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A. Blair talks big on Iraq, but Washington calls the shots, Guardian, 11 April B. MPs warn Blair to focus on West Bank, Guardian, 11 April C. Fiction of a UN mandate for Iraq attack, letters from today's Guardian, 11 April D. Angry backbenchers accuse Blair of double standards over Middle East, Independent, 11 April E. Labour rebels defy Blair on Iraq, Daily Telegraph, 11 April F. Blair suffers backbench anger over Iraq action, The Times, 11 April G. Delay and danger. More awkward challenges ahead for Blair on Iraq, The Times, 11 April [leading article] H. Labour MPs accuse Blair of evading concerns over Iraq, Financial Times, 11 April Guardian: email@example.com Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org Daily Telegraph: email@example.com The Times: firstname.lastname@example.org Financial Times: email@example.com [Letter writers: Remember to include your address and telephone number and that The Times require all letters to be exclusive!] Here's today's round-up, mainly focussing on Blair's performance in Parliament yesterday at which he 'failed to calm Labour MPs' fears over possible military action against Iraq' in 'one of the most hostile Prime Minister's Question Times since he came to office.' (Independent) List members were able to get a couple of letters in today's Guardian (C) so keep on writing! Best wishes, Gabriel *********************************************************** A. Blair talks big on Iraq, but Washington calls the shots Hawks in America have set the prime minister his biggest test Hugo Young Thursday April 11, 2002 The Guardian On the Middle East and Iraq, Tony Blair sometimes makes himself sound like the man in charge of western policy. He did it again yesterday. It's the tone he adopted after his weekend with President Bush. Calling the shots and making the promises could be regarded as the necessary licence we need to give our national leader. He must be seen to be in control, especially by a fiercely worried swath of Labour MPs. But it would be a serious mistake to believe that, when it matters, Mr Blair will be the one to decide what he now seems to pretend is within his power. His zone of decision will be different. There was a time when his voice really mattered. Maybe that's the memory that causes him to speak as though he has some control over what happens next in Iraq. In the Kosovo end-game, he secured great influence both in private and in public. His famous Chicago speech in April 1999, setting out a moral case for intervention, became the text that helped to carry American opinion. His private nagging swayed Bill Clinton to commit to a position that many domestic forces had told him he should not take. The Blair line on intervention has hardly changed. He set it out again, with a few cautionary refinements, in the weekend speech in Texas. He believes in interdependence but also in the duty of righteous states, if necessary without a broad consensus, to root out global evils. He talks about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as a suitable case for treatment, but insists that "we" will not act precipitately. He announced that there would be no early decision. His briefers laid out the nuances and reservations he would apply to any suggestion of an all-out attack. He touched on the UN perspective, while rejecting the need for a new security council resolution. This "we" of whom he spoke implied not just community but equality with his Texas friend. That's not entirely fiction. Community is developing. Mr Bush needs Mr Blair alongside, and one of his officials has been quoted saying that Mr Blair's support would be a precondition for an attack on Saddam Hussein. They had some hours of conversation at Crawford, partly one to one. The Blair persuasive powers, formidable in his own mind, had time enough to work their effect, no doubt in the direction of complicating a policy stance that Mr Bush would like to keep simple. But if decisions are not precipitate, that will be Bush's doing, not Blair's. Nuance and reservation will eventually be smashed aside, if the determination is made in Washington to set in motion the regime-change in Baghdad that many voices are demanding. It's hard to find anyone in the American capital who does not confirm this as a settled objective of the Bush administration, or pretends it will not be attempted by force. That is now becoming the orthodoxy which the Blair analysis helps uncritically to establish as something that "we" accept. A benign imperial intervention is being prepared, subject only to its timing. There are, however, some things we do not all agree about. A judgment uniting all European countries is that, in the hierarchy of dangers, Israel/Palestine takes paramount place. The prime minister told the Commons that this has become a confluence of tragedies which, for once, makes crisis an understatement. It rages out of control hour by hour, under the hand of two leaders who now think no further than violence and destruction. Even Secretary Powell has been obliged to approach it crabwise, dodging from one advance haven to another, lest his arrival in Israel be marked by more humiliating evidence of the indifference both Sharon and Arafat seem prepared to show to mighty Washington. To European powers it is elementary that Israel/Palestine take precedence over a widening of the campaign against terror and weapons of mass destruction. The British foreign policy and defence establishment, let alone the French and German, look with horror on the notion of throwing more petrol on the Middle East inferno by advancing against Saddam Hussein before some kind of acceptable peace has settled over Israel. In their nightmares the US attacks Baghdad while Israel still occupies the West Bank. They see current events as postponing indefinitely the showdown with Saddam. But this isn't everyone's order of priorities. To militant anti-Saddam elements around the Pentagon and the US Senate, there can be no Middle East peace until Saddam is disposed of. They would not allow intransigence on the West Bank to delay the attack on Baghdad for which many are engaged in making detailed plans. One can see their political reasoning. If you wait for an Israel-Palestine settlement, they say, you may wait for years. Iraq, by contrast, presents the opportunity for a winnable, visible, perhaps uncomplicated war, in which victory would have seismic repercussions that finally gave Israel protection, and ushered in, as part of the shakedown, a more malleable generation of Palestinian leadership. That is close to the policy that Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative party leader, evidently favours. Not long ago he published a pamphlet making an extensive case for the forceful eviction of Saddam. He has often argued for unconditional support of any policy the US adopts, whether bombing Baghdad or deploying missile defence. Take that in combination with the bias of his Commons statement yesterday, and you find a card-carrying spokesman for the ideology of the Pentagon hard right. At a time when the best that outsiders can offer by way of a Middle East policy are pious banalities, these should at least be even-handed. Mr Duncan Smith, instead, chose to deliver a shockingly one-sided defence of Israel to the near-exclusion of the Palestinians. Mr Blair was better than that. His moral repugnance for Saddam Hussein doesn't overcome his common sense in seeing the dangers of an escalation in Arab rage on behalf of the people of Gaza and the West Bank. He finds the right words for the unspeakable vileness of the suicide bomber. He plainly sees the folly of an attack on Baghdad without a coalition to support it, and knows this coalition will not be forthcoming if the Israeli boot is still seen on the Palestinian throat. His own party coalition, if nothing else, demands that nothing precipitate is done. His MPs pressed good and honest questions yesterday. They reflect an anxiety that spreads beyond Labour. Mr Blair must know he could yet face much the most dangerous political conflict of his leadership. His problem is how little he controls that. He talks a big game at present. He's intensely engaged, as he should be. We must hope his influence is as great as he pretends. But Washington is a sectarian capital, controlled by politicians unaccustomed to cultivating allies, and peopled by determined thinkers who see the hour of Saddam's extermination at hand. Washington alone will decide when to act. Mr Blair's only decision will be whether or not to go along. Place your bets. ************************************************ B. MPs warn Blair to focus on West Bank Michael White, political editor Thursday April 11, 2002 The Guardian Tony Blair's bid to rally MPs behind the Bush-Blair axis on the Middle East won qualified support from all sides yesterday. But it came at the price of warnings not to let Iraq distract him from the more urgent task of halting the bloodshed between Israel and the Palestinians. Two days after his weekend trip to the Bush ranch in Texas, the prime minister spent more than two hours facing critics at Westminster, first at a private meeting of Labour MPs, later when he faced question time, and then when he made a statement to the Commons. Frustrated critics, many unable to question the prime minister yesterday, will get their chance in a full day's debate on Tuesday, though it will not be focused on Iraq but the deadlock on the West Bank and Gaza. "Amidst the suffering there appears to be no strategy to end it, therefore no hope," Mr Blair told a crowded house. "Both sides must see that violence is not and never will be the answer. The solution will never be reached if it is seen purely as a security or military question. There must be a political process too." In exchanges with Iain Duncan Smith, in which the Tory leader tilted conspicuously more towards Israel than he did, Mr Blair also suggested for the first time in public that the international monitors he wants to see police a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine should also ensure that suspected terrorists are not arrested by Yasser Arafat only to be promptly released through "the revolving door". Though Mr Blair tried to focus the exchanges on the crisis in the Israeli-occupied territories - "it is hard to overstate the dangers," he said - he was constantly forced back to defending his insistence that Saddam Hussein's "despicable" regime cannot be left unchecked. "Doing nothing is not an option - I repeat, however, no decisions have been taken. Our way of proceeding should be and will be measured, calm and thought through." Labour backbenchers were earlier given the same message. Some leftwing and main stream critics were satisfied with what they heard. "His response was pretty effective," conceded one prominent MP. However, others complained of a "dysfunctional meeting in which he talked 80% of the time about domestic policy and 80% of our questions were about Iraq". In the Commons, some Tory MPs, including former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg, said they were not yet persuaded of the Iraqi menace - "especially when the Middle East is in turmoil". That is precisely the complaint of mainstream Labour sceptics. They told the prime minister it would be folly to even think of military action against Iraq before its Arab neighbours have been reassured of western good faith towards the Palestinians. In contrast to his unrelenting disdain towards Saddam's regime, Mr Blair tried to avoid partisanship between Mr Arafat and Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon. He coupled mention of harrowing atrocities suffered on one side with those on the other, reminding pro-Palestinian MPs that random suicide bombs that kill women and children generate anger that "is huge and intense". Mr Blair repeated the government's four-point plan: to join global pressure for a ceasefire; to get UN authority behind the Saudi "land for peace" plan; to provide monitors to rebuild confidence on both sides; and work with the EU, the Palestinians' major aid donor, to rebuild damaged infrastructure and better security forces to work with Israel. Most Labour interventions were concerned that Downing Street focus its limited resources on the immediate Israeli crisis, not Iraq, where Mr Blair insisted the regime is rebuilding its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capability. "He's got to eat, drink and sleep it as he did in Northern Ireland," said one. ************************************************************* C. Fiction of a UN mandate for Iraq attack Thursday April 11, 2002 Letters, The Guardian There is no legal basis for a military assault against Iraq in UN resolutions (Blair sees no need for new UN mandate to attack Iraq, April 10). In November 1990, security council resolution 678 authorised the use of "all necessary means" to get Iraq to quit Kuwait if it had not left by January 15 1991, "and for no other purpose". Iraq left Kuwait over 11 years ago and no subsequent UN resolution has authorised the use of force against Iraq for any other reason, including the so-called no-fly zones. Talk of Iraqi non-compliance reactivating UN authorisation is, therefore, nonsense. The UN charter is explicit. The attack against Iraq being planned, which risks killing thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilians, is not self-defence and has not been authorised by the security council. That Mr Blair refuses to make British participation in such action conditional on UN authorisation is symptomatic of his contempt for international law. Gabriel Carlyle Oxford The claim by "Whitehall sources" that the government's much-heralded dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction has not been released "because of a lack of hard evidence" is highly revealing, particularly when juxtaposed with Tony Blair's constant claim that Iraq has such weapons. By the end of 1998, UN weapons inspections had disarmed Iraq "to a level unprecedented in modern history", leaving the country posing a "WMD-based threat to no one", so long as monitors remained in place (Scott Ritter, former head of Unscom's concealment unit). Since the US and Britain chose to destroy Unscom despite its substantial achievements on the disarmament front, concern over Iraq's WMD capabilities is clearly not driving policy. Milan Rai Voices in the Wilderness There should be a law against people like Ahmad Chalabi (Is this man leading us to war with Iraq? April 10) plotting the violent overthrow of a foreign government while living here. When will our government act? Julian Dunn Great Haseley, Oxon ************************************************** D. Angry backbenchers accuse Blair of double standards over Middle East By Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor Independent 11 April 2002 Tony Blair failed to calm Labour MPs' fears over possible military action against Iraq yesterday as he faced one of the most hostile Prime Minister's Question Times since he came to office. Mr Blair came under fire from three former ministers in the Commons hours after backbenchers questioned him at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The MPs' anger spilt over despite an announcement by the Prime Minister of new proposals to install British and European Union officials to monitor any ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians. Mr Blair made clear that a new United Nations security council resolution, based on a Saudi peace plan for the region, would be sought in New York as early as next week. He also promised MPs a debate on the Middle East on Tuesday and pledged for the first time that a similar debate would be held on Iraq if any decision was made on military action in the future. But Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, led the criticism at question time with a searing attack on Mr Blair's comments that critics of his foreign policy were "utterly naive". Mr Kilfoyle asked: "Is it naive to be dismayed at the succour which has been given to Sharon by the mixed messages which have come out of the American and British administrations? "Is it naive to beware the bellicosity of elements within the American administration based on ideology or is it naive to believe in the centrality of the UN in resolving the problems of the Middle East?" Jon Owen Jones, Labour MP for Cardiff Central and a former Welsh Office minister, said it was vital to tackle both the Middle East conflict and the Iraq situation without being seen to use "double standards". George Howarth, a former Home Office minister, said he wanted an assurance that Saddam Hussein would be given every chance to comply with UN resolutions before any action was taken. The MPs' comments reflected serious concern at Mr Blair's support for possible US military intervention when he met President George Bush in Texas at the weekend. Some 146 MPs, most from the Labour Party, have signed a Commons early day motion expressing "deep unease" at such support. Mr Blair said Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programmme "has to be confronted and will be confronted". Labour backbenchers' concerns were underlined when Mr Blair faced extensive questioning over his policy towards Iraq at a meeting of the PLP. ***************************************************************** E. Labour rebels defy Blair on Iraq By George Jones and Andy McSmith Daily Telegraph (Filed: 11/04/2002) LABOUR MPs were openly defiant yesterday over Tony Blair's support for American military action to topple Saddam Hussein. For the first time since he came to power, Labour backbenchers subjected him to hostile questioning during Prime Minister's questions. Labour MPs have been criticised in the past for putting soft questions to Mr Blair. But this time his critics were prepared to express their concerns in public. At an earlier private meeting of Labour MPs, Mr Blair was left in no doubt about growing opposition to his robust expression of support for American military intervention when he met President Bush at the weekend. The row overshadowed Mr Blair's offer to send British observers to the Middle East to ensure that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority kept wanted terrorists behind bars. In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister joined international demands for the Israelis and Palestinians to end the bloodshed and resume negotiations. He made the offer of observers as part of international efforts to restore security and rebuild confidence to enable negotiations to start. But he was gloomy about the prospects of an early end to the violence. He said the situation was "ghastly" and the bitterness so deep that teenage Palestinians were becoming suicide bombers. His assurances that Britain was committed to restarting political talks failed to deflect his backbench critics, who fear that action against Iraq could destabilise the whole region. Mr Blair, while insisting that there would be no precipitate action, made clear to MPs that military action to secure a change of regime in Iraq was a real possibility. Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, asked him to confirm reports that he had told President Bush that the Government would support and possibly contribute to military action against Saddam if such action was needed. Mr Blair replied: "The time for military action has not yet arisen." While no decisions had been taken, doing nothing was not an option and the world would be a better place without Saddam, Mr Blair said. But the method of removing him was still "open to consultation". "Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction and we cannot leave him unchecked. He is a threat to his own people and to the region - and if allowed to develop these weapons, a threat to us also." Mr Blair faced extensive questioning over his policy towards Iraq at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Backbenchers packed the meeting to listen to an address from Mr Blair which was devoted largely to domestic issues. He pointed out that it was the 10th anniversary of Labour's last election defeat, using it as a peg on which to hang a plea for loyalty. Supporters described it as a "commanding performance". But eight of the 15 MPs who were able to question him ignored his speech and tackled him on foreign policy. They included Clive Soley, the former chairman of the parliamentary party, who said the West would be accused of double standards if it allowed Israel to defy United Nations resolutions but attacked Iraq. The Left-winger Dennis Skinner criticised his dealings with two Right-wing heads of government: George Bush and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Mr Blair said: "I do not choose the president of the USA or the prime minister of Italy, but I will work with any elected leader in the interests of this country." Mr Blair's critics said that many others would have joined the attack if they had been called to speak. One MP complained: "That was the shoddiest performance I have ever seen. He seemed to be on another planet." The number of Labour MPs who have signed a motion expressing "deep unease" about military action in Iraq has risen to 126 since the end of the Easter break. One of the new names on the list is Helen Jackson, who was a former parliamentary aide to Peter Mandelson. Mr Mandelson has said that the crisis in Israel must be resolved before the West moves on to deal with Iraq. Mrs Jackson appears to have been driven to opposing American policy in the Middle East out of frustration over Washington's punitive tariffs on steel imports, which could have a damaging impact on her Sheffield constituency. ****************************************************** F. Blair suffers backbench anger over Iraq action By Philip Webster and David Charter The Times 11 April 2002 TONY BLAIR faced down growing public and private Labour opposition over military action against Iraq yesterday, leaving MPs in no doubt that he was ready to back President Bush whenever the time came. After earlier appealing to Labour MPs to concentrate their concerns on domestic issues, such as the public services and the Budget, Mr Blair got an unusually rough ride from his own side in the Commons when he declared that the “time for military action has not yet arisen”. His use of the word “yet” was further confirmation for MPs that Mr Blair is prepared to take action designed to topple Saddam Hussein should that become necessary. He said there was no doubt that the world would be a better place without Saddam. “However, the method of doing this is open to consultation and deliberation,” he said. Many Labour MPs sat with their arms folded, withholding the customary Question Time cheers for the Prime Minister, as one of them after another stood up to raise concerns. At one point Mr Blair was subjected to minor heckling after responding to claims that he had accused MPs of being naive. At a packed meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party earlier Mr Blair tried to rally his troops by devoting the majority of his speech to domestic issues and repeating his promises on Iraq that nothing would be done precipitately. Donald Anderson, chairman of the all-party Foreign Affairs Committee, said the meeting had been well-mannered. He said that Mr Blair had made plain that “whatever will be done will be done when other options have been exhausted”. He was summing up Mr Blair’s strategy. Knowing that military action is probably at least a year away the Prime Minister is trying to build up domestic and international support by using Saddam’s breach of UN resolutions, particularly on allowing in weapons inspectors, as the basis for future action. Crucially, Mr Blair refused to say whether he believed another UN resolution would be needed before military action is taken. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, has suggested that a new resolution might not be needed, while Clare Short has said that there should be one. Mr Blair maintained to the PLP that there was nothing new in his American speech, according to MPs present. Alice Mahon and Joan Ruddock said that there must be another UN resolution, but Mr Blair did not respond. Ms Mahon said it was “either deeply unhelpful or disgraceful” for Mr Hoon to have said that they could not rule out use of nuclear weapons. Clive Soley and Jon Owen Jones gave warning of a real gap opening up with Muslim communities in their constituencies. Mr Blair did say that progress in the Middle East must precede any decision on Iraq but “to do nothing on Iraq is unacceptable”. Known critics said afterwards that they had not been mollified by Mr Blair. Jeremy Corbyn said: “I was not persuaded. Mostly his speech was on domestic matters, which was a source of disappointment.” Eric Illsley said he had not been reassured: “He has reiterated his position that nothing is ruled out and nothing is ruled in, that the status quo cannot be an option, and so he is still committed to military action. I think the only thing today that perhaps might have changed is that the timescale appears to be longer rather than shorter.” In the Commons Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, backed Mr Blair’s stance. He said: “In the future, if left unchecked, Iraq will be able to deploy its weapons of mass destruction against targets in Western Europe, including the UK.” ******************************************************* G. Delay and danger More awkward challenges ahead for Blair on Iraq The Times 11 April Leading Article While the substance of the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons yesterday concentrated on the crisis in the Middle East, most Labour MPs were rather more concerned about the few sentences that he decided to offer about Iraq. The situation in and around Israel, reiterated by another appalling suicide bombing in Haifa, is more than bad enough to have justified Tony Blair’s willingness to address it formally in Parliament. But despite the disturbing nature of events, and Iain Duncan Smith’s evident desire to place more weight on the failure of Yassir Arafat to condemn, let alone to combat, Palestinian terrorism, the Prime Minister can reasonably calculate that this strand of his foreign policy probably will not have major domestic political implications. The same is not, as Mr Blair knows, true of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. In the short term, the perception which emerged from his meeting with President Bush in Crawford, Texas, that direct military intervention is unlikely, for logistical reasons, before 2003, may buy the Prime Minister some space and time with his parliamentary colleagues. It allowed him yesterday to sound tough — asserting, correctly, that “doing nothing is not an option” — while at the same moment providing Labour MPs with the hope that enough time will elapse for Saddam to agree to readmit weapons inspectors and thus render conflict redundant. As a result, the scale of open dissent expressed yesterday was not as wide or intense as might have been anticipated. There are, however, real dangers which flow from delay that the Prime Minister would be well advised to consider. While he is in strict terms right to assert that “no decisions” have been made on the precise details of when and how to deal with Iraq, he will not have left the United States under any illusion about Mr Bush’s utter determination to act decisively against a threat which his father but partially addressed and which his immediate predecessor did little of lasting impact to extinguish. The only circumstances in which this White House will not seek overtly to affect a change of regime in Baghdad are if Saddam permits United Nations officials to operate within Iraq in a fashion completely of their choosing or if covert methods remove the Iraqi dictator. Either of these outcomes might come to pass but the Prime Minister has to assume that they will not. If so, then there is real political peril for Mr Blair in the potential postponement of any offensive until the spring of next year. The first difficulty is that Labour MPs and wider public opinion alike might mistake “not now” for “never” and then be rudely disturbed later. The second is that if there is to be a serious split within the Labour Party over Iraq then it will be more damaging in the middle of this Parliament than at its outset. The final, intriguing, element is that the Prime Minister might have to make the tough decisions on a military commitment against Saddam at the same time as he must reach a position as to whether or not to call a referendum on the euro. While the Government has encountered some turbulence in the first few months of this year, matters could be much more awkward in 12 months time. Mr Blair cannot therefore abandon his attempts to prepare party and public opinion for combat in Iraq or overstate the prospects of a benign yet effective solution being found in the meantime. He needs to continue to make the case for confronting Saddam and eradicating every part of his infrastructure for weapons of mass destruction as if an Anglo-American initiative were plausible this autumn. In the circumstances yesterday it was understandable that Mr Blair focused primarily on the Middle East and less about Iraq. He must though, return soon to Saddam at considerable length and with absolute consistency. ******************************************************* H. Labour MPs accuse Blair of evading concerns over Iraq FOREIGN POLICY PRIME MINISTER FAILS TO CALM BACKBENCH UNEASE ABOUT POSSIBLE MILITARY ACTION AND RELATIONSHIP WI: Financial Times; Apr 11, 2002 By ROSEMARY BENNETT and JAMES MACKINTOSH Tony Blair failed to quell backbench anxiety over possible military action against Iraq yesterday with MPs accusing him of ducking difficult questions in a long private meeting. Anger also boiled over during prime minister's questions when Mr Blair came under pressure from his own side for the staunch support shown to George W. Bush, US president. MPs leaving the 75-minute meeting of the parliamentary Labour party expressed disappointment that their concerns had not been addressed directly. Out of 15 questions, 10 were on Iraq as MPs sought guarantees over United Nations involvement and what had been discussed with President Bush at weekend talks. Mr Blair stuck to his line that no action was imminent and that any action would only follow a long consultation process. He also offered a full debate on the Middle East next Tuesday, although there would be no vote. Alice Mahon, Labour MP for Halifax, asked the prime minister for an assurance that he would not endorse unilateral US action against Iraq without a new UN mandate. She said she was "very disappointed" that her points were not answered. Some MPs asked for evidence that Saddam Hussein was posing an immediate threat, while others asked why the UK and US were so keen on military action when Iraq's neighbours opposed it. At question time, Peter Kilfoyle, former defence minister, took issue with Mr Blair over reports that he had called his foreign policy critics "naive". "Is it naive to be wary of the bellicosity of elements within the US administration, or is it naive to believe in the centrality of the UN in solving the problems of the Middle East?" he asked. So far, 125 Labour MPs have signed a motion voicing their concern over Iraq, while many others have approached the whips office to express their anxiety. A speech at the Mansion House last night by Jack Straw, foreign secretary, justifying interference in the internal affairs of other nations is likely to add to their fears. In what MPs may interpret as a softening up exercise ahead of military action in Iraq, Mr Straw said the global community "has the right" to intervene. "Because we are one world, the global community has the right to make judgments about countries' internal affairs, where they flout or fail to abide by global values," Mr Straw said. "We must necessarily take a closer interest in the internal behaviour of countries where this falls below international standards." Mr Straw believes that many conflicts have begun with domestic human rights abuses and that earlier international intervention could nip problems in the bud. _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk