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News Review Special Edition

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International Developments, February 1 - April 1, 2003

Security Council Bypassed, Inspections Swept Aside by Operation Iraqi Freedom

Editor's Note

The following summary reviews the major political developments in the Iraq crisis - and the dramatic collapse of diplomacy into war - from early February to late March. For extensive coverage of subsequent developments, as well as background information and documentation dating back to 1998, please visit our new website Special Feature, 'Crisis and Conflict in Iraq', http://www.acronym.org.uk/iraq/index.htm.


The period under review saw the final, controversial collapse of efforts by the United Nations to secure the peaceful disarmament of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programmes through inspections. By mid-March, two permanent members of the Security Council - the United States and United Kingdom - had declared the inspections process to be at an end, barring a remarkable last-moment change of heart from the Saddam Hussein regime. By the same juncture, the other permanent members - China, France and Russia - were expressing qualified satisfaction in the progress made since the return of inspectors to Iraq last November, and guarded optimism about the prospects for a successful outcome to their mission. For their part, the chief inspectors - Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), entrusted with the chemical and biological aspects of Iraqi disarmament, and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), entrusted with the nuclear file - were regularly reporting to the Council on both the successes and setbacks encountered by their teams. Both officials, however, openly expressed the view that more time for their work was necessary and could be expected to yield further positive results, not least because of Iraq's obvious interest in avoiding an invasion by the huge numbers of US and UK military personnel massed on its borders.

Given the divergence of opinion and perception within the Security Council, efforts by what had become one 'camp' - the US and UK, supported by Spain - to secure a 'second resolution', authorising the use of force against Iraq, had to be abandoned. The 'first' resolution - actually the 17th Council resolution on Iraq since the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait - was 1441, adopted unanimously last November and calling for "serious consequences" should the inspections process fail to achieve their desired results. The resolution further mandated Security Council deliberations to review the progress of inspections, and to consider responses to any "further material breach" by Iraq. It did not, however, explicitly require a second resolution prior to any resort to force.

Thus, the attack on Iraq - known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, dominated by American and British forces, and begun with a missile strike directed against Saddam Hussein and other top Iraqi leaders on March 19 - left Security Council unity, at least temporarily, in shreds and tatters. The broader international community, supposedly represented by the 15 Council members, was likewise divided, with deep faultlines showing in Europe, the Americas, Asia and elsewhere.

Overall, a clear majority of UN members voiced opposition to the initiation of military action without Security Council backing. The 'Coalition of the Willing', periodically listed by the United States, fluctuated in number between 30-50 countries, and included very few military coalition partners. The deeper issue, however, will be the long-term impact on the international system - rooted, if sometimes shakily, in the United Nations Charter - of a war undertaken in the name of pre-emptive action rather than self-defence, and with an overall US strategic objective - 'regime change' - at no point specified in the UN resolutions being 'enforced'.

Many other concerns - regional and global, moral and legal, political and economic - are of course raised by the collapse of the UNMOVIC/IAEA process. From the perspective of this journal - with its self-proclaimed advocacy of disarmament diplomacy - the major question may be that raised by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (see below): given the range and scope of issues currently surrounding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, may not the 2003 Iraq War come to be seen as the first in a series of "disarmament wars", launched by major military powers, often with WMD of their own, against forces (state and non-state) identified as posing a 'gathering' danger? Conversely, in the wake of 9/11, will the Iraq conflict be seen as a decisive turning point in the direction of concerted and effective action - diplomatic where possible, military where necessary - against actual or would-be proliferators who have sheltered too long behind the accommodating façade of the multilateral arms control regime?

The following detailed chronology, and selected global comment, provides only a sample of these and related debates, argued out with passionate intensity as the final storm clouds gathered and broke over Iraq.

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February 6/9: the period under review opens with reaction to US Secretary of State Colin Powell's 90-minute presentation to the UN Security Council on February 5 (see last issue), detailing a range of circumstantial and intelligence evidence said to demonstrate wilful and systematic non-cooperation with the UNMOVIC/IAEA process by Iraqi civil and military authorities. In addition, as President Bush stresses in his weekly radio address on February 8, the Secretary of State briefed the Council on Iraq's "links to terrorist groups", and specifically President Saddam Hussein's "longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks" including Al Qaeda. Iraq describes the Powell presentation as "outrageous" propaganda designed for "home consumption".

Blix and ElBaradei promise to reflect on the new intelligence material presented by the Secretary of State in advance of their next progress report to the Council - widely billed as 'decisive' - on February 14. The two chief inspectors visit Baghdad for two days of talks (February 8-9) on measures to enhance Iraqi cooperation. Blix tells reporters (February 9): "I perceive a beginning [of a more constructive attitude]... 'Breakthrough' is a strong word for what we are seeing..." Arriving in Athens (February 10), Blix states: "This time they presented some papers to us in which they focussed upon new issues. Not new evidence, really, as far as I can see, but they have nevertheless focussed on real, open issues, and that is welcome..."

On February 8, Der Spiegel magazine reports that France and Germany have drawn up a plan for a reinforced inspections regime backed by a UN military presence at key Iraqi facilities. News of the proposal breaks during a security conference in Munich attended by senior US officials and politicians. Republican Senator John McCain (February 9) tells reporters: "It's a plan, as far as we can tell, whose purpose is to block US military action and not make meaningful inspections..." Speaking in a television interview (February 9), German Defence Minister Pete Struck confirms the veracity of the report, adding: "We could participate, but we must wait to see how many UN soldiers the United States wants." According to accounts provided by US officials, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld angrily confronts Struck about the plan at a private meeting - scheduled for 15 minutes, but lasting for 45 - hastily called during the Munich conference. Rumsfeld reportedly complains: "I'm hearing through the press...about a French-German plan where you want to do a Chapter 7 [UN Charter operation] and put a couple of thousand blue helmets into Iraq..." Struck reportedly replies: "We're not ready to talk to you about it". Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Rumsfeld notes: "Inspections are designed to deal with a cooperative country. It does not take long to know if a country is cooperative."

Receiving an honorary degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on February 8, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan insists that the question of war or peace in Iraq is "an issue not for any state alone, but for the international community as a whole." Annan argues: "When states decide to use force, not in self-defence but to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations Security Council. States and peoples around the world attach fundamental importance to such legitimacy, and to the international rule of law. One clear example of such a broader threat is the horror threatened by weapons of mass destruction. This is an issue of the utmost gravity - by no means confined to Iraq - which obliges the whole international community to re-examine, very carefully, the foundations of its security. It is vitally important that it does so in a united way - so as to achieve greater security by strengthening, and not weakening or undermining, the multilateral treaties on disarmament and non-proliferation. Only a collective, multilateral approach can effectively curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and make the world a safer place."

February 10: Iraq's UN Ambassador, Mohammed Al Douri tells reporters in New York that his government was now prepared to allow U-2 surveillance overflights of its territory in support of the weapons inspections process. Iraqi officials had hinted at, but not given, approval for these flights during the February 8/9 visit to Baghdad by the chief inspectors.

NATO spectacularly falls victim to western disunity over Iraq when France, Germany and Belgium block a request from Turkey for defensive assistance. The three countries argue that such a commitment is unwarranted by any Iraqi actions and could be interpreted as a preparation for war. NATO Secretary-General issues a press statement conceding: "We have a difficult issue in front of us. It is an issue which concerns solidarity with one ally - Turkey. It is not related to any possible participation by NATO in a military operation against Iraq." President Bush describes himself as "disappointed that France would block NATO from helping a country like Turkey prepare. I don't understand that decision. It affects the Alliance in a negative way..." The issue is not resolved until February 16, when the Alliance's Defence Planning Committee (DPC) - on which France does not sit - reached consensus on commencing preparations to provide defensive assistance to Turkey in the form of the "preventive deployment" of AWACS reconnaissance aircraft and systems to intercept any Iraqi missiles. The details of the arrangements are formally approved by the DPC on February 19.

In Paris, the leaders of France, Germany and Russia - President Jacques Chirac, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Vladimir Putin - issue a statement on the crisis insisting that "UN Resolution 1441, adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council, provides a framework of which the potential has not yet been fully exploited." The statement continues: "There is still an alternative to war. The use of force can only be considered as a last resort. Russia, Germany and France are determined to ensure that everything possible is done to disarm Iraq peacefully. For the inspections to be completed, it is up to Iraq to actively cooperate with the IAEA and the UNMOVIC. Iraq must fully accept its responsibilities. Russia, Germany and France note that the position they are expressing is similar to that of a large number of countries within the Security Council."

February 11: France circulates a 'non-paper' on 'Propositions Regarding the Reinforcement of the Inspections Regime' at the Security Council. The document argues: "The purpose in strengthening the regime is to increase the effectiveness of inspections: they must be more intensive, more carefully targeted, more intrusive. Our approach is based on the need to compel Iraq to cooperate by taking the peaceful approach of intrusive inspections. To do this, it is necessary for the inspections to be carried out to their logical end, with the political, technical and material support of member States. The idea is to make sure that the present system submits the Iraqi authorities to continued pressure, and that they have no choice other than to 'cooperate immediately, unconditionally and actively' with the inspectors as required under SCR 1441." The non-paper details suggestions for "strengthening numbers and diversifying personnel" of inspection teams, both UNMOVIC and IAEA; "strengthening technical resources", with a focus on aerial surveillance capabilities; "enhancing methods", with the objective of having "UNMOVIC and the IAEA draw up a complete list of unresolved disarmament questions in order of importance"; and "placing a coordinator in Iraq".

February 14: the Security Council receives a report from Blix and ElBaradei. Blix paints a mixed picture of Iraqi cooperation, describing excellent cooperation on 'process' - "we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly" - but much work remaining on 'substance', leaving the questions at the heart of the disarmament issue unanswered. In Blix's summary: "How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter - and one of great significance - is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were 'unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented. ... The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions." With reference to missile disarmament, Blix reports that a team of experts had recently concluded that Iraq's declared Al Samoud-2 missiles "were capable of exceeding 150 kilometres in range", the maximum range permitted under UN resolutions.

With regard to the intelligence material provided by Secretary Powell on February 5, Blix limits himself to a cautionary tale: "I would like to comment only on one case, which we are familiar with - namely, the [photographs of] trucks identified by [US] analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect. We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection. Our reservation on this point does not detract from our appreciation of the briefing." The report concludes in a tone of what be described as 'potential optimism': "If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament - under resolution 687 (1991) - could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided. Today, three months after the adoption of resolution 1441, the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if 'immediate, active and unconditional cooperation' with UNMOVIC and the IAEA were to be forthcoming."

ElBaradei's briefing outlines ongoing investigations of two areas of especial concern, raised most often by US and UK officials: the possible importation of uranium from Niger, and the attempted procurement of aluminium tubes, potentially for use in gas centrifuges to enrich nuclear material. In his closing remarks, ElBaradei tells the Council: "As I have reported on numerous occasions, the IAEA concluded, by December 1998, that it had neutralized Iraq's past nuclear programme and that, therefore, there were no unresolved disarmament issues left at that time. Hence, our focus since the resumption of our inspections in Iraq, two and a half months ago, has been verifying whether Iraq revived its nuclear programme in the intervening years. We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq. However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them, although we are moving forward with regard to some of them. ... The IAEA's experience in nuclear verification shows that it is possible, particularly with an intrusive verification system, to assess the presence or absence of a nuclear weapons programme in a State even without the full co-operation of the inspected state. However, prompt, full and active co-operation by Iraq, as required under resolution 1441, will speed up the process. More importantly, it will enable us to reach the high degree of assurance required by the Security Council. It is my hope that the commitments made recently in Baghdad will continue to translate into concrete and sustained action."

The debate following the presentations bears the most dramatic testimony to date of the gulf of perceptions in the Council. Receiving a highly unconventional round of applause from the public gallery, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin argues: "No one can assert today that the path of war will be shorter than that of the inspections. No one can claim either that it might lead to a safer, more just and more stable world. For war is always the sanction of failure. Would this be our sole recourse in the face of the many challenges at this time? So let us allow the United Nations inspectors the time they need for their mission to succeed. But let us together be vigilant and ask Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei to report regularly to the Council. France, for its part, proposes another meeting on March 14 at ministerial level to assess the situation. We will then be able to judge the progress that has been made and what remains to be done. Given this context, the use of force is not justified at this time. There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq via inspections." De Villepin then made reference to US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's infamous description (see last issue) of France and Germany as representing 'old Europe': "To those who are wondering in anguish when and how we are going to cede to war, I would like to tell them that nothing, at any time, in this Security Council, will be done in haste, misunderstanding, suspicion or fear. In this temple of the United Nations, we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of a conscience. The onerous responsibility and immense honor we have must lead us to give priority to disarmament in peace. This message comes to you today from an old country, France, from a continent like mine, Europe, that has known wars, occupation and barbarity. An old country that does not forget and knows everything it owes to the freedom-fighters who came from America and elsewhere - and yet has never ceased to stand upright in the face of history and before mankind. It wishes resolutely to act with all the members of the international community. Faithful to its values, it believes in our ability to build together a better world."

De Villepin is strongly echoed by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer - "Why should we now turn away from this path? Why should we now halt the inspections? On the contrary, the inspectors must be given the time they need to successfully complete their mission" - and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov - "We have a unique chance to solve in a coordinated manner a most acute international problem by political means in strict accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. This chance is real, and it cannot be lost. Resort to force can be made, but only when all the other means have been exhausted. To this line, as today's discussion shows, we have not yet come".

Countering the view of the Blix/ElBaradei briefings as predominantly encouraging, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw argues that "the issue before us is of the authority of the UN and of the defiance of the United Nations resolutions. On the 8th of November, we said unanimously that Saddam was to have a final opportunity. Can anyone say, does anyone truly believe here that he has yet taken that final opportunity? Like every other member of this Council and, I believe, of the international community, I hope and believe that a peaceful solution to this crisis may still be possible. But this will require a dramatic and immediate change by Saddam. And this will only be achieved if we, the Security Council, hold our nerve in the face of this tyrant, give meaning to our words and to the decisions which we've already collectively taken, and make ourselves ready to ensure that Iraq will face the serious consequences which we all decided would have to happen if Iraq's defiance did not end."

Secretary Powell passes a harsher verdict on those impressed by the inspections process: "What we need is for Iraq to disarm. Resolution 1441 was not about inspections. Let me say that again. Resolution 1441 was not about inspections. Resolution 1441 was about the disarmament of Iraq. We worked on that resolution for seven weeks... We had intense discussions. ... And the resolution said Iraq must now come into compliance. It must disarm. The resolution went on to say that we want to see a declaration from Iraq within 30 days of all of its activities. ... That's what we said to Iraq on the 8th of November. And some 29 days later we got 12,000 pages. Nobody in this Council can say that that was a full, complete or accurate declaration. ... You will recall, we put that declaration requirement into the resolution as an early test of Iraq's seriousness. Are they serious? Are they going to disarm? Are they going to comply? Are they going to cooperate? And the answer with that declaration was, 'No. We're going to see what we can get away with. We can see how much we can slip under your nose,' and everybody will clap and say, 'Isn't that wonderful?' ... More inspectors? Sorry, not the answer. What we need is immediate cooperation. Time? How much time does it take to say, 'I understand the will of the international community and I and my regime are laying it all out for you'?"

February 15/16: huge peace demonstrations are held around the globe. At least a million people march through the streets of London, a figure matched by the turnout in Rome. In Paris, nearly half a million people demonstrate in support of the French government's stance. In the United States, hundreds of thousands demonstrate in San Francisco and New York. On February 19, President states: "I respectfully disagree [with the protesters]... I owe it to the American people to secure this country. I will do so." Referring to anti-nuclear protests two decades ago, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is less respectful: "These marches are 1983 all over again... There is no question that, as a result of peace through strength, Communism was defeated and the Berlin Wall came down. The point I'm making is that mass street protests don't always lead to the results people think..."

February 24: the UK, US and Spain table a resolution at the Security Council declaring that "Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441". The resolution is required, according to US Ambassador John Negroponte, to reinforce the unambiguous message of 1441 and to avoid a disastrous "return to business-as-usual on Iraq". Negroponte argues: "Over the past 13 years, a pattern has emerged. Each time that there is a renewed acknowledgment that a non-compliant Iraq poses a threat, political or military pressure mounts. The Council then calls on Iraq to disarm. Iraq offers minimal signs of cooperation on process until the political pressure subsides and then returns to its standard procedures of non-compliance and non-cooperation." Spanish Ambassador Inocencio Arias tells a press conference (February 25): "We are stating something that you cannot refuse to admit... It is a resolution that says this man has not taken the opportunity we gave him 107 days ago. He is not a child. He knows what he's dealing with... Are you going to vote against something that is quite obvious?"

France, Germany and Russia circulate a memorandum to the Council designed to prevent any such 'drifting', either away from ensuring Iraqi compliance or towards an avoidable military conflict. The memorandum begins by asserting that "the conditions for using force against Iraq are not fulfilled... [W]hile suspicions remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction or capabilities in this field; inspections have just reached their full pace, they are functioning without hindrance, they have already produced results; while not yet fully satisfactory, Iraqi co-operation is improving, as mentioned by the chief inspectors in their last report." To complete the process of peaceful disarmament, the memorandum calls for the adoption of a "realistic and rigorous timeline", including "a report of UNMOVIC and IAEA assessing the progress made in completing the tasks shall be submitted by the inspectors 120 days after the adoption of the program of work according to resolution 1284". Resolution 1284, adopted in December 1999, established UNMOVIC as the successor organisation to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), banned from returning to Iraq following the December 1998 aerial bombardment of Iraqi facilities by US and UK forces. France, Russia and China strongly protested against the December 1998 military action, and subsequently abstained on resolution 1284, fearing it would prolong the UN-Iraq standoff, and the associated sanctions regime, for the foreseeable future. The main architects of 1284, Britain and America, now argue that its envisaged timeline is being overtaken by events and the need to credibly enact the much more stringent terms and conditions of 1441.

February 25: meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the leaders of the 116-state Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) welcome "the decision by the government of Iraq to allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. In this regard, they wished to encourage Iraq and the United Nations to intensify their efforts in search of a lasting, just and comprehensive solution to all outstanding issues between them in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. They emphasised the urgent need for a peaceful solution of the issue of Iraq in a way that preserves the authority and credibility of the Charter of the United Nations and international law as well as peace and stability in the region." The summit declaration continues: "The heads of state or government examined threats of aggression against some Arab States, especially Iraq. They affirmed their categorical rejection of assaulting Iraq as well as of any threats made to the security and safety of Iraq, Kuwait and any Arab state as these are considered menaces to the overall national security of all Arab states."

February 26: President Chirac rules out French support not only of the February 24 US-UK-Spanish draft resolution, but any text detracting from the continuing implementation of 1441 - "We are opposed to every new resolution... We [in the Council] have a common goal of eliminating the arms of mass destruction in Iraq, but we do not share the same view on the means to attain this goal." The same day, Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar states: "I do not favour giving tyrants more time, because they will not use it to disarm, but to arm themselves."

February 28: as required by resolution 1284, UNMOVIC submits a quarterly report - its twelfth, but the first to detail any inspections activity - to the Security Council. Covering much of the ground charted by Dr. Blix on February 14, the report concludes on a downbeat, though far from resigned, note: "During the period of time covered by the present report, Iraq could have made greater efforts to find any remaining proscribed items or provide credible evidence showing the absence of such items. The results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far. The destruction of missiles, which is an important operation, has not yet begun. Iraq could have made full use of the declaration, which was submitted on December 7. It is hard to understand why a number of the measures, which are now being taken, could not have been initiated earlier. If they had been taken earlier, they might have borne fruit by now. It is only by the middle of January and thereafter that Iraq has taken a number of steps, which have the potential of resulting either in the presentation for destruction of stocks or items that are proscribed or the presentation of relevant evidence solving long-standing unresolved disarmament issues."

March 1: under UNMOVIC supervision, Iraq begins the destruction of its Al Samoud-2 missiles. With evident reluctance, the Iraqi side agreed in principle to the destruction of the systems on February 27. Welcomed by Blix and Annan, the development is downplayed, or even satirised, by the US and UK. Prime Minister Tony Blair tells reporters (February 28): "The moment I heard...that Saddam Hussein was saying he would not destroy the missiles was the moment that I knew later in the week that he would announce...that he would indeed destroy these missiles... This is not a game. He knows perfectly well what he has to do..." White House spokesperson Marcy Viana comments (March 1) that President Bush had "always predicted that Iraq would destroy its Al Samoud missiles as part of their game of deception..."

US war plans receive an unexpected jolt when the Turkish Parliament fails to approve a government motion allowing American ground troops to use bases inside the country - the springboard for a 'northern front' in any invasion. MPs actually voted for the motion by 264 votes to 250, but a large number of abstentions left the tally just four votes shy of the required majority of deputies present. Reports suggest that completion of a $15 billion US aid-and-loans package to Ankara, painstakingly negotiated in recent weeks with senior Pentagon and State Department involvement, may be put at risk by the development, described by White House Press Secretary Fleischer as "a surprise".

March 5: the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Russia, meeting in Paris, issue a statement welcoming recent developments in Iraq, particularly the start of the destruction of the proscribed Al Samoud-2 stockpile. In addition, the "Iraqis are providing biological and chemical information", and "interviews with Iraqi scientists are continuing". In light of this encouraging trend, "we will not let a proposed resolution pass that would authorise the use of force." The statement adds, in a clear reference to the possibility of vetoing such a resolution: "Russia and France, as permanent members of the Security Council, will assume all their responsibilities on this point." The ministers conclude with a glance at the broader canvas: "We are at a turning point. Since our goal is the peaceful and full disarmament of Iraq, we have today the chance to obtain through peaceful means a comprehensive settlement for the Middle East, starting with a move forward in the peace process, by: publishing and implementing the roadmap [for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute]; putting together a general framework for the Middle East, based in stability and security, renunciation of force, arms control, and trust-building measures."

March 6: as efforts to secure support for a second resolution bog down at the UN, President Bush makes clear he will press for a vote in the near future (the week of March 10-14). Speaking during a televised prime-time press conference at the White House, Bush states: "[Y]es, we'll call for a vote. ... No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam."

March 7: a revised draft of the US-UK-Spain resolution is tabled, specifying "that Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441 (2002) unless, on or before March 17, 2003 the council concludes that Iraq has demonstrated full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under resolution 1441 (2002) and previous relevant resolutions, and is yielding possession to UNMOVIC and the IAEA of all weapons, weapon delivery and support systems and structures, prohibited by resolution 687 (1991) and all subsequent relevant resolutions, and all information regarding prior destruction of such items".

The revised draft is circulated by UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at the end of a powerful speech - producing more rare applause in the public gallery - responding to the latest report from Blix and ElBaradei. The thrust of Straw's remarks were directed against the rationale at the heart of the French-German-Russian memorandum circulated on February 24 (see above). According to the Foreign Secretary, it "defies experience" to believe that "to continue inspections with no firm end-date...will achieve complete disarmament, unless, as the memorandum acknowledges, Iraq's full and active co-operation is immediately forthcoming. The memorandum is not even a formula for containment, given Iraq's proven ability to exploit the existing sanctions regime to continue to develop weapons of mass destruction. We knew nothing about the missile engines, we knew nothing about the rest of this imported under our noses in breach of the sanctions regime until we passed 1441. And to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis the Council must not retreat from the demands that it set out clearly in 1441. What we need is an irreversible and strategic decision by Iraq to disarm, a strategic decision by Iraq to yield to the Inspectors all of its weapons of mass destruction and all relevant information which it could and should have provided at anytime in the last 12 years." Straw then took issue with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who, in a statement delivered a few minutes before, had argued that the Council "will be facing an essential choice: Disarming Iraq through war or through peace." Straw countered: "Dominique, that is a false choice. I wish that it was that easy because we wouldn't be having to have this discussion, we could all put up our hands up for disarmament by peace and all go home. The paradox we face is that the only way we are going to achieve disarmament by peace of a rogue regime, that all of us know has been in defiance of this Council for the past 12 years, the only way we can achieve their disarmament of their weapons of mass destruction, which this Council has said poses a threat to international peace and security, is by backing our diplomacy with a credible threat of force. I wish we lived in a different world where this was not necessary, but sadly we live in this world and the choice, Dominique, is not ours as to how this disarmament takes place, the choice is Saddam Hussein's. It's his choice. Would that it were ours because it would be so easy, but sadly it is not."

Blix's briefing was based on UNMOVIC's February 28 quarterly report and the voluminous 'Cluster Document', submitted to the Council on March 7 and organising the inspectors' remaining tasks and questions in issue-areas. Noting that, overall, "there has been an acceleration" in Iraqi efforts to cooperate, Blix dwelt happily on the most important development since February 28, the breakthrough on missile disarmament: "On 14 February, I reported to the Council that the Iraqi side had become more active in taking and proposing steps, which potentially might shed new light on unresolved disarmament issues. Even a week ago, when the current quarterly report was finalized, there was still relatively little tangible progress to note. Hence, the cautious formulations in the report before you. As of today, there is more. While during our meetings in Baghdad [February 8-9], the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al Samoud-2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council, the calculations of an international panel of experts led us to the opposite conclusion. Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed and has started the process of destruction under our supervision. The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament - indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s. We are not watching the breaking of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed." In addition: "There is a significant Iraqi effort underway to clarify a major source of uncertainty as to the quantities of biological and chemical weapons, which were unilaterally destroyed in 1991. A part of this effort concerns a disposal site, which was deemed too dangerous for full investigation in the past. It is now being re-excavated. To date, Iraq has unearthed eight complete bombs comprising two liquid-filled intact R-400 bombs and six other complete bombs. Bomb fragments were also found. Samples have been taken. The investigation of the destruction site could, in the best case, allow the determination of the number of bombs destroyed at that site. It should be followed by a serious and credible effort to determine the separate issue of how many R-400 type bombs were produced. In this, as in other matters, inspection work is moving on and may yield results."

ElBaradei's briefing also accentuated the positive. With regard to the controversy surrounding the aluminium tubes, the IAEA now stood on the brink of declaring Iraq 'not guilty': "The IAEA has conducted a thorough investigation of Iraq's attempts to purchase large quantities of high-strength aluminium tubes. As previously reported, Iraq has maintained that these aluminium tubes were sought for rocket production. Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. ... Based on available evidence, the IAEA team has concluded that Iraq's efforts to import these aluminium tubes were not likely to have been related to the manufacture of centrifuges and, moreover, that it was highly unlikely that Iraq could have achieved the considerable re-design needed to use them in a revived centrifuge programme. However, this issue will continue to be scrutinized and investigated." With regard to allegations of Iraqi importation of uranium, ElBaradei makes a dramatic announcement: "The IAEA has made progress in its investigation into reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger in recent years. The investigation was centred on documents provided by a number of States that pointed to an agreement between Niger and Iraq for the sale of uranium between 1999 and 2001. The IAEA has discussed these reports with the governments of Iraq and Niger, both of which have denied that any such activity took place. For its part, Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of its relations with Niger, and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African countries, including Niger, in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given rise to the reports. The IAEA was also able to review correspondence coming from various bodies of the government of Niger, and to compare the form, format, contents and signatures of that correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related documentation. Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents - which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger - are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded."

The Director General's briefing concludes: "I am able to report today that, in the area of nuclear weapons - the most lethal weapons of mass destruction - inspections in Iraq are moving forward. Since the resumption of inspections a little over three months ago - and particularly during the three weeks since my last oral report to the Council - the IAEA has made important progress in identifying what nuclear-related capabilities remain in Iraq, and in its assessment of whether Iraq has made any efforts to revive its past nuclear programme during the intervening four years since inspections were brought to a halt. ... After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq. We intend to continue our inspection activities, making use of all the additional rights granted to us by resolution 1441 and all additional tools that might be available to us, including reconnaissance platforms and all relevant technologies. ... The detailed knowledge of Iraq's capabilities that IAEA experts have accumulated since 1991 - combined with the extended rights provided by resolution 1441, the active commitment by all states to help us fulfil our mandate, and the recently increased level of Iraqi co-operation - should enable us in the near future to provide the Security Council with an objective and thorough assessment of Iraq's nuclear-related capabilities."

March 10: Russia makes clear that it, like France, could be counted on to veto the draft US-UK-Spanish resolution. Foreign Minister Ivanov states: "As to the draft resolution...it appears to us that the ultimatums contained in the resolution are, first, unimplementable, and, second, run counter to the line that is now being pursued on the basis of the previous resolution, 1441. .... We feel that right now it would hardly be advisable to submit a resolution like this for consideration to the UN Security Council. At the same time, if it is submitted, Russia will vote against." White House Press Secretary Fleischer puts the remarks in a grand moral perspective: "It's worth remembering what happened to the people of Kosovo and it's worth remembering what happened to the people of Rwanda. The United Nations has previously sat on the sidelines as people died and as injustice was done as a result of vetoes or veto threats from other nations. ... The President would look upon this as a missed opportunity for Russia to take an important moral stand to defend freedom and prevent the risk of a massive catastrophe taking place as a result of Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction."

March 11: six members of the Security Council yet to decide whether to support a second resolution - Angola, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan, known as the 'undecideds' or the 'swing states' - propose a 45-day deadline for the inspectors to confirm full Iraqi compliance.

March 12: with the proposed March 17 deadline, attached to the revised US-UK-Spanish resolution, meeting stiff resistance in the Security Council, UK Foreign Secretary reveals details of a last-ditch British initiative - "In order to seek the widest consensus, [UN Ambassador] Sir Jeremy Greenstock is now discussing further amendments to our draft with Security Council partners. And he is circulating six tests by which Iraqi compliance would be measured. Each of those tests is demanding, but deliverable. They are: [1] a statement by Saddam Hussein admitting that he has concealed weapons of mass destruction, but will no longer produce or retain weapons of mass destruction; [2] deliver at least 30 scientists for interview outside Iraq, with their families; [3] surrender all anthrax, or credible evidence of destruction; [4] complete the destruction of all Al Samoud missiles; [5] account for all unmanned aerial vehicles, including details of any testing of spraying devices for chemical and biological weapons; [6] surrender all mobile chemical and biological production facilities." Straw argues: "These tests are not traps. Every one of them could be met promptly, if only Saddam Hussein were to make the strategic choice to co-operate with the UN."

The six-tests proposal is swiftly rejected by France. Foreign Minister de Villepin (March 13) argues: "We cannot accept the British proposals as they are part of a logic of war, a logic of automatic recourse to war... It's not about giving a few more days to Iraq before resorting to force, but about resolutely advancing through peaceful disarmament..."

March 14: Security Council member Chile proposes a three-week - or, alternatively, a 30-day - deadline for Iraq to come into compliance with a set of specified disarmament obligations. The suggestion resembles a Canadian proposal circulated at the UN in February. Describing the March 17 deadline as "unrealistic and pre-emptory", Chilean President Ricardo Lagos insists: "We believe there is still room for a peaceful solution." The proposal is instantly dismissed as "a non-starter" by White House Press Secretary Fleischer.

March 15: a fresh declaration by France, Germany and Russia - the most upbeat so far - argues that "in today's circumstances nothing justifies giving up the process of inspections and using force." The statement claims: "The reports by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, repeatedly presented to the Security Council, have shown that the inspections are yielding results. The disarmament of Iraq has begun. Everything indicates that it can be completed in a short time and within the rules established by the Security Council."

March 16: Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, UK Prime Minister Blair and US President Bush hold a brief summit meeting on the Portuguese island of the Azores. The gathering is convened following the failure of the co-sponsors of the draft second resolution to call a vote on the text, as promised in numerous statements, by March 14. Reports suggest both that the necessary nine votes on the Council are not yet in place, and that, even if they could be secured, a French veto would be certain, possibly coupled with vetoes by Russia and China. At a joint press conference after their discussions, the leaders make clear that the following day would be the last opportunity for a breakthrough. In President Bush's words, "we concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world. Many nations have voiced a commitment to peace and security. And now they must demonstrate that commitment to peace and security in the only effective way, by supporting the immediate and unconditional disarmament of Saddam Hussein. ... Tomorrow is the day that we will determine whether or not diplomacy can work." The President adds: "We sat and visited about this issue, about how best to spend our time between now and tomorrow. And as Prime Minister Blair said, we'll be working the phones and talking to our partners and talking to those who may now clearly understand the objective, and we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Saddam Hussein can leave the country, if he's interested in peace. You see, the decision is his to make. And it's been his to make all along as to whether or not there's the use of the military. He got to decide whether he was going to disarm, and he didn't. He can decide whether he wants to leave the country. These are his decisions to make. And thus far he has made bad decisions."

In Rome, Pope John Paul II makes an impassioned eleventh-hour appeal for diplomacy to continue: "The next few days will be decisive for the outcome of the Iraq crisis... Certainly, the leaders in Baghdad have the urgent duty to collaborate fully with the international community, to eliminate any reason for an armed intervention. To them I direct my pressing appeal: the fate of your fellow citizens always has priority! ... [I]n the face of the tremendous consequences that an international military operation would have for the population of Iraq and for the equilibrium of the entire Middle East region...as well as for the extremism that could flow from it, I say to all: there is still time to negotiate, there is still room for peace." Cardinal Pio Laghi - who met President Bush earlier in the month to discuss the crisis - is sharply critical of the Azores summit: "There's a meeting of three [leaders] in the Azores, only three... Is this a peace council or a war council?"

March 17: the Azores summit fails to budge opposition to a second resolution, leading UK Ambassador Greenstock to formally withdraw the text on behalf of the three co-sponsors. Greenstock explains: "As you know, we have worked very hard in the last few days in a final effort to seek a Council consensus on Iraq. In an effort to reunite the Council, the United Kingdom proposed last week an ultimatum which would challenge Iraq to take a strategic decision to disarm. There were three key elements to the compromise we propose. First, tough but realisable tests, including an unequivocal commitment to disarmament by Saddam Hussein. Second, a realistic but tight timetable for completion of those tests given the urgent need for Iraq to comply after 12 years of prevarication. And third, an understanding that if Iraq failed the tests serious consequences would ensue as set out in resolution 1441. Having held further discussions with Council members over the weekend and in the last few hours, we have had to conclude that Council consensus will not be possible in line with resolution 1441." Referring to the unambiguous French threat to veto, Greenstock adds: "One country in particular has underlined its intention to veto any ultimatum 'no matter what the circumstances'. That country rejected our proposed compromise before even the Iraqi government itself and has put forward suggestions that would row back on the unanimous agreement of the Council in resolution 1441, and those suggestions would amount to no ultimatum, no pressure and no disarmament. Given this situation, the co-sponsors have agreed that we will not pursue a vote on the UK/US/Spanish resolution... The co-sponsors reserve their right to take their own steps to secure the disarmament of Iraq."

Following the withdrawal, the Council meets in emergency session. The Secretary-General emerges to tell reporters bleakly: "Obviously the members of the Council who had hoped for a long time that it ought to be possible to disarm Iraq peacefully and had hoped to be able to come up with a common position, are today disappointed and frustrated and are worried that they were not able to muster the collective will to find a common basis to move ahead. And obviously, we seem to be at the end of the road here." Annan continues: "Yesterday UNMOVIC, the [International] Atomic [Energy] Agency and myself got information from the United States authorities that it would be prudent not to leave our staff in the region. I have just informed the Council that we will withdraw the UNMOVIC and Atomic Agency inspectors". Asked whether military action without a second resolution would be legal, Annan comments: "I have made it very clear that in my judgement if the Council were to be able to manage this process successfully and most of the collective will to handle this operation, its own reputation and credibility would have been enhanced. And I have also said if the action is to take place without the support of the Council, its legitimacy will be questioned and the support for it will be diminished."

France's UN Ambassador, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, tells reporters that no vetoes would have been necessary, as any vote on the draft resolution would have been heavily defeated: "During the last days, members of the Council repeatedly stated that - and it is a majority in the Council - that it would not be legitimate to authorize the use of force now while the inspections set up by the resolution [1441] are producing results. ... This is the position of the huge majority on the Council. ... And now I understand that the co-sponsors made some bilateral consultations last night and this morning and the result is that the majority of the Council confirms that they do not want to authorize the use of force. The majority considers that it would not be legitimate." US Ambassador Negroponte, however, claims that the French position was the real stumbling block: "We sought a resolution that would have stated that Iraq had failed to take advantage of the final opportunity offered to it by Security Council Resolution 1441. In light of the threat of a veto by one of the countries, even though we think the vote would have been close, we decided under the circumstances not to put that resolution to a vote... [W]e believe it [the balance on the Council] was close, and as Ambassador Greenstock said, we think that the atmosphere and the context of our entire discussion was affected by the fact that one permanent member explicitly stated that it was intent on frustrating the purposes of our draft resolution." Pressed by reporters, Negroponte insists: "I do not agree...that the majority of the Council is against [us]. As I said before, we believe that if it were not for the threat of a veto, it would have been very possible to win passage of our resolution." In terms of the legal status of any attack on Iraq, the Ambassador states: "We think that there is full authority in resolution 1441, resolution 687 [1991] and 678 [1991] with regard to the possible use of force."

Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, ElBaradei comments sadly: "I should note that, in recent weeks, possibly as a result of increasing pressure by the international community, Iraq has been more forthcoming in its co-operation with the IAEA. I should also note that over the weekend, both Dr. Blix and I received an invitation from the Iraqi authorities to visit Iraq with a view to accelerating the implementation of our respective mandates. Late last night, however, I was advised by the United States Government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad. Similar advice has been given to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. ... Naturally, the safety of our staff remains our primary consideration at this difficult time. I earnestly hope - even at this late hour - that a peaceful resolution of the issue can be achieved, and that the world can be spared a war."

Hours after the resolution's withdrawal, President Bush addresses the nation, spelling out the last hope for peace: "Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours. In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing."

March 19: in a surreal disassociation, with hours to go before the expiration of President Bush's 48-hour deadline to President Hussein, the Security Council meets to takes delivery of detailed work programmes from UNMOVIC and the IAEA, charting the remaining steps along the path of the possible peaceful disarmament of Iraq. Commending the UNMOVIC work programme to the Council, Dr. Blix comments: "The time lines established in resolution 1284 (1999) have been understood to mean that the work programme was to be presented for the approval of the Council at the latest on 27 March. In order to meet the wishes of members of the Council we made the Draft Work Programme available already on Monday this week. I note that on the very same day we were constrained together with other UN units to order the withdrawal of all our inspectors and other international staff from Iraq. I naturally feel sadness that three and a half months of work carried out in Iraq have not brought the assurances needed about the absence of weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items in Iraq, that no more time is available for our inspections and that armed action now seems imminent." Blix adds: "Under resolution 1284, UNMOVIC's work programme is to be submitted to the Council for approval. I note, however, that what was drafted and prepared for implementation by a large staff of UNMOVIC inspectors and other resources deployed in Iraq, would seem to have only limited practical relevance in the current situation. UNMOVIC is a subsidiary organ of the Security Council. Until the Council takes a new decision regarding the role and functions of the Commission, the previous resolutions remain valid to the extent this is practicable. It is evidently for the Council to consider the next steps."

The Executive Chairman closes with a suggestion about the future utility of UNMOVIC: "In its further deliberations I hope the Council will be aware that it has in UNMOVIC staff a unique body of international experts who owe their allegiance to the United Nations, and who are trained as inspectors in the field of weapons of mass destruction. While the International Atomic Energy Agency has a large department of skilled nuclear inspectors and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has a large staff of skilled chemical weapons inspectors, no other international organizations have trained inspectors in the field of biological weapons and missiles. There is also in the secretariat of UNMOVIC staff familiar with and trained in the analysis, both of discipline specific issues and in the broad questions of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With increasing attention being devoted to the proliferation of these weapons this capability may be valuable to the Council."

The 83-page work programme is a conversion of the huge Cluster Document of early March into sharply defined (though also amendable) disarmament tasks - all requiring fulsome and prompt Iraqi cooperation and disclosure - in the following 12 areas: "[1] Scud missiles and associated biological and chemical warheads; [2] SA-2 missile technology; [3] Research and development on missiles of proscribed ranges; [4] Munitions for Chemical and Biological agent fill (CBW); [5] Spray devices and remotely piloted vehicles/unmanned aerial vehicles (RPVs/UAVs); [6] VX and its precursors; [7] Mustard gas and its precursors; [8] Sarin, Cyclosarin and their precursors; [9] Anthrax and its drying; [10] Botulinum toxin; [11] Undeclared agents, including smallpox; and [12] Any proscribed activities post-1998." Although no definite timeline is set - or mandated by 1284 - for completion of the disarmament tasks, the work programme states: "Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude, it will take some time to verify the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The same is true for the resolution of key disarmament tasks. UNMOVIC will pursue all key issues in the work programme simultaneously and with the same priority. Apart from the extent of Iraqi cooperation, the time needed will also depend on the nature of the verification required to resolve the respective issues. It is evident that the presentation and destruction of proscribed missiles can be done and verified in a very short time - even days or weeks. The same could be true of CBW agents if they exist and are presented. The resolution may be more difficult and time consuming in cases where verification relates to the absence of an item which may require the submission of documents, sample analyses or conducting interviews, etc. In both cases it is estimated - still assuming a proactive Iraqi cooperation - that the time necessary to complete the work programme is months rather than weeks or years. Verified disarmament, once achieved, would still need to be followed by a long-term inspection and monitoring effort that would give confidence and strike an alarm if signs were seen of a revival by Iraq of any proscribed weapons programme."

The IAEA Director General was not present to present the Agency's work programme. Seven 'Key Remaining Tasks' - no disarmament obligations are listed as unmet - are outlined in the document, required for the "IAEA to resolve the key issue of whether Iraq had revived or attempted to revive its nuclear weapons programme between 1998 and 2002". These tasks, the report notes, should be capable of completion by Iraq "within two to three months". They are: 1) providing "a complete description of all technical activities that may be related to (or interpreted as being related to) nuclear weapons components research and development and production, and uranium conversion and enrichment developments, in particular through ensuring access to associated sites and the provision of relevant samples"; 2) providing "access to all documents (e.g., progress reports, exchanges between governmental and operational organizations, minutes of meetings, computer files) on activities that could be interpreted as being related to nuclear activities, and allow the implementation of measures with respect to such documents that would allow proper forensic analysis, on-site or remotely (e.g., removal, copying)"; 3) providing "the names and whereabouts, including current workplaces and positions, of all individuals requested by the IAEA, and grant full access to Iraqi officials and other personnel for purposes of interviewing, inside and outside of Iraq, in accordance with IAEA modalities"; 4) providing "a complete description of the evolution of its industrial infrastructure since 1998, with the provision of decrees and official documents as well as access to all sites"; 5) explaining and documenting "procurement attempts and offers, solicited and unsolicited, that may be related to the possible development of Iraq's nuclear-related capabilities"; 6) providing "a full description of its current (post-1998) procurement system, whether within or outside the mechanisms established in resolutions 986 (1995) and 1409 (2002)"; 7) amending "the Republican decree promulgated by Iraq on 4 February 2003 forbidding the import and manufacture of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and enact comprehensive legislation and associated administrative arrangements that would secure the enforcement of all prohibitions associated with resolutions 687 and 707".

Statements in the Security Council are understandably varied, and often highly charged. The Secretary-General notes simply: "Needless to say, I fully share the regrets expressed by many members of the Council at the fact that it has not been possible to reach a common position. Whatever our differing views on this complex issue, we must all feel that this is a sad day for the United Nations and the international community. I know that millions of people around the world share this sense of disappointment, and are deeply alarmed by the prospect of imminent war."

French Foreign Minister de Villepin argues that the work programmes confirm "what we all know here: Yes, the inspections are producing tangible results. Yes, they offer the prospect of effective disarmament through peaceful means and in shorter timeframes. The path we mapped out together in the context of resolution 1441 still exists. In spite of the fact that it has been interrupted today, we know that it will have to resume as soon as possible." De Villepin adds, both reflecting on and looking beyond the crisis: "Make no mistake about it: the choice is indeed between two visions of the world. To those who choose to use force and think they can resolve the world's complexity through swift and preventive action, we offer in contrast determined action over time. For today, to ensure our security, all the dimensions of the problem must be taken into account: both the manifold crises and their many facets, including cultural and religious. Nothing lasting in international relations can be built therefore without dialogue and respect for the other, without exigency and abiding by principles, especially for the democracies that must set the example. ... To those who hope to eliminate the dangers of proliferation through armed intervention in Iraq, I wish to say that we regret that they are depriving themselves of a key tool for other crises of the same type. The Iraq crisis allowed us craft an instrument, through the inspections regime, which is unprecedented and can serve as an example. Why, on this basis not envision establishing an innovative, permanent structure, a disarmament body under the United Nations?"

German Foreign Minister Fischer states that the UNMOVIC work programme "provides clear and convincing guidelines on how to disarm Iraq peacefully within a short space of time. ... It is possible to disarm Iraq peacefully by upholding these demands with tight deadlines. Peaceful means have therefore not been exhausted. Also for that reason, Germany emphatically rejects the impending war." Fischer adds: "We continue to need an effective international non-proliferation and disarmament regime. This can eliminate the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction using the instruments developed in this process to make the world a safer place. The United Nations is the only appropriate framework for this. No one can seriously believe that disarmament wars are the way forward!" Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov argues that the work programmes establish "the right to assert that the international inspectors, if they are presented with a possibility to continue work, have everything necessary at their disposal to complete the process of disarming Baghdad by peaceful means."

UK Ambassador Greenstock is careful not to dismiss the programmes: "The United Kingdom continues to see an important role for UNMOVIC and the IAEA in verifying the disarmament of Iraq and in carrying out longer-term monitoring. ... We should encourage UNMOVIC and IAEA to keep both documents under review. A more definitive work programme will be possible when there is an administration in Iraq which is prepared to co-operate fully, actively and unconditionally and when there is a secure situation on the ground." Less subtly, US Ambassador Negroponte states: "Regrettably, discussion of the topic on today's agenda - the consideration of the Draft Programs of Work - is incompatible with Iraq's non-compliance with Resolution 1441 and the current reality on the ground. The UNMOVIC Work Program itself declares that, 'The work program is predicated on the assumption that Iraq will provide immediate, unconditional and active cooperation.' That is precisely what has been manifestly lacking. ... The fact of the matter is that the situation on the ground will change and so will the nature of the remaining disarmament tasks. Considering a work program at this time is quite simply out of touch with the reality that we confront."

At 10:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST), President Bush announces the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom: "My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger. ... I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment. We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people. ... Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly - yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities. Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory."

March 20: as reflected more fully in the 'selected Comment' section below, global reaction to the war is polarised but generally critical, fearful and dismayed. In a statement of resigned disappointment, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan comments: "Today, despite the best efforts of the international community and the United Nations, war has come to Iraq for the third time in a quarter of a century. Perhaps if we had persevered a little longer, Iraq could yet have been disarmed peacefully, or - if not - the world could have taken action to solve this problem by a collective decision, endowing it with greater legitimacy, and, therefore, commanding wider support, than is the case now. But let us not dwell on the divisions of the past. Let us confront the realities of the present, however harsh, and look for ways to forge stronger unity in the future."

In markedly different tone, President Putin tells reporters at the Kremlin: "Let me stress...that military actions are taking place contrary to the world public opinion, contrary to the principles and norms of international law and the Charter of the UN. Nothing can justify this military action - neither accusations of Iraq of supporting international terrorism (we have never had and do not have information of this kind) nor the desire to change the political regime in that country which is in direct contradiction to international law and should be determined only by the citizens of this or that state. And finally, there was no need to launch military action in order to answer the key question that was put by the international community, namely, does or does not Iraq have mass destruction weapons and if it does, what should be done and within what timeframe in order to liquidate them? Furthermore, by the start of the operation Iraq posed no threat to the neighbouring states or to other countries and regions of the world because especially after a ten-year blockade it was a weak country both militarily and economically. It was still less of a danger because international inspectors were working there. On the contrary, of late their activities had produced serious positive results. ... The military action against Iraq is a big political mistake... If we allow international law to be replaced by 'the law of the fist' whereby the strong is always right and has the right to do anything and in choosing methods to achieve his goals is not constrained by anything, then one of the basic principles of international law will be put into question, and that is the principle of immutable sovereignty of a state. And then no one, not a single country in the world will feel secure."

President Chirac tells the nation: "France regrets this action initiated without United Nations backing. ... Right to the end, France, with many other countries, strove to convince that the necessary disarmament of Iraq could be obtained by peaceful means. These came to nothing. Regardless of the duration of this conflict, it will be fraught with consequences for the future. But France, true to its principles - primacy of the law, fairness, dialogue between peoples and respect for others - will continue to do what it can to ensure that fair, long-term solutions are found to the crises bathing the world in blood or threatening it, through collective action, i.e. in the framework of the United Nations, the only legitimate framework for building peace, in Iraq as elsewhere. This is why, tomorrow, we shall have to meet again, with our allies, with the whole international community, to take up together the challenges awaiting us." Chancellor Schroeder insists: "I am convinced: There would have been a different way in disarming Iraq. ... This view is shared by the overwhelming majority of my people, the majority in the UN Security Council and of peoples worldwide." A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement observes: "It is the widely-held view in the international community that the strict implementation of Resolution 1441 can deny Iraq weapons of mass destruction through peaceful means. The Chinese Government has worked tirelessly with various countries to this end. War will inevitably lead to humanitarian disasters and undermine the security, stability and development of the region and the world at large. People throughout the world detest war and want to see peace preserved. The Chinese Government is always committed to peace and stability in the world. We stand for settlement of international disputes by political means and reject the use or threat of force in international affairs. The Chinese Government strongly appeals the relevant countries to stop military actions and return to the right path of seeking a political solution to the Iraq question."

Justifying the large-scale dedication of UK forces to the fight, Prime Minister Blair tells the British people: "I know this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country. ... The threat to Britain today is not that of my father's generation. War between the big powers is unlikely. Europe is at peace. The Cold War already a memory. But this new world faces a new threat: of disorder and chaos born either of brutal states like Iraq, armed with weapons of mass destruction; or of extreme terrorist groups. ... My judgement, as Prime Minister, is that this threat is real, growing and of an entirely different nature to any conventional threat to our security that Britain has faced before. For 12 years, the world tried to disarm Saddam; after his wars in which hundreds of thousands died. UN weapons inspectors say vast amounts of chemical and biological poisons, such as anthrax, VX nerve agent, and mustard gas remain unaccounted for in Iraq. So our choice is clear: back down and leave Saddam hugely strengthened; or proceed to disarm him by force. Retreat might give us a moment of respite but years of repentance at our weakness would I believe follow. It is true Saddam is not the only threat. But it is true also - as we British know - that the best way to deal with future threats peacefully, is to deal with present threats with resolve."

Also committing forces to action, Australian Prime Minister John Howard argues: "We are determined to join other countries to deprive Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, its chemical and biological weapons, which even in minute quantities are capable of causing death and destruction on a mammoth scale. Iraq has been an aggressor in the past against its neighbours and even its own people. If Iraq is allowed to keep these weapons not only might she use them again but moreover other rogue countries will copy Iraq knowing that the world will do nothing to stop them. And the more countries that have these weapons - countries run by despotic regimes - the greater becomes the likelihood that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists. If that happens can anyone doubt that the terrorists will use them, whatever the cost might be? The attacks on the 11th of September and in Bali showed that international terrorists have no regard for human life no matter what the nationality of their victims may be."

March 21: the Turkish government finalises an agreement to allow the US to use its airspace - though not its air bases - in its campaign against Iraq. The decision comes amid fears of a possible Turkish intervention in northern Iraq designed to limit the ability of Kurdish forces to move toward the declaration of an independent state.

March 24: President Bush phones President Putin to discuss suspected illegal transfers of military-related equipment from Russia to Iraq. According to White Press Secretary Fleischer, Bush raised "the United States' concerns...involving prohibited hardware that has been transferred from Russian companies". Fleischer elaborates: "We are very concerned that there are reports of ongoing cooperation and support to Iraqi military forces being provided by a Russian company that produces GPS [Global Positioning System]-jamming systems. ... President Putin assured President Bush that he would look into it, and President Bush said he looked forward to hearing the results."

March 26: a heated discussion of the war takes place at an open meeting of the UN Security Council. The two-day meeting, called by the 22-state Arab Group, and the NAM Group, opens with an appeal by Secretary-General Annan: "The inability of the Council to agree earlier on a collective course of action places an even greater burden on you today". Malaysia's Ambassador, Rastam Mohamed Isa, speaks for many of his NAM colleagues when he argues: "This war should not have been started in the first place, therefore it should end immediately... Let us return to the Security Council to find a solution to this complex issue... The Council has remained silent [on the outbreak of hostilities] until today. And while the Council remains silent, stark images of this 21st century war are seen all around the world..." Iraqi Ambassador Al Douri appeals: "This colonial Anglo-Saxon aggression is a naked defiance of the will of the international community and its organizations... The United Nations and the Security Council in particular are called upon to condemn this invasion... They're called upon to put an end to it immediately, without conditions."

March 27: looking ahead to the post-war dispensation in Iraq, Secretary of State Powell tells the House of Representatives International Relations Committee: "We didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have a significant dominating control over how it unfolds in the future." White House Press Secretary Fleischer remarks: "I think if we've learned anything from the United Nations recently, it's that they don't move very quickly."

March 28: after a week of closed-door and reportedly bitter debate, the Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 1472 granting an emergency 45-day extension of the 'oil-for-food' programme regulating the supply of humanitarian aid to Iraq. The resolution "recognizes that...in view of the exceptional circumstances currently prevailing in Iraq, on an interim and exceptional basis, technical and temporary adjustments should be made to the Programme so as to ensure the implementation of the approved funded and non-funded contracts concluded by the government of Iraq for the humanitarian relief of the people of Iraq". The US and UK had led the push for the resolution, overcoming concerns from other Council members that the provisions may appear to lend UN authority to the war. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement stresses that the "passage of this resolution does not mean a legitimisation of the military action by the participants of the coalition, which in the resolution are explicitly qualified as 'occupation forces'. It is they who under international humanitarian law bear responsibility for the solving of humanitarian problems in the occupied territories."

Secretary-General Annan argues that the overcoming of these tensions in the name of humanitarian relief "augurs well for future tasks ahead of us... We have many challenging questions and I hope we will be able to approach those tasks with the same spirit."

In an illustration of the potential of the conflict in Iraq to spread, US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tells a Pentagon briefing he has "information that shipments of military supplies are crossing the border from Syria into Iraq, including night-vision goggles". Stating that the US regarded such transfers as "hostile acts", Rumsfeld adds that the administration "will hold the government of Syria accountable for such shipments". In addition, Rumsfeld accused members of the Iranian-sponsored Badr corps of crossing into Iraq to fight coalition forces. Broader criticism of Syria and Iran is levelled in a speech by Secretary of State Powell to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington (March 30): "Tehran must stop pursuing weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them... Syria can continue direct support for terrorist groups and the dying regime of Saddam Hussein, or it can embark on a different and more hopeful course... Either way, Syria bears the responsibility for its choices, and for the consequences..." Stung, a Syrian Foreign Ministry statement (March 31) states: "Syria chose to be with the international official and popular consensus that says: 'No to the aggression against Iraq; no to the bombing of cities and the killing of people'... Syria also chose to side with the brotherly Iraqi people who are facing an illegitimate and unjustifiable invasion..." Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa warns (March 31) that any extension of the conflict "would sow havoc all over the Middle East and the Mediterranean, it would reach borders that you can't imagine..."

March 30: a report in the Washington Post suggests the US may appoint its own teams of investigators to determine the nature and scope of any WMD materials or programmes in Iraq. The article suggests that the Bush administration is loathe to turn the task back to UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors. IAEA Director General ElBaradei insists (April 1): "The IAEA is the sole body with legal authority to verify Iraq's nuclear disarmament... The world has learned over three decades that only through impartial, international inspections can credibility be generated. Iraq is no exception to that requirement." The Post article quotes Blix as remarking that his Commission had no intention of "being led, as a dog" to sites selected by the coalition.

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Selected Comment, I: Iraq

President Saddam Hussein, interview with Dan Rather, CBS Television, February 26: "I believe all the turmoil that's going on, and all these fleets and these concentrations of troops, all this is to cover the big lie that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction..."

Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, March 22: "Since the Anglo-American colonial military aggression against Iraq is a threat to international and regional peace and security, we call on the United Nations to condemn this invasion and aggression, move to stop it immediately and unconditionally, and ask US and British aggressors to withdraw their forces immediately outside the borders of the Republic of Iraq. ... Security Council resolutions must be respected and implemented, starting with the lifting of the unjust sanctions against Iraq...[and] disarming the Zionist entity of weapons of mass destruction to create a region without weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."

Foreign Minister Sabri, March 18: "[It is president] Bush who should go into exile, because it is Mr. Bush who is endangering the whole world."

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, March 20: "I am carrying my pistol to confirm to you that we are ready to fight the aggressors. American soldiers are nothing but mercenaries and they will be defeated."

Senior Iraqi diplomat Akila Al Hashimi, speaking to reporters at the NAM Summit in Malaysia, February 21: "[T]he defence of Iraq is now the defence of the civilized world... This war is just like a machine, and if it is not stopped with Iraq, the American machine of war will continue to rolling over Third World countries..."

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Selected Comment, II: United States

President George W. Bush, March 6: "A little bit more time? Saddam Hussein has had 12 years to disarm. He is deceiving people. This is what's important for our fellow citizens to realize; that if he really intended to disarm, like the world has asked him to do, we would know whether he was disarming. He's trying to buy time. I can understand why - he's been successful with these tactics for 12 years. Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home. So, therefore, I think the threat is real. And so do a lot of other people in my government. And since I believe the threat is real, and since my most important job is to protect the security of the American people, that's precisely what we'll do. Our demands are that Saddam Hussein disarm. We hope he does. We have worked with the international community to convince him to disarm. If he doesn't disarm, we'll disarm him. ... America is not alone in this sentiment. There are a lot of countries who fully understand the threat of Saddam Hussein. A lot of countries realize that the credibility of the Security Council is at stake - a lot of countries, like America, who hope that he would have disarmed, and a lot of countries which realize that it may require force - may require force - to disarm him."

President Bush, February 26: "The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. ... And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. ... A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example freedom for other nations in the region."

US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, March 9: "I was a little concerned that the IAEA's remarks about the Iraqi nuclear programme the other day [Dr. ElBaradei's briefing to the Security Council on March 7] seemed to draw certain conclusions [suggested no existing Iraqi nuclear programme]... The IAEA, of course, missed the programme [in Iraq] in '91, missed the programme in '95, missed it in '98. We need to be careful about drawing those conclusions, particularly in a totalitarian state like Iraq." (Note: on March 16, Rice's comments were strongly echoed by Vice President Dick Cheney: "I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong. And I think, if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency in this kind of issue, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past."

Condoleezza Rice, February 16: "We need to remind everybody that tyrants don't respond to any kind of appeasement... [T]hat was true in the 1930s and 1940s when we failed to respond to tyranny, and it is true today..."

John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, March 31: "The outcome in Iraq, which will be decisive and final, we hope will cause other states in the region, and indeed around the world, to look at the consequences of pursuing weapons of mass destruction and draw the appropriate lesson that such pursuit is not in the long term in their national interest..."

Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, March 28: "I don't think the issue is American unilateralism...[but] precisely how international norms, such as disarmament obligations laid down by the Security Council, are to be enforced. What happens when 17 resolutions [on Iraq] are ignored and a rogue state is acquiring weapons of mass destruction and brutalizing its own people? ... Who will address this new threat to the world - the nexus of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and rogue states? The world has tried for many years to address or manage the problem of the proliferation of these weapons. There are diplomatic means that all of us have supported, from the Non-Proliferation Treaty to the Missile Technology Control Regime and a variety of institutions. ... [But] it may be that these traditional, comfortable means of diplomacy have gone about as far as they can go."

Senate Republican Majority Leader William Frist, March 20: "Let there be no mistake, we are defending our own liberty. We have already seen what terrorists can do with the combined power of only three jet aircraft."

Republican Senator John McCain, article in the Washington Post, March 23: "Critics who deem war against Saddam Hussein's regime to be an unprecedented departure from our proud tradition of American internationalism disregard our history of meeting threats to our security with both military force and a commitment to revolutionary democratic change. The union of our interests and values requires us to stay true to that commitment in Iraq. Liberating Iraqis from Hussein's tyranny is necessary but not sufficient. The true test of our power, and much of the moral basis for its use, lies not simply in ending dictatorship but in helping the Iraqi people construct a democratic future. This is what sets us apart from empire builders: the use of our power for moral purpose. We seek to liberate, not subjugate."

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (Democrat), March 21: "We may have differences of opinion about what brought us to this point, but the President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, and today we unite behind him... Saddam Hussein is a menace to his own people, and a threat to the peace and stability of the entire region."

Senator Daschle, March 17: "I'm saddened, saddened that this President failed so miserably at diplomacy that now we're forced to war - saddened that we have to give up one life because this President couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, February 12: "Calling heads of state pygmies, labelling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant - these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone."

Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, March 4: "War must always be a last resort. All options must be pursued. Inspections still have a chance to work. Progress is difficult. No one said it would be easy. But as long as inspectors are on the ground and making progress, we must give peace a chance, so that war with Iraq does not distract us from dealing as effectively as possible with the obvious and ongoing threat of terrorism by Al Qaeda and the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons."

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, March 7: "I do not believe that going to war now is the best way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction... Before going to war, we must exhaust all alternatives, such as the continuation of inspections, diplomacy, and the leverage provided by the threat of military action."

Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich, March 20: "Tonight, President Bush has commanded US forces to go to war in violation of American traditions of defensive war that have lasted since George Washington. This war is wrong - it violates the constitution and international law."

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Selected Comment, III: The 'Coalition of the Willing'

Note: on March 18, US State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher released the following list of 30 states said to comprise a 'Coalition of the Willing' or 'Coalition for Immediate Disarmament of Iraq': Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, [South] Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan. In Boucher's words, "these are countries who have all stood up and said it is time to disarm Iraq...[and] that are associating themselves in public with the effort to make sure that Iraq is disarmed and disarmed soon." Noting that "each country is contributing in the ways that it deems the most appropriate", Boucher added that a further 15 states "are in fact participating in defensive measures or other things, but just don't feel that they don't want to be publicly listed at this point... I got to say this a changing list and changing numbers." On March 20, President Bush stated that "over 40 nations now support our efforts - we are grateful for their determination, we appreciate their vision, and we welcome their support." However, by that date only three countries - Australia, Poland and the UK - had committed fighting forces to the American-led operation. Of a total military force reported to be in excess of 250,000, the United Kingdom contributed an estimated 45,000 personnel, Australia around 2,000, and Poland around 200.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, February 21: "If you leave Saddam Hussein with his chemical, biological and potentially nuclear weapons, the link between that and international terrorism is so obvious that it hardly needs to be stated... We have been trying to avoid war, but in the end I can't avoid it unless Saddam chooses the route of peaceful disarmament..."

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, February 21: "If it comes to military conflict, there will be victims. War is terrible. But there are circumstances in which the consequences of not going to war are more terrible still."

UK Cabinet Member and Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Resignation Speech, House of Commons, March 17: "I applaud the heroic efforts that the Prime Minister has made in trying to secure a second resolution. I do not think that anybody could have done better than the Foreign Secretary in working to get support for a second resolution within the Security Council. But the very intensity of those attempts underlines how important it was to succeed. Now that those attempts have failed, we cannot pretend that getting a second resolution was of no importance. France has been at the receiving end of bucket loads of commentary in recent days. It is not France alone that wants more time for inspections. Germany wants more time for inspections; Russia wants more time for inspections; indeed, at no time have we signed up even the minimum necessary to carry a second resolution. We delude ourselves if we think that the degree of international hostility is all the result of President Chirac. The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council. To end up in such diplomatic weakness is a serious reverse. Only a year ago, we and the United States were part of a coalition against terrorism that was wider and more diverse than I would ever have imagined possible. History will be astonished at the diplomatic miscalculations that led so quickly to the disintegration of that powerful coalition. The US can afford to go it alone, but Britain is not a superpower. Our interests are best protected not by unilateral action but by multilateral agreement and a world order governed by rules. Yet tonight the international partnerships most important to us are weakened: the European Union is divided; the Security Council is in stalemate. Those are heavy casualties of a war in which a shot has yet to be fired."

(Note: on March 18, Robin Cook was one of 139 Labour backbench MPs, and 217 MPs in all, to vote in favour of an amendment opposing the government's Iraq policy. 396 MPs voted to defeat the amendment. The government, strongly supported by the Official Opposition Conservative Party, then won a motion authorising the use of UK armed forces in Iraq by 412 votes to 149.)

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, March 20: "America is the only country in the world that exports freedom. It brought freedom and democracy to Japan and Germany after defeating both in World War II. It rebuilt their societies and taught them about liberty. It helped bring down the Berlin Wall. That is why we wholeheartedly support the American-led effort to free the people of Iraq."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, March 14: "I regret to say that the French are playing a spoiling role. They don't appear to me to be trying to find a solution. They appear to be trying to advance France's prestige in the international community vis-à-vis the United States."

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, March 20: "Sometimes war is necessary to secure freedom and peace."

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, speech to Parliament, March 19: "Now it is time for choices. We have no doubts: between the great democracies of the world and the dictator of Iraq, we choose those democracies, we choose to confirm the European and Atlantic policies that have been guiding Italy over the past fifty years. We are not belligerent, but we know what side to be on and are bound by duty to make a choice."

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, March 20: "The Government of Japan has consistently stressed to Iraq, as well as to countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, that a peaceful solution was the solution most desirable and that efforts should continue until the last moment. The way things have elapsed since then, however, during this period Iraq has unfortunately ignored, or has not taken seriously, or even ridiculed the United Nations resolutions. I do not believe that Iraq has acted with sufficient sincerity. Now, at this juncture, based on such thoughts, I understand and support the engagement in the military action by the United States."

Netherlands' Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, March 20: "What we have tried so long and so hard to avoid has become a reality. ... [The aim of this action is] freedom and security - including for the people of Iraq. ... I sincerely hope that the conflict will quickly come to an end. That innocent lives will be spared. That the suffering will be limited. That peace and security will be achieved, and will usher in a better future for us all."

Nicaraguan Government Spokesperson Joel Gutierrez, March 20: "Nicaragua supports the right of the United States and its allies to defend themselves against countries that have harboured and helped terrorist activities, and that have used international organizations to maintain their weapons of mass destruction."

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, March 20: "The threat of terrorism is a fact. The world bears the joint responsibility and should show solidarity in fighting terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

Slovakian Foreign Ministry Statement, March 20: "The threat of terrorism and of the use of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq concerns all the countries without exception. In this grave moment, the Slovak Republic stands on the side of democracy and of the forces enforcing stability in the world."

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, March 20: "There were more comfortable options [than war]... [But] we don't want to postpone until the future the risks that we have to face now... The government of this nation supports the re-establishment of international law so that conditions for peace and security prevail..."

Prime Minister Aznar, interview in the Wall Street Journal, February 27: "I did tell the [US] President that we need a lot of Powell and not much of Rumsfeld. Ministers of defence should talk less, shouldn't they?"

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, March 12: "What Spain thinks is important is a strategic change in the position of Saddam Hussein, a will to disarm. If one has the will, one can show that will without taking a long time."

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, March 20: "I don't find the United States' unilateral behaviour right before the UN process is completed."

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Selected Comment, IV: Critics, Sceptics and Non-Coalition Supporters

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, March 20: "We all wished to avoid the launch of such operations. As Belgians, we know from our parents and grandparents that war is a dreadful ordeal. We are deeply disappointed at the fact that no attempt was made to follow the path of peace through to the end in order to avoid this war. Following the example of Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, the government remains convinced that there is an alternative. A clear working programme for the continuation of inspections, linked to a timetable, could have led to the effective disarmament of Iraq. Mr Hans Blix himself presented such a programme a few days ago. The Security Council had begun examining it on Wednesday. In vain. We continue to believe that the abandonment of international law and order is too high a price to pay for the disarmament, however desirable, of the regime in place in Baghdad."

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, March 20: "I...express my feelings of regret at the...recourse to force without the express authorization of the United Nations Security Council. Since I assumed the Presidency, I have embarked on a series of initiatives seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis, with the full compliance by Iraq of the Security Council's resolutions. To that end I have spoken, personally and by telephone, with various world leaders and heads of government. I have, up until the last moment, sought a negotiated settlement. With this aim in view, I repeatedly contacted the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Brazilian foreign office and I myself did everything we could to avoid this conflict. ... We are adopting various measures in order that the people of Brazil should not have to suffer the consequences of war. We are taking care of supplies, of health measures, keeping watch over our borders and lending assistance to Brazilians who live in the region affected by the conflict. I am certain that, through these measures, I am acting in accordance with the feelings of the people of Brazil, who wish to inhabit a peaceful world, in which the norms of international law are fully adhered to."

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, March 17: "We believe that Iraq must fully abide by the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. We have always made clear that Canada would require the approval of the Security Council if we were to participate in a military campaign. Over the last few weeks the Security Council has been unable to agree on a new resolution authorizing military action. Canada worked very hard to find a compromise to bridge the gap in the Security Council. Unfortunately we were not successful. If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate."

Prime Minister Chretien, March 18: "We're disappointed - we thought there was a possibility to have a bridge between the two different points of view [in the Security Council]. I'm still of the view that, given some more weeks, disarmament would have been achieved. ... If we go and change every government that we don't like in the world, where do we stop? Who is next? This is something that we have to reflect on..."

Chile's UN Ambassador Gabriel Valdes, March 20: "It is a tragedy [that war has started]. Another tragedy is going to begin now..."

Croatian President Stipe Mesic, March 20: "We cannot accept the establishment of a model of behaviour in international relations which would allow, to put it simply, those that possess force...to take military action against the regime of any country. For if we accept that in the case of one country, with what moral right could we turn it down in the case of another? And...who will be next?"

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, March 19: "My hope is that the Iraqi government will realize the seriousness of the situation in which it put itself - and us - in, and that the different international forces will realize the dangerous repercussions of any military action on the safety and stability of the Middle East region as well as on the safety and stability of the world as a whole... [T]he ruling regime is an internal affair that concerns every state...without external intervention to impose a certain type or model."

French President Jacques Chirac, March 18: "To act without the legitimacy of the United Nations, to favour the use of force over law, is taking a serious responsibility. ... This is a serious decision because the disarmament of Iraq is taking place and the inspections have showed that this is a credible way of disarming a country..."

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, March 24: "I think one has to be accurate - France didn't oppose, didn't seek to oppose, the United States. We defended principles, within a collective framework, that of the United Nations, where, from start to finish, France had the support of the vast majority of states, as well as that of the majority of the international community."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, interview in Die Zeit newspaper, March 26: "We can't have everyone acting individually as we're seeing at the moment. We need a debate and a decision about treaty-based non-proliferation."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, interview in Der Spiegel magazine, March 22: "We need international rules and institutions with which to ensure even more effectively that there is no proliferation of weapons of mass destruction... I don't want to imagine that we are facing a series of disarmament wars. We should instead make sure that the instruments for reaching a peaceful solution, above all the United Nations, are further developed. ... Complete disarmament of Iraq could certainly have been achieved with a combination of military pressure, inspections, and concrete steps... It must not become the case that we end up with the choice between letting a terrible danger develop or being forced into a war of disarmament... US power is a decisive factor for peace and stability in the world... But a world order cannot work with the national interest of the strongest power defining the criteria for the use of that country's military might. In the end, the same rules must apply to the big, the medium-sized, and the small."

Costas Laliotis, Secretary of the governing Greek Socialist Party, March 20: "Bush is reserving for himself the role of sole ruler and world ruler. Bush and his hawks...erased every hope of a peaceful solution."

Indian Foreign Ministry Statement, March 20: "It is with the deepest anguish that we have seen reports of the commencement of military action in Iraq. ... Recent weeks have seen serious divergence of opinion among members of the UN Security Council on action in respect of Iraq's compliance with Resolution 1441. It is a matter of grave concern that continuing differences within the Security Council prevented a harmonization of the positions of its members, resulting in seriously impairing the authority of the UN system. The military action begun today thus lacks justification. It also appears from the various pronouncements of Dr. Hans Blix and Dr. ElBaradei that military action was avoidable."

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, March 12: "It is wrong if an outside force changes power in a country and places a regime of its choice. We do not support that. ... It is my belief that there will be no unilateral action, because that means ignoring the United Nations and putting the world at risk..."

Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, March 20: "The government and the people of Indonesia strongly deplores the unilateral action taken by the Government of the United States of America and its allies that have decided to go to war against Iraq. Indonesia deeply regrets that the multilateral process through the UN Security Council has been sidelined. Indonesia is of the view that the use of military force against Iraq based on the unilateral decision constitutes an act of aggression which is in contravention to international law. This unilateral military action has also threatened the world order."

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, March 21: "We have opposed this move from the outset and today we again clearly condemn this military attack... [This war] is a threat against humanity and global peace, since it is based on a horrible illusion of a superpower which [believes] that, since it has force, it has the right to impose its demands at will at whatever cost..."

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, March 20: "That we stand on the verge of military conflict is both a tragedy and a failure. A tragedy, because any conflict, no matter who its protagonists may be, and no matter how worthy or unworthy its aims, brings suffering and death to combatants and to civilians. A failure, because for twelve years, and as restated by Resolution 1441, the objective of the international community has been the complete disarmament of Iraq by peaceful means. Our failure has been a collective one, in that it is through the United Nations that the nations of the world seek to act together to maintain international peace, stability and security. The credibility and prestige of the United Nations has suffered a heavy blow through the inability of the Security Council, so impressively united in the autumn, to agree on an appropriate way forward."

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, March 20: "The goal of this attack is the overthrow of a despot who possesses weapons of mass destruction and who has sown death, ruin and destruction among his people and among the entire world. This attack is part of the international struggle being led by US President George Bush against a global axis of terror. I would like, at the outset, to send President Bush, the soldiers of the US and allied military forces, and the entire American people, my best wishes for success. Your war is the war of the free world, the world that seeks liberty and democracy, against the black forces of wickedness that act in only one way - that of terror. ... I hope and believe that the successful conclusion of the American campaign in Iraq and the uprooting of the evil terrorist regime of Saddam Hussein will mark the beginning of a new era, one that is better for our region and for the entire world!"

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, March 20: "We see this aggression today plunging the world into a tunnel where one cannot see the end."

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad, March 21: "Maybe after the attacks on Iraq, their next target will be Iran and other nations like Sudan and Libya. These countries have been accused of being ruled with an iron fist, and the US has claimed that they want to liberate the people. ... The superpowers - including the US, Britain and Spain - have such low morals to the extent that they are supporting assassination as a weapon of national policy. This is scary as we do not know who is going to be the next victim. ... We do not believe that by killing others we can settle any dispute."

Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad, February 24: "The blatant double-standards is what infuriates Muslims, infuriates them to the extent of launching their own terror attacks... If the innocent people who died in the attack on Afghanistan, and those who have been dying from lack of food and medical care in Iraq, are considered collaterals, are the 3,000 who died in New York and the 200 in Bali also just collaterals? ... It is no longer a war against terrorism. It is in fact a war to dominate the world - i.e., the chromatically-different world."

Mexican President Vicente Fox, March 20: "We are against the war."

President Fox, speaking after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Chretien, February 27: "Like Canada, Mexico is a peaceful country known...for its struggle in favour of peaceful solutions to international conflicts... Precisely because we are pledged to achieve the peace of the world, we have repeated the need to achieve the disarmament of Iraq through multilateral means."

Senator Federico Ling, leader member of President Fox's ruling National Action Party, March 26: "The UN Security Council is a much safer guarantee than the opinion of an autocrat and a despot like George Bush... We must propose a demand for immediate withdraw, they must withdraw from a country that has been illegally invaded..."

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, March 20: "The government reiterates its profound regret that the diplomatic process being conducted in the Security Council and through the inspection and disarmament process was unable to run its course. ... We continue to hold to the view that the inspection process was making good headway, and it is unfortunate that the UN Security Council was unable to agree on its continuation."

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, March 20: "Pakistan deplores the initiation of military action against Iraq. Our position is quite clear - we are against it."

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Durao Barroso, March 20: "At this difficult time, Portugal reaffirms its support for its allies, with whom it shares the values of freedom and democracy, and expresses the hope that this action is carried out swiftly and achieves its aims..."

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, March 21: "We have many times raised the following question with our American partners: how does Baghdad specifically threaten them? And we did not get a clear answer even once. It is noteworthy that even respected US politicians, in particular, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, have said that the strike against Iraq is the first war in the history of the US started by the US in the absence of a direct threat. Likewise, there are no convincing facts to confirm the accusations that Iraq supports international terrorism. It is no chance, therefore, that the supporters of the forcible solution began to prioritize questions that were not directly related to the UN Security Council resolutions. They started to say that inspections did not matter and that what mattered was that Iraq was to disarm itself and to prove that to the world at large. This was followed by statements that the point is not in disarming Iraq but in changing its regime. A new argument was put forth quite recently, that the war against Iraq is needed in order to begin democratic reforms in the entire Islamic world. In other words, attempts were being made to find pretexts for justifying a military solution of the Iraqi problem. And this was happening at the time when prospects for disarming Iraq with the help of international inspectors were becoming increasingly real. ... The reaction of most countries in the world shows that the US actions against Iraq do not have international support. Playing with the thesis about the creation of a broad-based anti-Iraqi coalition can hardly convince anyone, let alone replace the will of the international community, which must be expressed only through the United Nations Organization. Particularly hard to understand are attempts to present this action as one of 'liberation'."

Foreign Minister Ivanov, March 21: "[The so-called 'coalition of the willing' is more like an amorphous thing, which Washington and London are trying to present as a coalition to show they're not alone. ... All the declarations about the existence of an anti-Iraq coalition are thought-up..."

Foreign Minister Ivanov, March 18: "Unfortunately today, in connection with the looming threat of war against Iraq, the unity of the international anti-terrorist coalition is under threat..."

Foreign Minister Ivanov, March 5: "By the way, if, in December 1998, the previous head of the international inspectors, [UNSCOM Executive Chair] Mr. [Richard] Butler, had not recalled the inspectors from Iraq all by himself - whereupon the military action of the US and the UK followed - then, perhaps, today's crisis would not be there."

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, April 1: "Saddam is neither friend nor brother to us, and he will never pay off debts to us... It's the question of precedent: today the United States doesn't like Syria, then Iran, then North Korea, and then what, everyone else? ... We are drawing some military-political conclusions, because this conflict makes us remember the words of [Tsar] Alexander III who said that Russia has only two reliable allies - the Army and the Navy. While the international system is coming apart at the seams, they must provide a reliable defence."

Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry Statement, March 20: "The Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, expressed the Kingdom's profound concern and deep regret about the launch of military attacks on Iraq. Prince Saud reiterated the position of the Kingdom that it would by no means take part in a war against brotherly Iraq, and confirmed that the Kingdom's armed forces would not take a step inside Iraqi territories."

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, March 8: "I don't think the United States is the kind of country that takes the course of unjustified aggression. If Iraq presented what it had in weapons if mass destruction, the matter will be over."

South African Government Statement, March 20: "War is not a solution to world problems. This unilateral resort to force is compounded by the fact progress was being made in dealing with the matter of disarmament of Iraq with regard to any weapons of mass destruction. It sets a regrettable precedence which undermines the authority of the UN in dealing global affairs."

Statement by the Swedish Government, March 21: "The United States and its allies are attacking Iraq without a UN mandate and are therefore acting in breach of international law. ... Military action against Iraq could have been accepted as a last resort in the event of a refusal by Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations Security Council in accordance with resolution 1441, and Iraq's continued development or possession of weapons of mass destruction. It is only the UN Security Council that has the right to evaluate the actions of Iraq and to decide on the use of force - not any individual state."

Statement by the Syrian Government, March 22: "As it condemns this barbaric aggression to which our Iraqi brethren are being subjected...Syria calls for an immediate end to the war and the withdrawal of invading forces... [This conflict may have] grave ramifications on the security of the region. ... [Syria] urges the United Nations to assume its role in addressing this dangerous situation...[caused by a] flagrant infringement [of international law]..."

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Selected Comment, V: International and Regional Organisations

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, March 26: "All of us must regret that our intense efforts to achieve a peaceful solution, through this Council, did not succeed. Many people ask why the Iraqi government did not take full advantage of the last chance they were given by the Council, by cooperating actively, wholeheartedly - in substance as well as procedure - with the inspectors that the Council sent to ensure that Iraq was disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. But, at the same time, many people around the world are seriously questioning whether it was legitimate for some member states to proceed to such a fateful action now - an action that has far-reaching consequences well beyond the immediate military dimensions - without first reaching a collective decision of this Council.

Hans Blix, UNMOVIC Executive Chairman, March 27: "So far we have not identified or heard from the allies that anything that was proscribed would have been used [by Iraq]... I don't think they would do it [use chemical or biological weapons] because, first of all, the world would say that they were liars. And, in the second place, it would also then change, I think, the attitude of the world toward the armed conflict. The scepticism about the armed conflict would, I think, give way to one of greater understanding..."

Hans Blix, March 18: "I don't think it is reasonable to close the door to inspections after three and a half months... I think it is unlikely they will [use any chemical or biological weapons they may have]...because I think world opinion, which they study quite a lot, is in large measure feeling that going to war [now] is too early... So there is a fair amount of scepticism about armed action. That scepticism would turn immediately around if they used chemical weapons or biological weapons. My guess is they would not."

Hans Blix, March 5: "If war breaks out, of course, I think that is a serious failure for the approach through inspection to disarmament..."

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, March 13: "I think there's a keen desire globally to do everything before resorting to war... We haven't really told them [the Iraqis] specifically what they need to do... You need to give them adequate time, and the time obviously is linked to the task you're asking them to do..."

Mohamed ElBaradei, March 9: "We've been pushing the gas pedal as much as we can... We will continue the work until we're told to stop..."

Mohamed ElBaradei, February 9: "We think in our hearts, we believe that we need to avoid war, not only to prove that inspections can work, but because war is a sign of failure..."

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, March 20: "It's a sad day for all Arabs that Iraq and its people should be subjected to a military strike which will leave nothing standing and take no account of civilians nor of the whole of Iraq. I feel saddened and angry in the face of this aggression. ... [The United Nations should take] the necessary steps to stop this destructive war...despite having been marginalized when the decision was taken for war..."

Amr Moussa, March 31: "Do you think that democracy will come to Iraq on a B-52? Or on the back of a tank? Or with an armoured division?"

Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Said Kamal, March 20: "After Iraq, one day, it will be other Arab countries' turn... The question is, for every Arab citizen: who gave the authorisation to Bush to interfere in Iraqi affairs? Who gave this authorisation?"

Yahya Mahmassani, the Arab League's Permanent Representative to the UN, March 26: "The credibility of the [Security] Council, the credibility of the whole international system, is collapsing under the bombing of Basra and Baghdad..."

Statement of the President of the European Council, Greek Foreign Minister George A. Papandreou, March 22: "Greece is a country for peace. The EU is a structure that is a structure of peace. Greece is carrying the weight of the EU Presidency and has taken initiatives for peace in recent months and weeks, during the Iraq crisis. And today in our minds - in our hearts - is [the question of] how we can contribute, in this great crisis, to solving the problem of the Iraqi people in the midst of war; to solving the humanitarian problem of those who are suffering directly, whether in Iraq or in the neighbourhood of Iraq, as a result of this crisis and this war."

Related material on Acronym website:

Reports: Iraq denies cheating, Bush backs new resolution, Reuters, February 6; France said to favor peacekeepers in Iraq, Associated Press, February 8; Text - Bush says Iraq defying UN calls to declare weapons, disarm, US Department of State (Washington File), February 8; Blix wants more time for UN inspectors, Associated Press, February 9; Germany says Iraq disarmament proposal to be brought to Security Council, Associated Press, February 9; Inspectors reflect on Iraq progress, Associated Press, February 9; Germany, France, Belgium block Iraq plan, Associated Press, February 10; NATO rift deepens over Iraq, BBC News Online, February 10; Blix says no new evidence from Iraq trip, Reuters, February 10; US sees fractured UN and NATO on Iraq, Reuters, February 10; Iraq says it will allow U-2 flights, Washington File, February 10; Bush lays bare split with France over Iraq, Reuters, February 10; Secretary-General says United Nations has duty to exhaust all possibilities of peaceful settlement before resorting to use of force, UN Press Release SG/SM/8600, February 10; Press statement by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, February 10, 2003, NATO website; Joint Declaration on Iraq from Russia, Germany and France, February 11, 2002, Russian Foreign Ministry text; Iraq - non-paper on French propositions regarding the reinforcement of the inspections' regime, document presented to UNMOVIC, IAEA and members of the Security Council, February 11, 2002, French Foreign Ministry website, http://www.france.diplomatie.fr ; Reckless administration may reap disastrous consequences, speech to the US Senate by Robert Byrd, February 12, Congressional Record; Statements to the Security Council, UN Press Release SC/7664, February 14; After hearing UN inspectors' reports, Security Council debates next steps in Iraq, UN News Service, February 14; Statement by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov at the United Nations Security Council meeting, New York, February 14, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Statement by Joschka Fischer, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, at the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, February 14, 2003, German Embassy in Washington, D.C., http://www.germany-info.org ; Iraq, address by Mr Dominique de Villepin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, February 14, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; Jack Straw's response to weapons inspectors' report, February 14, 2003, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, http://www.fco.gov.uk ; Transcript - Powell says Iraq must not be allowed to 'string out' inspection process, Washington File, February 14; The status of nuclear inspections in Iraq - 14 February 2003 update by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA websitehttp://www.iaea.org; Briefing of the Security Council, 14 February 2003, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Dr. Hans Blix, UNMOVIC website, http://www.unmovic.org ; NATO delays meeting to hear UN report, Associated Press, February 14; Mass marches in London and Damascus, clashes in Athens on day of global protest, Associated Press, February 15; Demonstrations underscore popular support for France's anti-war stance, Associated Press, February 15; Massive crowd floods Rome in peace protest, Associated Press, February 15; Decision sheet of the Defence Planning Committee, NATO Press Release, February 16; Statement by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson after the NATO Defence Planning Committee meeting, February 16, 2003, NATO website; Rice calls Security Council's actions 'appeasement', Washington Post, February 17; Britain acknowledges anti-war sentiment, Associated Press, February 17; Peace rallies may impede push for war, Associated Press, February 19; Text - Bush on NATO Planning Committee decision on Turkey, Washington File, February 19; Blair warns Iraq ties with Al Qaeda are growing, Reuters, February 21; Iraq warns 'American machine of war' also could threaten other developing countries, Associated Press, February 21; British foreign secretary presents 'moral case' for war on Iraq, Associated Press, February 21; Malaysian leader accuses West of seeking to dominate nonwhite nations, Associated Press, February 24; Iraq - Memorandum, February 24, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; US, Britain, Spain present new resolution on Iraq, Washington File, February 24; 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Negroponte, Security Council Stakeout, March 17, 2003, US Mission to the UN, http://www.un.int/usa ; Annan to withdraw UN staff from Iraq, UN News Service, March 17; Daschle - Bush diplomacy fails 'miserably', Associated Press, March 17; Press encounter with the Secretary-General at the Security Council Stakeout, March 17, 2003, UN website; Introductory statement to the Board of Governors by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, March 17, 2003, IAEA website; Probe for Iraqi weapons should have continued - Blix, UN News Service, March 18; French President Jacques Chirac criticizes Bush war announcement, Associated Press, March 18; Declaration on Iraq by M. Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic, March 18, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; Iraq - communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic, March 18, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; Chretien defends decision to opt out of active role in Iraq war, Associated Press, March 18; Excerpt - Boucher announces Coalition for Immediate Disarmament of Iraq, Washington File, March 18; Saddam spurns Bush ultimatum, world split over war, Reuters, March 18; Russia says US anti-terror coalition could be hit, Reuters, March 18; Cook's resignation speech, BBC News Online, March 18; Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Joschka Fischer, public meeting of the Security Council, March 19, 2003, German Embassy in Washington, D.C; Introduction of draft UNMOVIC Work Programme 19 March 2003, Executive Chairman Dr. Hans Blix, UNMOVIC website; Iraq - statement by Ambassador Greenstock to the UN Security Council, 19 March 2003, UK Mission to the UN; Iraq - address by His Excellency Dominique de Villepin before the United Nations Security Council, March 19, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; Transcript - US ready with aid for Iraq, says Negroponte, Washington File, March 19; Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council, New York, March 19, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Statement by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, March 19, 2003, Italian Foreign Ministry website, http://www.esteri.it; Blair wins backing amid war revolt, BBC News Online, March 19; Importance of humanitarian aid for Iraq stressed, as Security Council members voice different views on disarmament process, UN Press Release SC/7697, March 19; As war looms, Security Council discusses Iraqi disarmament, relief aid, UN News Service, March 19; Statement by the Secretary-General to the Security Council, March 19, 2003, UN website; The work programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1284 (1999), March 19, 2003, IAEA website; Outlining disarmament tasks for Iraq, Blix laments lack of time for inspections, UN News Service, March 19; Transcript - President Bush announces start of military action against Iraq, Washington File, March 19; Mubarak blames Iraq for crisis, Associated Press, March 19; Iraq's Aziz puts defection rumors to rest, Associated Press, March 19; 'My thoughts today are with the Iraqi people' says Secretary-General, pledging UN assistance, support as they face 'yet another ordeal', UN Press Release SG/SM/8644, March 20; Iraq today, turn of other Arab states to come - League, Agence France Presse, March 20; Bush trumpets anti-Saddam coalition - war opponents unmoved, Agence France Presse, March 20; Portuguese government defends war support against broad outcry, Associated Press, March 20; Prime Minister Blair's address to the nation, March 20, 2003, Prime Minister's website; Edited transcript of a press conference by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, London, Thursday 20 March 2003, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Statement by official spokesperson on the commencement of military action in Iraq, March 20, 2003, Indian Ministry of External Affairs website, http://meadev.nic.in ; Germany leaders speak out on the war on Iraq, March 20, 2003, German Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Statement of the Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China, March 20, 2003, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn ; Press conference by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, March 20, 2003, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Address to the nation by John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, March 20, 2003, website of the Prime Minister, http://www.pm.gov.au ; Rt. Hon Helen Clark, Statement to the House on military action in Iraq, March 20, 2003, New Zealand government , http://www.beehive.govt.nz; Reaction from lawmakers to Iraq strikes, Associated Press, March 20; Message from Prime Minister Gut Verhofstadt concerning Iraq, March 20, 2003, Belgian Foreign Ministry website, http://www.diplomatie.be ; Indonesia strongly deplores unilateral action against Iraq, March 20, 2003, Indonesian Foreign Ministry website, http://www.dfa-deplu.go.id ; Remarks by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, March 20, 2003, Israeli Foreign Ministry website, http://www.israel-mfa.gov ; For much of world, war brings protests and nervousness, New York Times, March 20; Comments from around the world on war, Associated Press, March 20; World condemns Iraq war, fears for civilian lives, Agence France Presse, March 20; Text - White House releases list of more than 40 coalition members, Washington File, March 20; Bush - more than 40 nations support action against Iraq, Washington File, March 20; Opponents and supporters of Iraq war submit resolutions to House, Washington File, March 20; Pakistan voices strong opposition as Iraq war starts, Agence France Presse, March 20; South African government reaction to the war against Iraq, March 20, 2003, South African Foreign Ministry website, http://www.dfa.gov.za ; Statement on the Iraqi conflict by the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, March 20, 2003, Brazilian Foreign Ministry website, http://www.mre.gov.br ; Statement by President Putin at a Kremlin meeting, March 20, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry transcript; Russian President Putin - Iraq crisis can be a source of instability elsewhere in world, Associated Press, March 21; Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov at the State Duma session, Moscow, March 21, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry; Report - Malaysian leader accuses US and allies of targeting Muslim countries for invasion, Associated Press, March 21; Iran leaders call for immediate halt to Iraq war, Reuters, March 21; Turkey lets US use its airspace, BBC News Online, March 21; The Swedish government's view on the Iraq issue, March 21, 2003, Swedish government website , http://www.ud.se ; Iraq asks United Nations to halt invasion, Reuters, March 22; Germany's Fischer - Iraq war must not start trend of 'disarmament wars', Associated Press, March 22; Syria wants immediate end to 'barbaric' war on Iraq, Reuters, March 22; Interview given by M. Dominique de Villepin, March 24, 2003, French Foreign Ministry; A fight for freedom, by John McCain, Washington Post, March 24; Excerpt - Bush phones Putin on Russian hardware sales to Iraq, Washington File, March 24; Arab states line up behind Iraq, BBC News Online, March 25; Secretary-General's statement to the Security Council meeting on Iraq, March 26, 2003, UN website; Security Council begins first debate on Iraq since outbreak of military action, UN News Service, March 26; Mexican president's conservative party slams war in Iraq, Associated Press, March 26; Arab countries call on the UN Security Council to seek a way to end the US-led war against Iraq, Associated Press, March 26; Schroeder wants rules to avoid repeat of Iraq war, Reuters, March 26; Statement by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, March 26, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry; Transcript of replies by Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov to questions after his speech to the Federation Council, March 26, 2003, Russian Foreign Ministry; Bush, Blair discuss war effort, Reuters, March 27; UN member states line up to condemn war against Iraq, Agence France Presse, March 27; Blix sees no evidence Iraq has used banned weapons, UN News Service, March 27; Blix has no evidence Iraq has used banned weapons, Reuters, March 27; Security Council ends Iraq debate, hears overwhelming appeal for aid to civilians, UN News Service, March 27; Security Council approves adjustments to Iraq 'oil-for-food' programme, unanimously adopting resolution 1472 (2003), UN Press Release SC/7713, March 28; Regarding the adoption by UNSC of Resolution 1472 on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 774-28-03-2003, March 28; Security Council approves adjustments to Iraq 'oil-for-food' programme, unanimously adopting resolution 1472 (2003), UN Press Release SC/7713, March 28; Annan welcomes Security Council vote on aid to Iraq, urges speedy action, UN News Service, March 28; Iraq - Security Council adopts adjustments to UN's oil-for-food programme, UN News Service, March 28; US warms Syria, Iran not to meddle in Iraq war, Reuters, March 28; Rumsfeld warns Syria, Iranian Badr corps not to interfere in Iraq, Washington File, March 28; UN Security Council restarts oil-for-food program for Iraq, Washington File, March 28; Regarding the adoption by UNSC of resolution 1472 on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 774-28-03-2003, March 28; Special search operations yield no banned weapons, Washington Post, March 30; US hopes Iraq war will make others 'back off' WMD, Reuters, March 31; Powell warns Syria and Iran to stop helping terrorists, Agence France Presse, March 31; Syria repeats opposition to US-led war on Iraq, Reuters, March 31; Arab League warns US over Syria and Iran, Reuters, March 31; UN nuclear watchdog says it must monitor Iraqi disarmament, Agence France Presse, April 1; Russian defense minister - outcome of war in Iraq 'far from certain', Associated Press, April 1; World enters uncharted foreign policy waters, official says, Washington File, April 4.

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