The Guardian July 24, 2002


Opposition grows to US attack on Iraq

As the Bush administration steps up its threats against Iraq, other 
governments, especially in the Middle East, are raising strenuous 
objections.

Last week Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko reiterated 
his Country's opposition to any military operation against Iraq. "I is our 
firm belief that the groundless use of force against Iraq would have 
disastrous consequences for the entire Middle East region", Yakovenko said 
in a statement.

His comments came a day after President Bush vowed to "use all the tools at 
our disposal" to bring down the government of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. 
Russia has urged a return of international weapons inspectors to Iraq, but 
also supported the lifting of US-inspired United Nations economic sanctions 
imposed after the 1990 Gulf War.

While there has been speculation the Pentagon might stage an attack from 
Jordanian military bases, Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb last week 
declared that use of force would further aggravate the crisis in the Middle 
East and result in political and economic backlash in the region.

He told journalists that Jordan has repeatedly rejected any military action 
against Iraq, and believes pending issues should be resolved through 
positive dialogue with the United Nations in order to spare the Iraqi 
people further suffering.

Abu Ragheb categorically denied that US troops have been stationed in 
Jordan in preparation for an attack, and said Jordan will not allow its 
territory or airspace to be used against any other country. While Jordan is 
an ally of the US, Iraq is Jordan's biggest trading partner and only 
supplier of crude oil.

During a visit to Jordan, Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa Sunday affirmed 
that Arab countries generally reject and will not participate in any 
military coalition against any Arab country, including Iraq.

Also, this week, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said a US attack would be 
"a catastrophe and it will create a really difficult situation". Mubarak 
said, "The region cannot bear the burden of more crises and we do not want 
more tension when our main concern is the well-being of the Iraqi people".

Even Kuwait opposes the US plan. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah 
said last week that his country would not serve as a launch pad for future 
US attacks on its former occupier, Iraq.

Speculation about the Bush administration's plans was further fueled by a 
New York Times story last week, revealing advanced plans for an air, sea 
and land-based attack. US commentators have noted that the Bush 
administration has been unable to link Iraq to the September 11 terrorist 
attack, or to demonstrate that Iraq has nuclear, chemical or biological 
weapon capabilities.

They point out that a ground invasion, almost certainly necessary for a 
successful assault, would take up to a quarter of a million troops, who 
would probably suffer heavy casualties.

Action against Iraq would also violate the UN Charter.

Under that document and UN Resolution 687, only the Security Council can 
authorize use of force against Iraq. Besides Russia, Security Council 
members China and France oppose and could veto military action against 
Iraq.

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People's Weekly World

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