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News Review Special Edition

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International Developments, November 15, 2002 - February 1, 2003

Iraq Inspections Fail to Resolve Crisis as Hourglass Runs Towards War

Editor's Note

The following summary tracks the major developments in the Iraq crisis from late-November to early-February - from the return of UN weapons inspectors, following the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1441, to the damning verdict on Baghdad's response to that 'last chance' for peace, delivered by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Security Council on February 5. For extensive coverage of subsequent developments, please see the 'Disarmament Documentation' section of our website.


As reported in the last issue, on November 8 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1441, setting out the terms and conditions of a final international effort to complete the disarmament of Iraq by peaceful means. The resolution - the result of eight weeks of intense deliberations among a frequently divided Council - places a fundamental, twofold onus on Iraq: substantive cooperation, most importantly to fully account for any past or present programmes to acquire or deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and functional cooperation, acting in full support of the inspections process itself.

As we chart below, by early February the original faultlines in the Council over the need for a tough new inspections regime had translated - over the first three months of the resolution's implementation - into radically polarised assessments of the unfolding value of the process. Ironically enough, perhaps, the two main drafters and champions of 1441 - the United States and United Kingdom - were ready by the end of January to declare Baghdad in comprehensive material breach of the resolution, and to urge the Council to adopt a second resolution calling for the "serious consequences" of Iraqi non-compliance, sternly predicted in 1441, to duly materialise. The other three Permanent Members - China, France, and Russia - had moved from initial scepticism over the need for a new inspections regime, fearful of the manipulation of the process to provide a pretext for war, to enthusiastic support for the inspectors and a belief that the final stage of the peaceful disarmament of Iraq had begun promisingly and could now be expected - if fully supported by the Council and accompanied by greater substantive cooperation from Baghdad - to reach a successful conclusion in the coming months.

For their part, the chief weapons inspectors - Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), charged with verifying Iraqi disarmament in the chemical and biological fields, and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with closing the nuclear file - presented to the Council a picture mixing demonstrable progress with ongoing and significant problems. Overall, the factual but nuanced reports presented by the two officials to the Council provided material capable of interpretation by all five Permanent Members as validating their own positions. As Blix and ElBaradei both emphasise repeatedly, the momentous decision of war and peace in Iraq, while it may be shaped by the results of their efforts, does not ultimately rest in their hands.

As may be expected when confronting an issue with enormous implications for peace and security far beyond Iraq, the political judgement for other countries to make - whether to agree with the Americans and British that 1441 has already failed, or with the Chinese, French and Russians that 1441 is already proving effective - will inevitably be influenced by factors lying outside the equation of the Iraqi question itself. Among these factors, which can only be glimpsed in the following account of the drama, are issues of stability in the Middle East, and even the survival of certain regimes in the region; the domestic impact of the vast anti-war movement taking not just to the 'Arab street', but streets around the planet; the possible long-term economic and political advantages of backing a particular course of action; concerns over the credibility of the UN itself, either if the Security Council fails to reach a common position, or if it fails to hold the non-compliant Iraqi regime to some form of account; and - of greatest interest, perhaps, to most readers of this journal - concern over the impact of the crisis on multilateral efforts to advance the cause of both non-proliferation and disarmament.

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November 18: as detailed in the last issue, Drs. Blix and ElBaradei arrive in Baghdad for discussions on the practicalities and logistics of the inspection process, due to get underway on November 27. They are the first weapons inspectors to visit Iraq since UNMOVIC's predecessor organisation, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), and the IAEA withdrew from the country in advance of a major US-UK aerial bombardment in December 1998.

November 21: meeting in Prague, the 19 heads of state and government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) issue a 'Statement on Iraq' pledging "full support for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1441", and describing the resolution as "a final opportunity" for Iraq "to comply with its disarmament obligations". The statement concludes: "NATO Allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UNSCR 1441. We recall that the Security Council in this resolution has warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligations."

November 22: meeting in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush issue a joint statement echoing the language of the NATO declaration, calling on Iraq, "in strict compliance with UNSC resolution 1441, to cooperate fully and unconditionally in its disarmament obligations or face serious consequences."

November 23: Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri sends a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan complaining of the unrealistic and unreasonable terms and conditions laid on his government by resolution 1441. "The real motive" of the resolution, Sabri writes, "was to create pretexts to attack Iraq under an international cover."

November 25: unanimously adopting resolution 1443, the Security Council agrees an emergency, nine-day extension of the 'oil-for-food' programme designed to provide humanitarian relief to Iraqi civilians suffering from the effects of the 12-year UN sanctions regime. The programme is customarily renewed by the Council every 180 days. On this occasion, however, the United States sought to first review the operation of the Goods Review List (GRL) introduced as part of a new, 'smart sanctions' regime agreed by the Council last May (see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 65, July/August 2002, pp. 60-64). The list names all 'grey area' items whose import into Iraq requires UN approval, as distinct from uncontroversial items with no conceivable military applications, or banned items with overt or probable military utility. US Ambassador John Negroponte tells reporters: "What we are advocating is that there be a...prompt review of the Goods Review List to tighten it up to ensure that it is not exploited in any way by the government of Iraq to import items for military purpose under civilian guise..." Other Council members objected to the linkage between the continuation of the humanitarian relief programme and the expansion of the GRL. Syria's Deputy Ambassador, Fayssal Mekdad, states (November 26) that, during debate of the issue, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov "said that there were assurances [provided for him] before the adoption of 1441 that the American side would cooperate and be flexible on the oil-for-food programme and its extension, and what's happening is the opposite..." Further exacerbating tensions, Negroponte had proposed that, following a review of the GRL, the oil-for-food programme only be extended by three months, ostensibly in order to allow more regular and rigorous review of its implementation. As was widely remarked, however, such a 90-day extension would lead the programme into late February or early March, thought to be a potentially 'optimal' period for a US-led invasion of Iraq.

November 27: UNMOVIC and the IAEA conduct their first inspections. With only 11 UNMOVIC and 6 IAEA inspectors, the process is as preliminary as it is historic. The IAEA 'Action Team', led by Jacques Baute, visited the Al Tahidi facility, a science research centre in northern Iraq. The UNMOVIC team, led by Dmitri Perricos, Director of Planning and Operations, visited two sites - a graphite plant and a missile engine testing facility - at Al Rafah, 130 kilometres southwest of Baghdad. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement expresses the hope that the "start of international inspections in Iraq...will mark an important milestone in the process of a comprehensive settlement of the Iraq problem envisaging, in particular, the lifting of sanctions on Baghdad and the conversion of the Gulf area into a zone of lasting peace, stability and cooperation."

December 2: President Bush looks ahead pessimistically to a major landmark in the process of implementing 1441 - "On or before December 8, Iraq must provide a full and accurate declaration of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes. That declaration must be credible and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world once again that he has chosen not to change his behaviour. ... So far the signs are not encouraging. A regime that fires upon American and British pilots [in the US-UK 'no-fly zones' in the north and south of Iraq] is not taking the path of compliance. A regime that sends letters [to the UN] filled with protests and falsehoods is not taking the path of compliance..." The following day, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov reaches the opposite preliminary conclusion, namely that "the absence of difficulties in the work of the inspectors gives grounds for optimism, as does cooperation with the UN people from the Iraqi side."

December 4: speaking on ABC television in America, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz repeats the invariable position of his government that Iraq's imminent weapons declaration cannot be expected to contain revelations of non-existent programmes - "We don't have weapons of mass destruction. We don't have chemical, biological or nuclear weaponry, but we [do] have equipment which was defined as dual-use."

The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 1447, extending the oil-for-food programme by the customary 180-day period. As noted above, the strong US preference was for a 90-day extension, combined with agreement on revisions to the Goods Review List. On December 3, the US requested another emergency extension - 14 days - of the programme. According to Russian Ambassador Lavrov, however (December 4): "Russia, as well as 13 other Council members, believe it is important to extend the programme for a full six months." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declares (December 4): "The oil-for-food programme was designed to help them [the civilian population] and I hope nothing will be done to jeopardize the interests of the population that we seek to help." Ambassador Negroponte expresses himself "gratified" that the six-month extension was coupled with agreement from "other Council members...on the necessity for Goods Review List improvements."

December 7: Iraq submits a 'Currently Accurate, Full and Complete Declaration" (CAFCD) to UNMOVIC officials. The submission, delivered a day in advance of the deadline set out in 1441, runs to some 12,000 pages, with hundreds in Arabic, supported by a number of CD-ROMS. Senior Iraqi official Major General Hussam Muhammad Amin summarises the contents in a single sentence: "We declare that Iraq is empty of any weapons of mass destruction." President Bush pledges to "judge the declaration's honesty and completeness only after we have thoroughly examined it, and that will take some time."

December 8: Iraq submits the nuclear portion of its declaration - running to some 2,400 pages, 300 in Arabic - to IAEA officials in Baghdad. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement suggests that the "timely presentation" of both parts of the declaration, "together with the continued, normally-running cooperation in carrying out international inspection activities, confirms Baghdad's [positive] line [with regard] to compliance with the provisions of resolution 1441."

December 6/10: the UN's handling of the Iraqi declaration, thought to have been agreed in advance, quickly run into political controversy. The issue surrounds the sensitivity of aspects of the dossier, in terms of information revealed about Iraq's past WMD programmes which may help guide other potential proliferators. On December 6, Dr. Blix tells reporters that "all the governments in the Council are aware that they should not have access to anything that anyone else does not have access to, so if any parts would be proliferation-prone none of them would like to have it. ... No [Council] member will get it on Monday [December 9]". Reports suggested that UNMOVIC and the IAEA had indicated to the Council they would like a period of 7-10 days to conduct a preliminary examination of the dossier in order to identify such 'proliferation-prone' material. On December 8, however, a statement by Security Council President Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia) announces a volte face: "After consulting with members of the Security Council, the [Colombian] Presidency decided to allow access to the Iraqi declaration to those members with the expertise to assess the risks of proliferation and other sensitive information to begin its immediate review. This review will be in close coordination with...[UNMOVIC and the IAEA] and will assist them in producing a working version of the declaration as soon as possible." On December 9, the United States becomes the first Council member to receive a full copy of the declaration, followed, reportedly within hours, by the other Permanent Members. Secretary-General Annan remarks (December 9): "I think the Council is master of its own deliberations... If the Council decided to do that, it is their right and I will not quibble with it." A December 10 Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement describes the apparent US override of agreed Council policy as "an unprecedented blackmail operation" which "aims at manipulating United Nations documents to find covers for aggression". Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen complains (December 12) that his country and the other non-permanent members are being treated as "B-nations".

December 10: receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, former US President Jimmy Carter sends a clear message to Iraq to disarm, couple with an appeal for the use of force to be considered only in extremis: "[There is a] necessity for Iraq to fully comply with the unanimous decision of the Security Council that it eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and permit unimpeded access by inspectors to confirm that this commitment has been honoured. The world insists that this be done. ... For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventative war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences. ... War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

December 13: Blix asks Iraq to provide a comprehensive list of scientific personnel currently and formerly working on WMD programmes. Resolution 1441 entitles the inspectors to interview any Iraqi scientist they wish, with his or her permission, in private or even out of the country.

December 19: the Security Council hears an initial, closed-doors assessment of the Iraqi dossier from Drs. Blix and ElBaradei. Both officials tell reporters that the declaration appears deficient in important respects. Blix states: "There were a lot of open questions at the end of 1998...and these have not been answered by evidence in the new declaration. ... An opportunity was missed in the declaration to give a lot of evidence..." For example: "Iraq declared earlier that they had produced about 8,500 litres of anthrax, and there was not sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it was limited to 8,500, so we must ask ourselves, was there more?" ElBaradei comments: "We are making good progress in having access to sites. Iraq is cooperating well in terms of process. We still need much more cooperation from Iraq in terms of substance, in terms of coming up with evidence to exonerate themselves [and prove] that they are clean from weapons of mass destruction..."

The meeting is boycotted by Syria, in protest at the decision to limit circulation of the full text of the dossier to the five Permanent Members of the Council. Speaking after the briefing, US Ambassador Negroponte states bluntly that "Iraq has again defied the Council's demand and chosen deception and concealment over full disclosure". UK Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock suggests there is "no doubt" Iraq has failed the major test represented by the declaration. French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere concedes that the dossier "has not clearly answered and resolved outstanding questions", in particular "about the possible continuation by Iraq of prohibited activities since December 1998." Russian Ambassador Lavrov is more cautious, describing the day's briefing as "very preliminary", and noting that "we want this to be verified by professionals."

In a special briefing, US Secretary of State Colin Powell declares: "The declaration's title echoes the language of resolution 1441. It is called 'Currently Accurate, Full and Complete Declaration'. But our experts have found it to be anything but currently accurate, full or complete... It should be obvious that the pattern of systematic holes and gaps in Iraq's declaration is not the result of accidents or editing oversights or technical mistakes. These are material omissions that, in our view, constitute another material breach."

December 27: the Russian Foreign Ministry issues a statement drawing attention to "continuing US and British air strikes on targets, including civilian, located in the territory of Iraq". The statement is typical of many issued by the Ministry during the period under review: "Moscow is seriously worried [by these incidents]... People are again being killed, and damage is being caused to the country's economy. ... The dangerous incidents in the 'no-fly zones', established in circumvention of the decisions of the Security Council, are aggravating the already tense situation around Iraq and complicating the efforts of the international community directed to achieving a politico-diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis."

December 30: the Security Council adopts resolution 1454, approving significant revisions to the Goods Review List of items requiring approval prior to import into Iraq. Russia and Syria abstain on the resolution. Russian Ambassador Lavrov complains that "a number of the GRL formulations bear an excessively restrictive character and affect not only dual-use products but also goods having [an] exclusively civilian application." US Deputy Ambassador James Cunningham comments that the changes will inaugurate "an ongoing, dynamic process to ensure that the List is as precise and as relevant as it can be and that dual-use materials...are not making it through the system."

January 6: in a speech delivered on Army Day in Iraq, President Saddam Hussein claims that "all or most" of the inspections carried out by UNMOVIC and the IAEA "constitute purely intelligence work". Asked to respond, President Bush tells reporters before beginning a Cabinet meeting in the White House: "Well, I thought that was an interesting statement on his part. When you combine that with the fact that his declaration was clearly deficient, it is discouraging news for those of us who want to resolve this issue peacefully." Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz repeats his president's accusation on January 8, accusing the inspectors of frequently "searching for...information about Iraqi conventional military capability...and also espionage questions."

January 9: Blix and ElBaradei provide an interim report - prior to a full-scale update scheduled for January 27, 60 days after the first inspections - to the Security Council. Blix tells reporters before the meeting: "In the course of these inspections we have not found any smoking gun. ... [W]e are getting more and more information, better knowledge about the situation... [But] the declaration, regrettably, has not helped very much to clarify any question marks of the past." ElBaradei declares that, in the absence of more proactive Iraqi cooperation, and in the light of alleged Iraqi duplicity, both UNMOVIC and the IAEA "need more actionable information on the part of governments". UK Ambassador Greenstock expresses concern at the lack of substantive progress recorded: "As the days go by, the failure of Iraq pro-actively to cooperate...will become an increasingly serious matter." Russian Ambassador Lavrov sees the inspections process entering a more settled phase: "[T]his should be seen as a professional exercise done by professional people presenting their views as they go, and...political agitation around briefings like this" is not warranted. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement (January 10) notes that "no signs of the existence of WMDs, or the implementation of prohibited programmes, have been found in the course of 250 inspections. ... Yet the IAEA and, in particular, UNMOVIC still have questions...which need clarifying. ... On the whole, the briefings in the Security Council confirm that the resumed inspection activities in Iraq have opened a real way to removal of 'blank spots' in the disarmament dossiers..." Syria again boycotts the briefing in protest at the decision not to circulate the full version of the Iraq dossier to the Council's non-permanent members.

Asked for the Bush administration's reaction to Blix's comment that no 'smoking gun' had been found - a phrase that was to pervade subsequent debate - White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states: "The heart of the problem is Iraq is very good at hiding things. ... What we learned in New York today gives further concern for people who want to keep peace, because Iraq has failed to comply with the United Nations resolutions. ... The problem with guns that are hidden is that you can't see their smoke..." US Ambassador Negroponte argues that it is now clear Iraq's non-compliance "constitutes a further material breach" of its international obligations.

January 16: UNMOVIC spokesperson Hiro Ueki announces the discovery of 11 empty warheads designed to carry chemical munitions. The 122-millimetre warheads were discovered during an inspection of the Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area. White House Press Secretary Fleischer (January 17) describes the development as "serious and troubling". The warheads, he adds, were "undeclared" and are "in excellent condition". Four more warheads of the same type are discovered on January 20.

Meanwhile, IAEA inspectors find a large amount of undeclared documentation in the Baghdad home of physicist Faleh Hassan. Two days later (January 18), ElBaradei tells reporters that the documents apparently relate to Iraq's failed attempts to use laser isotope separation techniques to enrich uranium in the 1970s and 1980s.

At the Security Council, US Ambassador Negroponte unsuccessfully argues against plans to hear a report from Blix on March 27, scheduled under the terms of resolution 1284, adopted in December 1999. Resolution 1284 - establishing UNMOVIC despite the abstentions of China, France and Russia - calls for a report from the Commission 90 days after the commencement of its inspection activities (November 27, 2002). The designated purpose of the report would be to identify which disarmament tasks had been accomplished and which remained. Negroponte expresses unease at the potential for 1284 to distract from the sterner focus provided for in 1441 - even though 1441 contains a call for the full implementation of 1284, although with all other relevant Security Council resolutions. In the face of strong opposition, the Ambassador reportedly withdraws his objection to the March 27 report. He tells reporters afterwards: "We do have some questions whether March 27 is the right time to outline the key remaining disarmament tasks."

In a speech at Scranton University, New Jersey, President Bush suggests that the window for a peaceful resolution of the crisis may be closing: "Time is running out. At some point in time, the United States' patience will run out. In the name of peace, if he does not disarm, I will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm Saddam Hussein..."

January 19: US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reacts to swirling speculation of a possible non-violent version of the declared American policy of 'regime change' in Iraq - exile for the current leadership. While doubting the likelihood of such a course of events, Rumsfeld states that "to avoid a war, I would...personally recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leaders in that country and their families could be provide haven in some other country... I think that would be a fair trade to avoid a war." Secretary Powell argues that, in the event of such a scenario being realised, "the challenge before us then would be to see whether or not that new regime would commit itself to eliminating weapons of mass destruction, satisfying the international community that they are interested in the welfare of their people and not interested in threatening...their neighbours... [W]e would have an entirely new situation presented to the international community, and we might be able to avoid war."

January 19/20: Blix and ElBaradei hold discussions in Baghdad in an increasingly pressing search for 'proactive cooperation'. On January 20, the two sides issue a brief 10-point statement mixing recognition from the UN side of progress made with pledges from Iraq of progress to come. Specifically, Iraq: agreed to encourage "persons" to "accept access...to private sites" and requests "for interviews in private"; expressed "a readiness to respond to questions raised in connection with the [December 7] declaration and discuss such questions"; supplement the "list of persons engaged in the various [WMD] disciplines...in accordance with advice from UNMOVIC and the IAEA"; reduce the number of Iraqi "minders" sent to accompany the inspectors; enact "national legislation as soon as possible regarding proscribed activities"; and continue "to continue technical discussions with the IAEA to clarify issues, regarding aluminum tubes, alleged uranium importation and the use of high explosives, as well as other outstanding issues". Prior to releasing the joint statement, Iraq handed over a number of requested documents to UNMOVIC and provided clarification on a number of documents already submitted. The head of the Iraqi delegation, Saddam Hussein's chief scientific adviser Dr. Amir al-Saadi, describes the talks (January 20) as "very constructive and positive". One important issue not addressed in the statement is the question of surveillance flights over Iraqi territory. Iraq continues to object to the flights out of concern of their possible misuse in the gathering of military intelligence of use to US and UK forces in the region. Iraq also argues that, for both political and safety reasons, such flights should take place only in the absence of ongoing military activity by British and American warplanes in the no-fly zones. Summarising the outcome of the two days of talks, Blix tells reporters in New York (January 22): "If you ask me are they proactive, I think so far I've said no, I don't think they've come to that stage yet. ... We raised quite a number of issues with the Iraqis - practical matters that we have encountered lately, and we obtained satisfactory matters on some of them, and on some of them we did not..."

Note: the 'aluminum tubes' referred to in the 10-point statement caused controversy throughout the period under review. Iraq claims that the tubes have been imported as part of its permitted rocket programme. The US alleges they are intended for use in the clandestine construction of gas centrifuges designed to enrich uranium - which Washington says Iraq has also been assiduously attempting to purchase - to weapons grade. On balance, the IAEA appears satisfied with the Iraqi explanation. In his January 27 briefing to the Security Council (see below), ElBaradei stated: "A particular issue of focus has been the attempted procurement by Iraq of high strength aluminium tubes, and the question of whether these tubes, if acquired, could be used for the manufacture of nuclear centrifuges. Iraqi authorities have indicated that their unsuccessful attempts to procure the aluminium tubes related to a programme to reverse engineer conventional rockets. To verify this information, IAEA inspectors have inspected the relevant rocket production and storage sites, taken tube samples, interviewed relevant Iraqi personnel, and reviewed procurement contracts and related documents. From our analysis to date it appears that the aluminium tubes would be consistent with the purpose stated by Iraq and, unless modified, would not be suitable for manufacturing centrifuges; however, we are still investigating this issue." Notwithstanding such assurances, US officials insist, as UN Ambassador Negroponte stated on January 29, that "these tubes are of the fineness and kind of tooling and workmanship that is definitely consistent with the use of enriching uranium... The way in which Iraq has gone about trying to produce those tubes suggests quite clearly that they were trying to do something illicit." Addressing the Security Council on February 5 (see below), Secretary Powell revealed that "we actually have examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including in the latest batch an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications? Why would they continuing refining the specification, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?"

January 20: meeting at the request of France, Security Council Foreign Ministers discuss post-9/11 responses to international terrorism (see a separate report in this Review). Much of the debate turns to the subject of a possible war in Iraq. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin argues that "nothing today justifies envisaging military action". Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan refers positively to "a new beginning" in the inspections process. Speaking for new Council member Germany, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer states: "We are greatly concerned that a military strike against the regime in Baghdad would involve considerable and unpredictable risks for the global fight against terrorism - these are fundamental reasons for our rejection of military action." Secretary Powell urges: "We must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities when the material [from the weapons inspectors] comes before us... We cannot be shocked into impotence because we are afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us."

Dramatically increasing the British contribution to a massive American military build-up in the Persian Gulf, UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announces the dispatch of 26,000 troops - one quarter of the British Army - to the region. "It is not too late," Hoon tells the House of Commons, "for Saddam Hussein to recognise the will of the international community and respect United Nations resolutions. Let us all hope that he does so."

January 23: referring to growing French and German reluctance to support a move from inspections to war in Iraq, US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld utters a phrase destined for fame: "You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I think that's old Europe. ... If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the east." Initial reaction in Paris come from Finance Minister Frances Minister, who describes himself as "profoundly vexed", and Environment Minister Roselyne Bachelot, who decides not to describe her feelings: "If you knew what I felt like telling Mr. Rumsfeld..." White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tells reporters: "The United States is going to look at this [question of possible war] with our friends and allies. There are a couple nations that may look in a different direction. It's entirely possible that France won't be on the line. The President is confident that Europe will heed the call, if the call is made". In an interview with Jim Lehrer on American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television, Secretary Powell is asked specifically about French and German opposition to US policy. He replies: "Frankly, Jim, there are some nations in this world who would like to simply turn away from this problem, pretend it isn't there. They are troubled by the consequences of going down this road to the requirements of 1441, which is ultimately the use of force if Iraq does not comply. The United States fully understood that when we went down the path of 1441, we were hoping for the best, but we were preparing for the worst." Powell also reflects ruefully on his experience at the Security Council debate in terrorism on January 20: "[T]he meeting was called at the request of the French presidency to discuss terrorism... [T]he French decided to focus on Iraq and...kind of, frankly, trampled the purpose of the meeting. And so I responded to that... But it's unfortunate that we didn't spend as much time [as we should]...on the subject of the day, which was terrorism."

January 27: Blix and ElBaradei deliver an in-depth 'stocktaking' report to the Security Council of the first two months of inspection activity. The Blix briefing opens with a grim conclusion: "I begin by recalling that inspections as a part of a disarmament process in Iraq started in 1991, immediately after the Gulf War. They went on for eight years until December 1998, when inspectors were withdrawn. Thereafter, for nearly four years there were no inspections. ... Resolution 687 (1991), like the subsequent resolutions I shall refer to, required cooperation by Iraq but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance - not even today - of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace." Blix continues: "I turn now to the key requirement of cooperation and Iraq's response to it. Cooperation might be said to relate to both substance and process. It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, notably access. A similar decision is indispensable to provide cooperation on substance in order to bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course."

The ElBaradei briefing is less harsh, given the lesser bulk of disarmament tasks remaining in the nuclear file. The presentation concludes: "To conclude: we have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the elimination of the programme in the 1990s. However, our work is steadily progressing and should be allowed to run its natural course. With our verification system now in place, barring exceptional circumstances, and provided there is sustained proactive cooperation by Iraq, we should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons programme. These few months would be a valuable investment in peace because they could help us avoid a war. We trust that we will continue to have your support as we make every effort to verify Iraq's nuclear disarmament through peaceful means, and to demonstrate that the inspection process can and does work, as a central feature of the international nuclear arms control regime."

Providing Washington's immediate response, Ambassador Negroponte tells the Council that "there is nothing in either presentation that would give us hope that Iraq has ever intended to fully comply with resolution 1441 or any of the 16 resolutions that preceded it over the last 12 years. We see no evidence to indicate that Saddam is voluntarily disarming his nation of its biological and chemical weapons, nuclear capabilities and ballistic missiles. We see no evidence that he intends to account for Iraq's weapons programs or to proffer the active cooperation required to assure us that he will do so. Without cooperation, disarmament cannot be proven. Without disarmament, Iraq cannot comply with resolution 1441." Negroponte's remarks conclude with a rallying cry, and a reminder: "When the Council adopted resolution 1441, our message was simple: Non-compliance is no longer an option. We clearly explained that 1441 afforded Iraq a 'final opportunity' to disarm. 'Determined to ensure full and immediate compliance,' we committed the United Nations to living up to its responsibilities, if the Government of Iraq persisted in its refusal to disarm. Others joined us in articulating this final opportunity. The time is fast approaching that we will have to demonstrate that we meant what we said on that November day." Shortly after the briefings, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw declares: "What we've heard today from New York is clear evidence that Saddam Hussein is not engaged in effective cooperation with the weapons' inspectors or the United Nations, but he's practising concealment. There's clear evidence now that Saddam has made this a charade of an inspection, cooperating on process, but not on substance. And I believe that as people heard those very careful words from Dr Blix about VX nerve gas, about the development of mustard gases, about much else that has been found by the weapons' inspectors, about the failure of cooperation by Iraq in all sorts of ways including crucially in respect of interviews with Iraqi scientists who know the truth of all this, people will be deeply disturbed."

On the other side of the broad diplomatic divide in the Council, Russian Ambassador Lavrov, interviewed on Russian television that evening, observes: "The US today again through its United Nations Ambassador repeated its questions to Iraq, which are well known to all. But no proofs that development of weapons of mass destruction is continuing in Iraq were submitted. Hans Blix spoke of the necessity to study the new aspects that are being uncovered in the course of inspections, including on the basis of information which countries provide. The information which he has hitherto received from individual countries, as I understand, from the US among them, does not permit him to change his view that so far he has no proofs of a resumption of weapons of mass destruction programs in Iraq." French Ambassador de la Sabliere tells reporters that the inspectors "have already produced some results but there are still question marks. This is the reason why Iraq must cooperate more actively in accordance with resolution 1441." Zhang Yishan, China's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, notes that Beijing shares "the view of many that this process needs to continue and more time is needed for the inspectors and we trust that UNMOVIC and the IAEA will continue their homework impartially, objectively and professionally."

Seeking to balance the different concerns in the Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan comments that if the inspectors "need more time, they should be given the time to do their work and all of us - the Council when they sent them - must have realised that time will be necessary, a reasonable amount of time... I'm not saying forever, but they do need time to get their work done, and I suspect the Council will allow for that time... [The Council also] expects a more proactive engagement [from Baghdad] and I hope the Iraqis will do what the inspectors have asked them to do..." Annan concludes his remarks to reporters with a rallying cry of his own: In my own speech to the General Assembly on September 12, I stressed the need for multilateralism, the need for Council action, the need for Council legitimacy, and that position has not changed. I really hope that Iraq will comply and we will be able to get on and disarm Iraq peacefully. .... I have not give up on peace and you shouldn't, either."

Addressing the Council after members' statements, Iraqi Ambassador al-Douri insists that his government had "actively cooperated" with UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and "expressed its sincere willingness to clarify any questions." The Ambassador finishes simply: "We open all doors to Mr. Blix and his team."

In Brussels, European Union Foreign Ministers issues a brief but carefully crafted statement noting: "The Iraq authorities must, as an imperative, provide the inspectors, without delay, with all additional and complete information on questions raised by the international community." George Papandreou, Foreign Minister of Greece, current holders of the European Union presidency, declares (January 29): "The EU wants to send a powerful message to Iraq - you must comply, but you are not condemned to war. It's wrong to say that war has been decided, because then no one would cooperate in Iraq." According to most observers, the European Union's 15 members include five staunch supporters of the US view that war may soon be necessary (the UK, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Denmark), five staunch believers in the viability of the inspections process (France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg), with four states occupying more reserved ground (Finland, Ireland, Portugal, and Sweden).

January 28: President Bush delivers his annual State of the Union address to Congress. A long, impassioned section on Iraq is prefaced with a general description of US foreign policy in the post-9/11 world. While multilateralism and international solidarity retain undoubted value in such a setting, Bush argues that "America's purpose is more than to follow a process - it is to achieve a result: the end of terrible threats to the civilized world. All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attacks. And we're asking them to join us, and many are doing so. Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others. Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people."

Turning to Iraq, the President then portrays Saddam Hussein - a "brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth," determined "to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States" - as uncontainable, unreformable, implacably opposed to his own disarmament, and thus an insurmountable obstacle to effective inspections. In terms of the long history of the Iraq crisis, Bush summarises: "Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm himself of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons - not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities." In terms of the final diplomatic phase of the crisis, Bush notes: "Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world. The 108 UN inspectors were sent to conduct - were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened. ... The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving." In terms of the stakes in the crisis, Bush claims: "Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack. With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region. And this Congress and the America people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. Before September 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes." In terms of both the justice and necessity of military action in the near future, the President concludes: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. ... If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country - your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

Bush further announces that a detailed, documented version of his administration's most damning allegations against the Iraqi regime - specifically in terms of the mockery it is making of the 1441 process; generally in terms of its evil record and designs - will be delivered to the UN Security Council by Secretary of State Powell on February 5.

Speaking hours before the speech, senior Democratic Senator Joseph Biden tells his colleagues that as "President Bush prepares to address the nation on the State of the Union, we stand, to state the obvious, at a precipice of a momentous decision: War, war with Iraq. ... To date, there has been no informed consent. ... To date, the American people only know that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator, who has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and that he is the man who invaded Kuwait, and we expelled him. They are not sure as to whether or not he is an imminent threat; that is, a threat to those security moms, not soccer moms, who are in their living rooms and are worried about the health of their children and the safety of their homes. The American people are confused, I would respectfully suggest, by the President's talk and the administration's talk of a new doctrine of pre-emption, and whether or not this is the basis upon which we are arguing we should act... They are under the impression - the American people - because of the signals being sent by the Secretary of Defense and his civilian subordinates, that this war will be short, essentially bloodless, and, just as in 1991, Johnny will come marching home again in several weeks, if not several months, after a decisive, bloodless military victory. The American people are assuming we will lead a very broad coalition of other nations and have the world behind us in our effort. They further assume, contrary very much to the hard evidence, that the defeat of Saddam Hussein will be a major setback for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. ... They also assume, contrary to any hard evidence, that Saddam Hussein is months away from developing a nuclear weapon that could strike American soil, for which he has no capacity, nor in any reasonable prospect in the future would he have any capacity to send a nuclear weapon airborne from Iraq to the United States. Lastly, they seem to think the financial cost of this war will be manageable and not cause any further economic disruption, for why else for the first time in American history is the President of the United States calling for war, the possibility of war involving 250,000 American troops, at the very same time he is going to call, tonight, for a $650 billion tax cut? That has never been done in the history of the United States of America. Obviously, they think the President wouldn't do that unless this was going to be pretty costless, this war."

Reacting to the President's speech, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy (January 29), warning against "rushing down the path to war", argued the case for a Congressional resolution authorising any use of force. The administration argues, however, that a Congressional resolution passed in October - opposed by 23 Senators, including Mr. Kennedy - provides clear and full authorisation (see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 67, October/November 2002, pp. 23-27).

Republican reaction to the speech is captured well in the sweeping endorsement (January 29) of Representative Henry Hyde, Chair of the House International Relations Committee: "The fact that no amount of evidence of Iraq's bad faith will ever be enough for some members of the international community should not stop that community - and cannot stop the United States - from acting to defend its own interests."

January 29: the Security Council meets again, joined by Blix and ElBaradei, for detailed discussions of the January 27 briefings. Though the meeting was private, discussions were evidently intense. During a break in the session, British Ambassador Greenstock tells reporters: "There are members of the Council who are asking for time, but it isn't a matter of time. It's a matter of whether Iraq realises that the game is up, or whether it's trying to keep the inspectors at bay..." Speaking after the meeting, French Ambassador de la Sabliere reveals that the "majority of the Council thinks we should continue inspections. This is what they think today, and I think it is important to say so." Russian Ambassador Lavrov notes that Moscow is seeking "undeniable proof" that Iraq possesses or is actively seeking to acquire WMD. German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger argues that the inspectors should be given "a realistic opportunity to discharge their mandate. Let us not put aside an instrument we only recently sharpened." Spanish Ambassador Inocencio Arias, however, suggests that Iraq should only be given "a short time, a short time" to prove its willingness to take 1441 seriously: "It is not a question of opening some door or offering some tea to the inspector - it is a question of active cooperation." Bulgarian Ambassador Stefan Tafrov declares his government "very disappointed by the Iraqi cooperation so far." Reflecting on the discussions, ElBaradei comments: "We need - and Iraq should understand - we need to make quick progress on all fronts...because we all know time is running out and the international community is getting impatient."

January 30: the leaders of eight European states - Jose Maria Aznar (Spain), Jose Manuel Durao Barroso (Portugal), Silvio Berlusconi (Italy), Tony Blair (United Kingdom), Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic), Peter Medgyessy (Hungary), Leszek Miller (Poland), Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Denmark) - issue a statement vehemently supporting Washington's preparedness to disarm Iraq by force. The statement concentrates on the importance of US-European solidarity in the face of common threats: "Today more than ever, the transatlantic bond is a guarantee of our freedom. We in Europe have a relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time. Thanks in large part to American bravery, generosity and far-sightedness, Europe was set free from the two forms of tyranny that devastated our continent in the 20th century: Nazism and Communism. Thanks, too, to the continued co-operation between Europe and the United States we have managed to guarantee peace and freedom on our continent. The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime's persistent attempts to threaten world security. In today's world, more than ever before, it is vital that we preserve that unity and cohesion. We know that success in the day-to-day battle against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction demands unwavering determination and firm international cohesion on the part of all countries for whom freedom is precious."

January 31: Iraq invites Blix and ElBaradei to visit Baghdad on February 8/9 for talks in advance of the inspectors' next report to the Security Council (February 14). Speaking at the UN, US Ambassador Negroponte describes the invitation as "nothing new" and "a tactic of some sort".

February 4: on the eve of Powell's presentation, the Greek Presidency of the European Union issues a demarche (diplomatic note) to Iraqi Missions in Brussels, Athens and New York urging a rapid and significant move to full, substantive cooperation by Baghdad: "The European Union is deeply concerned about the Iraqi crisis. Time is running out. UNSCR 1441 gave Iraq a final opportunity to disarm peacefully. If it does not take this chance it will carry the responsibility for all the consequences. Iraq must completely disarm itself of WMD. We want to achieve this in a peaceful way." Hans Blix describes the crisis as having reached the point of "five minutes to midnight", arguing that the Iraqis must "present very promptly whatever they can present promptly".

In Baghdad, during his first television interview with a non-Iraqi for twelve years, President Saddam Hussein tells Tony Benn, former British Labour MP and veteran anti-war campaigner: "There is only one truth and therefore I tell you, as I have said on many occasions before, that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever." The interview continues - Benn: "I have another question which has been raised: do you have links with Al Qaeda?" Saddam: "If we had a relationship with Al Qaeda, and we believed in that relationship, we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it. Therefore I would like to tell you directly...that we have no relationship with Al Qaeda."

February 5: in a tour de force performance lasting ninety minutes, Secretary Powell sets out to the Council a range of material - including taped intercepts of conversations between Iraqi officials, and satellite imagery of suspect facilities - combining, in Washington's assessment, to prove beyond reasonable doubt both the fact of substantive Iraqi non-compliance with resolution 1441 and the main reason for that non-compliance - Iraqi possession of chemical and biological weapons and related WMD programmes, including efforts to develop nuclear weapons. In addition, Powell details alleged links between Iraq and terrorist organisations including Al Qaeda, and further itemises the notorious human rights abuses of the Saddam Hussein regime. Powell concludes his presentation, entitled 'Iraq: Failing to Disarm', with an impassioned plea for decisive Council action: "For more than 20 years, by word and by deed, Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows: intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way. For Saddam Hussein, possession of the world's most deadly weapons is the ultimate trump card, the one he must hold to fulfil his ambition. We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression, given what we know of his grandiose plans, given what we know of his terrorist associations, and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not someday use these weapons at a time and a place and in a manner of his choosing, at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The United States will not and cannot run that risk for the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world. My colleagues, over three months ago, this Council recognized that Iraq continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and that Iraq had been and remained in material breach of its disarmament obligations. Today, Iraq still poses a threat and Iraq still remains in material breach. Indeed, by its failure to seize on its one last opportunity to come clean and disarm, Iraq has put itself in deeper material breach and closer to the day when it will face serious consequences for its continue defiance of this Council. My colleagues, we have an obligation to our citizens. We have an obligation to this body to see that our resolutions are complied with. We wrote 1441 not in order to go to war. We wrote 1441 to try to preserve the peace. We wrote 1441 to give Iraq one last chance. Iraq is not, so far, taking that one last chance. We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body."

Initial Council 'reaction' comes in the form of prepared statements. Respectful in tone, these make clear that Powell may just have attempted to move a mountain of doubt and suspicion about Washington's motivation in seeking to portray 1441 as a missed opportunity for peace.

The warmest response to the presentation, not surprisingly, is from the United Kingdom. In the view of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, "we have just heard a most powerful and authoritative case against the Iraqi regime set out by Secretary Powell. The international community owes him its thanks for laying bare the deceit practised by the regime of Saddam Hussein, and worse, the great danger it represents. ... There is only one possible conclusion: Iraq is in further material breach as set out in UNSCR 1441." Straw cautions that it would be "easy but wrong" to "turn a blind eye to the wording of resolution 1441 and hope for a change of heart by Iraq": "This is a moment of choice for Saddam and for the Iraqi regime. But it is also a moment of choice for this institution, the United Nations. The UN's pre-war predecessor, the League of Nations, had the same fine ideals as the UN. But the League failed because it could not create actions from its words; it could not back diplomacy with the credible threat and where necessary the use of force; so small evils went unchecked, tyrants became emboldened, then greater evils were unleashed. At each stage good men said wait; the evil is not big enough to challenge: then before their eyes, the evil became too big to challenge. We had slipped slowly down a slope, never noticing how far we had gone until it was too late. We owe it to our history as well as to our future not to make the same mistake again."

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov argues that while "the information presented to us today...requires the most serious and comprehensive examination", the gravity of the issues raised "once again shows convincingly that international inspectors' activity has to be continued, for they alone can give an objective answer to the question how Iraq complies with the Security Council's demands, and they alone can help the Council with the elaboration and adoption of carefully considered and optimal decisions." Equally, however, it is "abundantly clear that the work of UNMOVIC and IAEA can be effective only with full and honest cooperation by Iraq." Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan notes: "The inspections have been going on for more than two months now. The two agencies have been working very hard and their work deserves our recognition. It is their view that now they are not in a position to draw conclusions and they suggested continuing with the inspections. We should respect the views of the two agencies and support the continuation of their work. ... We urge Iraq to adopt a more proactive approach, make further explanations and clarification as soon as possible and cooperate with the inspection process." French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin suggests that "significant results have already been seen" in the early stages of the inspections process, despite "grey areas in Iraq's cooperation". The priority henceforth, de Villepin argues, is to boost the inspections process, thereby decreasing Iraq's room for manoeuvre and evasion: "Why go to war if there still exists an unused space in resolution 1441? Consistent with the logic of this resolution, we must therefore move on to a new stage and further strengthen the inspections. With the choice between military intervention and an inspections regime that is inadequate for lack of cooperation on Iraq's part, we must choose to strengthen decisively the means of inspection." Specifically, de Villepin suggests consideration of a doubling or tripling of the number of inspectors, backed by a range of logistical support including the establishment of "a specialized body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas already inspected".

Among the non-permanent members, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer insists that "Iraq has to comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions in their entirety and completely disarm its WMD potential. The presence of the inspectors in Iraq has already effectively reduced the danger of this potential. Nevertheless, the aim of resolution 1441 is the full and lasting disarmament of Iraq. In his last report, Hans Blix listed many open questions. The regime in Baghdad must give clear answers to all these concrete questions without delay." Fischer is equally adamant that the "dangers of a military action and its consequences are plain to see." He concludes: "Precisely because of the effectiveness of the work of the inspectors, we must continue to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. In the world of 21st century the UN is key to conflict prevention, crisis management and peace building." Mexico's Foreign Minister, Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez, reaffirms his government's "confidence in the inspection activities now underway as the best possible way to detect, destroy and verify the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. ... It is in this context that Mexico recognizes the importance of the presentation to the Council by Secretary Powell."

Iraq's response is delivered to the Council by Ambassador Mohamed al-Douri, who dismisses the Powell presentation as "utterly unrelated to the truth", intended only to "sell the idea of war against Iraq without any legal, moral or political justification".

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, UN Secretary-General Annan argues: "I think the message today has been clear - everyone wants Iraq to be proactive in cooperating with the inspectors and fulfil the demands of the international community. I think if they do that, we can avoid a war. The inspectors are going back over the weekend, carrying the message of the international community to the Iraqi authorities, and I urge them to listen and follow through on the demands, as I have said, for the sake of their own people, for the region and for the sake of world order."

The day ends with a statement strongly supporting the US position from the Foreign Ministers of the 'Vilnius 10' group - Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia - established in 2000 to mutually support the efforts of 'new' European countries to join NATO and the EU. The statement refers to the "compelling evidence" presented by Secretary Powell, and declares a collective willingness "to contribute to an international coalition to enforce...the disarmament of Iraq".

February 6: following up forcefully on both the Powell presentation and the generally negative report-card issued to Iraq by Hans Blix on January 27, the US President pushes for an early, second Security Council resolution declaring that the 'serious consequences' of Iraq non-compliance with 1441 were now at hand. While stressing that such a resolution is neither legally required nor politically essential, Bush states that "the United States would welcome and support a new resolution that makes clear the Security Council stands behind its previous demands. ... Yet resolutions mean little without resolve, and the United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, is resolved to take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime." The President adds a chilling note: "We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorised Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells the world he does not have". Noting further, as set out by his Secretary of State the previous day, that the Iraq regime "has longstanding, direct and continuing ties" to Al Qaeda, the Commander-in-Chief concludes: "The game is over. All the world can do is rise to this moment..."

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Selected Comment, I: Iraq

President Saddam Hussein, comments to senior aides, December 5: "Given the current international situation, some might say [to me] 'you didn't give us a proper chance to resist, with tangible evidence, the US allegations that Iraq might have produced weapons of mass destruction during the inspectors' absence'. Therefore we shall provide them [the inspectors] with such a chance, after which if the weaklings remain weak and the cowardly remain cowards, we shall take the stand that befits our people, principles and mission."

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, interview on Fox television, December 15: "He [Bush] is a hypocrite, because a true Christian would not be a warmonger, would not push for the destruction of a country and its people... They will not find any weapons of mass destruction because, simply, we don't have them... Don't fool yourself. The Iraqis are not going to receive the Americans with flowers. The Iraqis are going to receive the Americans with bullets..."

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Selected Comment, II: United States

President George W. Bush, January 31: "[T]he war on terror is not confined to just a shadowy terrorist network. The war in terror includes people who are willing to train and equip organisations such as Al Qaeda. See, the strategic view of America changed after September 11. We must deal with threats before they hurt the American people again."

President Bush, January 21: "This business about, you know, more time - you know, how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? As I said, this looks like the re-run of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it."

President Bush, speech to US forces at Fort Hood, Texas, January 3: "If force becomes necessary to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction...America will act decisively, and America will prevail because we've got the finest military in the world. ... Should Saddam seal his fate by refusing to disarm, by ignoring the opinion of the world, you'll be fighting not to conquer anybody but to liberate people..."

President Bush, November 20: "Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, he will have entered his final stage with a lie, and deception this time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the severest of consequences..."

Vice President Dick Cheney, January 30: "Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction poses a grave danger - not only to his neighbours, but also to the United States. ... He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists to use against us. ... That is why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror, it is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror."

Secretary of State Colin Powell, referring to the US policy of 'regime change' in Iraq, December 12: "We came into office in 2001 and kept that policy because Saddam Hussein had not changed... We now believe it is appropriate for Saddam Hussein to be forced to change... So if he cooperates, then that is different than if he does not cooperate... It remains our policy to change the regime until such time as the regime changes itself."

Secretary Powell, November 22: "If the inspectors are allowed to do their job, if Saddam Hussein cooperates, the oil remains the property in the hands of the Iraqi people. This is not about oil; this is about a tyrant, a dictator, who is developing weapons of mass destruction to use against the Arab populations, and he has used such weapons against Arab populations right in that neighbourhood."

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, January 21: "No one wants to go to war. War is horrible. But no one wants to see a world in which a regime with no regard whatsoever for international law, for the welfare of its own people, or for the will of the United Nations, has weapons of mass destruction. And that regime would gladly provide those weapons to people of ill intent. So this is not a problem we can turn away from - we must be prepared to face it. We must not let the sensible reluctance to fight drive us into wishful thinking. We must never let fear of the unknown stop us from defending our nation with force - if that is the only recourse."

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, December 5: "President Bush has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Donald Rumsfeld has said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. [Former chief UN weapons inspector] Richard Butler has said they do. The United Nations has said they do. The experts have said they do. Iraq says they don't. You can choose who you want to believe."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, January 20: "In the case of Iraq, we're nearing the end of the long road, and with every other option exhausted..."

Secretary Rumsfeld, January 19: "The test is, is Saddam Hussein cooperating... That's something you're going to know in a matter of weeks, not months or years..."

Secretary Rumsfeld, January 15: "After the United Nations inspectors briefed the Security Council last week, a number of the observers seemed to seize on the inspectors' statement that they had found 'no smoking gun' as yet. Conversely, if the inspectors had found new evidence, the argument might then have been that inspectors were in fact working and, therefore, they should be given more time to work. I guess for any who are unalterably opposed to military action, no matter what Iraq may do there will be some sort of an argument."

Richard Lugar (Republican), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 27: "Ultimately we need to know where the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and materials are. The president is prepared to lead a coalition of the willing - preferably the entire UN Security Council that approved resolution 1441 - to disarm Saddam, if he does not disarm himself. Saddam must understand that this time is different from past inspection regimes, the weapons will be destroyed. The big question is what will happen after the disarmament."

Senator Chuck Hagel (Republican), January 24: "Working through the United Nations and regional alliances allows America to reinforce, not weaken, its power, principle and purpose. ... That is why the President's approach to disarmament in Iraq, through the United Nations, represents the most responsible and effective means to end the threat from Saddam Hussein. Multilateralism...remains a source of strength in our foreign policy, the best means of expanding American influence in the world."

House of Representatives' Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Republican), January 30: "[I]n recent days we have heard a loud and relentless chorus of critics who are attempting to hamstring President Bush and restrict his ability to defend this country. These foreign and domestic apologists for inaction would subordinate US national security decisions to an international litmus test."

Senator Edward Kennedy (Democrat), article in The Los Angeles Times, January 29: "A dangerous world just grew more dangerous. Reports that the administration is contemplating the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons in Iraq should set off alarm bells that this could not only be the wrong war at the wrong time, but it could spin quickly out of control. ... According to these reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has directed the US Strategic Command to develop plans for employing nuclear weapons in a wide range of new missions, including possible use in Iraq to destroy underground bunkers. Using the nation's nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented way would be the most fateful decision since the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Even contemplating the first-strike use of nuclear weapons under current circumstances and against a non-nuclear nation dangerously blurs the crucial and historical distinction between conventional and nuclear arms. In the case of Iraq, it is preposterous."

Note: Senator Kennedy's article refers in particular to a report by William Arkin, 'The Nuclear Option in Iraq', in The Los Angeles Times on January 26. In terms of official US policy, as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card made clear on NBC television on January 26, the message to Iraq is the same now as at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991: "Should Saddam Hussein have any thought that he would use a weapon of mass destruction, he should anticipate that the United States will use whatever means are necessary to protect us and the world from a holocaust. ... I'm not going to put anything on the table or off the table."

David Kay, former nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq, December 9: "I think we are headed [under 1441] where we have always been headed with Saddam, and perhaps the only thing that will terminate his quest for weapons of mass destruction is, in fact, the termination of that regime..."

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Selected Comment, III: International

UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, December 12: "This is a time of trial - for Iraq, for the United Nations, and for the world. The goal is to ensure the effective and peaceful disarmament of Iraq, in compliance with Security Council resolutions, and a better, more secure future for its people. How this crisis is resolved will greatly affect the course of peace and security in the coming years in the region and the world."

UNMOVIC Executive Chair Hans Blix, interview with the BBC, January 14: "[I]t could be that one day they [the British and the Americans] will say, 'move aside, boys, now we are coming in'. That's possible. But I think a great many people and a great many governments would prefer to have disarmament through peaceful means."

Hans Blix, November 25: "We get recommendations and advice from all countries, including the United States, but I'd to say that we may not be the brightest in the world but I can tell you we are in nobody's pockets."

UNMOVIC Chief Spokesperson Ewen Buchanan, interview with the Global Security Newswire, January 17: "Iraq has...provided hardly anything, frankly, in this declaration we got in December... That clearly surprised some of us, particularly the old hands. By and large, the stuff Iraq provided was simply recycled material given to the previous inspection regimes. ... And in some cases, actually, the declaration raises more questions."

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, January 30: "I believe that in the next few months - probably four, five months - we should be able to come to the conclusion that Iraq is clean of nuclear weapons... I hope Iraq shows as much cooperation as possible... They have been doing modest or reasonable cooperation in the nuclear field, but not much in the area of chemical or biological [or] missiles. They need to show quickly that there is a change of heart. If they make that transition, I hope that we will have the time to ensure Iraq's disarmament through an inspection."

IAEA spokesperson Mark Gwozdecky, January 13: "It is basically impossible to predict how long it will take for us to come up with conclusions. It is a lengthy process. The expectation that we can come up with an answer within a few months is not realistic."

Richard Butler (Australia), Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) from 1997-99, January 28: "The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia and, if necessary, use its weapons of mass destruction to win that battle, is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it could set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret..."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, reacting to US Secretary of State Powell's Security Council presentation, February 5: "What you have is...the strongest possible evidence that what the US has been saying, what we have been saying, what the British have been saying...is absolutely correct. What the presentation revealed was a deliberate campaign...of deceit and distortion and deception on the part of Iraq..."

Note: the Prime Minister was addressing a debate on Iraq in the House of Commons in Canberra. The same day, the Australian Senate passed - by 33 votes to 31, with 12 Senators not voting - a motion of no confidence in the government's handling of the Iraq crisis. Although unprecedented in the 102-year history of the Senate, the move has no direct political effect. A similar motion in the Commons was defeated by 82 votes to 63.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Paris, November 24: "I think we are much further down the road of peace than the road to war at the moment..."

Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham, Washington, January 30: "Resolution 1441 speaks of a process which is going to determine whether or not Iraq is failing to disarm, and if that is determined, there will be consequences... It's an ongoing process. We are watching that. We are engaged. We will be there to support that process. We do believe that Iraq has to be disarmed and we will work with...the United States and with other countries, through the UN, to achieve that goal."

Canadian Defence Minister John McCallum, Washington, January 9: "[T]here is no country in the world more committed to the multilateral process of the United Nations than is Canada. And we are as determined as anyone to root out the weapons of mass destruction and see that they are destroyed, as is mandated by the unanimous resolution of the Security Council... Now, if at a later time the Security Council authorises the use of force because of non-compliance by Iraq...we reserve the right to make our decision at the time."

Former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, November 20: "The war on terrorism has become the dominant and overarching objective of the United States and its allies. ... It has given birth to a doctrine of pre-emption, which arrogates to the United States the right to be judge, jury and prosecutor against any country, or anyone it considers a threat, running contrary to half a century of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. As such, it is leading inexorably into further crises that will continue to expand the orbit of danger and accelerate the cycles of violence, such as the impending attack on Iraq."

Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, press conference with President Bush, Prague, November 20: "I share the opinion of President Bush, and of all reasonable people, that it would be better to achieve Iraq's disarmament without using force. If, however, the need to use force does arise, I believe that NATO should give an honest and speedy consideration to its engagement as an alliance. Let us realize that it is not the United States but the European part of the alliance that borders on that country, and I believe that this kind of test of its attitude, of its capability to reach agreement, and of its operative capabilities, might be at the same time a test of its new identity and of its meaning in the world of today."

European Union External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten, quoted in The Guardian, January 14: "I would find it much more difficult to get the approval of member states and the European Parliament [for spending on Iraqi reconstruction] if the military intervention that had occasioned the need for development aid did not have a UN mandate... This isn't provocative. This is describing what is a likely situation."

European Union senior foreign policy official Javier Solana, January 10: "If there is no evidence deemed sufficiently negative by the Security Council, I would not understand [the need for a war]..."

French President Jacques Chirac, New Year's message to the Armed Forces, January 7: "To be prepared is at the heart of the soldier's job. Particularly, we have to be attentive to the way in which United Nations Security Council resolution 1441 is applied by Iraq."

President Chirac, November 24: "I hope that everyone is aware that war is always the worst of solutions, and that it is in nobody's interest."

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, January 10: "In a crazy world, we need a France that is wise... War is what is left when all else has been tried."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, January 19: "Our position is clear and unambiguous - we will not participate in military action and we want to implement 1441 without recourse to military action. ... Today, we are in the situation that Iraq is being checked on a scale that makes it more and more difficult to understand why military action should be threatened... As Europeans, we are direct regional neighbours [of Iraq]... We don't have a great ocean separating us from the Middle East."

German President Johannes Rau, January 29: "The fight against dictatorship and terror is not a matter for one state, but for the world community."

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, January 29: "Iraq is a dictatorship...[but] I am sceptical that you can get rid of one regime and a new democratic regime will sprout up..."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Washington, January 30: "[I]f we are all united - the European Union, the United States, the Russian Federation, all the other states under the United Nations - then Saddam Hussein will understand that he will have no other option but to reveal the arms and to destroy them."

Russia-India Joint Statement, New Delhi, December 4: "Both sides strongly opposed unilateral use of force in violation of the UN Charter, as well as interference in the internal affairs of other states. It was stressed that a comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iraq is possible only through political and diplomatic efforts in strict conformity with the rules of international law and only under the aegis of the United Nations. Both sides noted the importance of continuing intensive good work with the Iraqi leadership in order to encourage it to cooperate in good faith with the United Nations."

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, November 26: "If they find in Iraq mass destruction weapons, they would have to create conditions for their elimination. If the Commission arrives at the conclusion that there are no mass destruction weapons in the country, the question of the necessity of lifting sanctions on Iraq arises."

Retired General Andrei Nikolayev, Chair of the Russian Duma's Defence Affairs Committee, January 31: "I am not excluding the possibility that the United States might use nuclear weapons of extremely low power in the operation against Iraq... Nuclear weapons might be used for the destruction of underground facilities such as control posts and storehouses. As to the latter, the Americans will claim that this is where the Iraqis store weapons of mass destruction."

Note: speaking in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on January 28, US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones told reporters - "Will the United States use limited nuclear weapons in Iraq? The answer is 'no'..."

South African President Thabo Mbeki, article in ANC Today, January 24: "We are not aware of any information that would suggest that Iraq has been in serious material breach of the Security Council resolution. Nothing credible has been said [to suggest] that any breach has occurred to justify resort to war. ... We have tried to state the point clearly, that the effort to eradicate any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq should not be used to justify the declaration of war. Rather, this effort should target the elimination of these weapons, precisely to eliminate the necessity to go to war. The inspectors must be allowed to do their work."

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, addressing the International Women's Forum, Johannesburg, January 30: "It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq... One power with a President who has no foresight and cannot think properly is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. ... If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings... Who are they now to pretend that they are the policemen of the world, the ones who decide for the people of Iraq what should be done with their government and their leadership? ... Their friend Israel has got weapons of mass destruction, but because it's their ally, they won't ask the United Nations to get rid of them... [Why is Washington prepared to ignore the UN?] Is it because the Secretary-General of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when Secretary-Generals were white... [As for Tony Blair,] he is the Foreign Minister of the United States. He is no longer Prime Minister of Britain... Why is the United States behaving so arrogantly? All that [the US administration]...wants is oil

Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, speaking in Damascus, January 4: "This box should not be opened. Iraq should not disintegrate, because it would be impossible to put everyone back into that box again..."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, questioned by members of the public on BBC television, February 6: "If there were a second resolution then I think people would be behind me. If there is not, then there is a lot of persuading to do..."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, January 14: "Whatever happens, Saddam will be disarmed. We have complete and total determination to do this... It's not conflict that is inevitable, but disarmament is inevitable."

UK International Development Secretary Clare Short, January 12: "I think all the people of Britain have a duty to keep our country firmly on the UN route, so that we stop the US maybe going to war too early, and keep the world united..."

Related material on Acronym website:

Reports: Bush renews stern warning to Saddam Hussein to disarm, US State Department (Washington File), November 20; Transcript - Bush, Havel discuss NATO, Iraq in bilateral talks, Washington File, November 20; A human approach will defeat terrorism, by Lloyd Axworthy, Ottawa Citizen, November 21; Prague Summit Statement on Iraq, NATO Press Release (2002) 133, November 21; Transcript - Powell says NATO shows support for UN Iraq resolution, Washington File, November 22; Joint US-Russia statement on Iraq, The White House, St. Petersburg, November 22; Iraq sends angry letter on eve of inspections, Reuters, November 24; World powers urge Iraq to comply with inspections, Reuters, November 24; Security Council extends Iraq's 'oil-for-food' programme until 4 December, UN Press Release SC/7577, November 25; UN inspectors land in Iraq - Blix tells Security Council they will 'go anywhere, any time', UN News Service, November 25; US wants Iraqi import list expanded, Washington File, November 26; Ivanov - Russia would ultimately like to see sanctions lifted against Iraq, Associated Press, November 26; News update on Iraq inspections, IAEA Media Advisory 2002/57, November 27; Concerning the start of international inspections in Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 2446-27-11-2002, November 27; UN Council predicts showdown on Iraq, Associated Press, November 27; Bush, Cheney warn Iraq to report fully on weapons of mass destruction, Washington File, December 2; Russia optimistic about Iraq inspections, Reuters, December 3; India, Russia Joint Statement, New Delhi, December 4, 2002, Indian Ministry of External Affairs; Security Council agrees on six-month extension of Iraq humanitarian program with 30-day review of goods list, Associated Press, December 4; Security Council extends 'oil-for-food' programme for Iraq for 180 days, UN Press Release SC/7587, December 4; White House accuses Iraq of lying, Washington File, December 5; Saddam statement - excerpt, BBC News Online, December 5; To prevent proliferation, UN experts to review Iraqi declaration before sharing it, UN News Service, December 6; Iraq hands over arms declaration, Saddam apologises for Kuwait invasion, Associated Press, December 7; Transcript - Bush pledges thorough examination of Iraq's UN declaration, Washington File, December 7; IAEA receives Iraq's nuclear-related declaration, IAEA Press Release PR 2002/20, December 8; Iraq says report to the UN shows no banned arms, New York Times, December 8; On Iraq's declaration regarding its WMD development programs, Russian Foreign Ministry, Document 2512-08-12-2002, December 8; US is first to get a report of Iraqi weapons, New York Times, December 9; Full disclosure Saddam Hussein's only hope, former inspector says, Washington File, December 9; Press statement on Iraq by Security Council President, UN Press Release SC/7590, December 9; Security Council decides to release Iraqi arms declaration to some members, UN News Service, December 9; Carter warns against 'catastrophic' war, BBC News Online, December 10; United States, UN under fire over Iraq dossier, Reuters, December 10; French minister makes light of US getting the Iraqi dossier first, says disarmament is the crucial issue, Associated Press, December 12; UN can play key role in quest for world free from threat of weapons - Frechette, UN News Service, December 12; Chief inspector asks Iraq for list of scientists, Associated Press, December 13; Iraq's Aziz brands Bush a 'hypocrite', Reuters, December 15; Powell says US will not try to push Saddam out if he disarms, Associated Press, December 16; Notes for briefing the Security Council regarding inspections in Iraq, by Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, December 19, 2002, UNMOVIC website, http://www.unmovic.org; Informal briefing of the United Nations Security Council by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, December 19, 2002, IAEA website, http://www.iaea.org; Security Council decides to hold further talks on Iraqi arms dossier in early January, UN News Service, December 19; Text - Powell says Iraq remains 'in material breach' of its UN obligations, Washington File, December 19; Regarding continuing bombings of civilian targets in Iraq by US and British aircraft, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 2681-27-12-2002, December 27; Security Council adjusts list of restricted goods, procedures of Iraq 'oil-for-food' programme, UN Press Release SC/7623, December 30; Statement by the Permanent Representative of Russia at the formal meeting of the UN Security Council held on December 30, 2002, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Transcript - US pleased with UN adoption of revised Iraq Goods Review List, Washington Post, December 31; Mideast leaders urge US-Iraq peace, Associated Press, January 4; Bush to troops - US prepared to win an Iraq war, Reuters, January 4; UN nuclear watchdog gives N. Korea last chance, Reuters, January 6; President's remarks on Iraq, The White House, January 6; French president tells troops to be ready, Associated Press, January 7; Iraq hits out at inspectors, Britain says they will be given time, Agence France Presse, January 8; Notes for briefing the Security Council, Dr. Hans Blix, UNMOVIC Executive Chairman, January 9, 2003, UNMOVIC website; Status of the Agency's verification activities in Iraq as of 8 January 2003, informal briefing of Security Council by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, January 9, IAEA website; Iraq in 'further material breach' of UN resolution, US says, Washington File, January 9; Press briefing by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, January 9, White House transcript; Many holes in Iraqi arms declaration but no 'smoking gun', UN inspectors say, UN News Service, January 9; Security Council voices full backing for work of UN arms inspectors in Iraq, UN News Service, January 9; McCallum says Canada may join US war against Iraq, Reuters, January 9; On the United Nations Security Council's consultative meeting on Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 40-10-01-2003, January 10; Europeans seek to rein in American war machine, Reuters, January 10; Urging US to give peace a chance, EU eyes diplomatic offensive, Associated Press, January 10; French prime minister says France remains opposed to war, Associated Press, January 10; Blair to reinforce Iraq message as dissent grows, Reuters, January 12; UN nuclear agency reaffirms stance on Iraq inspections, Associated Press, January 13; Official - EU might not pay for Iraq aid, Associated Press, January 14; UK's Blair makes no promises on Iraq, Associated Press, January 14; Transcript - Hans Blix interview, BBC News Online, January 14; Transcript - Rumsfeld, Myers Pentagon briefing, January 15, 2003, Washington File, January 15; UN teams search private Baghdad home, Associated Press, January 16; UN inspectors find 11 chemical warheads in Iraq, Washington File, January 16; White House Report - Iraq, Washington File, January 16; US unable to change inspection timetables on Iraq, Reuters, January 16; Cache of Iraqi warheads 'serious and troubling', White House says, Washington File, January 17; UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan interview, Global Security Newswire, January 17; Chief UN nuclear inspector says scientist's documents point to failed high-tech nuclear fuel efforts, Associated Press, January 18; Germany's Fischer sets off for UN foreign ministers meeting, firm in opposition to Iraq war, Associated Press, January 19; US would know in 'weeks' whether Iraq cooperating, Reuters, January 19; White House would welcome Saddam exile, Associated Press, January 19; Ten-Point Joint Statement issued following IAEA-UN talks in Baghdad, IAEA Media Advisory 2003/21, January 20; Iraq agrees to offer UN inspectors more help in weapons probe, UN News Service, January 20; US sceptical of Iraqi promise on inspections, Reuters, January 20; Ministerial-level Security Council meeting calls for urgent action to prevent, suppress all support for terrorism, UN Press Release SC/7638, January 20; 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The nuclear option in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, January 26; The US has lowered the bar for using the ultimate weapon, by William Arkin, Los Angeles Times, January 26; Security Council briefed by chief UN weapons experts on first 60 days of inspections in Iraq, UN Press Release SC/7644, January 27; An update on inspection, by Dr, Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, UN Security Council, January 27, 2003, UNMOVIC website; The status of nuclear inspections in Iraq, statement by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei to the UN Security Council, January 27, IAEA website; IAEA update report for the Security Council pursuant to resolution 1441 (2002), IAEA Report, January 27, IAEA website; UN arms inspectors need time 'to do their work', Annan says, UN News Service, January 27; Text - Senator Lugar says weapons reports show Iraq uncooperative, Washington File, January 27; Text - Iraq failed two key tests of UN compliance, Negroponte says, Washington File, January 27; US says January 27 reports show Iraq not complying with UN, Washington File, January 27; Divided EU agrees Iraq statement, BBC News Online, January 27; Transcript of Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Sergei Lavrov's live interview to the TVT television company, January 27, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Jack Straw's response to the UN weapons inspectors' report, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, January 27; US guilty of 'double standards' on Iraq - Butler, Reuters, January 28; Senior US diplomat says no limited nuclear weapons will be used in Iraq, Associated Press, January 28; Butler - US guilty of 'double standards' on Iraq, Reuters, January 28; State of the Union address by President George W. Bush, the US Capitol, January 28, 2003, White House transcript; Nuclear threat might deter Iraq but distance allies, experts say, Global Security Newswire, January 29; Our nuclear talk gravely imperils us, by Edward Kennedy, Los Angeles Times, January 29; Diplomatic window is closing for Iraq, US says, Washington File, January 29; Congressional response varied on Iraq issues in Bush address, Washington File, January 29; Inspector - tubes could have nuclear use, Associated Press, January 29; Greece - Iraq not 'condemned to war' but UN cooperation key, Associated Press, January 29; Transcript - Secretary of State Powell meets with Canadian foreign minister, Washington File, January 30; Leaders' statement on Iraq - full text, BBC News Online, January 30; Transcript - Bush, Italy's Berlusconi warn Saddam to disarm, Washington File, January 30; Transcript - Senator Biden warns Bush administration of consequences of war with Iraq, Washington File, January 30; Excerpt - confronting Iraq is crucial to war against terror, says Cheney, Washington File, January 30; Text - DeLay says confronting Saddam Hussein part of war on terrorism, Washington File, January 30; Mandela blasts Bush on Iraq, warns of 'holocaust', Reuters, January 30; Mandela calls Bush shortsighted on Iraq, Associated Press, January 30; United States fails to convince allies as weapons experts dispute Bush on inspections, Associated Press, January 30; Nuclear inspector says four or five months needed to assess Iraq's weapons program, Associated Press, January 30; Transcript - Bush, Blair say Iraq weapons issue must be resolved quickly, Washington File, January 31; Nothing new in Iraqi invitation to inspectors, Negroponte says, Washington File, January 31; UN wants Iraq surveillance, interviews, Associated Press, January 31; Top Russian lawmaker says United States may attack Iraq with nuclear weapons, Associated Press, January 31; Israel won't comment on Mandela charges, Associated Press, February 4; Iraqi cooperation insufficient to ask for more time, Washington File, February 4; Full text of Benn interview with Saddam, BBC News Online, February 4; Australian government under fire over Iraq deployment, Associated Press, February 4; No-confidence vote shows Australian divide on Iraq, Reuters, February 5; Text - EU calls on Iraq to comply immediately with UN obligations, Washington File, February 5; Briefing Security Council, US Secretary of State Powell presents evidence of Iraq's failure to disarm, UN Press Release SC/7658, February 5; Powell shows to UN evidence of Iraqi deception and links to terrorists, Washington File, February 5; East European nations back US on Iraq, Associated Press, February 5; War not inevitable but Iraq must meet Security Council demands - Annan, UN News Service, February 5; Refuting US charges in security Council, Iraq reaffirms commitment to UN inspections, UN News Service, February 5; Security Council hears repeated calls for more time for UN inspections in Iraq, UN News Service, February 5; Address by Mr. Dominique de Villepin, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, February 5, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; Statement by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan of China at UN Security Council meeting on Iraq, February 5, 2003, Chinese Foreign Ministry; Foreign secretary's statement to the UN Security Council on Iraq, February 5, 2003, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico at the Security Council Meeting on Iraq, February 5, 2003, Mexican Mission to the UN: Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Joschka Fischer, February 5, 2003, German Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Statement by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov at UN Security Council meeting, February 5, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; UN inspectors conduct first private interview, Reuters, February 6; Transcript - Bush says US would welcome new UN Iraq resolution, Washington File, February 6; Bush, Powell say UN must not ignore its responsibility on Iraq, Washington File, February 6; Britain's Blair confident about 2nd Iraq resolution, Reuters, February 6; Powell gives 'damning indictment' of Iraq - Australia, Reuters, February 6.

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