Iraq: storm brewing

The British Foreign Ministry has already stated that there is no proven connection between Baghdad and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Berlin has warned against the impulse to find new targets and France considers an attack on Iraq “unnecessary”. The Arab league is peremptory in its response to this hypothesis: No! The response from Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Igor Ivanov was “This is not the right moment to analyse different scenarios”.

The United States of America, however, is determined to put President Saddam Hussein in a position whereby either he accepts inspections by UN arms inspectors, “to prove to the world that he does not have weapons of mass destruction” (in the words of president Bush) or “he will see very well” what the consequences are. Saddam Hussein shows no sign of relenting, due to the fact that the Iraqi’s see the inspectors as spies and maintain that if other states, such as Israel, have the right to such weapons, then so does Iraq.

Senior diplomatic sources in Jordan have declared: “The question is not if the United States will attack Iraq, but when. These attacks are certain to happen”.

Washington has many diplomatic rounds to complete before such an attack could take place, judging from the sounding-out of the players. Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor, considers that it is dangerous to “seek new targets”, especially in the Middle East. Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister, declares that the EU regards any eventual extension of aggression to Iraq “with scepticism”. French Defence Minister Alain Richard deems a military operation against other nations, such as Iraq “not necessary”.

From the Arab world, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement, which reads: “Jordan is against the use of force, all foreign interference in Iraqi questions and any military operation which will cause a raising of the conflict, desperation and very dangerous repercussions whose effects will surpass the region”.

Baghdad is immovable in its position. “We categorically refuse any aggressive, arrogant and idiotic words used by the United States”, states the Iraqi daily As-Saura, the official publication of the ruling Ba’ath party.

A spokesperson from the Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry declared that Iraq “is capable of defending itself and defending its rights”.