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Re: [casi] Britain urges US to delay war to autumn

also really a suprisingly explicit admission that the inspections are
designed as a provocation to provide a casus belli.


On Jan 9 2003, Milan Rai wrote:

> Dear all
> This seems to me to be the most important
> newspaper report of the whole crisis. The British
> Government, under fierce political pressure from the
> anti-war movement both inside and outside the
> Labour Party, is trying to postpone the war on Iraq.
> The prepenultimate paragraph notes that Britain will
> (reluctantly) go along with a spring war if the US is
> determined to go to war early. It's our job on both
> sides of the Atlantic to stop this from happening.
> If we can make this war politically impossible in the
> spring of 2003, we can make it politically impossible in
> the autumn of 2003, and after that the US presidential
> election cycle is generally reckoned to rule out a major
> war.
> Best wishes
> Milan Rai
> ARROW & Voices in the Wilderness UK
> Daily Telegraph 9 January 2003 page 1
> Britain urges US to delay war until autumn
> By Anton La Guardia and George Jones
> (Filed: 09/01/2003)
> Britain is pressing for war against Iraq to be delayed
> for several months, possibly until the autumn, to give
> weapons inspectors more time to provide clear
> evidence of new violations by Saddam Hussein.
> British officials know that the real decision will be
> taken by Bush
> Ministers and senior officials believe that there is no
> clear legal case for military action despite the build-up
> of American and British forces in the Gulf.
> Senior diplomats have told the Government that there
> is a good chance of securing United Nations Security
> Council approval for military action later in the year if
> Saddam can be shown unambiguously to be defying
> the disarmament conditions set out in resolution
> 1441.
> "The Prime Minister has made it clear that, unless
> there is a smoking gun, the inspectors have to be given
> time to keep searching," a senior Whitehall source
> said.
> The uncertainty at the heart of the Government has
> resulted in ministers blowing hot and cold over the
> prospects for early military action.
> The tensions were highlighted on Tuesday when Geoff
> Hoon, the Defence Secretary, publicly rebuked Jack
> Straw, the Foreign Secretary, for playing down the
> chances of war.
> In the Commons yesterday Tony Blair denied that the
> Cabinet was split or that he was engaging in
> "dangerous brinkmanship" with Saddam over Iraq's
> weapons of mass destruction.
> But he was left in no doubt of growing opposition
> among Labour MPs to joining an American-led attack
> without convincing proof that Saddam had defied UN
> demands to dismantle his nuclear, chemical and
> biological programmes.
> The exchanges showed that the Prime Minister could
> face a major revolt if he went to war without UN
> backing.
> As the tempo of military preparations accelerates,
> British diplomats say they can win UN support for
> war only if the inspectors can corner Saddam, either
> by finding banned weapons and components or by
> forcing him to deny access to sites or to officials.
> "Nobody familiar with the inspections process expects
> them to come up with the goods in a matter of
> weeks," a senior British official said.
> "There is an assumption that there will be a campaign
> before the summer because of the heat. The autumn
> would be just as sensible a time and in the meanwhile
> Saddam would be thoroughly constrained by the
> inspectors."
> Although the Government has sent a powerful naval
> force to the region and called up reservists, there has
> been a significant softening of Whitehall's warlike
> rhetoric.
> Mr Straw said he thought the prospects of war were
> roughly 60:40 against. No 10 backed Mr Straw in
> downgrading the importance of the inspectors' first
> full report to the Security Council on Jan 27.
> Officials said the date was "not a deadline"; the
> inspectors should be given "time and space" to carry
> out their work. They also insisted that an indefinite
> game of "cat and mouse" was not acceptable.
> Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, is expected to
> tell the Security Council that Iraq is co-operating in
> terms of procedure, but that he needs time to
> investigate the apparent omissions in the latest
> declaration of its weapons programmes.
> Hard-liners in Washington see Iraq's claim that it has
> no banned weapons as enough justification for action.
> British officials know that the real decision about the
> war will be taken by President George W Bush.
> Powerful voices in Washington argue that
> prevarication would risk allowing another crisis to
> divert the effort against Iraq and afford Saddam a
> symbolic victory.
> British officials hope that London's reservations and
> Mr Blair's growing problems in the Labour Party will
> help to tip the balance in the Bush administration in
> favour of delay.
> But they accept that Britain will go along with an
> American-led war in almost all circumstances,
> including a conflict in the spring if Washington is
> determined to launch an early campaign.
> The first Prime Minister's Questions of the year, held
> at noon instead of 3pm under Commons reforms, was
> dominated by Iraq.
> Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, highlighting the
> spat between Mr Hoon and Mr Straw, warned Mr
> Blair that he could not win public backing for a war if
> he could not convince his Cabinet and if troops were
> only "half-prepared for war".
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