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[casi] US invasion of Iraq 'inevitable' even if saddam leaves

US invasion of Iraq 'inevitable'

The US says 45 nations have joined Bush's "coalition of the willing"
The United States says American forces will enter Iraq to search for weapons
of mass destruction even if President Saddam Hussein complies with an
ultimatum to leave.
President George W Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer said that allied troops
would go into the country "no matter what", but warned the Iraqi leader that
if he did not leave it would be his "final mistake".

Saddam Hussein, has flatly rejected Mr Bush's ultimatum to go into exile
within 48-hours or face war.

A statement from a cabinet meeting chaired by the Iraqi president said Iraq
and all its people were "fully ready to confront the invading aggressors and
repel them".

Iraqis prepare

US Secretary of State Colin Powell earlier said 45 nations had joined Mr
Bush's "coalition of the willing" - 30 had promised concrete support whilst
15 preferred to remain unnamed at the moment.

Ahead of the expected US-led bombing, which could start as early as 0100 GMT
on Thursday with the expiry of Mr Bush's ultimatum, all United Nations
inspectors have now left Iraq.

 The wives and mothers of the Americans who fight us will cry tears of blood

Uday Hussein

Saddam's sons

Reporting from the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the BBC's Paul Wood says Iraqis
are making final preparations for war - mainly buying food and fuel.

Mr Bush's ultimatum has received widespread international criticism, with
countries seeking a peaceful outcome to the crisis condemning Washington's
decision to abandon diplomacy and questioning the legality of starting a

In his strongest statement yet on the Iraq crisis, Pope John Paul II warned
the leaders of the forces gathered against Iraq that they face a grave
responsibility before God if they go to war.

In other developments:

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a passionate plea for support in
parliament, following the third resignation of a government member.

The third main US ally, Spain, will not send combat troops to Iraq, Prime
Minister Jose Maria Aznar tells parliament.

Turkey's Cabinet meets to reconsider putting forward a parliamentary motion
allowing US troops on its soil and granting US aircraft the right to use
Turkish airspace to launch an attack on Iraq.

More foreign diplomats leave Baghdad.
However, in an apparent softening of its position, France, one of the
staunchest opponents of conflict, said that if Iraq uses weapons of mass
destruction it may consider assisting the war effort.

 Saddam must be stopped but war is not the answer

Mona, USA

Click here to read more of your comments

"If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical and biological weapons, this would
change the situation completely and immediately for the French Government,"
France's ambassador to the US, Jean-David Levitte, said.


Mr Bush's ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his two sons - Uday and Qusay -
was issued during a key speech to the American people from the White House.

But apparently unmoved, the Iraqi leader was shown on state television in a
military uniform, chairing a joint meeting of the ruling Ba'ath Party and
the decision-making body, the Revolution Command Council.

"Iraq does not choose its path on the orders of a foreigner and does not
choose its leaders according to decrees from Washington, London or Tel Aviv,
but through the will of the great Iraqi people," the statement from the
meeting said.

 The tyrant will soon be gone

President Bush

Full text of Bush address

The Iraqi leader's elder son Uday went on to call on Mr Bush "to leave power
with his family".

"Any aggression against Iraq will make them [the Americans] regret their
tragic fate and the wives and mothers of the Americans who fight us will cry
tears of blood. They should not think themselves safe anywhere in Iraq or
abroad," a statement from his office said.

Our correspondent in Baghdad says there is feverish speculation about what
last-minute offer Saddam Hussein might make to try to avert the US-UK

But with the departure of the weapons inspectors, the people of Baghdad know
the waiting is almost over, he says.

sign the pledge of resistance to the "war on terrorism"

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