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[casi] News, 28/9-4/10/02 (2)

News, 28/9-4/10/02 (2)


*  Labour Backs Blair on Iraq
*  The Lessons of Empire
*  Time for Labour's delegates to stand up and be counted
*  Narrow victory for official Iraq line
*  Straw heads off rebellion on Iraq stance
*  Short issues Iraq warning
*  UN-Iraq Deal is Defective, Says Britain
*  Clinton's coded jibes at Bush give conference what it wants to hear
*  Clinton supports Bush on UN's Iraq resolution
*  Rifkind attacks Tories on Iraq


*  U.S. Pacifists Volunteer to Risk Own Lives in Baghdad
*  UK Gujaratis join anti-Iraq war protest
*  Britons March Against War With Iraq
*  Anti-Iraq March [in Washington] Echoes Vietnam Tone
*  Thousands march against US policies on Iraq


*  Timeline: Iraq: A chronology of key events


by Andrew Woodcock
The Scotsman, 30th September

Tony Blair was today given a free hand by his party to use the threat of
military action to force Saddam Hussein to give up his weapons of mass

After an impassioned debate at Labour¹s conference in Blackpool, delegates
voted in favour of keeping open the option of committing British troops to
war in Iraq if all diplomatic methods fail.

An anti-war motion, calling on Labour to back former South African President
Nelson Mandela in opposing any use of force, was rejected by a margin of 60%
to 40%.

Although delegates said any military action must take place ³within the
context of international law and with the authority of the United Nations³,
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made clear that the Government did not regard
this as tying it to a new Security Council resolution explicitly authorising

But an apparent difference of emphasis within the Cabinet emerged following
the vote, as International Development Secretary Clare Short stressed the
importance of acting through the UN.

Asked if today¹s vote meant a new resolution would be needed for war, she
said: ³The whole position of the conference is action through the UN. That
is the position we are adopting.²

Watched by Mr Blair, Mr Straw told delegates he shared their concerns over
military action and their hopes that the tension over Iraq would not end in

But he added, to loud applause: ³The best chance we have of resolving this
crisis peacefully is by the toughest possible stand which makes clear our
readiness to use force if the international will continues to be defied.
That is the truth.²

By denying itself the threat of force, the international community would be
letting Saddam ³off the hook² and fundamentally undermining the authority of
the UN, he said.

Halifax MP and prominent peace campaigner Alice Mahon accused US President
George Bush of using global concerns over the al-Qaida terror network of
Osama bin Laden as a pretext for seizing control of Iraq¹s oil.

³I believe it is a disgrace that our Government is the only one in the
Western world that is prepared to back him,² she said.

³Try as they might, the US have found no link with al-Qaida. Saddam Hussein
is not threatening this country. This is not going to be a war about weapons
of mass destruction, it will be the first war about oil.²

Ms Short stressed efforts to rid the world of Saddam¹s arsenal must be
matched by equal effort to solve conflicts in Kashmir and the Middle East ­
both of which involve nations which are themselves in possession of weapons
of mass destruction.

³The most immediate danger of course is Iraq,² she said. ³We can all hear
the drumbeat of war. And no-one should welcome it. But there are other very
serious and immediate dangers facing the world.²

She committed Britain to ³a strong and immediate effort to help the people
of Iraq rebuild their shattered economy² once it has complied with UN
resolutions and sanctions have been lifted.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon compared the threat posed by terrorism and
weapons of mass destruction now with that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The Government faced a choice, he said: ³To act, or to ignore the threat. To
stand up to tyranny and the threat it poses or to sit on our hands and do
nothing. To make tough choices or to prevaricate.²

He promised that the Government would explore ³every other practical
alternative² before committing troops to action, and insisted: ³If we have
to take action it must be, and it will be, in accordance with international

by Michael Elliott
Time, 29th September

The photograph below of a fierce-looking group of men cradling antique
machine guns comes from an old album in my home. It dates from about 1930,
and its caption reads, "Sheik Mahmoud of Kurdistan. Surrendered to Political
Officer Victor Holt VC accompanied by FO M.O." "Sheik Mahmoud" was Mahmoud
Barzanji, chieftain of a famous Kurdish clan, who led a series of revolts
against British rule in Iraq after World War I. "FO M.O." was Royal Air
Force Flight Officer Max Oxford, my late father-in-law.

Max had splendid adventures in the service of the British Empire everywhere
from central Africa to the South China Sea, but he always had warm memories
of his years in Iraq, though this may be because he learned the noble sport
of pigsticking there (we've got pictures of that too). I suspect, however,
that his affection for Iraq was a rarity. Britain's attempt to rule there
was a disaster. At a time when broad-chested conservative believers in
American power and dewy-eyed Wilsonian internationalists contemplate a new
imperial adventure in Iraq, it's worth recalling what happened the last

In the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, London
thought that the best way to secure routes to India, the jewel in its
imperial crown, was to dominate Mesopotamia. To that end, the treaty at the
close of the war cobbled together Iraq from three Ottoman provinces, one
Kurdish, one Sunni Muslim and another Shi'ite Muslim. The British moved in
under a League of Nations mandate. They didn't have a clue. In 1920 a full
scale revolt broke out. By one account, Britain lost 450 in the rebellion;
other sources put the figure higher. Very quickly the British public, weary
of endless war and shocked by reports that the R.A.F. routinely bombed women
and children in Kurdish villages, turned against the intervention in Iraq.
By the time the British slunk home in the 1930s, Iraq's brush with
imperialism seemed over.

Or perhaps not. George Bush's speech to the United Nations last month
explicitly cast America's Iraq ambitions in terms much wider than the
removal of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Bush contemplated
nothing less than a remaking of the Middle East into an area of democracy
and economic freedom. The President looked forward to a day when "the people
of Iraq" can join a "democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine,
inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world."

Who could argue with that? Yet there is a problem with Bush's vision: it
will have to be imposed from the outside. To be sure, in the past, American
imperialist practice has usually been more benign than Britain's. (The
R.A.F. bombed Iraqi villages that were late in paying their taxes, which
even the Colonial Office in London thought was a bit much.) And America's
ostensible motives today are pure (so long as we don't mention oil).
"Liberty for the Iraqi people," said Bush, "is a great moral cause." It
doubtless is. But just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so
imperialism is in the mind of the imperialized. The motive of imperialists
is irrelevant. (France justified its past colonial policies by a "mission to
civilize.") What matters is that imperialism means rule by others. In the
end, as the old colonial powers came to understand, that breeds resentment
and costs both money and young lives.

Today's neoimperialists claim that if the U.S. could rebuild West Germany
and Japan after World War II, it can rebuild Iraq. But the cases could
hardly be more different. Both West Germany and Japan had fixed national
identities; Iraq does not. Both nations ‹ Germany especially ‹ had memories
of democratic institutions; Iraq does not. Neither Japan nor Germany had
bitter memories of prior attempts to impose colonial rule; Iraq does. Nor
has Washington said precisely how Baghdad will be transformed into
Omaha-on-the-Tigris. Bush has signaled that Washington has no intention of
doing the job alone; he looks to "the prospect of the U.N. helping to build
a government that represents all Iraqis." But there is scant evidence that
the Administration is yet thinking about what an international effort to
create a new Iraq would entail or how to canvass outside help.

A free Iraq in a prosperous Arab world is in everyone's interest, and
unseating Saddam would be a good start down that road. It's what follows
that's tricky. The lesson of history is that reforms succeed best if they
well up from within a nation, not when they are thrust upon it from outside.
If the Administration seriously thinks otherwise, it would be nice to know
what lessons it has learned from the failed imperialism of the past. And not
just about the finer points of pigsticking.,3604,801388,00.html

by Mark Seddon
The Guardian, 30th September

In recent years, Labour's conference has come more to resemble a trade fair
than the party's annual parliament, where any delegate could have his or her
chance to speak on the great issues of the day. Last year, as commercial and
media pass holders vastly outnumbered delegates, it seemed that Mozart's
Requiem might replace Auld Lang Syne as the conference wound down. But this
year reality has intervened in the shape of Iraq and suddenly the conference
has the chance of emerging from its long hibernation.

At long last the grassroots may have an opportunity to debate George Bush's
- and by extension Tony Blair's - policy on Iraq. But before the bunting -
or indeed the red flag - is hung out, delegates should recognise how much
energy is likely to be expended in preventing an explicitly anti-war
resolution being passed. Labour's new glasnost does have its limits.

Over the years, I have watched "New" Labour whizzkids turn conference from a
passionate bear pit, which party leaders sometimes ignored at their peril,
to an impotent parade of the on message. I have seen assiduous party
panjandrums hard at work in the "speech writing unit", doling out the
requisite lines for hand-picked delegates. I have witnessed successive party
chairmen inexplicably invite only delegates waving green cards to the
rostrum. Invariably, these same speakers went on to deliver speeches of
stunning obsequiousness.

Then there was the occasion when 10 delegates were hastily summoned to laud
a paper from the national executive committee - a paper that the NEC had not
even seen. And was "regime change" in the air that year as I was instructed
for the first time to sit at the dais - filling a non-televisual empty
chair? It was a painfully short-lived experience. I had stood to applaud a
stirring anti-post office privatisation speech and was summarily ordered off
the platform with the words of the then general secretary, Margaret
McDonagh, still ringing in my ears: "You know that you stand when we stand,
and you sit when we sit!" "New" Labour, in its desperation to escape a
mythologised "Militant" past, had morphed into its mirror image.

Despite the imperial purple backdrop, this conference will be different.
Such is the depth of concern over Iraq that even the most seasoned
apparatchiks may be unable to keep the cork in the bottle. That cork will
have been loosened by the enormous turnout of anti-war protesters in London
over the weekend.

Iraq, like Suez before it, has the potential not only to divide political
parties, but the country as well. But this time it may be Labour rather than
the Conservative party that faces division. When Nasser nationalised the
Suez canal in 1956, Hugh Gaitskell led a Labour party united in its
condemnation of Anthony Eden's adventurism. Suez was the last flick of the
mangy British lion's tail, for Britain has since become a surrogate of the
US. However party chiefs may water down the raft of deeply sceptical
resolutions that have flooded in from across the country, the message from
party and unions alike is the same: they do not trust President Bush and
they want a diplomatic settlement through the UN.

The Iraq crisis contains even more serious ingredients than Suez. For if the
failed war over the canal unleashed a latent Arab nationalism, war against
Iraq will surely release the Islamic fundamentalist genie from its bottle, a
genie that Nasser and the secular nationalists knew had to be contained at
all costs. Today is a vital opportunity for Labour delegates to let their
government know that if war is declared on Iraq, it will not be in their

As George Bush's "war against terrorism" failed to flush out the
perpetrators of September 11 and swivelled towards Baghdad, many in the
party began to think of the consequences. They wondered how it was that
Saddam Hussein's depleted arsenal of hideous weaponry could in so short a
time have brought the world to the edge of war. It is to be hoped that
conference delegates will maintain that broader perspective, for some
believe that the prime minister's real aim is to concentrate thedebate on
the still unproven threat posed by Saddam and thus prepare the party and the
country for the inevitability of war.

None of this raw emotion can disguise the wider geopolitical and economic
interests of the US - interests that require a firestorm over Baghdad,
whether or not weapons inspectors are allowed in. In his anxiety to please,
has Tony Blair ever suspected that his carefully prepared dossier on weapons
of mass destruction is of only marginal interest to people such as Donald
Rumsfeld, whose deep-seated cynicism led him to Baghdad in 1984 to offer
support for Saddam in his war with the mullahs of Tehran? Today, Rumsfeld
and other senior figures in the administration, who - like their Texan
president - know where the oil lies, see Saddam as a barrier to US influence
in the region.

None of this absolves those whose fear of latent American imperialism allows
them to turn a blind eye to the horrors perpetrated by Saddam against first
the Kurds and then the Marsh Arabs of the south. Although Iraq has not been
bombed into "the pre-industrial age", as US secretary of state James Baker
once vowed it would be, to Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz it is a
country that has been repeatedly and unnecessarily plunged into war by its
leaders. No wonder many Iraqis would like to see regime change in their
country. It is just that they would rather it didn't come courtesy of the US
marine corps.

If the conference wants to avoid being boxed into a corner, as the TUC was
recently, the party needs to be seen not only as anti-war but as pro-peace.
Delegates will need to be on their guard against those in the government who
may in the end go along with the US in believing regime change, rather than
a workable system of weapons inspection, to be the imperative. They need to
ensure that Tony Blair's promise to work through the UN doesn't become a
desire to work with President Bush in spite of the UN.

If Labour delegates are unmoved by high-minded appeals to morality, they
should perhaps look over their shoulders towards Charles Kennedy and the
Liberal Democrats, whose scepticism towards war is becoming more marked by
the day. Kennedy, almost by accident, has caught the zeitgeist. As the
government and the official opposition line up in support of war, public
opinion is on Kennedy's side and a Liberal Democrat resurgence is likely. If
principle doesn't work in persuading delegates to oppose a war with Iraq,
perhaps political self-preservation will do the trick.

Mark Seddon is editor of Tribune and a member of Labour's national executive

by Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 1st October

The Labour leadership last night beat off a strong challenge from outright
opponents of war in Iraq, but a surprisingly large 40% of the conference did
reject all war against Saddam Hussein.

At the end of a fierce three and a half hour debate, the conference voted to
insist military action must be carried out "within the context of UN
authority", vague wording with which the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, can
live if the Americans eventually decide action must go ahead without a clear
new UN mandate.

Mr Straw said afterwards that a fresh mandate from the UN was "desirable,
but not essential". He said it was remarkable that only a third of the
constituencies had opposed war.

But asked if it was a triumph for 40% of the conference to oppose it, he
said: "Because of Labour's international credentials, the party has always
been reluctant to support military action."

The international development secretary, Clare Short, placed a slightly
different emphasis on yesterday's vote, saying conference had voted for
everything to go through the UN.

Asked what would happen if there was not a new UN resolution, she said: "The
conference is insisting that the government must act through the UN. The
government is accepting that position".

She added she would be staggered if there was no new UN resolution, but she
did not know if there would be two separate resolutions, the first demanding
President Saddam comply with sanctions and the second authorising military
action if he failed to respond. She also insisted it was absolutely clear
that it was not part of government policy to seek the overthrow of the
Saddam regime.

The long day on Iraq started with the national executive forced to beat a
tactical retreat by withdrawing its own statement on the crisis. The unions
claimed the NEC acted because they knew they faced defeat on the grounds the
NEC position did not place sufficient emphasis on the UN.

Ms Short had opened the debate by saying: "We can all hear the drumbeat of
war. No-one should welcome it".

In his contribution Mr Straw said he was dealing with the crux of the matter
when he said: "The best chance we have of resolving this crisis peacefully
is by the toughest possible stand which makes clear our readiness to use
force if the international will continues to be defied".

He urged other members of the UN security council to back a tough
resolution. "As a party who has helped create the United Nations, and as a
country which has served ever since as one five permanent members of its
ruling body, we have a profound responsibility to uphold and enforce the
authority of the UN.

"The Iraqi regime believes it is above international law and beyond the
reach of the Unuited Nations. This is the issue. Not transatlantic foreign
policy, not European foreign policy, not oil, but the authority of the UN".

Mr Straw won support from Andrew McKinlay, foreign affairs select committee
member, who said: "I do not see Tony Blair as Bush's poodle. Thank God he
has got the ears of the president of the United States and thank God he has
got the ability to counsel caution".

Cristobel Guerney, from Regents Park and Kensington North, rejected claims
that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms or weapons of mass destruction at
present. "Saddam is bad but he is not mad. He knows if he attacked the west
he would meet overwhelming retaliation."

Brian Seymour-Smith, of Birmingham Northfield, called on delegates to
support the government to do "what ever necessary" to rid Iraq of weapons of
mass destruction.

Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, claimed: "There is a lot of talk about
Tony being Bush's poodle, but I wonder who is wearing the dog collar. It was
Tony who told George to declare in favour of a Palestinian state. It was
Tony who forced George to go to the UN only days after his vice president
had expressed the opposite sentiment. It's Tony who is insisting the central
aim of any war is not regime change, but disarmament".

Alice Mahon, MP for Halifax and one of the few anti-war voices called to
speak, said it was a disgrace that "our government is the only one in the
western world willing to back George Bush".

Many delegates were frustrated that they had not been given a clear chance
to vote on a motion specifying that ac tion should only go ahead with a
clear new UN mandate. Conference managers were eager to avoid such a clear

Nevertheless, it was clear from the sentiment in the hall that Mr Blair
would face an upheaval if he endorsed "go it alone" action by President

The Scotsman, 1st October

JACK Straw, the Foreign Secretary, successfully headed off a party rebellion
over the government's stance on Iraq last night writes Hamish Macdonell.

Mr Straw celebrated what he claimed was a significant victory after the
Labour leadership secured enough votes to defeat an attempt at the party
conference in Blackpool to commit the Labour Party to oppose any action
against Iraq.

The Foreign Secretary has stressed that he wants to see a new United Nations
resolution as the first move in getting the weapons inspectors back into

But he has also insisted that the British and American governments must
retain the ability to act independently against Iraq as a last resort.

Yesterday, left-wing activists tried to force a much more restrictive policy
on the Labour Party by debating a motion condemning action.

But it was defeated by 59 per cent to 41 per cent on the conference floor,
representing a victory for the leadership but reflecting the weight of
opinion within the party that does not want to see any military action.

A delighted Mr Straw said that the party was right to be nervous. He added:
"That is good, we should not be gung-ho about it. We should say that we only
want to see military action taken as the last resort."

Another motion, a compromise between the hawkish line taken by the Prime
Minister and the cautious approach favoured by many activists, was passed

That motion called on the government to work with the United Nations but did
not explicitly rule out military action.

Alice Mahon, the left-wing MP for Halifax, made an emotive speech calling on
the government to step back from war with Iraq. She said: "I believe it is a
disgrace that our government is the only one in the western world that is
willing to back him (President Bush)."

Ms Mahon was cheered when she described the evidence against Iraq as "heavy
on conjecture and light on fact".

Both Mr Straw and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, spoke in the debate -
an indication of how close the vote was expected to be.

In a particularly inflammatory passage, Mr Hoon linked the appeasement of
Adolf Hitler before the Second World War to the appeasement of world
terrorism today.

He said: "It soon became clear that the threat from fascism had to be
resisted by the democracies of the world. Today the threat from
international terrorism, the threat from one who wants weapons of mass
destruction, represents the same threat to our democracies. That is the
challenge we face today."

Mr Straw used his speech to point out the limitations of the United Nations,
a move which appeared to be designed to prepare the party for unilateral
action without explicit UN backing.

BBC, 1st October

Clare Short has warned of the potential "break up" of the authority of the
United Nations if the US and its allies launch a unilateral attack on Iraq.

Clare Short In an interview with BBC News 24's Hardtalk programme, to be
broadcast on Wednesday, the international development secretary says the
world will become even more "bitterly divided" if military action is
launched without the sanction of the UN.

Her comments are in apparent contrast to the stance of Prime Minister Tony
Blair, who has consistently refused to rule out unilateral action.

In his speech to the Labour conference in Blackpool, Mr Blair insisted the
threat to the UN's authority would come if it failed to deal with Saddam
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Blair said: "If at this moment having found the collective will to
recognise the danger, we lose our collective will to deal with it, then we
will destroy not the authority of America or Britain but of the United
Nations itself.

"Sometimes, and in particular dealing with a dictator, the only chance of
peace is a readiness for war."

Speaking immediately after Mr Blair's speech, Ms Short said she was
"completely" happy with his position on Iraq.

She told BBC News: "What the leader has put to the conference, kept us
altogether around operating through the UN, so that is where we are and we
believe in absolutely strengthening the authority of the UN both for this
crisis and other crises that need to be settled in the world."

But in her Hardtalk interview, Ms Short reveals the depth of her concern
about Iraq - and refuses to rule out resigning from cabinet if the UN is

She said: "I think we're in a very dangerous situation for the world.

"If there was to be action without UN support we will begin to see the break
up of the authority of the UN which would be very dangerous."

Asked if she would be "leaving the caravan train" if that happened, she
replied: "I will stay as long as I can to get it as right as I can."

Ms Short's resignation would be a huge blow to Mr Blair, making it more
difficult for him to hold together his government and the Labour Party over

Mr Blair held a private meeting with Ms Short ahead of last week's emergency
cabinet debate on Iraq in an effort to allay her concerns.

&catOID=45C9C78C 88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Europe

by Michael Drudge
Voice of America, 2nd October

Britain says an agreement to let United Nations weapons inspectors back into
Iraq is defective. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says his country
will oppose the return of inspectors without a tough new Security Council
resolution in place.

Mr. Straw says there should be no new U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq until
the Security Council spells out tougher ground rules in a new resolution.

He spoke to reporters a day after chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix
negotiated a deal with representatives of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to
let inspectors back in by mid October.

Mr. Straw says he awaits a report Thursday from Mr. Blix on those talks. But
the foreign secretary says the Security Council, and not Mr. Blix, will have
the final say on when inspectors return.

"Hans Blix is a senior civil servant of the United Nations and can only
operate within the existing policy," stressed Mr. Straw. "That policy is
defective. And what we have to have is upgraded weapons inspection
arrangements where it is the international community, not Saddam Hussein
playing games, which determines how these inspections take place, and what
the consequences will be for Saddam Hussein if he continues to play games as
he has done so over the past four years."

Mr. Straw says the agreement reached Tuesday in Vienna is particularly
flawed because it excludes eight of Saddam Hussein's palaces from surprise

"Within these so-called presidential palaces, much of the manufacture of
weapons of mass destruction has taken place," asserted Mr. Straw. "And it is
just a further illustration of the way this man plays games," referring to
Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Straw was asked if Britain would support the United States or the United
Nations if the Security Council fails to approve a new resolution. He said
both Britain and the United States have made it clear that any action taken
will be consistent with international law.,3605,803432,00.html

by Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian, 3rd October

This was the speech of a president in exile. Like a deposed leader seeking
refuge in a friendly nation, Bill Clinton came to Blackpool to deliver a
message that can barely be heard in today's America.

He had to be careful: an unwritten rule of US public life demands that
"politics stops at the water's edge", that partisan hostilities be shelved
when it comes to foreign policy. Convention also dictates that a former
president give respectful support to his successor, especially when speaking

But yesterday Clinton - whose dazzling, dizzying career broke every rule in
the US book - broke those rules, too. He did it artfully, sometimes in code,
but the 42nd president of the United States used the floor of the Labour
party conference to unleash an acid critique of the Bush administration.

He often did it by praising Tony Blair, implicitly for his efforts in
restraining the current president. Still, Clinton's meaning was clear: he
regarded current US policy as badly misguided.

For one thing, Washington had got its priorities wrong. "I still believe our
most pressing security challenge is to finish the job against al-Qaida," he
said, echoing many of those, including his former vice-president, Al Gore,
who fear a war on Iraq will only divert energy from the immediate battle
against Osama bin Laden. With his call for greater US troop commitment to
Afghanistan and a humanitarian effort to rebuild the country, he was sending
a message to Washington: first things first.

He covered himself with a general disclaimer, supporting "the efforts of the
prime minister and President Bush to get tougher with Saddam Hussein". But
that was bland enough to be non-committal. On the specifics, he raised
almost every one of the core arguments that have been deployed by the
anti-war camp.

So he stressed that inspections should be given one last chance before the
"last resort" of military action. After all, he said, inspections had been
effective, robbing Saddam of more arms than were ever destroyed in the Gulf

With that Clinton fondness for wonkish detail, he rattled off the full list
of hardware the monitors had taken off Baghdad: "40,000 chemical weapons,
100,000 gallons of chemicals used to make weapons, 48 missiles, 30 armed
warheads and a massive biological weapons facility equipped to produce
anthrax and other bio-weapons". Inspections worked, he said, even when
Saddam got up to his old tricks, playing cat-and-mouse.

He made the moral argument against war, noting from his own experience that,
no matter how precise or smart your bombs, "innocent people will die". He
endorsed the view that nothing was more likely to prompt Saddam to use his
weapons of mass destruction than the prospect of "certain defeat" by a
US-led attack. He raised the hypocrisy charge, noting that it was
(Republican-ruled) Washington in the 1980s which had helped arm Saddam.

He went further, speaking out against the very notion of pre-emptive strikes
against enemy states. Who knows what "unwelcome consequences" that might
have in the future, he asked, echoing those anti-war voices who fear a war
on Baghdad might set a terrible precedent. As for "regime change", sometimes
declared as an official US war aim, Clinton was clear. That could be pursued
even if the world got its way on new arms inspections - but by "non military
ways". Political support for the Iraqi opposition was what he had in mind -
not the forced removal of Saddam.

All that was missing was a call by the former president - who had introduced
himself in traditional delegate style as "Clinton, Bill; Arkansas CLP" - for
conference to "back Composite 4", the anti-war resolution debated on Monday.
By pointing up the value of inspections and the inevitable loss of life war
would entail - in contrast with a PM who a day earlier had warned that
sometimes "the only chance of peace is a readiness for war" - Clinton had
placed himself on the left of Tony Blair.

Still, the ex-prez was subtle; this was not the direct, campaign speech
delivered by Gore. His target was not always obvious. At the very least, he
was aiming at the hawkish wing of the Bush administration, at the Donald
Rumsfelds and Dick Cheneys.

He said he backed Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell in their
willingness to give inspections another go and to do it through the UN - as
if taking sides in an internal Republican struggle.

Mainly, though, he lumped Bush in with the hawks, casting Blair as an
essential curb on a go-it-alone US administration that did not understand
the need for allies, partners or the institutions of the international
community - a Washington that wanted to "dominate", rather than lead the

Repeatedly he stressed the centrality of the United Nations, and praised
Blair - and pointedly excluded Bush - for his determination to work, "if at
all possible", through the world body. He even suggested that only the
British PM, rather than the US president, could get America and the rest of
the world to come together: "I doubt if anyone else could" do it, he said.

Lest there be any doubt that he was breaking ex-presidential protocol,
Clinton let rip on the Republicans' domestic record. "I disagree with them
on nearly everything," he said, ticking off the policies which he condemned.

The killer jibe seemed to have been ad-libbed, but was the clearest crossing
of the line that usually holds back former presidents. He reminded the hall
that Bush won his election "fair and square" by five votes to four in the US
supreme court.

In Washington it has become bad form to remind people of Bush's disputed
installation in the White House; it sounds too much like an attack on the
very legitimacy of his presidency. That didn't stop Clinton.

It's a tribute to the man's phenomenal rhetorical gifts that he could
deliver such a thorough critique of his successor and come across not as a
bitter has-been, but as a warm, intimate speaker full of wisdom and human

Yesterday Blackpool saw how he made America fall for him not once, but
twice. Americans can't elect him as president again - but if Bill Clinton
ever wants to lead the British Labour party, they would have him in a

by Warren Hoge
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 3rd October

BLACKPOOL, EnglandFormer President Bill Clinton threw his support behind
President George W. Bush's push for a strong new United Nations resolution
for arms inspections in Iraq on Wednesday, but he warned his successor that
preemptive military actions held unwanted dangers.

Addressing the British Labour Party's annual conference, which gave him a
rapturous welcome, Clinton said, "We need a strong resolution calling for
unrestricted inspections. The restrictions imposed in 1998 are unacceptable
and won't do the job."

Any new one, he said, should have a strict deadline and "no lack of clarity
about what Iraq must do."

His call came after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that Britain would be
pressing for "much tougher" weapons inspections than the "defective" ones
agreed to by the inspection chief Hans Blix and Baghdad in Vienna on

But Clinton coupled his endorsement of the joint U.S.-British diplomatic
effort in the United Nations with his hope that military action should be
only a last resort.

"Preemptive action today may come back with unwelcome consequences in the
future," Clinton said, "because, I don't care - and I have done this, I have
ordered this kind of action - I don't care how precise your bombs and
weapons are, when you set them off, innocent people die."

Clinton was the keynote speaker Wednesday at the invitation of Prime
Minister Tony Blair, his old friend and fellow crusader for a center-left
political path that they call the "third way."

Expectant delegates thronged the Winter Garden ballroom and tapped their
feet to the rhythms of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,"
a theme song of the first Clinton presidential campaign a decade ago.

Clinton's appearance on stage brought the crowd to its feet for a prolonged
ovation filled with cheering and waving. "It's fun to be in a place where
our crowd's still in office," he said, beaming.

Tuesday night he and the actor Kevin Spacey toured conference parties,
pressing the flesh, trading jokes and otherwise dazzling this
glamour-deficient Irish Sea resort. At night's end, they dropped into a
downtown McDonald's and surprised diners, whose evident delight at their
presence seemed to overcome any hurt feelings they might have had over their
guests' snubbing of Blackpool's famous fare of fish and chips.

Blair and Clinton were close personal and professional friends while Clinton
was in the White House, and Blair has worked to keep relations equally close
with Bush, an approach that Clinton praised in an article he wrote for the
conference magazine.

Clinton said Wednesday that he was aware that many in the audience had
differences with America over issues like the environment, arms control and
international justice, but he urged them to "reach across" party and
philosophy to work with America.

Expressing appreciation for Blair's contribution to uniting American and
European positions, he said, "If he weren't there to do this, I doubt if
anyone else would." He argued that things were always better when someone
succeeded in bringing the United States and Britain together with a common
purpose and declared, "I ask you to support him as he makes that effort."

He made only implicit criticism of Bush over Iraq, noting areas where he
thought current policy was wanting. He said the most important
anti-terrorism mission still remained wiping out Al Qaeda; he argued for
more American involvement in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and he said his
main hope for the inspections was that they would succeed in eliminating the
need for armed conflict. More pointedly, he commented that America should
not seek to integrate the world and at the time dominate and "have our own
say all the time."

He also said the United States "had a lot to answer for" in connection with
the weapons buildup in Iraq. He noted that America had originally supplied
material that eventually ended up in Iraqi chemical weapons and didn't
"raise a peep" when those weapons were used against Saddam Hussein's own

He said he was now a retired politician, but he nevertheless took a shot at
the conservative opponents he and his Labour listeners share.

"I understand that your Tories are calling themselves compassionate
conservatives," he said to laughter. "I admire a good phrase, and I know
that politics is a combination of rhetoric and reality.

"Here's what I want you to know: The rhetoric is compassionate, the reality
is conservative."

by Hamish Macdonell
The Scotsman, 3rd October

SIR Malcolm Rifkind, the former Tory Foreign Secretary, exposed deep
internal divisions over Iain Duncan Smith's leadership last night when he
derided the Tory Party leader for failing to question the government over

Sir Malcolm used an article in The Spectator magazine to attack Mr Duncan
Smith for the way he has approached the issue of Iraq and claimed that the
"credibility" of the Tory Party had suffered as a result.

In an astonishingly frank assessment of Mr Duncan Smith's motives, Sir
Malcolm suggested that the Tory leader had failed in his duty as the leader
of the Opposition.

Sir Malcolm stressed that the purpose of opposition was to hold the
executive to account. And, referring to the total support which the Tories
have given to Tony Blair over Iraq, he warned that unqualified support for
the government was "unlikely to enhance its credibility as an alternative
and preferable government".

Sir Malcolm declared: "His [Mr Duncan Smith's] conversion to regime change
appears to be a remarkable coincidence to date from George W Bush's advocacy
of such a policy.

"It is not a mere quibble. It is important for the British public and for
parliament to know whether the Prime Minister really believes in the need
for war or whether his conversion has more to do with a desire to remain
close to Washington."

Mr Duncan Smith has remained totally supportive and loyal to the government
ever since the possibility of war with Iraq first surfaced in the summer.

Supporters of the Tory leader claim he has just been following established
precedent for an opposition to give the government its support in times of
war and national crisis.

However, his critics have pointed out that the country is not at war and
that an opposition should question the detail of policy, even if it agrees
with the motives.

Sir Malcolm is not the first senior Tory to question Mr Duncan Smith's
approach to Iraq. John Major, the former prime minister, has already raised
questions about Mr Duncan Smith's decision to keep quiet.

Last month Mr Major made it clear that he too was dissatisfied with Mr
Duncan Smith's failure to pick holes in the Government's position on Iraq.
The former prime minister singled out Mr Duncan Smith's lack of interest in
the future of Iraq after Saddam Hussein is deposed. When asked why Mr Duncan
Smith had not been pressing these issues, he said: "I don't know. You'll
have to ask him."

But Sir Malcolm's intervention comes just four days before the start of the
Tory Conference in Brighton next week and the timing will infuriate party

Sir Malcolm is a respected elder statesman of the Tory Party and although he
is not an MP and is unlikely to stand for election again, he remains active
in politics and his views carry considerable weight within the party.

A former defence secretary as well as foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm is one
of the only senior figures in the party to have knowledge of what goes on
behind then scenes when decisions on military action are taken. His
intervention is obviously designed to highlight very real concerns within
the party over the direction it is taking on Iraq. But it is also symbolic
of the discontent which is bubbling beneath the surface with Mr Duncan
Smith's leadership a year into his time in the role.


by Greg Barrett
Salt Lake Tribune,  29th September

WASHINGTON: For $2,000, you can risk your life in Baghdad.

Included in that price: round-trip airfare from the United States, ground
transportation from Jordan to Iraq, and lodging in a $10-a-night hotel where
rats gnaw on the floorboards and a cluttered basement doubles as a bomb

While the Middle East braces for war, about three dozen self-described
peaceniks will rotate into Iraq on renewable 10-day visas for as long as a
threat exists.

The pacifists range in age from 25 to 77. They are coming from all over the
country -- from Florida to Washington, from Louisiana to Indiana -- to put
themselves in harm's way if the United States attacks Iraq.

"It is important for people serious about peace to take it as seriously as
the people who engage in warfare," said Claire Evans, a delegation
coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams, one of at least two peace groups
sending volunteers to Baghdad. "We should be as willing as the soldiers to
risk our lives."

They hope their presence in Iraq as international witnesses to record the
damage -- and possibly be counted among the injured -- will persuade
military planners not to bomb civilian infrastructure, a target in the rush
to disable Iraq's military during the Persian Gulf War.

So, like the storms of war, the pacifists gather. Retirees have been
particularly recruited and about a dozen have agreed to go.

"It has some moral weight to have a group of people there like grandmothers
and grandfathers," Evans said.

The volunteers will work in Iraq with humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF
and the Red Crescent Society. In the event of a U.S. bombing, they will
attempt to be near likely targets such as electrical plants, roads and
bridges, said Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a
nonprofit organization sending three peacekeeping groups to Baghdad.

Kelly, who has made 16 trips to Iraq, sounds unflinching. She is driven by
the tremendous collateral damage inflicted by today's weapons. The United
Nations described the damage to Iraq after the gulf war as

"You can't be a vegetarian only between meals," said Kelly, 49. "And you
can't be a pacifist only between wars."

She has been blunt when recruiting volunteers for this trip: "We are asking
people to be able to say they have had a good life and this could be their
last year."

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. John A. Warden III, architect of the Desert
Storm air campaign in 1991, calls the peace effort noble but extraordinarily

"It represents a gross misunderstanding of modern war," he said by phone
from his home in rural Alabama.

If U.S. military officials decide that demolishing Iraqi transportation,
electricity and communication is the best way to limit combat casualties,
pacifists are not likely to thwart that strategy.

Still, Warden sounded awed by their effort. The closest thing to it he could
recall was actress and activist Jane Fonda visiting prisoner-of-war camps in
Hanoi during the Vietnam War and "making common cause with North Vietnamese

But like Fonda, Warden said, Kelly and her entourages are "intruding in
something they don't understand."

Following the gulf war, the United States would have helped repair Iraq's
damaged infrastructure if Saddam Hussein had allowed it, he said. And a
dictator who hoards national funds and uses chemical weapons against his own
people poses a long-term threat to the entire region.

If Saddam is removed, Warden said, the international community would rush in
and help Iraq rise above its impoverished existence.

"It strikes me as pretty bizarre," Warden said, "that you would have
Americans going to protect one of the evilest guys in the world from getting
his just desserts."

Pacifist Tom Nagy, a professor at George Washington University in
Washington, D.C., does not doubt Saddam's menace. He is not choosing sides.
He only wants to staunch the suffering of innocent Iraqis who were caught in
Desert Storm's crossfire, he said.

More than 14 million Iraqis endured inadequate and polluted water supplies
after the gulf war, the United Nations reported. Children, especially
infants and toddlers, were highly susceptible to dehydration, cholera and
diarrhea. The New England Journal of Medicine calculated that tens of
thousands died from waterborne illnesses and malnutrition in the months
after the war.

Nagy, 58, a Quaker-turned-Buddhist and father of one, leaves for Baghdad on
Sept. 27. His usual lighthearted manner is brooding today, and he
acknowledges he is afraid. He is preparing his will and has bought emergency
medical evacuation insurance that could help expedite his rescue from Iraq.

A sympathetic psychiatrist has prescribed a mild tranquilizer.

"I'm not a brave guy," Nagy said.

He will be traveling with Seattle's Bert Sacks, 60, a retired civil engineer
who is ferrying medicine for diarrhea and dysentery to Baghdad despite being
fined $10,000 by the U.S. government for defying U.N. sanctions in 1997.

Sacks has refused to pay the fine. He could face up to 12 years in prison
and penalties of up to $1 million for continuing to violate sanctions.

"Yes, I have concerns about increased penalties for again bringing medicines
to Iraq," Sacks said. "And yes, I again plan to bring medicines to Iraq."

Bill Quigley, an attorney from New Orleans, also plans to break the law. On
Sept. 18, the day before he left with a Voices in the Wilderness group on
his first trip to Iraq, Quigley, 53, was searching for luggage large enough
to cart 100 pounds of donated medicines.

He was motivated by a man he represented in court, a 65-year-old Franciscan
priest from Cedar Lake, Ind., who was sentenced in July to 6 months in
prison for trespassing during a peace protest at Fort Benning, Ga.

During his trial, the Rev. Jerry Zawada told Quigley, "If I'm convicted, I
want to go immediately to jail so I can maybe be out in time to go to Iraq"
before the United States attacks.

Quigley is scared of flying. He has never traveled farther than London and
he knows his first visit to Iraq could land him in jail. These are the least
of his worries.

"All of my family and friends and students are scared to death," he said.
"Half are afraid of what the people in Iraq are going to do. The other half
are afraid of what the United States [military] is going to do."

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Americans and other foreigners in Iraq
and Kuwait were held hostage by Saddam and used as shields against an attack
threatened by U.S.-led allied forces. Under international pressure, Saddam
freed the civilians one month before the gulf war.

This time, the human shields are volunteers who know the dangers that lie
ahead. Primary among the threats is the possibility of an Iraqi coup that
might be hostile toward foreign pacifists in Iraq with Saddam's official

"This might not make us the most popular people during a coup," said Kelly.
"This (trip) has so many uncertainties."

Yet young and old alike, they are compelled to go. Margaret Gish, 60, a
retired farmer from Athens, Ohio. Marian Solomon, 72, a retired nurse from
Ames, Iowa. Leah Wells, 26, a teacher from Santa Barbara, Calif. Joseph
Heckel, 77, a retired Presbyterian clergyman from Pittsburgh. Bill Rose, 69,
a retired postal worker from Tampa, Fla.

"The only thing that stands in the way of evil prevailing are good-hearted
people that refuse to remain quiet and indifferent," said Rose, a father of

He leaves for Baghdad Oct. 23.

"I am a Christian," he said. "I am a Quaker. I have had a good life."

by Rashmee Z Ahmed
Times of India, 28th September

LONDON: In a calculated show of "anti-imperialist" defiance against Bush and
Blair's plans for Gulf War II, the British capital plays host this weekend
to what organisers say is one of Europe's biggest anti-war rallies since the
heady days of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The marchers include well-known radicals such as the mayor of London, Ken
Livingstone, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and quieter, more
anonymous and unlikely rebels such as British Gujarati workers from the
famous Fox's biscuit factory in north-west England, who are footing the bill
from their own measly wages.

The anti-war march, which comes just days after Tony Blair's government
published its famous "dossier" of evidence against Saddam Hussein, is
thought to reflect growing public and political opposition to UK's support
for American military action against Baghdad.

It is thought likely to be an embarrassment for Blair, possibly setting off
a domino effect across a sceptical Europe.

The march, which is strategically positioned just ahead of the crucial
annual conference of Tony Blair's governing Labour Party, is organised by a
loose Stop The War coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain.

One of the marchers is London-based Indian author and West Asia specialist
Dilip Hiro, who has first-hand experience of what he calls the "undramatic,
slow dying of the Iraqi people because of UN sanctions".

Hiro, who visited Baghdad while researching his new book War without End,
said that he met families whose children "died of dysentery and lack of
medicine, but people dying slowly because of lack of food or medicine is not
dramatic like suicide bombs".

According to Indian marchers from out of London, such as lawyer Suleiman
Kazi, the march, which cuts through the heart of the capital of America's
closest ally, marked a key stage in the politicisation of the British
Gujarati as well.

Another Indian marcher, businessman Habibullah Akudi, told Times News
Network that the mobilisation of Gujarati marchers from across the UK was

"This was the first time that dozens and dozens of coaches were hired, all
at our own expense and it's all to do with the aftermath of the Gujarat
violence earlier this year. People want to stand up and be counted," he

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said that the demonstration was meant to send out
the "message all over the world that Tony Blair does not speak for ordinary
people in this country. He speaks for the relationship with George Bush."

March organiser Mike Marqusee added that he spoke as a Jew when he said the
demonstration would unite people from all walks of life and religions. "This
will be one of the largest anti-war demonstrations seen in Europe in
decades," he said.

By Audrey Woods
Las Vegas Sun, 28th September

LONDON (ASSOCIATED PRESS): More than 150,000 Britons from all regions, ages
and social backgrounds, marched in central London Saturday, urging Prime
Minister Tony Blair and President Bush not to invade Iraq.

As they wound their way from Embankment on the River Thames to Hyde Park,
many of the marchers stopped to shout through the gates of Blair's 10
Downing St. residence.

"Tony Blair, shame, shame, no more killing in my name," went one chant.

"We believe it would be wholly immoral and wrong and criminal for the United
States and Britain to attack Iraq and inflict casualties upon innocent
people," Tony Benn, a former Labor Party legislator and veteran left-winger,
told a huge crowd seated in Hyde Park. "We must see it is not allowed to

Tam Dalyell, a senior Labor Party legislator, said the confrontation with
Iraq was the most dangerous standoff since the Cuban missile crisis.

"We are sleepwalking to disaster," he said, to thunderous applause from the

Streams of people poured out of subway stations near the march's starting
point and demonstrators at the back of the march were still setting off from
Embankment after those at the front had reached Hyde Park, more than a mile

Scotland Yard said more than 150,000 demonstrators took part in the march.

The Stop the War Coalition, which helped organize the march, estimated that
400,000 people took part.

There were many families in the crowd. Parents pushed babies in strollers;
the young, old and middle aged from all social backgrounds walked the route,
some waving placards, some blowing whistles or banging drums.

"Don't be bullied by Bush," read one placard. "No war for oil. Stop the war
machine," said another.

"Iraq is not our enemy, stop Bush," said a homemade banner carried by Irial
Eno, 12, who attended the rally with her sister, mother and grandmother.

Irial's mother, Anthea Eno, said she would support an attack on Iraq if it
had United Nations backing, but added that she did not expect that to

"There must be some other way," she said. "People are going to suffer, as

The march came as Britain and the United States worked together on a draft
resolution on Iraq which they plan to propose to the United Nations. It
would call on Saddam to reveal all materials relating to weapons of mass
destruction and to give U.N. weapons inspectors unfettered access to
presidential sites.

Blair has been Bush's staunchest ally on Iraq and last week released a
dossier claiming Saddam Hussein has stockpiled chemical and biological
weapons, and is trying to develop nuclear arms.

Legislators from the prime minister's own Labor Party are among the leaders
of the Stop the War Coalition, which organized the march with the Muslim
Association of Britain.

The march was also meant as a protest against Israel's policies in the West
Bank and Gaza, and many protesters expressed sympathy for the Palestinian
cause. "Stop Israeli war crimes," said one sign.

"These people are saying clearly two things - no to war against Iraq, yes to
a Palestinian state," said Michel Massih, chairman of a group called
Palestinian Community.

A couple of London shoppers, halted by the march as it wound toward
Piccadilly Circus, said they were lucky to live in a place where people were
allowed to express themselves so freely.

"When we lived in Saudi Arabia, we didn't have any marches like this," said
Brian McGuire, who spent four years in the Middle Eastern country.

Police said only three people were arrested for minor offenses and said
demonstrators were dispersing peacefully.

Associated Press, 30th September

WASHINGTON: The slogans came out of an earlier era: Give peace a chance. We
shall overcome. When will they ever learn?

So did many of the demonstrators. One even strummed Bob Dylan's anti-war
creed, "Blowin' in the Wind," on his guitar as he marched.

"This feels like a resurgence of the anti-war movement," said one of its
veterans, Deborah Vollmer, 54, of Chevy Chase, Md., who made her opposition
to an Iraq war the centerpiece of her recent unsuccessful congressional
campaign. Vollmer wore the classic anti-war button of a black peace sign
over the American flag.

Others who marched against the Vietnam War three decades ago also took to
the streets again Sunday to oppose a war with Iraq. They walked side by side
with students who know about Vietnam from their history books. In all,
District of Columbia police estimated that 2,500 people marched from Dupont
Circle to Vice President Dick Cheney's house.

Pat Lant of Royal Oak, Mich., walked with a sign that contained a flower and
the slogan, "War is not healthy for children and other living things." Said
Lant, 73, who rode on a bus full of demonstrators: "I've been carrying this
sign for a long time."

One of her Michigan bus mates and another Vietnam protest veteran, Jane
Kyriacopoulos, 69, of Detroit, said she needed to raise her voice again.

"Mothers of the world don't let our sons kill each other," she said. "We
can't sit at home and do nothing, and we have to convince people that this
is not the right thing to do. And I have to live with myself, and my
children and grandchildren."

Just like most anti-Vietnam War protesters did not support Ho Chi Minh and
the North Vietnam communists, most of those marching Sunday were no friends
of Saddam Hussein. Rather, they called for alternatives to war to hold Iraq
in check, such as bringing back the United Nations inspectors.

"Violence plus violence just equals more violence," said Ann Steffy, 55,
also of Royal Oak, Mich. "It breeds more terrorism."

Sunday's demonstration capped off a series of protests coinciding with the
annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Anti-war
activists have planned another march in Washington on Oct. 26.

Daily Star, Bangladesh, 1st October

AFP, Washington: Thousands protesting the Bush administration's stance on
Iraq marched peacefully up Washington's "embassy row" Sunday, wrapping up
three days of demonstrations in conjunction with World Bank and
International Monetary Fund meetings.

The crowd, which included people of all ages and many who did not
participate in earlier weekend protests, numbered at least 5,000. Police
refused to give an official estimate.

Attacking another country on the assumption that it may be dangerous "is the
most outrageous suggestion that I have ever heard in my life," said Peter
Robinson, 59, who travelled much of the day to join the protest.

A war on Iraq "has to do with oil and electoral politics," he said. "It is
unprecedented and un-American," he added.

"Dick Cheney, dinosaur, we don't want your oil war!" chanted groups of
protesters, as they marched up Massachusetts Avenue, the Washington street
where foreign missions are concentrated.

The crowd stopped at the embassies of countries such as Turkey that support
the US hard line against Baghdad to vent their anger.

Organisers from the National Network to End the War against Iraq said
marchers were also prompted "to cheer those embassies who have held firm in
their stance against a US attack against Iraq."

The march ended near the embassy of Britain, Washington's ally in the effort
to oust Saddam Hussein, located across from a service entry to the Naval
Observatory, the official residence for US vice presidents.

Hundreds of police officers, some on horseback, blocked the protesters from
reaching either the front door of the British embassy or the main entrance
to the Naval Observatory, their main objectives. After a brief rally, the
crowd began their walk back just after 2100 GMT.

Thousands of police, many brought in from other cities, been deployed around
Washington since Friday anticipating protests seeking to disrupt the annual
World Bank and IMF meetings.


BBC, 3rd October

1920 25 April - Iraq is placed under British mandate.

1921 23 August - Faysal, son of Hussein Bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, is
crowned Iraq's first king.

1932 3 October - Iraq becomes an independent state.

1958 14 July - The monarchy is overthrown in a military coup led by Brig
Abd-al-Karim Qasim and Col Abd-al-Salam Muhammad Arif. Iraq is declared a
republic and Qasim becomes prime minister.

1963 8 February - Qasim is ousted in a coup led by the Arab Socialist Ba'th
Party (ASBP). Arif becomes president.

1963 18 November - The Ba'thist government is overthrown by Arif and a group
of officers.

1966 17 April - After Arif is killed in a helicopter crash on 13 April, his
elder brother, Maj Gen Abd-al-Rahman Muhammad Arif, succeeds him as

1968 17 July - A Ba'thist led-coup ousts Arif and Gen Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr
becomes president.

1970 11 March - The Revolution Command Council (RCC) and Mullah Mustafa
Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), sign a peace

1972 - A 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is signed between Iraq
and the Soviet Union.

1972 - Iraq nationalizes the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).

1974 - In implementation of the 1970 agreement, Iraq grants limited autonomy
to the Kurds but the KDP rejects it.

1975 March - At a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) in Algiers, Iraq and Iran sign a treaty ending their border

1979 16 July - President Al-Bakr resigns and is succeeded by Vice-President
Saddam Hussein.

1980 1 April - The pro-Iranian Da'wah Party claims responsibility for an
attack on Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, at Mustansiriyah University,

1980 4 September - Iran shells Iraqi border towns (Iraq considers this as
the start of the Iran/Iraq war).

1980 17 September - Iraq abrogates the 1975 treaty with Iran.

1980 22 September - Iraq attacks Iranian air bases.

1980 23 September - Iran bombs Iraqi military and economic targets.

1981 7 June - Israel attacks an Iraqi nuclear research centre at Tuwaythah
near Baghdad.

1988 16 March - Iraq is said to have used chemical weapons against the
Kurdish town of Halabjah.

1988 20 August - A ceasefire comes into effect to be monitored by the UN
Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG).

1990 15 March - Farzad Bazoft, an Iranian-born journalist with the London
Observer newspaper, accused of spying on a military installation, is hanged
in Baghdad.

1990 2 August - Iraq invades Kuwait and is condemned by United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 660 which calls for full withdrawal.

1990 6 August - UNSC Resolution 661 imposes economic sanctions on Iraq.

1990 8 August - Iraq announces the merger of Iraq and Kuwait.

1990 29 November - UNSC Resolution 678 authorizes the states cooperating
with Kuwait to use "all necessary means" to uphold UNSC Resolution 660.

1991 16 -17 January - The Gulf War starts when the coalition forces begin
aerial bombing of Iraq ("Operation Desert Storm").

1991 13 February - US planes destroy an air raid shelter at Amiriyah in
Baghdad, killing over 300 people.

1991 24 February - The start of a ground operation which results in the
liberation of Kuwait on 27 February.

1991 3 March - Iraq accepts the terms of a ceasefire.

1991 Mid-March/early April - Iraqi forces suppress rebellions in the south
and the north of the country.

1991 8 April - A plan for the establishment of a UN safe-haven in northern
Iraq, north of latitude 36 degrees north, for the protection of the Kurds,
is approved at a European Union meeting in Luxembourg. On 10 April, the USA
orders Iraq to end all military activity in this area.

1992 26 August - A no-fly zone, excluding flights of Iraqi planes, is
established in southern Iraq, south of latitude 32 degrees north.

1993 27 June - US forces launch a cruise missile attack on Iraqi
intelligence headquarters in Al-Mansur district, Baghdad in retaliation for
the attempted assassination of US President, George Bush, in Kuwait in

1994 29 May - Saddam Hussein becomes prime minister.

1994 10 November - The Iraqi National Assembly recognizes Kuwait's borders
and its independence.

1995 14 April - UNSC Resolution 986 allows the partial resumption of Iraq's
oil exports to buy food and medicine ( the "oil-for-food programme"). It is
not accepted by Iraq until May 1996 and is not implemented until December

1995 August - Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Gen Hussein Kamil Hasan al-Majid,
Minister of Industry and Minerals, as well as Director of the Military
Industrialization Organization (MIO), his brother, Saddam, and their
families, leave Iraq and are granted asylum in Jordan.

1995 15 October - Saddam Hussein wins a referendum allowing him to remain
president for another 7 years.

Pardoned son-in-law killed

1996 20 February - Hussein Kamil Hasan al-Majid and his brother, promised a
pardon by Saddam Hussein, return to Baghdad and are killed on 23 February.

1996 31 August - In response to a call for aid from the KDP, Iraqi forces
launch an offensive into the northern no-fly zone and capture of Arbil.

1996 3 September - The US extends the northern limit of the southern no-fly
zone to latitude 33 degrees north, just south of Baghdad.

1996 12 December - Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday, is seriously wounded in
an assassination attempt in Baghdad's Al-Mansur district.

1998 31 October - Iraq ends all forms of cooperation with the UN Special
Commission to Oversee the Destruction of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

1998 22 November - Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Vice-Chairman of the RCC, escapes
an assassination attempt when visiting Karbala.

1998 16-19 December - After UN staff are evacuated from Baghdad, the USA and
UK launch a bombing campaign, "Operation Desert Fox", to destroy Iraq's
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes.

1999 4 January - Iraq asks the UN to replace its US and UK staff in Iraq.

1999 19 February - Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, spiritual
leader of the Shi'i sect, is assassinated in Najaf.

1999 17 December - UNSC Resolution 1284 creates the UN Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) to replace Unscom. Iraq
rejects the resolution.

2000 1 March - Hans Blix assumes the post of Executive Chairman of Unmovic.

2000 27 March - In the National Assembly elections, Saddam Hussein's son,
Uday, becomes a member for Baghdad Governorate's fifth constituency.

2000 August - Reopening of Baghdad airport, followed by a stream of
international flights organised by countries and organisations to campaign
against sanctions. The flights are labelled humanitarian missions to comply
with UN sanctions on commercial flights into and out of Iraq.

2000 October - Iraq resumes domestic passenger flights, the first since the
1991 Gulf War. Commercial air links re-established with Russia, Ireland and
Middle East.

2000 November - Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz rejects new weapons
inspection proposals.

2000 1 December - Iraq temporarily halts oil exports after the United
Nations rejects its request that buyers pay a 50-cent-a-barrel surcharge
into an Iraqi bank account not controlled by the UN.

2001 - Free-trade zone agreements set up with neighbouring countries. Rail
link with Turkey re-opened in May for first time since 1981.

2001 February - Britain, United States carry out bombing raids to try
disable Iraq's air defence network. The bombings have little international
support. Iraq complains about ongoing raids.

2001 May - Saddam Hussein's son Qusay elected to the leadership of the
ruling Baath Party, fuelling speculation that he's being groomed to succeed
his father.

2002 January - Iraq invites a UN human rights expert to visit for the first
time since envoys were banned from the country in 1992.

2002 April - Baghdad suspends oil exports to protest against Israeli
incursions into Palestinian territories. Despite calls by Saddam Hussein, no
other Arab countries follow suit. Exports resume after 30 days.

2002 May - UN Security Council agrees to overhaul the sanctions regime,
voting to replace a blanket ban on a range of goods with "smart" sanctions
targeted at military and dual-use equipment.

2002 August - Iraq invites the UN chief weapons inspector to Baghdad for
talks on resuming arms inspections. The move comes weeks after the UN failed
to persuade Iraq to allow back inspectors, at talks in Vienna.

2002 September - US President George Bush tells skeptical world leaders
gathered in New York for the 57th session of the UN General Assembly to
confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq - or stand aside as the
United States acts.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair publishes a long-awaited 50-page dossier
on Iraq's military capability ahead of a one-day emergency session of the
House of Commons.

2002 October - Iraq agrees to allow UN weapons inspections of dozens of
sensitive weapons sites, but the US and Britain reject the agreement. They
want the Security Council to adopt a new resolution which would delay the
return of the UN inspectors until Iraq provides a list of any nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons it might have. They also want a resolution
which would authorise a military strike if Iraq does not comply.

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