."

Despite their bellicose statements in private and clear intention to attack
Saddam's regime when the time is right, American officials have been
reluctant to speak openly of military action. Mr Blair's decision to do so
will be a boost to the White House.

Mr Blair pledged that there would be no "precipitive action" against
Saddam's "brutal" and "detestable" regime but issued a blunt warning to the
Iraqi leader that he had to allow weapons inspectors back into his country
"any time, any place that the international community demands".

The furthest that Mr Bush would go at his joint press conference with Mr
Blair on Saturday was to say that he had "explained to the Prime Minister
that the policy of my government is the removal of Saddam and that all
options are on the table".

At the same press conference, Mr Blair carefully avoided such language,
saying only that: "It has always been our policy that Iraq would be a better
place without Saddam Hussein. I don't think anyone can be in any doubt about

The Iraq section of his speech appeared to have been drafted at the last
minute by the Prime Minister and will clearly have been agreed with
President Bush.

"If the world makes the right choices now, at this time of destiny, we will
get there," Mr Blair said in an address that will delight the Bush
administration. "And Britain will be at America's side in doing it."

A more cautious note was struck by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who
suggested that Mr Bush might change his mind about overthrowing Saddam if
Iraq complied with United Nation resolutions.

Saddam remained defiant, saying: "We will fight them with the reeds of the
marshes, with stones, missiles and airplanes and with all we have, and we
will defeat them.

"If half of your air-defence capability is destroyed you fight with the
other half and if the other half is destroyed you fight with daggers."

Mr Blair also used his Texas speech to offer to send British observers to
Israel and the occupied territories as part of an international team to
monitor any ceasefire brokered by Colin Powell, the US secretary of state,
who arrives in Morocco today.

Washington has welcomed the plan put forward by Crown Prince Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia, but with nothing like the enthusiasm shown by Mr Blair. It
would be opposed by members of the Israeli cabinet, which objects to the
condition that Israel should withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.

Mr Blair called for "a ceasefire, agreed now" so that political dialogue
could begin.

"In monitoring such a ceasefire and in ensuring that the Palestinian
Authority genuinely take action against the terrorists, we and others stand
ready to help in any way we can.

"Only some external assistance can establish the minimum trust to get
security back on the agenda in a realistic way. And without a proper
ceasefire, we can't even take the first steps."

The White House repeated its calls for Israel to pull out of the West Bank.
Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser, said troops should be
pulled out "now, without delay, not tomorrow".

But Mr Powell said he was "pleased" that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime
minister, says he is expediting his operations and the Bush administration
appeared confident that a withdrawal would begin within 48 hours.

Israeli forces meanwhile intensified the assault on Nablus and Jenin.

The army has suffered mounting casualties, but said it had killed more than
30 armed Palestinians in close combat since Friday in Nablus. It met dogged
resistance from gunmen who erected barricades and planted makeshift mines.

On Israel's northern border, Hizbollah guerrillas attacked Israeli troops
occupying the foothills of the Golan Heights and Israel responded by firing
artillery and rockets into south Lebanon.

D. Meeting of minds at ranch deep in the heart of Texas

Financial Times; Apr 8, 2002

Tony Blair's aides had claimed in advance of this weekend's meeting with
George W. Bush at the US president's Texas ranch that it would not be a
council of war against Iraq.

If it was not quite that it was more belligerent than many predicted.

The prime minister, to the anger of MPs in the Labour party and the concern
of some in his cabinet, not to mention nervous allies in Europe and the Arab
world, left little room for doubt that he would eventually back the US in a
campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.

The world would be better off without his regime, the leaders agreed at a
joint press conference on Saturday. Mr Blair said: "The issue of weapons of
mass destruction cannot be ducked. It is a danger to our world and we must
heed that threat and act to prevent it being realised."

Yesterday, he tempered his message with caution. "I know some fear
precipitate action. They needn't. We will proceed, as we did after September
11, in a calm, measured, sensible but firm way," Mr Blair said in a speech
at the George Bush Senior library.

Mr Blair added: "The moment for decision on how to act is not yet with us.
But to allow weapons of mass destruction to be developed by a state like
Iraq without let or hindrance would be grossly to ignore the lessons of
September 11 and we will not do it. The message to Saddam is clear. He has
to let the inspectors back in, anyone, any time, any place that the
international community demands."

Mr Blair is trying to bridge the gap between the US and its coalition
allies. On his way to Crawford, Mr Blair talked to French president Jacques
Chirac and his prime minister, Lionel Jospin, Germany's chancellor, Gerhard
Schroder, and Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Hosni Mubarak of
Egypt. By emphasising the UN weapons inspection pro cess he hopes to keep
European allies on board. "The world works better when the US and the
European Union stand together," Mr Blair said. "(Then) no-one feels they can
play us off against each other."

To some extent, Mr Bush and Mr Blair were playing to the gallery. The
president was reassuring his public that he remained vigilant against
terrorism, while Mr Blair made clear he could be depended on as an ally.

"History has called us into action," Mr Bush said, adding without irony:
"The thing I admire about this prime minister is that he doesn't need a poll
or a focus group to convince him of the difference between right and wrong."

The Crawford summit also gave Mr Blair a chance to regain some of the
initiative lost to domestic opponents of military action - he had been on
the defensive since cabinet members voiced concern last month.

More than 120 Labour MPs signed a House of Commons motion condemning the
idea of attacking Iraq. They believe Mr Blair is getting little in return
for his allegiance to Mr Bush. The US-EU steel dispute was discussed at
Crawford, without a breakthrough.

On Wednesday Mr Blair will face tough questions from Labour MPs over Iraq
when he addresses the parliamentary party.

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow and father of the House of Commons,
said he would be taking the opportunity to ask Mr Blair why the US and UK
appeared so keen on military action while none of Iraq's neighbours wanted
to see it. Mr Blair has deferred publication of a dossier of evidence
against Mr Saddam, fearing it would inflame matters while not presenting a
convincing case.

But with Washington yet to make its choices, Mr Blair is struggling to hit
the right note in building support in his party and among the public. The
president's decision to re-engage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -
urged on him by European and Arab allies - offers an opportunity by
potentially removing one obstacle to tackling Iraq. Few believe a coalition
against Mr Saddam can be built without progress in the Middle East.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair brushed aside differences about whether there are links
between Mr Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda. The Central Intelligence Agency,
which briefed the leaders on Saturday, has suggested there are, but British
intelligence officials are sceptical.

Mr Blair accepted Mr Bush's analysis that Iraqi weapons could be passed to

Serious practical obstacles must be overcome if there is to be action
against Iraq. Defence chiefs in London - and some in the Pentagon - are
concerned about an open-ended commitment without a clear exit strategy,
about logistical problems if Arab states do not co-operate, and about the
danger of relying on a divided Iraqi opposition.

But, said Mr Blair's aides, the next generation would never forgive current
leaders if they saw the terrorist threat and failed to act. The will to do
so is there, even if the when and how remain obscure.


E. Mr Blair should point out the real links between Israel, Iraq and

08 April 2002

Linkage is the foreign-policy concept of the moment. President George Bush
was asked about it at his joint news conference with Tony Blair at the
weekend, and made a characteristic hash of his answer. He was asked why
"Europeans' cannot see a direct linkage between al-Qa'ida and Saddam
Hussein. "Can't they see," he responded, "linkage between somebody who's
willing to murder his own people and the danger of him possessing weapons of
mass destruction?" We see, Mr President, if The Independent may speak for
Europeans in this matter, but note that you avoided the question.

Mr Blair then stepped in, in his role as interpreter for the US President,
to make a slightly more sophisticated argument. The linkage between the
attacks of 11 September and the Iraqi dictator, he said, was that those
attacks were "a call to us to make sure that we don't repeat the mistake of
allowing groups to develop destructive capability". This is ingenious, but

The suicide attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were
certainly a warning against complacency, and Saddam indubitably poses a
threat to his neighbours, to Israel and, theoretically, to Europe and the
US. But there is no direct linkage. If Saddam wants to sponsor anti-American
terrorism he has had plenty of opportunity: he has either been uninterested
or unsuccessful.

Indirect links exist between the war against al-Qa'ida and the struggle to
contain Saddam, but they tend to lead to different policy conclusions from
those implied by Mr Bush and Mr Blair. The misery suffered by the Iraqi
people is one of the grievances of Arab-Muslim extremists against America,
because the mismanaged policy of sanctions has allowed Saddam to persuade
much of Arab – and some credulous western – opinion that Iraqi children are
dying as a result of the US's policy rather than his own. The logic of that
is to change the sanctions rather than to inflict further suffering on Iraqi

The other linkage of the moment is that between Iraq and the situation in
Israel and the Palestinian territories. Mr Blair is believed to have argued
that, before the US takes any action against Iraq, it must deal with the
Middle East, not least because the injustices suffered by the Palestinians
are another grievance on which al-Qa'ida feeds. On this, Mr Bush has
belatedly taken a welcome turn, presenting himself as standing in the way of
Yasser Arafat's expulsion from Ramallah, and as demanding an Israeli
withdrawal from the occupied territories.

Unfortunately for Mr Blair, however, the idea that this apparent change of
heart came about because of any influence he wields as the "first friend" of
the US is wishful thinking. His role is more that of European regional
salesperson for a policy already decided by the President, but which had,
thankfully, been influenced by Colin Powell, the Secretary of State and
leading dove in the Bush administration.

As the Israeli tanks continue to roll, however, delivering what Benjamin
Netanyahu, ambitious to succeed Ariel Sharon, calls "careful precision
action', the limits of Mr Bush's U-turn become hourly apparent. Mr Arafat, a
weak leader but the only representative of the Palestinian people with whom
Israel and its allies can deal, continues to be humiliated and weakened. The
Palestinian people themselves continue to feel that they are being crushed
by the US-backed Israeli military. And the suicide bombers, Hydra-like, will
keep coming.

Linkages can be made between US policy in different parts of the world, but
they are not being made by this President and, if our Prime Minister makes
them in private, he should make them in public too.

F. Hawkish Blair tries to calm the doubters
By Paul Waugh and Colin Brown

08 April 2002

Tony Blair gave a stark warning to Labour MPs last night that "Britain will
be at America's side" in any military action against Iraq despite the
potential cost to his premiership.

Mr Blair drew on the lessons of Kosovo, Afghanistan and even Sierra Leone as
he made his most hawkish speech on the need for the global community to
topple dangerous regimes.

In a wide-ranging exposition of Britain's foreign policy goals, the Prime
Minister covered trade, aid and the war on terrorism as he outlined his
personal vision of the need for global "interdependence" in the 21st

His clear warning of possible military action against Iraq, rather than his
thoughts on the intricacies of conflict resolution in Congo and Angola, is
what is bound to provoke further anger among Labour backbenchers.

Mr Blair will attend a potentially stormy meeting with the Parliamentary
Labour Party in the Commons on Wednesday, when MPs are expected to protest
at policies on everything from erosion of workers' rights in this country to
British troops being sent to Afghanistan.

Clearly anticipating a rough ride on Iraq, Mr Blair went to the length of
making a less than veiled reference to his own MPs in his speech last night.
"I know some fear precipitate action. They needn't," he said.

The Prime Minister's Texas speech seemed at times as much a plea to his
critics as an elaboration of the credo described by his foreign policy
adviser, Robert Cooper, as "the new imperialism".

Mr Blair said hard-headed pragmatism was needed for the international
community to pursue its "Utopian" goals of peace, prosperity and freedom.
Such pragmatism involved recognising that American power affected the world
fundamentally and that it was in Britain's interest for the United States to
be engaged abroad.

"It is there. It is real. It is never irrelevant. It can affect the world
for good or affect it for bad," he said. In a reference to his difficulties
at home, Mr Blair said he was prepared to pay the political price for his
support and would not shirk from his responsibility.

"When America is fighting for those values, then, however tough, we fight
with her," the Prime Minister said. "No grandstanding, no offering
implausible but impractical advice from the comfort of the touchline, no
wishing away the hard choices on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction,
or making peace in the Middle East, but working together, side by side," he

Mr Blair said he would always remember driving through the villages near
Freetown in Sierra Leone seeing the people rejoicing – many of them
amputees – and "their joy at being free to debate, argue and vote as they

"I have been involved as British Prime Minister in three conflicts involving
regime change, Milosevic, the Taliban and Sierra Leone, where a country of 6
million people was saved from a murderous group of gangsters who had
hijacked the democratically elected government," he said.

Mr Blair said he hoped Syria, Iran and North Korea could be persuaded to
reform, but Iraq faced a "calm, measured, sensible, firm" response if it
failed to comply with UN demands.

The strength of feeling in the party on Iraq was underlined when Lord
Healey, formerly a chancellor and deputy leader, joined the chorus of
politicians warning against military action. "The most worrying thing about
George Bush is he is now seen throughout the Muslim world as the Great
Satan. He described what he is doing as a crusade – that is a holy war
against another religion," he told BBC's Breakfast with Frost. "So the
Muslims inevitably respond with a jihad, a holy war against Christians. The
result is anti-Americanism and anti-Britishness."

Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, said "Texan gung-ho commentary"
was not helpful. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, said: "It is
going to inflame Arab opinion against us and it will result in civilian
deaths in Iraq and no doubt, British soldiers as well."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, sought to calm nerves, saying any
decision on military action was "a long way off", and suggesting President
Bush could change his mind about the need for an attack if Iraq allowed
weapons inspectors back in. He said: "I am fairly certain that were he
[Saddam] to [let in inspectors], and that was a clear indication of what
President Bush was saying, then different decisions may be taken."

G. Blair warns of 'regime change' in Iraq
By Paul Waugh and Colin Brown in Crawford, Texas

08 April 2002

Tony Blair made his most explicit threat last night that Iraq would face
military action and "regime change" unless Saddam Hussein let United Nations
weapons inspectors back into the country.

In a speech sure to infuriate scores of Labour MPs, the Prime Minister said
that President Saddam would be toppled from power if necessary because he
posed such a threat to world security.

Use of the phrase "regime change" marks an important strengthening of Mr
Blair's rhetoric, clearly echoing the White House's increasingly bellicose
language since 11 September. It signals a break by the Prime Minister from
traditional Foreign Office caution on the issue.

Mr Blair who arrived back in London this morning, told reporters travelling
with him that he was confident of winning backing from his MPs for his
stance on Iraq.

The Prime Minister said: "What you will find is that what most people want
is for us to act for the right reasons in the right way."

Very few people would defend Saddam, and most agreed on the need to prevent
him stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, he said, adding: "The issue is
about how. "All I say to people is let's not get ahead of ourselves here. We
are still in the position of identifying the problem and laying down
conditions for Saddam.

"People don't want us to act precipitately for the wrong reasons in the
wrong way," he said.

Rounding off his two days of talks with President George Bush, Mr Blair told
businessmen in College Station, Texas, that his own experience in Kosovo,
Afghanistan and Sierra Leone proved that replacement of corrupt regimes was
sometimes the only option.

Downing Street sources made clear that one option being actively explored by
the United States was the creation of a military ground force in Iraq
similar to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, backed by American air

In Baghdad last night, the Iraqi leader showed his defiance. He vowed to
retaliate by supplying Palestinians "with every means by which they can
defend themselves. We will fight [the Americans] with missiles, warplanes,
marsh reeds and even stones and they will be defeated," he was quoted as
saying in the state-run media.

Mr Blair was briefed on CIA reports at the President's ranch about the
threat from President Saddam's attempts to obtain nuclear, biological,
radiological and chemical weapons. Later in his speech at the George Bush
Snr Presidential Library, the Prime Minister stressed that no "precipitate
action" would be taken but delivered a blunt warning that President Saddam
had to allow weapons inspectors into his country "any time, any place that
the international community demands.

"We must be prepared to act where terrorism or weapons of mass destruction
threaten us. The fight against international terrorism is right. We should
pursue it vigorously, not just in Afghanistan but elsewhere," Mr Blair said.

"Since 11 September the action has been considerable, in many countries, but
there should be no let up. If necessary the action should be military, and
again – if necessary and justified – it should involve regime change.

"The moment for decision on how to act is not yet with us. But to allow
weapons of mass destruction to be developed by a state like Iraq without let
or hindrance would be grossly to ignore the lesson of 11 September and we
will not do it."

When Mr Blair returns to London today, he will face a growing revolt from
his backbenchers over his stance. Lord Healey, a former deputy leader of the
Labour Party, warned that Mr Bush's stance risked unleashing a jihad, or
holy war, from the Muslim world.

H. Blair gets engaged
But his foreign policy comes at a price

Monday April 8, 2002
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday addressed himself to what he sees as the biggest
political danger in the modern world. The danger does not come from Saddam
Hussein's Iraq, on which the prime minister also had plenty of important
things to say. It comes from George Bush's America. Plenty of people who do
not normally see eye-to-eye with Mr Blair would agree with that. But they
and the prime minister would draw radically different conclusions about the
nature of the American threat. While the left critics fear an over-active
America, what Mr Blair fears is its opposite. He didn't himself put it quite
like that yesterday, of course. But a reading of the speech that Mr Blair
delivered at College Station leaves little room for doubt that it is what he
means. The prime minister's greatest fear is of a US that pulls up the
drawbridge and retreats into a Fortress America policy of isolationism and
non-engagement. His every move on the foreign policy front can be understood
in that context.

In his earlier speeches on these global themes, in Chicago in 1999 and again
in Brighton last year, Mr Blair tended to emphasise the moral case for
British engagement in issues from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Yesterday's
speech, though, was about American engagement, and in deference to his
Republican audience, the prime minister refocused the case on enlightened
self-interest. Mr Blair was brave, in such an arena, to make his case for
engagement by referring to Kosovo (a conflict of which Republicans
disapprove because it was led by the Antichrist Bill Clinton). Brave, too,
to be so uncompromising in what he said about the Middle East, where the
prime minister did everything he could to lock the US into the full
implications of the policy u-turn made by Mr Bush last week (as well as
hinting at British military moni tors). For American ears he had
uncomfortable things to say about engagement with Iran, Syria and North
Korea too. Engagement, he said, is the hard-headed pragmatism of the 21st
century. It is the best way of protecting economic and political stability
in an interdependent world. This is a message which has been much debated in
both Bush and Blair circles recently. Yesterday, though, it was a message to
the conservative hardliners in Mr Bush's party and administration who see
engagement in the world on anybody else's terms than their own as a
conspiracy to subvert the "one-power" US world order of limited sovereignty
which they are determined to shape. It is an immensely important message,
and Mr Blair deserves great credit for making it so insistently, even if the
price he is sometimes prepared to pay to have America's ear is excessive.

Those who read the headlines rather than the speech itself will miss other
important aspects of Mr Blair's words. This was a speech which emphasised
that the United Nations is central and indispensible to an effective and
credible strategy for dealing with Iraq, as well as other issues. That
remains a key message, not just to Washington, which does not like the UN,
but also on the Labour backbenches, where MPs are right to insist that any
road to Baghdad must pass through New York. The speech was also notable for
the primacy it accorded to the European Union. Time and again, Mr Blair
positioned himself as a spokesman not for Britain but for the EU as well.
Britain's European partners may have something to say about that, especially
when it comes to Iraq, but Mr Blair's readiness to talk as a European, not
as some kind of latterday Churchill or Thatcher, is another refreshing
aspect of a subtle and important speech.

I. Tension grows as Iraq dismisses Blair demands

Michael White in Texas and Nicholas Watt
Monday April 8, 2002
The Guardian

The rhetoric between Britain, the United States and Iraq increased sharply
last night when Baghdad rejected a demand from Tony Blair to allow UN
weapons inspectors to return to the country "any time, any place" or risk
military action.
Although the prime minister made it clear that there would be no rush
towards military action, Baghdad signalled it was preparing for a showdown.

Saddam Hussein said his country would confront a US military action with
"the reeds of the marshes, with stones, missiles and airplanes and with all
that we have, and we will defeat them, God willing", according to state-run
Iraqi television. He made the comments during a meeting with his minister of
defence, his youngest son Qusay - who controls the elite republican guards -
and the commander of Iraq's air defence system.

"If half of your air-defence capability is destroyed you will fight with the
other half and if the other half is destroyed you will fight with daggers as
your brothers in Palestine do now," Saddam said.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, told the German news magazine
Focus that his country was bracing itself for the consequences of defying
the US and Britain.

"We are expecting the worst and preparing for it," he said. "In recent weeks
I have visited 14 Arab states and all of them have assured me that they will
support us in the event of an American attack."

His remarks came as Mr Blair warned Iraq that it had to comply with UN

"The message to Saddam is clear: he has to let the inspectors back in,
anyone, any time, any place, that the international community demands," he
told a Texas audience which included George Bush Sr, whose 1991 Gulf war
offensive pulled back from overthrowing the Iraqi dictator.

The prime minister - who is expected to face a tough grilling by Labour MPs
at a private meeting on Wednesday - qualified his blunt language by
attempting to calm fears in Britain and the wider world that he and Mr Bush
are determined on early military action against Iraq to achieve the US
government's stated aim of a "regime change".

Mr Blair said: "I know some fear precipitate action. They needn't. We will
proceed as we did after September 11, in a calm, measured, sensible, firm
way. But leaving Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction, in flagrant
breach of no less than nine UN security council resolutions, refusing to
allow weapons inspectors back in to do their work, is not an option."

His caution was echoed by Condoleezza Rice, the president's national
security adviser, who told CNN's Late Edition: "The president has not
decided to use military force. There may be other things that can be done."

But Britain and the US made clear that they still reserved the right to take
action. Mr Blair, who flew back to Britain last night after his summit in
Texas with Mr Bush, said: "If necessary the action should be military, and
again, if necessary and justified, it should involve regime change."

He added: "I have been involved as British prime minister in three conflicts
involving regime change - Milosevic, the Taliban and Sierra Leone."

His rhetoric will alarm politicians in Britain who criticised the prime
minister after overnight reports suggested that the campaign against Iraq
was being stepped up.

The former Labour chancellor, Lord Healey, warned that an all-out assault on
Iraq would be folly. "The last attacks on Iraq killed a lot of innocent
civilians and enormously strengthened Saddam Hussein, because a dictator can
always blame the death of civilians on the foreign power rather than on
himself," he told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost.

The former Tory prime minister Sir Edward Heath told the same programme that
parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss Iraq. "There is now a
big demand that there should be thorough discussion about the question of
Iraq," he said.

J. The Times
April 08, 2002

This was a week that will change the world
by William Rees-Mogg

There is always something exciting about seeing history in the making. I
prefer to follow US news on the US television channels. Recently, I’ve been
catching President Bush live on Fox News. Last week President Bush made two
historic speeches to the American people. The first was his speech on the
Middle East on Thursday; the second his press conference with Tony Blair in
Texas. We now have a new definition of American policy in the Middle East.
His speeches were impressive for their clarity, for their frankness and for
his willingness to define his position on the most difficult issues. I
cannot remember an American President who was so open and direct.
The Thursday speech represented the greater change in American policy; the
Saturday press conference dealt with wider issues. On Thursday Bush defined
his position on Israel and Palestine. He called on Yassir Arafat to condemn
terrorism and the suicide bombers; that is, of course, a familiar American
position. He went on to call on Israel “to halt incursions into
Palestinian-controlled areas and begin the withdrawal from those cities it
had recently occupied”. He also advised Israel to stop the development of
settlements in the occupied territories and to ease the control of borders
to let ordinary Palestinians back to work. The President also announced that
he was sending his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to the Middle East.
These are historic changes in policy.

Until last Thursday the United States seemed to be acquiescing in the
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s aggressive policy towards the
Palestinian territories. Many Americans, not only American Jews, do, indeed,
feel that the Israelis are entitled to avenge themselves against the
terrorists, just as the United States was entitled to attack al-Qaeda.
However, this was not so much a request as an order, that the Israeli
Government should end the invasion of Palestinian territories. As these
incursions form the heart of Ariel Sharon’s policy, the President’s demand
amounts to an unprecedented breach between American and Israeli strategies.

On Saturday the advice to Israel was repeated, if anything in tougher terms.
“Arafat needs to condemn terrorist activities. In order to achieve lasting
peace, both sides must take constructive steps. Israel should halt
incursions into the Palestinian areas and begin to withdraw without delay.”
When he was asked what he would do if Israel refused to withdraw, the
President spoke with imperial authority. “I don’t expect them to ignore the
call to withdraw. I expect them to heed the call.”

Presumably the Israelis will eventually comply, but for the present they are
not complying.

Tanks have fired into Arafat’s conference room, though he was not there, and
Sharon has stated that the Israelis will not withdraw, though they may speed
up the process. “Israel will withdraw when Israel is done.” Sharon seems
determined to show that he, and not the American President, decides the
policy of Israel.

The Saturday press conference made even clearer what the policy of the
United States is. The President supports a “two states” solution, a secure
Israel and an independent Palestine, an end to terrorism, but also an end to
incursions and to the expansion of settlements. This proposed solution has
the support of Tony Blair. The boundaries of the two states are not
specified but, with the exception of Jerusalem, they would presumably be
close to those that existed before 1967 and the Six Day War. This would be
hard for a right-wing Israeli Government to stomach.

This puts the United States, for the first time since 1956, in direct
conflict with Israeli policy. Indeed, Ariel Sharon must now overcome
American policy or accept failure. Sharon, as he did in Lebanon in the early
1980s, has sought to destroy terrorism and, indeed, all Palestinian
opposition, by sheer military force. It failed then; it seems to be failing

This strategy has had the effect of hardening the resistance of
Palestinians, uniting the Arab world, and alienating much of the rest of the
world. The fighting in Bethlehem has shocked many Christians. Now this
high-risk strategy has been rejected by the President of the United States.

The second issue which was discussed at the Texas meeting with Tony Blair
was Iraq. When I went to Kuwait in February I found that the Kuwaitis
remained very hostile to Saddam Hussein, on account of his invasion of their
country. President Bush said on Saturday: “We support regime change. I think
regime change sounds much more civil. The world would be a better place
without Saddam Hussein.” The Kuwaitis would agree to that.

In February they also told me that the other Arab powers could not support
American action against Iraq unless there was a move towards peace in
Palestine. Since then the situation in Palestine has got much worse, and
Kuwait has had to agree formally not to support American action against
Saddam Hussein. The Iraqis had been supporters of terrorist attacks on
Israel; now Israel’s counteraction has united Arabs in the protection of
Saddam Hussein. Perhaps that was intended.

Dick Cheney, the Vice-President of the United States, has recently visited
the Middle East to try to win Arab support for action against Iraq. He
failed. He is the ablest of the Washington hawks and very influential with
the President. What he heard from the Arabs must have helped to convince
Washington that the Israeli incursions into Palestine would make it
impossible for the US to form a coalition against Iraq, so long as they

President Bush is still determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein because he
seeks weapons of mass destruction, sponsors terrorism and threatens peace.
So long as Saddam Hussein is still in power, Bush will not have won the war
against terrorism. In this judgment, he is surely right. Saddam has used
poison gas against his own people, massacred the marsh Arabs, sought to
develop biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and invaded both Iran and
Kuwait. He is an evil tyrant. Tony Blair himself shares Bush’s view that
Saddam Hussein is a menace, though he is less sure how to deal with him. In
his own party Blair faces strong opposition to a war in Iraq.

The US cannot get support to remove Saddam so long as Sharon’s incursions
into Palestine continue. Yet there is more to it than that. Most Americans
do not mind that part of Israeli policy which is tough on terrorism; they
believe in being tough on terrorists. Yet they, and their President, are
coming to recognise that Israeli policy has been aggressively tough against
all the Palestine people. Far from reaching out to the hearts and minds of
those ordinary Palestinians who want to lead their lives in peace, the
Israeli actions have both threatened and embittered them.

The dangers for Israel are obvious. Both Bush and Blair have made it clear
that they want a secure Israel as well as an independent Palestine, but that
has also been the objective of previous peace negotiations. Neither Sharon
nor Arafat seems a likely promoter of peace; both are hated and totally
disgusted by the other side. President Bush says: “Arafat has not earned my
trust. He has not performed.” A negotiated settlement between the two seems
impossible, but an imposed settlement would be almost as equally difficult.

For Ariel Sharon, last week was a defeat. His underlying strategy of using
massive military power to crush every type of Palestinian opposition always
ran the risk that it would fail to eliminate the terrorists, but would
create new recruits for terrorism, would unite Israel’s enemies and alienate
Israel’s friends. He has not delivered security to the Israeli people. In
particular, he has failed to sustain American support for his strategy.
Sharon is a tough and ruthless man but his strategy has not been working.
Can he survive the withdrawal of American support for his high-risk policy?

President Bush is impressive. He is a strong President with a clear set of
objectives. Yet he still has to use American influence to end the half-
century of war in Israel. He has to succeed where so many have failed before
him. He has to establish a coalition if he is to act against Iraq’s
possession of weapons of mass destruction. I hope he can achieve both
objectives. At present, the great — and evil — survivor is Saddam Hussein, a
threat to the whole Middle East, and most of all to Israel.

K. The Times
April 08, 2002

Blair and Bush in new plan for Israel
>From Philip Webster and Damian Whitworth in Crawford, Texas and David

TONY BLAIR sought to forestall a Westminster backlash against his forceful
stance on Iraq last night by announcing a new Middle East peace plan.
The Prime Minister caused widespread unease among Labour MPs by making plain
that he was ready to join eventual military action against Baghdad. In a
speech in Texas before flying home he said: “If necessary the action should
be military and again, if necessary and justified, it should involve regime

Both President Bush and Mr Blair recognised, however, that any action
against Iraq must take second place to resolving the crisis in the Middle
East, where the Palestinian death toll was reported to have reached 200 in
ten days.

The Prime Minister also offered British help in monitoring a ceasefire in
Israel as he and Mr Bush proposed a new political process to bring peace to
the region. After two days of talks at President Bush’s ranch on the War on
Terror and the situation in the Middle East, the Prime Minister suggested
that Britain and other countries could send in teams of observers to ensure
that both sides kept their side of the bargain once Israel withdrew from
recently occupied territories and the Palestinian Authority cracked down on
terrorists in its midst.

The idea, which will be fiercely opposed by Israel, would involve former
government officials, diplomats and policemen going to the region to ensure
that Israel stopped its incursions and that Yassir Arafat reciprocated by
arresting terrorists. The EU would be expected to be involved.

The initiative was tabled as Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, flew
to the Middle East on the mission ordered by Mr Bush last Thursday.

At the same time Mr Blair proposed a new “framework for peace” based on the
plan put forward by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, under which
Israel would withdraw from occupied lands in return for all Arab states
guaranteeing its security. With backing from Mr Bush, the Prime Minister
said the Saudi plan should be incorporated in a new UN Security Council
resolution and used as the basis for future political discussions.

The monitoring of the ceasefire and the UN move would be key parts of a
series of confidence-building measures designed to lay the ground for a
settlement, Mr Blair said. Officials compared the plan to the Downing Street
declaration that paved the way for the Good Friday agreement in Northern

As the plan came forward the Israelis appeared to be in no rush to pull out
of the occupied areas yesterday, even though Mr Bush said on Saturday that
they must do so “without delay”. Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush’s security
adviser, said yesterday that “without delay means now”.

There were signs that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, was
hardening his line, with indications that two more right-wing parties would
join his coalition and with attacks across the Lebanese border by the
Israeli Air Force in response to gunfire.

The Israeli Army said yesterday that 200 Palestinians had been killed in its
most recent ten-day offensive on the West Bank. Palestinian officials said
there had been a “massacre” in Jenin with more than 30 dead.

Mr Blair will face calls this week for a vote by MPs on military action
against Iraq amid growing anger among his own backbenchers, The Times has
learnt. If, at a private meeting of the parliamentary party on Wednesday, he
cannot win round the “huge” number of MPs unhappy at his stance on Iraq,
there will be a move for a Commons vote, Tam Dalyell, the Father of the
House of Commons, said last night.

Mr Dalyell was one of several MPs voicing deep concern over Mr Blair’s
readiness to support President Bush in an attack on Saddam. The long-serving
MP for Linlithgow said: “Mr Blair will be asked on Wednesday why, if King
Abdullah of Jordan, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis and the Iranians do not want
this, then how can he justify it. There is huge unease and it is far from
the usual suspects.”

Mr Blair used his speech in Texas to promise there would be no “precipitate”
military action against Iraq and that the time for decisions had not been
reached. He demanded that Saddam allow UN weapons inspectors back “any time,
any place that the international community demands”.

L. Leading article
The Times
April 08, 2002

Summit statesmanship
Tony Blair showed skill and bravery in Crawford

Over the weekend President Bush and Tony Blair met in circumstances that
made the relaxed style favoured by both more difficult than usual. What the
Crawford meeting lacked in photo calls, however, it more than made up in
Despite British briefing that the two leaders would spend almost all their
time discussing the Middle East, the main topic of discussion was, as it was
always going to be, Iraq. The need for Mr Bush to create international
agreement that Saddam Hussein needs to be dealt with and Mr Blair’s need to
do the same domestically made a full and early discussion between the two
leaders on the subject essential.

The outcome was an agreement that Saddam could not be allowed to continue to
possess and develop weapons of mass destruction. The vigorous manner in
which Mr Blair has made this case will incense the Left and may distress
members of his Cabinet. Yet it is entirely of a piece with the statements
and actions not just of Mr Bush but also of Mr Blair over a long period. The
Prime Minister has for years been firmly of the view that Saddam cannot be
allowed to flout UN resolutions without facing the consequences and has
always been prepared to countenance joint action to force the Iraqis to
accept a rigorous inspections regime. It would be inconsistent of him to
withdraw this support, as some seem to wish him to, just at the moment the
US shows enough resolve to wish to call upon it.

The Crawford summit showed more than basic agreement between the two leaders
on objectives. It also confirmed that the Prime Minister has succeeded in
forming a real relationship of trust with the President. Mr Bush came to
office with a partisan conservative’s natural suspicion of new Labour and a
Bush family prejudice against anybody who had been close to Bill Clinton. It
was always likely that, despite this, relations between Mr Blair and Mr Bush
would be reasonably friendly, on account of the offices they hold and the
temperaments of the two men. Mr Blair has overcome the problems of political
background and history and emerged as a close confidant of the President and
a reliable friend of the Bush Administration.

The Prime Minister’s critics argue that his desire to get on with the top
dog has made him a poodle. He is being accused by many on the Left of going
along with everything the President wants to do, merely to retain a seat at
the top table. This is to misread the situation. Far from being Mr Bush’s
poodle, Mr Blair has gained leverage and he used it to urge the President
along his favoured course. This involves initiating a public campaign to
persuade world opinion that something needs to be done in Iraq,
demonstrating seriousness about negotiating peace between the Israelis and
the Palestinians and separating debate over the ends of policy towards Iraq
from debate over the means of dealing with Saddam’s weapons stockpile.

The President has gone further than some would like by saying he wants
“regime change” in Iraq. Yet if Saddam Hussein is to be persuaded to accept
weapons inspectors, he must be convinced that there is a real threat of
removal if he continues to defy UN resolutions. The debate about exactly how
to tackle Saddam is every bit as sophisticated, indeed almost certainly more
sophisticated, in the White House as it is anywhere in this country.
Nevertheless, the skill with which Mr Blair has reminded Mr Bush of the need
to advance on a broad front will allow this country to help to determine
what action is taken and when. That Mr Blair possessed the charm and
diplomatic skills to achieve this has long been clear. What is more
impressive on this occasion is that he is also showing commendable bravery
in facing down his party critics.

M. April 08, 2002

Blair speech on Iraq in full
A speech made last night by Tony Blair at the George Bush Senior
Presidential Library, in Texas.
from The Times web-site:,,1-260742,00.html

"It is a great privilege to be here today at the Bush Presidential Library
before such a distinguished audience, and let me begin by paying tribute to
two of the most distinguished members.

First, to you, Mr President. It is quite something to raise the son who goes
on to be US President. To do so having been President yourself, one with a
proud record of leadership and achievement, is quite another. I want to
thank you for inviting me, thank you for being here, and thank you for your
steadfast friendship of Great Britain.

And Jim Baker was one of the most remarkable Secretaries of State the US has
ever had during a remarkable period of your history, and I am honoured that
a statesman of his standing should be present to hear my speech on issues he
has studied for far longer than I have.

The only purpose of being in politics is to strive for the values and ideals
we believe in: freedom, justice, what we Europeans call solidarity but you
might call respect for and help for others. These are the decent democratic
values we all avow. But alongside the values we know we need a hard headed
pragmatism - a realpolitik - required to give us any chance of translating
those values into the practical world we live in.

The same tension exists in the two views of international affairs. One is
utilitarian: each nation maximises its own self interest. The other is
Utopian: we try to create a better world. Today I want to suggest that more
than ever before those two views are merging.

I advocate an enlightened self interest that puts fighting for our values
right at the heart of the policies necessary to protect our nations.
Engagement in the world on the basis of these values, not isolationism from
it is the hard-headed pragmatism for the 21st Century.

Why? In part it is because the countries and people of the world today are
more interdependent than ever. That calls for an approach of integration.
When I spoke about this issue in Chicago in 1999 and called it a doctrine of
international community, people hesitated over what appeared to be
Panglossian idealism. At the time, the major international crisis we faced
was Kosovo, where a brutal dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, was embarked upon a
programme of ethnic cleansing of innocent people - in this case, Muslims -
the likes of which Europe had not seen since the Nazis.

Yet we were told: it's not our fight, why bother? there's nothing we can do;
if we try to stop him, the region will explode; we will strengthen his hand,
he will win; or he'll lose but be succeeded by someone worse. Sound
familiar? Today thousands of refugees have gone back.

Kosovo has held its first elections. Montenegro and Serbia are being
reconciled. Milosevic is on trial charged with war crimes. There is a
democratic government in Belgrade and the whole region, despite the massive
problems which still exist, is on a path, albeit slowly, towards the EU.

It's still costing us time, effort and money, but it's a lot less than if we
had turned our back and let the Balkans plunge into civil war. In truth, it
is very rare today that trouble in one part of the globe remains limited in
its effect. Not just in security, but in trade and finance - witness the
crisis of 1998 which began in Thailand and ended in Brazil - the world is

This is heightened by mass communications and technology. In Queen
Victoria's time, reports of battles came back weeks or months after they
were won or lost. Today we see them enacted live on the BBC, Sky or CNN.
Their very visibility, immediate and in technicolour, inflame feelings that
can spread worldwide across different ethnic, religious and cultural
communities. So today, more than ever, "their" problem becomes "our"
problem. Instability is contagious and, again today, more than ever,
nations, at least most of them, crave stability.

That's for a simple reason. Our people want it, because without it, they
can't do business and prosper. What brings nations together - what brought
them together post September 11 - is the international recognition that the
world needs order. Disorder is the enemy of progress. The struggle is for
stability, for the security within which progress can be made. Of course,
countries want to protect their territorial integrity but few are into

This is especially true of democracies whose people vote for higher living
standards and punish governments who don't deliver them. For 2,000 years
Europe fought over territory.

Today boundaries are virtually fixed. Governments and people know that any
territorial ambition threatens stability, and instability threatens
prosperity. And of course the surest way to stability is through the very
values of freedom, democracy and justice. Where these are strong, the people
push for moderation and order. Where they are absent, regimes act unchecked
by popular accountability and pose a threat; and the threat spreads.

So the promotion of these values becomes not just right in itself but part
of our long-term security and prosperity. We can't intervene in every case.
Not all the wrongs of the world can be put right, but where disorder
threatens us all, we should act. Like it or not, whether you are a
utilitarian or a Utopian, the world is interdependent. One consequence of
this is that foreign and domestic policy are ever more closely interwoven.
It was September 11 that brought these thoughts into sharper focus. Watching
the horror unfold, imagining the almost unimaginable suffering of the
thousands of innocent victims of the terror and carnage, the dominant
emotion after the obvious feelings of revulsion, sympathy and anger, was

The guts and spirit of the people of New York and America in the aftermath
of that terrible day were not just admirable, they were awesome. They were
the best riposte to the terrorists that humanity could give and you should
be very proud of that. I want you to know too that the British people were
with you from the first moment, and we will always be with you at times like
those. We are not half hearted friends and we never will be. But the
determination must be not just to pursue those responsible and bring them to
justice but to learn from September 11.

For years Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban. For years it nurtured the Al
Qaida terrorist network. For years it lived off terror and the drugs trade,
a failed state purveying religious and political extremism, with its people
ground under the heel of the fanatic. What erupted on the streets of New
York on September 11 was not an attack on America alone. It was an attack on
us all. It wasn't just an attack on people and buildings but an attempt to
provoke, through terror, such chaos that it engulfed our way of life, the
very values we hold dear.

But prior to September 11, our people would probably have known Afghanistan
chiefly from history books and for many the Taliban might as well have been
a rock band. Yet this poor and incapable nation of 27 million, thousands of
miles from America gave rise to the worst terrorist act in history in the
heart of the world's most powerful nation. Fortunately, in this case, the
world stood firm. America took the lead, but it led a coalition of
extraordinarily wide international proportions. Countries queued up to help.
We acted with care, under the clear and courageous leadership of President

The Taliban are gone as a government. Al Qaida's network has been destroyed
in Afghanistan, though without doubt a residual capability remains and we
should still be immensely vigilant. The Afghan people feel liberated not
oppressed and have at least a chance of a better future. But I want to give
this warning. There is a real danger we forget the lessons of September 11.
Human beings recover from tragedy and the memory becomes less fraught. That
is a healthy part of living. But we should learn from our experience.

The most obvious lesson is indeed our interdependence. For a time our world
stood still. Quite apart from our security, the shock impacted on economic
confidence, on business, on trade and it is only now with the terrorist
network on the run, that confidence is really returning. Every nation in the
world felt the reverberation of that fateful day. And that has been well
illustrated by the role which the United Nations - under Kofi Annan's
excellent leadership - has played since September 11. So if we didn't know
it before, we know now: these events and our response to them shape the fate
not of one nation but of one world. There is no escape from facing them and
dealing with them. But what are the policy positions that should guide us in
doing so? First, the world works better when the US and the EU stand

There will be issues that divide - issues of trade, most recently over
steel, for example. But on the big security issues, the common interests
dwarf the divide. Forget the talk of anti Americanism in Europe. Yes, if you
call a demonstration, you will get the slogans and the insults. But people
know Europe needs America and I believe America needs Europe too. We have so
many shared values. We are strong democracies. If we stand together, no one
else feels they can play us off against each other.

Complaining about each other is fashionable in some circles. But the only
people really rejoicing at a falling out, are the bad guys. Together, we can
forge a new relationship with President Putin's Russia. He is in my view a
bold and immensely capable leader, moving his country into a new and
co-operative partnership with us. NATO is the cornerstone of the
transatlantic US/EU relationship.

Now we envisage a new Russia/NATO relationship where certain questions are
determined at 20, by the 19 NATO members and Russia. In Afghanistan we
worked with Russia in a way that would have had the old hands of the Cold
War days frozen in disbelief. But the truth is Russia today has as much
interest in defeating terrorism as we have. In our different ways, but
compatibly, we can develop relations with China and India, two nations about
whom the only question is not whether they will be huge powers in the world,
but how huge, and how that power will be used. And we both already have
strong ties with Japan.

We need to use those ties both to encourage Japan towards vital economic and
structural reforms and also to bind the EU, the US and Asia closer together.
It is fascinating too, to see both the US and the EU strengthening
enormously their political as well as economic links with South America. The
point I am making is simply this. There are no Cold War battles to play to.
'Spheres of influence' is an outdated concept. A series of interlocking
alliances with a common agenda on issues of security, trade and stability
should replace old rivalries.

The international coalition matters. Where it operates, the unintended
consequences of action are limited, the diplomatic parameters better fixed.
The US and EU together is a precondition of such alliances. But it needs
hard work, dialogue and some mutual understanding. As long as I am British
Prime Minister I will work to secure it. Secondly, we must be prepared to
act where terrorism or Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten us. The fight
against international terrorism is right. We should pursue it vigorously.
Not just in Afghanistan but elsewhere. Not just by military means but by
disrupting the finances of terrorism, getting at the middle men, the
bankrollers of the trade in terror and WMD.

Since September 11 the action has been considerable, in many countries. But
there should be no let up. If necessary the action should be military and
again, if necessary and justified, it should involve regime change. I have
been involved as British Prime Minister in three conflicts involving regime
change. Milosevic. The Taliban. And Sierra Leone, where a country of six
million people was saved from a murderous group of gangsters who had
hijacked the democratically elected government. Britain is immensely proud
of the part our forces have played and with the results but I can honestly
say the people most pleased have been the people living under the regime in
question. Never forget: they are the true victims.

I'll always remember driving through the villages near Freetown in Sierra
Leone seeing the people rejoicing - many of them amputees through the
brutality from which they had been liberated - and their joy at being free
to debate, argue and vote as they wished. We cannot, of course, intervene in
all cases but where countries are engaged in the terror or WMD business, we
should not shirk from confronting them. Some can be offered a way out, a
route to respectability.

I hope in time that Syria, Iran and even North Korea can accept the need to
change their relations dramatically with the outside world. A new
relationship is on offer. But they must know that sponsoring terrorism or
WMD is not acceptable. As for Iraq, I know some fear precipitate action.
They needn't. We will proceed, as we did after September 11, in a calm,
measured, sensible but firm way. But leaving Iraq to develop WMD, in
flagrant breach of no less than nine separate UNSCRs, refusing still to
allow weapons inspectors back to do their work properly, is not an option.

The regime of Saddam is detestable. Brutal, repressive, political opponents
routinely tortured and executed: it is a regime without a qualm in
sacrificing the lives of its citizens to preserve itself, or starting wars
with neighbouring states and it has used chemical weapons against its own
people. As I say, the moment for decision on how to act is not yet with us.

But to allow WMD to be developed by a state like Iraq without let or
hindrance would be grossly to ignore the lessons of September 11 and we will
not do it. The message to Saddam is clear: he has to let the inspectors back
in, anyone, any time, any place that the international community demands.
Third, we should work hard to broker peace where conflict threatens a
region's stability because we know the dangers of contagion. The plight of
the Middle East would make the hardest heart break. Anyone with an ounce of
humanity watching the current horrors unfold on TV screens across the world
is willing the international community to help. To anyone familiar with
Northern Ireland the pattern is sickeningly predictable.

The political process breaks down. One side feeling oppressed and without
political progress resorts to terror. The other, its innocent civilians
dying in terrorist attacks, retaliates with force. So moderate opinion
collapses. Terror reigns. Reprisals follow. Chaos and carnage are the
result. There is no point in blame. Of course, the Palestinians should stop
the terrorism. They should have stopped it months ago. Of course Israel must
withdraw from the Occupied Territories. But I give you my frank assessment
from five years experience of what is now a reasonably successful process in
Northern Ireland: there is no prospect of the bloodshed abating, unless
everyone realises there is not and will never be an answer to this issue in
solely military or violent terms. Unless the moderates have a political
process, a vision of the future to aim for, they are powerless and the
extremists move into the vacuum.

I congratulate President Bush on his timely and compelling statement last
Thursday and I wish Colin Powell well. Two things are necessary now: an
acceptance by all of the fixed points of principle for any final
settlement - Israel, secure, its right to existence unchallenged in the Arab
world; a viable Palestinian state for the Palestinian people; and a
ceasefire agreed now, to let the political dialogue recommence. In
monitoring any such ceasefire and in ensuring that the Palestinian Authority
genuinely take action against the terrorists, we and others stand ready to
help in any way we can.

I know the deep-rooted objections to any outside help. But when the
situation is as grim as it is now, only some external assistance can
establish the minimum trust to get security back on the agenda in a
realistic way. And without a proper ceasefire we can't even take the first
steps. I welcome too the peace initiative proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah
of Saudi Arabia. I believe that in parallel with a ceasefire the principles
he set out should be incorporated in a further UN Security Council
Resolution as the way forward politically. Again, Northern Ireland taught me
that you need a political vision of the final settlement and small practical
steps going together, to get on the road to peace.

Above all, the Middle East requires continuous focus and engagement. The
role of peacemaker, where hatreds are entrenched, is never easy. But it is
massively in our interests to try. The same is true of the dispute between
India and Pakistan. Earlier this year, President Bush and I worked hard to
get both nations to de-escalate the crisis. I remain very exercised about
it. Once again the path through is clear: terrorism and confrontation must
be replaced by dialogue and negotiation. I say publicly what I said
privately to leaders of both nations. India and Pakistan are two big and
powerful neighbours.

To have their relations dominated by Kashmir - a relatively small part of
the continent with 13 million people already divided by the Line of
Control - is tragic when their common interests in regional security, trade,
tackling poverty and economic development are so much more vital to their
collective future. We can't decide this dispute. Only they can. But again we
should stand ready to help. And again it will require sustained focus,
effort and engagement. I could say the same also of the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Sudan and Angola. You will say: but how can we do it all? The
answer is it doesn't need the same people or the same intensity all the
time. But it's amazing how much can be done when the world turns its gaze on
to a problem, focuses and decides to help, even if the gaze then moves on.
Which brings me to the fourth point. Prevention is better than cure.

The reason it would be crazy for us to clear out of Afghanistan once we had
finished militarily, is that if it drifts back into instability, the same
old problems will re-emerge. Stick at it and we can show, eventually, as in
the Balkans, the unstable starts to become stable. The G8 Summit in June in
Canada gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help Africa out of its
disastrous decline. A child dies there of disease, famine or conflict every
three seconds. In the Great Lakes region alone, in the past few years, three
million men, women and children have died. To bring hope to Africa we have
constructed the idea of a partnership between the developed world and
Africa. Not the old "aid" in a passive donor-recipient relationship. But a
partnership in which, in return for African countries applying rules of good
governance, anti-corruption, proper legal and commercial systems; we offer
assistance for good governance, action on education and health, access to
markets, help with conflict resolution which blights so much of the
continent. I want to pick out the issue of trade. We're all moving on it but
we could move further.

I want the WTO round started in Qatar last December to be a success. And
it's time we took on the anti-globalisation protestors who seek to disrupt
the meetings international leaders have on these issues. What the poor world
needs is not less globalisation but more. Their injustice is not
globalisation but being excluded from it. Free enterprise is not their
enemy; but their friend. In all these areas, we seek one integrated,
international community, sharing the same values, working to the same goals.
There is one other thought I have, which may seem slightly off-centre. We
should also - at least the US and the EU - think collaboratively about some
of the key scientific and technological challenges we face. I know our
companies will always compete. Of course they will. And on some things, like
Kyoto, and climate change, there will be disagreement between us. But let me
single out two areas where we could pool thoughts. One is science, where
genetics and biotech will transform our lives yet again, as if the IT
revolution hadn't transformed them enough already; and there is a lot of
mis-information and misunderstanding about the science and its
possibilities. We do work together in some parts of research but we could do
more and should.

The other area is energy policy. Fuel is our economic lifeblood. The price
of oil can be the difference between recession and recovery. The western
world is import dependent. We base our policy on diversity of supply. You in
the US import from 50 different countries, no one of which supplies more
than 15 per cent of total imports. The EU pursues roughly the same policy.
So: who develops oil and gas, what the new potential sources of supply are,
is a vital strategic question. We have the best energy companies in the
world. Yet I don't believe that collectively, we have a sufficient strategy
for ensuring that the political and corporate world co-operate together in
ensuring the diversity of supply continues or in our policy towards energy.
The Middle East, we focus on naturally.

But the Caspian, Russia and Angola will be vital sources of supply in the
future. Sorting out the problems - for example conflict resolution in Angola
which accounts for some 7 per cent of non-OPEC US imports - is not time
wasted. Neither is collaboration on research for the fuels of the future or
for greater fuel efficiency. This generation may not thank us for it, but
our children's generation will. My basic argument is that in today's
interdependent world, we need an integrated approach, a doctrine of
international community as I put it before, based on the values we believe
in. I am not suggesting, incidentally, that nothing is done without
unanimity in the world. That would be a recipe for the lowest common
denominator - a poor policy. I am arguing that the values we believe in are
worth fighting for; they are in the ascendant and we have a common interest
in standing up for them.

We shouldn't be shy of giving our actions not just the force of
self-interest but moral force. And in reality, at a certain point these
forces merge. When we defend our countries as you did after September 11, we
aren't just defending territory. We are defending what our nations believe
in: freedom, democracy, justice, tolerance and respect towards others. What
makes America great is not its GDP alone or its military might. It is its
freedom, its enterprise, its rejoicing in its different colours and
cultures, the fact that someone of humble beginnings can aspire, work hard,
succeed and be applauded for their success. And can disagree.

When I pass protestors every day at Downing Street, and believe me, you name
it, they protest against it, I may not like what they call me, but I thank
God they can. That's called freedom. Usama bin Laden's philosophy is not
just a security threat to us. It's an assault on our hearts and minds. It
represents extremism, cruelty, intolerance of different cultures and
lifestyles. It can't be fought just with guns. It must be fought by moderate
Islam against extreme Islam, by the virtues of religious and political
tolerance triumphing over bigotry.

Likewise, what happens in Africa offends every criterion of justice and
decency we believe in. Fighting for these values is a cause the world needs.
The great paradox of our modern world is that we have the unlimited
possibility of scientific and technological advance, the prospect of
prosperity my father could never have dreamed of as a child. Yet we also
have the capacity to destroy ourselves. The very interdependence we have,
can be for good or ill. What makes the difference is the values that govern
it. All this has been latent in world politics for some time. September 11
brought it into sharp relief. When an event of such magnitude occurs only a
fool fails to reflect and consider. It does change everything. For America,
it has laid bare the reality. American power affects the world
fundamentally. It is there. It is real. It is never irrelevant. It can
affect the world for good or affect it for bad.

Stand aside or engage, it never fails to affect. You know I want it engaged.
Under President Bush, I am confident it will be and for good. But if that's
what I and many others want, it comes at a price for us too. It means we
don't shirk our responsibility. It means that when America is fighting for
those values, then, however tough, we fight with her. No grandstanding, no
offering implausible but impractical advice from the comfort of the
touchline, no wishing away the hard not the easy choices on terrorism and
WMD, or making peace in the Middle East, but working together, side by side.
That is the only route I know to a stable world based on prosperity and
justice for all, where freedom liberates the lives of every citizen in every
corner of the globe. If the world makes the right choices now - at this time
of destiny - we will get there. And Britain will be at America's side in
doing it.


Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]