Gorbachev: Hands off Iraq

Mikhail Gorbachev, the ex-President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, has issued a clear warning to the United States of America and the United Kingdom: do not attack Iraq. He claimed in London that such an attack could destroy the coalition against terror and threaten world peace.

Mikhail Gorbachev spelt out a clear message to the USA and UK: use diplomatic channels to lessen the growing tension. Meanwhile, there are rumours that Jordan has secretly given permission to the USA to use bases inside the country for eventual attacks against Iraq, after assurances from Washington that such an attack would only take place in 2003.

These rumours are hotly denied in Amman, yet at the same time, a senior British Ministry of Defence spokesperson has declared that the UK is preparing to ready a force of a division (20,000) of seasoned troops for a ground assault against Iraq in the new year. This division, according to the source, who remains unnamed, is to be composed of armoured and infantry brigades, to fight alongside a US force of some 250,000 men, using at the same time an uprising of dissidents inside Iraq.

This attack is reported to be programmed for the early spring of 2003. It is known that British prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush have already discussed in detail the regime they would like to see in Iraq in a post-Saddam scenario and this is likely to be based upon an approach similar to that used in Afghanistan, namely to allow the local population to make their decisions, within a framework of military security provided by the allies.

Mikhail Gorbachev, however, hopes that the voice of diplomacy will rule the day: “I hope the United States and Britain will not be fighting a war in the Middle East. They should be using political measures, not military”, he said, adding that “The right approach to this issue can only be developed in coordination with the United States and Russia, as co-sponsors of the peace process, the European Union and the Arab countries. They should all work together”.

So they should but nowadays the United Nations Security Council is an emasculated body, systematically insulted and over-ridden by a USA which insists on flexing its muscles, to what end nobody is certain.