- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

Upcoming:

— U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution introduced by Britain and supported by the United States giving Iraq until March 17 to fully comply with U.N. Resolution 1441, or face war.

Summary:

The United States, with support from allies including Britain and Spain, contends Iraq has failed to disarm in compliance with U.N. Resolution 1441, and that unless Iraqi President Saddam Hussein complies and fully discloses what has happened to all of Iraq's prohibited weapons, the United States and other willing nations will attack Iraq to change the regime and ensure the nation has disarmed. The disarmament first was required by U.N. resolutions passed after the Gulf War in 1991. The war was triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which led to a U.N.-sanctioned war that pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait but left Saddam in power.

The political-diplomatic perspective:

— U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Monday that military action against Iraq without Security Council approval would be acting outside the U.N. charter and "the legitimacy and support for any such action will be seriously impaired."

— Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia would vote against the U.S.-British draft resolution. He said U.N. inspectors can complete the work of disarming Iraq.

— The speaker of the Russian Duma, Gennady Seleznyov, met with Iraqi President Saddam Monday, RTR Television reported. Seleznyov said "Russia is satisfied with how Iraq is complying with the appropriate resolution of the U.N. Security Council."

— Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States had no plans to extend a March 17 deadline and would use force if Iraq failed to disarm by then. Powell also said a French veto of the U.N. draft resolution would have "very serious" impact on Washington's relations with Paris.

— In Baghdad, Lt. Gen Hussam Muhammad Amin said Iraq was "doing our best to meet our obligations and to make any ambiguous points clear."

— The German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder might travel to New York to attend debate about Iraq at the United Nations.

— French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that France would veto, if necessary, the draft U.N. war resolution against Iraq. He also said France would not participate in any non-U.N.-sanctioned military action against Baghdad.

— French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was visiting Angola, Cameroon and Guinea — all members of the U.N. Security Council — to appeal to them to vote against the U.S. draft resolution.

Of the 15 members of the Security Council, six were said to be undecided on the resolution: Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan. Spain, Bulgaria and council permanent members the United States and Britain support it; while Syria, Germany and permanent members China, France and Russia oppose it. Permanent members of the Security Council have veto power, and Russia and France have threatened to veto the resolution.

— In Turkey, by-election results Sunday made Recep Tayyip Erdogan eligible to form a new government. That could lead to a new vote in the Turkish parliament on whether to allow up to 62,000 U.S. troops to be stationed on Turkish soil for deployment in Iraq. On March 1, the parliamentary measure failed by four votes.

— In Britain, Clare Short, international development secretary, told the British Broadcasting Corp. she will resign if Britain enters a U.S.-led war that does not have U.N. approval.

— During the weekend, anti-war demonstrators protested in Washington, as well as in cities in Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan and the Czech Republic. A rally in support of President Bush was held in Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg.

The military perspective:

— Turkey is building up forces along its border with northern Iraq. Turkish armored vehicles entered northern Iraq Sunday and arrived at Bemerni town where a Turkish base is set up. The Turkish military convoy was escorted by members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of two main factions of the Iraqi Kurds.

— Ships carrying U.S. cargo on Sunday unloaded at the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun, local media reported. The cargo was put on trucks, which headed to a base at Ghaziantep. Late last week, U.S. equipment was shipped to the southeastern town of Kiziltepe town of Mardin, close to the Iraqi border.

— Coalition forces on Monday bombed a mobile radar system, part of a surface-to-air missile system, that was moved into the southern no-fly zone, about 230 miles from Baghdad.

— On Sunday, U.S. aircraft bombed five unmanned underground military communication sites 60 miles from Baghdad after Iraqi forces fired a surface-to-air missile at coalition aircraft, U.S. Central Command announced.

— On Monday, coalition forces dropped 480,000 leaflets directing Iraqis to radio frequencies where they can hear allied messages about Saddam.

— The allied buildup in the Persian Gulf region includes these approximate troop figures: 250,000 U.S.; 45,000 British; 2,000 Australian.

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