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 Thursday, March 13, 2003

  The Test of Wills on Iraq - The Countdown

Full text: UN security council resolution 1441 on Iraq

White House officials insisted that they would force a vote on the resolution by Friday, whether or not they had the votes.

Hardening their position, Turkey's leaders insist they need further assurances about post-war Iraq before they allow U.S. troops to deploy along the border for an attack. In a new complication, they also are refusing to let the Pentagon use Turkish airspace without approval from parliament

Former president Bill Clinton, who has generally supported the Bush administration's Iraq policy in recent remarks, called on his successor yesterday to accept a more relaxed timeline in exchange for support from a majority of the United Nations Security Council members.Clinton's speech to a meeting of union leaders in Washington, appeared to be the first time the former president has publicly espoused an approach substantially different from the administration's public stance

New York City joins more than 100 other cities and towns, including Los Angeles and Chicago, that have passed similar resolutions voicing opposition to the administration's course on Iraq.The resolution, approved 31-17, says that New York opposes a pre-emptive strike against Iraq without U.N. Security Council approval or evidence of the threat of an imminent attack, and that war should only be a last resort to force the Iraqi president to comply with U.N. disarmament orders.

Speculation is growing as to whether the US and its allies will stop seeking a fresh UN resolution against Iraq before launching military action. Spain, which is co-sponsoring a draft resolution along with the US and UK, indicated on Wednesday there was little point in putting a motion forward that was already destined to fail.

The Bush administration believes that it is one vote shy of having nine of 15 votes needed on a U.N. Security Council resolution giving Iraq an ultimatum to disarm. The U.S. official also said the United States is confident it has the support of the three African members of the Security Council -- Cameroon, Guinea and Angola.

Richard Perle, the influential foreign policy hawk, is suing journalist Seymour Hersh over an article he wrote implying that Mr. Perle is using his position as a Pentagon adviser to benefit financially from a war to liberate Iraq. "I intend to launch legal action in the United Kingdom. I’m talking to Queen’s Counsel right now," Mr. Perle, who chairs the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, a non-paying position, told The New York Sun last night.

ESSAY: To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

European Union could withhold help in rebuilding Iraq after a war if the conflict did not have U.N. approval, a senior EU commissioner has said. Chris Patten, EU commissioner for external relations, warned on Wednesday that without proper authority the EU might find it difficult to release cash from its external relations budget.

A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker. Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone's project director accused Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the U.N. Security Council and the public.

In a delivered yesterday to President Bush, U.S. war veterans questioned the wisdom of invading Iraq now and sought a meeting with the White House to discuss their concerns. Initiated by the Washington- based veterans' group Veterans for Common Sense, the letter was e-mailed to veterans this weekend and quickly gathered 986 signatories, including high- ranking officers and Kris Kristofferson READ THE LETTER

The UK has set out six conditions that Iraq must fulfil to avoid war, calling for them to be attached to a new UN Security Council resolution.

At the U.N., Canada's envoy urged an updated compromise with a three-week deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war.

Democratic and Republican senators criticized the Bush administration for being secretive about plans for a postwar Iraq after a Pentagon official failed to show up at a Senate hearing on Tuesday on the topic.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Monday that Japan, which had expressed support for a U.S.-proposed March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war, will not help foot the bill for any military action."We will not bear the burden of paying for war," Koizumi told reporters. However, he said Japan would cooperate in any reconstruction of Iraq, as it is doing in Afghanistan

Britain says Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must declare on television that he will give up hidden weapons of mass destruction as one of six conditions to avoid war. The Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien says the conditions, which Britain has said it wants to attach to a draft second resolution on Iraq, are being discussed with fellow UN Security Council members.

Islamic scholars at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the preeminent seat of Sunni Muslim learning in the Arab world, have declared a U.S. attack on Iraq would threaten all Arabs and Muslims and urged a jihad to defend their interests. The statement, published in Egyptian newspapers today, said the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf region in preparation for a likely invasion of Iraq is part of a new "crusade," a highly emotive word in the Arab world, where the medieval Crusades still frame relations with the West.



A former commander of a special police unit led the group which assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the government alleges. In a statement the government said the commander, Milorad Lukovic who is better known as Legija, was among 20 suspects

The Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, has been assassinated in the capital, Belgrade. He was shot in front of government offices at around 1300 (1200 gmt) on Wednesday. He had been hit twice by large-calibre sniper rifle bullets, once in the stomach and once in the back. .

The Air Force prepared Wednesday to resume reconnaissance flights off the coast of North Korea, 10 days after Korean fighter jets intercepted an Air Force plane equipped to monitor missile tests, a senior U.S. official said.

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