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A. There should be no war in Iraq without more jaw-jaw, Guardian, 29 July [opinion piece by Lib Dem. Foreign Affairs spokesperson Menzies Campbell] B. Blair's lack of resolution, Guardian, 29 July [letters] C. Blair warned: Iraq attack 'illegal', Independent, 29 July D. However brutal the regime, Britain must not support an invasion of Iraq, Independent, 29 July [leading article] E. Letters, The Times, 29 July F. Jordan's King to tell Bush: Delay Iraq, lean on Israel, Times, 29 July G. Baghdad warns non-Arab partners over strikes, Financial Times, 29 July Guardian: email@example.com Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org Times: email@example.com Financial Times: firstname.lastname@example.org [Letter-writers: remember to include your address and telephone # and that the Times require exclusivity for their letters] Here's today's broadsheet coverage - or at least the stuff that I could find on the net. Noteworthy are Menzies Campbell's ludicrous claim (A.) that 'Existing UN resolutions can be interpreted to permit military strikes as part of the enforcement of weapons inspection, as they were in December 1998, but they do not allow for regime change.' They permit neither, as is immediately clear to anyone who's read the documents concerned. Also, the leading article in today's Independent (D) which alleges that 'many of the opponents of an invasion of Iraq ... are too inclined to believe Iraqi propaganda which holds the US and its allies responsible for the starvation of many of the Iraqi people, when responsibility for that lies with Baghdad' and the second letter in E. which bewails the "fact" that 'it comes down to our “innocent civilians” or their “innocent civilians”.' Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk ****************************************************** A. There should be no war in Iraq without more jaw-jaw If British policy is to change, Blair owes us an explanation Menzies Campbell Monday July 29, 2002 The Guardian The daily beat of the Washington drum gets louder and more insistent. It is assumed that Britain will answer the president's call to arms against Iraq. Every troop movement or redeployment by the UK Ministry of Defence is interpreted by commentators with urgent and inevitable significance. But before Bush comes to shove, the British government owes the people of the UK a clear explanation of the reasons why British forces may be asked to put their lives at risk. By any standards, the prime minister's performance before the chairmen and women of the select committees of the House of Commons was a virtuoso one. But in his answers to the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, and to Charles Kennedy the following day at prime minister's questions, there were more than a few latent ambiguities, which Mr Blair did nothing to dispel in his end-of-term report to the press last week. Let us begin by accepting that it is a reasonable assumption that Iraq under Saddam Hussein has continued to develop programmes for chemical and biological weapons and may have the means of delivery. We can't be so sure of nuclear capability but, to be on the safe side, let us assume that Saddam Hussein is working towards it, as he has been in the past. No government committed to the security of its citizens can sensibly exclude, in all possible circumstances, the use of military force. But equally, no government committed to the rule of international law can choose war unless it is convinced that all other avenues of action have been tried and exhausted. It should be the first priority of the UN security council and all of its members to return the weapons inspectors to Iraq. We should not abandon the strategy of containment and deterrence followed since the end of the Gulf war in favour of military action unless there is compelling and immediate evidence that self-defence requires it. What is the objective of current British policy towards Iraq? Military action should never be undertaken without clear and realistic political objectives that are capable of achievement. The current sanctions policy and no-fly zones are designed to contain the Iraqi regime and limit its ability to develop weapons, threaten its neighbours or destabilise the region. Can British national security only be served by joining in military action for the removal of the current regime? If policy on Iraq is to change, the prime minister needs to inform the country. Even with a majority of 180, he cannot expect to be taken on trust. He cannot even expect to be taken on trust by his own party. Where is the evidence to justify a change of policy? The prime minister has said that the government is planning to publish the evidence against Saddam Hussein, but that he would need to "choose his time" to do this. That time is now. If the government has the evidence, it should publish it. If the government is confident of its case, it should take it to the British people. Just how will military action achieve a better state of peace? Does the British government share the somewhat improbable view of some US officials who claim that a new regime in Baghdad will create a "benign ripple effect" throughout the region, encouraging open and democratic government in neighbouring Arab states and helping to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What if these officials are wrong and instead of a ripple of democracy there is a bow wave of instability? What if the Kurds in the north of Iraq use change in Baghdad as an opportunity to declare an independent Kurdistan? In the present fragile state of politics in Turkey, how can we expect Ankara to react? And would Iran stand quietly by? Would a dismembered Iraq add to or subtract from stability? In 1991 the allies most certainly regarded the break-up of Iraq as one of several powerful reasons for not marching on Baghdad after Iraq had been expelled from Kuwait. Under what legal authority would military action be taken? The government's claim is that any British action in Iraq would be "in accordance with international law". Existing UN resolutions can be interpreted to permit military strikes as part of the enforcement of weapons inspection, as they were in December 1998, but they do not allow for regime change. Article 51 of the UN charter gives states the right of self-defence, but is silent on the issue of anticipatory action in self-defence. Even if the right to pre-emptive action in self-defence can be inferred, the imminence of an attack justifying it must be urgent. "Clear and present danger" must be given content if it is to justify military action under article 51. If the earlier assumption about Iraq having biological and chemical weapons is valid, what assessment has the MoD made about the risk of them being used against any British force engaged in conflict against Iraq? Even more chillingly, what assessment has been made about the risks of them being used against Israel, and of the likely response of that nuclear-capable country? Crucially, would the deployment of British troops be subject to a debate and an affirmative vote of the House of Commons? The prime minister told Charles Kennedy: "We will obviously consider how we can best consult the House properly should any such action arise." That response suggests that a vote will only be forthcoming if the government is confident of winning it. The prime minister is right to be anxious. It is not only Labour backbenchers that have been expressing reservations but also former Tory ministers still in the House such as Douglas Hogg and John Gummer and, outside the House, the former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind. There is only one way to consult parliament where British lives are concerned, and that is with a full debate and a substantive vote. If the prime minister avoids a vote in parliament because he thinks he would lose, he will have difficulty in leading public opinion in the country. It has been a characteristic of the Falklands, the Gulf war, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and, more recently, Afghanistan, that the prime minister of the day has enjoyed majority support for British involvement in military action. As Sir Humphrey might say, it would be "courageous" of the prime minister to embark on a military campaign without public support this time. He can only expect that support if he answers the questions I have posed and takes the British people into his confidence. · Menzies Campbell is Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman ***************************************************** B. Letters: Blair's lack of resolution Monday July 29, 2002 The Guardian I very much agree with your article (Leaders, July 26), pushing for parliamentary consultation over British involvement in any attack on Iraq. However, war in Iraq is an international issue with enormous international repercussions. During his press conference, Tony Blair was evasive on the role of the UN. While he continued to maintain that any action in Iraq must be "done in accordance with international law", his statement that it was currently not possible to "judge the issue of UN [security council] resolutions" was at best elusive and at worst disingenuous. Baghdad is indeed in breach of council resolutions, notably resolution 687 (1991) relating to UN weapons inspections to verify the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capacity. However, 687 referred specifically to the imposition of sanctions to enforce compliance; no reference is made to military action. Resolution 678 (1990) had previously authorised states to use "all necessary means" against Iraq and referred solely to the reversal of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. In the face of so much international opposition to war, the prime minister would do better to push harder for the return of weapons inspectors, who did much to dismantle Iraq's WMD capacity before being withdrawn in 1998. Either way, it is clear that a new and explicit security council resolution is an essential prerequisite to any military action. Malcolm Harper Director, United Nations Association-UK · Blair and Bush appear to have omitted one crucial factor from their calculations for a war on Iraq (Bush and Blair agree terms for Iraq attack, July 27) - the extensive and growing opposition among the British public. This highly diverse opposition will find a major focus in the mass demonstration to be held in London on September 28, on the eve of the Labour party conference. It promises to be the largest anti-war protest seen in this country for many years. Lindsey German Mike Marqusee Stop the War Coalition email@example.com · I'd urge the prime minister to take a copy of William Clark's Special Relationship for holiday reading. Older readers may remember that Clark, Eden's PR adviser, resigned in protest at the Suez adventure. This fascinating novel details the failure of a prime minister who believes it is in Britain's interest to back the US in bringing down a third world government. I just hope it's not too topical. Christopher Bell Chorleywood, Herts ********************************************* C. Blair warned: Iraq attack 'illegal' Government legal experts say UN mandate is needed for action By Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor Independent 29 July 2002 Tony Blair has been told by the Government's own lawyers that British participation in an invasion of Iraq would be illegal without a new United Nations mandate. The advice, which is highly confidential, has led the Foreign Office to warn Downing Street that a fresh UN resolution could be the best means of ensuring Russian and moderate Arab support for any attack against Saddam Hussein. Senior government sources say the Prime Minister has also received conflicting legal opinion from law officers that current UN resolutions could offer sufficient cover for any military action. But the very fact that even one part of Government has been told an attack could be illegal will delight the many Labour MPs worried that Mr Blair will unilaterally back an American assault. The legal advice in favour of a new UN resolution is in tune with similar calls made by Dr Rowan Williams, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury. Many Labour backbenchers, including former ministers such as Peter Kilfoyle, have warned that the party will be split for years if Britain takes part in any action against Iraq without proper justification. MPs are now sure to demand publication of the advice from government lawyers. Although Mr Blair stressed last week that the world was "not at the point of decision", it is clear that some in Downing Street are determined that Britain should back America whenever it does decide to attack. Yesterday, Ben Bradshaw, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, underlined Mr Blair's case that inaction against Iraq was not an option. In line with the Government's legal advice, Mr Bradshaw conceded that "there is an argument" that a new UN mandate would be required for an invasion. But he said there was a counter-argument that legal cover was given by the existing 23 UN resolutions about Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction and failure to allow weapons inspectors into the country. "We simply cannot think that by hoping a threat will go away it will. It won't and Saddam poses a very real one," he told Sky News' Sunday with Adam Boulton. "I would not want to come back on this programme in five years' time after something terrible had happened and defend to you that we ignored that threat." A vote by MPs on military action was ruled out by Mr Bradshaw, who organises Commons business as deputy to Robin Cook, the Leader of the House. Mr Bradshaw accepted that the opposition in the Labour ranks was more than a list of "usual suspects" and included moderate loyalists. "There is also a broader group of people who, of course, are concerned about how it could be done, why it is necessary, where is the evidence, and also the wider repercussions for the Middle East," he said. Mr Bradshaw dismissed a YouGov internet poll showing 51 per cent opposed to action against Iraq compared with 40 per cent in favour. "I think the majority of people supported what we did in Afghanistan, the majority of people supported what we did in the Balkans," he said. "And any British government is going to think very, very carefully about deploying British forces in a situation where it does not enjoy majority support in the population and in Parliament." Speculation about British involvement in a future attack was heightened at the weekend when it was claimed that HMS Ocean, one of the UK's biggest warships, was being kitted out for amphibious use. But military sources insisted no action would take place before December. Jordan's King Abdullah II told CNN yesterday that he finds the idea of intervention in Iraq while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has the Middle East in turmoil "somewhat ludicrous". ******************************************************************* D. However brutal the regime, Britain must not support an invasion of Iraq Independent 29 July 2002 Not even last week's impressively evasive performance from the Prime Minister could conceal the fact that Tony Blair is caught with his feet on either side of a widening strategic divide. We might speculate that he knows a war against Iraq would be wrong. He has, after all, personally appointed a new Archbishop of Canterbury who included a condemnation of the coming war in the manifesto on which he ran for office. On the other hand, he also knows that publicly opposing the President of the United States on such an issue would weaken British influence in the world. So he waits, repeating the phrases "action is not imminent" and "nothing has been decided", for something to turn up. Complicating factors, of course, muddy the simple choice as to which side of the divide is right. Saddam Hussein is a threat – to the Kurds, to many Iraqis, to his neighbours and to Israel, even if he is hardly a threat to the United States itself. He is in breach of United Nations resolutions designed to stop him developing weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the UN has failed to will the means to enforce its resolutions owes more to the right of veto on the Security Council than to the spirit of the settlement at the end of the Gulf War. The issue is also confused by the fact that many of the opponents of an invasion of Iraq oppose any military action whatsoever, even of enforcing the no-fly zones intended to protect the persecuted. They are also too inclined to believe Iraqi propaganda which holds the US and its allies responsible for the starvation of many of the Iraqi people, when responsibility for that lies with Baghdad. That said, however, the case against any attempt at "regime change" by invasion remains overwhelming. As we report today, the Government's own legal advisers say that the status of an invasion under international law is at best doubtful. A clear difference exists between bombing targets, such as known sites for developing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, or anti-aircraft installations which threaten no-fly zones being enforced, and a ground invasion intended to overthrow President Saddam's rule. UN authorisation has not been given for the latter, and nor is it likely to be. Mr Blair is used to that – he was advocate-in-chief of the war in Kosovo, which similarly lacked explicit UN authorisation. That conflict assumed legitimacy from a kind of "common law" of international relations which permits limited intervention in the internal affairs of states in order to prevent genocide or other crimes against humanity. But what is essentially being proposed by the hawks within George Bush's administration is the equivalent of marching on Belgrade to depose Slobodan Milosevic. Precedents are available, such as when Tanzania invaded Uganda to depose Idi Amin in 1979, but they depend on the action being swift and relatively bloodless, and the outcome being clear. Neither applies to Iraq. Even if a credible alternative regime could be installed by US action in Baghdad – and no such candidate is waiting in the wings – the effect on Arab opinion would be disastrous. Too many Americans believe invading Iraq is justified by 11 September, even as they accept that President Saddam had nothing to do with those attacks. The terrible truth is that the perpetrators of 11 September would want nothing more than a massive show of force by the Christian West against the Muslims of Iraq. For that reason alone, we should say no to war. ********************************************************* E. Letters The Times July 29, 2002 Possible invasion of Iraq by the US >From Field Marshal Lord Bramall Sir, The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether the Americans can invade Iraq, or indeed whether they will invade, but whether they should do so; and, of course, whether we should follow in their wake. Apart from the difficult moral questions of lesser or greater evils, there seem to be two distinct but tenable schools of thought on what the outcome of such action would be. The first is that if Iraq is successfully attacked, by whatever means, and as a result, Saddam Hussein is removed, preferably with the help of a popular uprising, the terrorist-ridden, war-torn Middle East would unravel beneficially. It would then become a more benign, tolerant area in which moderate Muslim governments would take heart, a Palestine solution would become possible and the ability of terrorists to strike another dramatic blow at the US (or indeed Europe), with or without weapons of mass destruction, could be effectively neutralised. The flames of resentment and protest which exist in the area today would have then, at least, been doused, and the “war against terrorism” would have achieved a major victory. The second viewpoint is that conflict with Iraq would produce, in that area, the very display of massive, dynamic United States activity which provides one of the mainsprings of motivation for terrorist action in the region, and indeed over a wider area. Far from calming things down, enhancing any peace process and advancing the “war against terrorism”, which could and should be conducted internationally by other means, it would make things infinitely worse. Petrol rather than water would have been poured on the flames and al-Qaeda would have gained more recruits. It would be interesting to know to which of these two points of view the British Government is more inclined. America, with all the power at its disposal, and with no other superpower to gainsay it, can presumably and eventually achieve any military objective it wishes. I cannot help, however, but be reminded of that remark by a notably “hawkish” General (later Field Marshal) Gerald Templar who when, during the Suez crisis (1956), Britain was planning a massive invasion of Egypt through Alexandria, said something to the effect of: “Of course we can get to Cairo but what I want to know is, what the bloody hell do we do when we get there?” Yours faithfully, BRAMALL, House of Lords. July 25. >From Mr Mike O’Hare Sir, Barbara Stocking of Oxfam (letter, July 24) is rightly concerned about “disproportionate suffering to innocent civilians” in Iraq. I might claim also to be an innocent civilian and see my Prime Minister’s prime responsibility as to protect me from weapons of mass destruction aimed at me and my country. Oxfam does a magnificent job in picking up the pieces in the aftermath of war, and Ms Stocking is correct in recognising that it is the innocent who suffer. In the final analysis, however, it comes down to our “innocent civilians” or their “innocent civilians”. Yours faithfully, MIKE O’HARE ******************************************************* F. Jordan's King to tell Bush: Delay Iraq, lean on Israel By Michael Binyon The Times July 29, 2002 KING ABDULLAH of Jordan will this week challenge President Bush to live up to his promise of a Palestinian state by urging him to produce a Middle East “action plan” with firm deadlines and timetables. He will tell Mr Bush that unless emergency aid is sent to relieve suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, desperation will push more Palestinians into extremism and terrorism. In an interview with The Times, the King made clear that when he meets Mr Bush on Wednesday he will demand full backing for Colin Powell, the embattled US Secretary of State, against the Pentagon hawks who are “fixated on Iraq”. He gave a warning that any American action against Iraq would open a “Pandora’s box” in the Middle East. The King will also admit that Arab countries must do more to flesh out their own peace proposals which, he says, offer Israel far more than Washington or Jerusalem realise. Arab Governments must now make clear that they will guarantee “everything that Israel wants from them”. In an extraordinary, wide-ranging interview, King Abdullah criticised Mr Bush’s call for Yassir Arafat’s removal, saying that this only boosted the Palestinian leader’s popularity and set back Palestinian moves to oust him. The King gave his interview in his residence outside London as he began another busy round of diplomacy against the backdrop of worsening violence in the Middle East and fears that Washington is now too preoccupied with the coming congressional elections to act. He said he intended to use Mr Bush’s call for a Palestinian state as the basis for an action plan and a logical sequence for Arabs and Israelis to follow. “Saying ‘In three years’ time you’re going to have a Palestinian state and total peace between Israel and the Arab world’ sounds great. But if we don’t set up timetables and hurdles to hold both sides accountable, three years from now we’re not going to be much further down the line.” He will call on Mr Bush to work with Russia, the European Union and the United Nations to create confidence-building measures leading to a full ministerial meeting. The King criticised the “enemies of peace” among Israelis and Palestinians. But he said that people on both sides realised they were getting ever closer to the abyss. He reiterated Jordan’s commitment to cracking down on terrorism but suggested that Saudi Arabia lacked experience in dealing with intelligence issues. He voiced strong concern that factions in Iran were increasing support for Hamas, posing a greater threat than Iraq. *********************************************** G. Baghdad warns non-Arab partners over strikes By Roula Khalaf in Baghdad and Richard Wolffe in Washington Financial Times Published: July 28 2002 21:56 | Last Updated: July 29 2002 7:17 Iraq is warning its non-Arab trading partners that it will reconsider links with them if they support possible US military action to unseat the regime of Saddam Hussein. Mohammad Mehdi Saleh, Iraq's trade minister, told the FT that the government's decision last week to cut Australian wheat imports by half was the first signal to the outside world that Iraq would not trade with countries that adopt a pro-American attitude. The message could be an attempt to put pressure on France and Russia, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and both big trading partners with Baghdad. However, Joseph Biden, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, said on Sunday he did not believe the Bush administration was planning to launch military strikes soon. "I don't expect we're going to see any action on Iraq, in terms of military action - absent serious provocation by Iraq - anywhere in the near term, meaning between now and November," he told ABC's This Week. In terms of trade, Russian support for Iraq has been partly driven by economic interests. Iraq owes Moscow nearly $8bn (£5bn) in pre-Gulf war debts and, since the start of the UN-approved oil-for-food programme in late 1996, Russia has been Iraq's biggest trading partner, with contracts worth a total of $6.5bn. "Iraq is willing to promote relationships with countries that have a positive attitude towards it and the Iraqi people and it does have a desire to decrease economic and trade relations with countries which show a negative attitude," Mr Saleh said in an interview. But although Iraq has for years successfully used its oil reserves and trade through the oil-for-food programme to forge political alliances, its leverage today has been undermined. US moves to prevent the government from circumventing UN sanctions and gaining direct access to Iraq's oil revenues have resulted in a steep drop in exports, now at a third of their level a year ago. Mr Saleh specified that Iraq's warnings would not apply to Arab states, with which Baghdad has developed important trade links over the past two years. Threatening Arab neighbours at this time could damage the popular support Iraq enjoys in the region. That support for Iraq appeared firm on Sunday as King Abdullah of Jordan warned that it would be "somewhat ludicrous" for the US to launch strikes on Iraq at a time when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was straining the region. King Abdullah is scheduled to meet Mr Bush in the Oval Office on Thursday. _______________________________________________ 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