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[casi] Government spin on legality of war

Story on Sky news


War on Iraq is legal, according to the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

He said the combined effect of United Nations Security Council resolutions
678, 687 and 1441 gave the US and Britain the right to attack Iraq.

The UN now has just hours to decide if it will back a US-led invasion.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Blair will hold an emergency Cabinet meeting
at 4pm and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is also expected to address the
House of Commons at 7pm.

America, the UK and Spain have so far failed to gain support for a second
resolution backing military action.

Earlier President George W Bush said the world is facing a "moment of truth"
over Iraq.

Bush said the 15-member Security Council had to agree in the next 24 hours
on a resolution laying the groundwork for war.

He left no doubt that the United States and its allies would otherwise move
to invade Iraq without explicit UN backing.

And with France, Germany, Russia and China insisting they will vote against
a resolution, Mr Blair insisted: "We are going to hold firm to the cause we
have set out, we have made it clear."

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin argued: "France cannot accept
the resolution that is on the table in New York... which poses an ultimatum
and which envisages an automatic use of force."

Meanwhile Britain and the US, who have a 250,000-strong force in or around
the Gulf, advised their civilians to leave Kuwait, which is the likely
launch pad for an invasion of Iraq.

UN observers, who have monitored the Iraq-Kuwait border since the 1991 Gulf
War, stopped operations in the demilitarised zone, which invasion forces
would have to cross.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told his military commanders that if Iraq
were attacked, it would take the battle anywhere in the world "wherever
there is sky, land or water".

Last Updated: 10:17 UK, Monday March 17, 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Goreing <>
To: peter kiernan <>; <>
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: [casi] UNSC resolutions

> Hallo List
> I too would be interested in seeing further info on this...
> on 18/3/03 12:29 am, peter kiernan at wrote:
> > Does any-one know of any legal opinion or analysis of the pretty
> > claims made that a war against Iraq, even without authorisation from a
> > further UNSC resolution, is legal on the grounds that it is enforcing
> > term of ceasefire as laid out in UNSC resolution 687 of April 1991?
> Today Lord Goldsmith is meant to be publishing (a portion of) the legal
> advice he has given to the UK government. He has indicated that it gives
> what government ministers call "a legal basis" for the attack on Iraq. I
> suspect it will revolve around exactly this issue Peter Kiernan refers to,
> the "revival" of the authorisation to use force in SCR 678, by means of an
> alleged violation of the ceasefire resolution, 687.
> The government has been using this manoeuvre for some time. In November
> I wrote to the Foreign Office enquiring what exactly was the "clear legal
> basis" that the government claimed to have for the (impending) Desert Fox
> assault. After four months I eventually received an answer; the operative
> part read as follows:--
> "There was a clear legal basis in existing Security Council Resolutions
> the action we took last December. Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1154
> made clear that any violation by Iraq of its obligations to allow UNSCOM
> IAEA unrestricted access would have the severest consequences. Following
> Iraq's decision of 31 October 1998 to cease cooperation with UNSCOM, the
> Council, in SCR 1205, established that that decision was a flagrant
> violation of SCR 687 which laid down the conditions for the 1991
> The Council also recalled that the effective operation of UNSCOM and the
> IAEA was essential for the implementation of the ceasefire resolution. By
> SCR 1205, therefore, the Security Council implicitly revived the
> authorisation to use force which it had given in SCR 678."
> [Letter from the Middle East Dept, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 15
> 1999.]
> Anyway, in answer to Peter's basic question, the most extended discussion
> this I have seen was by contributors to the CASI discussion list. On
> 3 Milan Rai published ARROW briefing 25, "MATERIAL BREACH -- The
> Phrase That Could Trigger War on Iraq -- WAR PLAN IRAQ Update Number 5" on
> the web at
> Milan Rai referred to an earlier and even more detailed discussion by Glen
> Rangwala, which was sent to the list on 22 August 2002 and can be found in
> the archive at
> Perhaps we could look back at those items, and then see if Goldsmith's
> publicised opinion breaks new ground? Also, if Milan and Glen have
> to add to their earlier statements, or can point us to other supporting
> opinions, that might be helpful (though perhaps not an urgent necessity
> right now...)
> Andrew Goreing
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