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[casi] from today's papers: 6-05-02

A. US wants to oust Saddam even if he makes concessions, Guardian, 6th May

Letters to: [Remember to include your address and
telephone number]

Whilst Whittaker notes, correctly, that Powell's remarks give Saddam Huseein
'no incentive' to co-operate with the UN on the weapons inspection front
they are actually simply the latest of a long series of pronouncements by
high-ranking US and British officials making it clear to Saddam Hussein that
he has little or nothing to gain - and possibly much to lose - by
co-operating with UN inspections.

Indeed, despite the current "smart" sanctions fraud, policy remains the
immoral one spelt out by Bush Snr's Deputy National Adviser Robert Gates in
May 1991: 'Iraqis will pay the price while [Saddam Hussein] remains in
power. All possible sanctions will remain in place until he is gone.'

Best wishes,

voices uk

A. US wants to oust Saddam even if he makes concessions

Brian Whitaker and agencies
Monday May 6, 2002
The Guardian

The US may try to remove Saddam Hussein from power even if he agrees to new
weapons inspections, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, said yesterday.

His remarks came less than 48 hours after the Iraqi foreign minister met the
UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, for talks aimed at resolving the impasse
over inspections.

"US policy is that, regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq
and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in
Baghdad," Mr Powell said. "The United States reserves its option to do
whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime

He told ABC television the issue of inspectors is a "separate and distinct
and different" matter from the question of Saddam Hussein's leadership.

President George Bush has declared an intention to remove President Saddam
from power. He has said all options are open, including a military campaign
to overthrow the Iraqi leader if he continues to reject the inspectors.

The row over UN weapons inspectors, who left in 1998 when Iraq withdrew its
cooperation, had until now formed the centrepiece of the US argument for
"regime change".

In the hope of averting an attack, Baghdad recently began diplomatic moves
towards a formula that would allow the inspectors' return. But Mr Powell's
latest comments give Iraq no incentive to relent.

Mr Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, yesterday dodged a
question on whether the inspections issue provides justification for US
military action against Iraq. She said that Saddam Hussein "is not likely to
ever convince the world, in a reliable way, that he is going to live at
peace with his neighbours, that he will not seek weapons of mass
destruction, and that he will not repress his own people".

US efforts to link the Iraq issue to the "war on terrorism" have failed to
bear fruit. Even the alleged meeting between Mohammed Atta, believed to have
led the September 11 hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence officer has been
debunked in the US media.

Last Friday, Mr Annan reported progress from his talks with the Iraqi
foreign minister, Naji Sabri, on the return of inspectors. Mr Sabri
described the talks as positive and useful.

Iraq removed another potential irritant yesterday when it announced that it
would resume oil exports, which had been suspended last month. The move was
designed to put pressure on the United States to stop Israeli incursions
into Palestinian territory.

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