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]
Thu Sep 5,11:54 AM ET By Andrew Hammond CAIRO (Reuters) - Arab League chief Amr Moussa said Thursday a strike against Iraq would "open the gates of hell" in the Middle East, and urged Baghdad to readmit weapons inspectors in coordination with the United Nations ( news - web sites). The White House said Thursday President Bush ( news - web sites) believed there was enough evidence to justify ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites). Bush has said he will ask Congress to back possible military action against Iraq and will outline the threat posed by its arms program at the United Nations this month. Resolutions issued by the foreign ministers from 20 Arab states called for a "complete rejection of threats of aggression against some Arab countries, in particular Iraq." The brief statement did not specifically refer to weapons inspectors, but Moussa said the ministers had agreed they must be allowed back as part of an overall solution to the crisis. "We will continue to work to avoid a military confrontation or a military action because we believe that it will open the gates of hell in the Middle East," Moussa told reporters at the end of the two-day meeting. "When it comes to the issue of Iraq, yes indeed, we again reiterate the importance of the full implementation of Security Council resolutions. We are for the return of the inspectors within an agreement, an understanding, between the government of Iraq and the secretary-general of the United Nations," he said. The United States says it has not decided whether or not to use force to oust Saddam, whom Washington accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies the charge. Many countries insist that Iraq should be given a chance to readmit weapons inspectors before any strike is considered. DIPLOMACY FIRST Moussa said Arab states were seeking a diplomatic solution and had already helped bring Iraqi and U.N. officials together. The ministerial resolutions on Iraq also called for lifting U.N. sanctions, an "interlinked and scheduled implementation of all the requirements of the Security Council resolutions," and a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. Speaking to reporters on his way out, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri accused Israel of possessing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and other weapons. Moussa accused the world community of double standards, complaining that while it insisted Iraq obey U.N. resolutions, it failed to measure Israel by the same yardstick concerning its occupation of Palestinian territory. "When it comes to the implementation of Security Council resolutions, we wonder why should we insist only on Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions. Although this is correct. We should call on Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions, but what about Israel?" Asked about reports that U.S. troops might use Qatar as a staging post against Iraq, Moussa said: "The Qatari foreign minister completely denied these reports. We have to believe the officials, though if it were true it would be disturbing." Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim left the talks after Wednesday's opening session for an appointment in Geneva. and.... Thu Sep 5, 8:00 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American warplanes on Thursday attacked an air defense target in a "no-fly" zone of southern Iraq in the latest in a recently escalating series of exchanges, the U.S. military said. The attack came as President Bush ( news - web sites) continued to press for the removal of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites) from power and amid speculation that Bush might order a military invasion of that country. In the 35th strike of the year by American and British jets against no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, the U.S. attack jets launched precision-guided weapons against a command-and-control post at a military airfield 240 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. military's Central Command said. Iraq does not recognize the zones, set up after the 1991 Gulf War ( news - web sites) to protect minority Kurds and Shiites from attack by Saddam's military. While attempts to shoot down western warplanes and attacks against ground targets have ebbed and flowed over the years, they have increased in recent weeks with 10 air strikes in August, eight of them in the south. The Central Command said in a news release from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, that the strike was in response to recent attempts to shoot down the warplanes that monitor the zones. All aircraft departed the target area safely and damage was being assessed, Central Command said. Speculation has grown over the summer that the United States will move militarily to oust Saddam, who the Bush administration accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad denies those accusations, and many U.S. allies have voiced strong opposition to any military attack to oust Saddam. Bush promised on Wednesday to seek backing from the U.S. Congress and allies for any such move against Iraq. -- __________________________________________________________ Sign-up for your own FREE Personalized E-mail at Mail.com http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk