PEACE IS WAR
'The Prime Minister will launch a "last
push for peace" alongside the tabling of a new UN Security
Council resolution this week,' No. 10 said on 22 Feb: 'The commitment
to a further resolution underlines our determination to explore
every means possible to deliver a peaceful outcome. If we go to
war, it is because we have to disarm Saddam.' (Observer,
23 Feb., p. 1)
'Hearing that what Britain and the
US have now embarked on is the "final push for peace"
makes you wonder whether those at the heart of government have
read George Orwell's 1984... there is every sign that war
rather than peace is what the British government is now preparing
for.' (Donald Macintyre, columnist, Independent, 25 Feb.
2003, p. 18)
The 'tabling' or presentation of their
draft resolution 'marked the beginning of what U.S. and British
officials characterized as the final push to win council backing
for a decision to go to war.' (Washington Post, 25 Feb.)
THE DRAFT WAR RESOLUTION
Shortly before it was presented,
the draft US/UK resolution was still expected to declare Iraq
to be in "material breach" of its disarmament obligations,
and to warn that it would face "serious consequences".
(Sunday Telegraph, 23 Feb., p. 28) Then, 'London appeared
to have persuaded Washington to opt for a simple text without
specifying "serious consequences" if Saddam fails to
comply.' (Sunday Times, 23 Feb., p. 1) And the draft resolution
also no longer says that Iraq is in 'further material breach'
of its obligations.
'The draft resolution would provide
no explicit authority to conduct a war. It simply states that
the council "decides that Iraq has failed to take the final
opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441." It places
several critical phrases in the preamble, including a finding
that Iraq is in further "material breach"or violationof
its disarmament obligations and warning Iraq of "serious
consequences" if it does not disarm. Those phrases have been
viewed as triggers for military action. By putting them in the
preamble, they would carry no legal weight but would serve
the purpose of signaling Washington's intent to undertake military
action.' (Washington Post, 25 Feb., p. A01)
Actually, the draft does not find
Iraq in "further material breach". It says that 'in
its resolution 1441 the [Security] Council decided that false
statements or omissions in the declaration submitted by Iraq pursuant
to that resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with,
and co-operate fully in the implementation of, that resolution,
would constitute a further material breach'. It also 'finds' that
the declaration did contain 'false statements and omissions' and
that Iraq 'has failed to comply with, and co-operate fully in
the implementation of, that resolution'. But the conclusion is
not actually drawn.
There is only one 'operative' or legally-binding
paragraph in the new draft resolution. It says simply that the
Security Council 'Decides that Iraq has failed to take the final
opportunity afforded to it by resolution 1441.'
'U.S. and British officials said the
resolution was worded this way to provide Britain and other countries
with "legal cover" to participate in a U.S.-led war
while providing opponents of war with the "political cover"
to assure their constituents that they never authorized military
action.' (Washington Post, 25 Feb., p. A01)
'It does not give explicit authorisation
for military action and does not even say that Iraq is "in
material breach" of last November's resolution 1441... The
wording is deliberately vague... A senior figure said: "The
resolution is quite light. We wanted to activate the serious consequences
without being in your face about it. The Americans were quite
clear that legally they do not need a resolution at all. But politically
we want a chance for the Security Council to remain in control."
' (Telegraph, 25 Feb., p. 1)
'In an attempt to win over waverers,
the US and Britain have abandoned hopes of a resolution that would
explicitly authorise war and opted instead for a watered-down
version that reiterates much of the last UN resolution on Iraq,
1441.' A British official said, 'The Americans' original language
was quite tough on requiring the words "material breach"
and so on. We said you simply have to refer back to resolution
1441, otherwise you're simply not going to get the nine votes.'
(Guardian, 25 Feb., pp. 1, 5) So, 'the operative paragraph
contained no ultimatum and no explicit threat of war.' (FT,
25 Feb., p. 8)
'The question was whether wavering
Council members could sign up to a text that, while likely to
be seen as legal justification by the US for military action,
they could argue was a simple statement of fact, with no endorsement
for war.' (FT, 25 Feb., p. 8) But it is not a simple statement
IRAQ HAS NOT FAILED TO SEIZE
The US is determined on war.
Inspections are an obstacle to war, therefore they must be denigrated
and shut down as soon as possible. US Secretary of State Colin
Powell said a month ago, 'The question isn't how much longer do
you need for inspections to work. Inspections will not work.'
(Independent, 23 Jan., p. 1)
Iraqi co-operation with inspectors
is an obstacle to war. Therefore it must be rubbished. President
Bush has sought to dismiss Iraqi compliance: 'Saddam Hussein can
now be expected to begin another round of empty concessions,
transparently false denials. No doubt he will play a last minute
game of deception. The game is over.' (Telegraph, 7 Feb.,
'All the war rhetoric from London
and Washington has obscured the real concessions already made
by Iraq,' points out columnist Mary Dejevsky. (Independent,
26 Feb., p. 18) Some of these were set out in the Security Council
on 14. Feb. by French Foreign Minister Dominic de Villepin, in
a speech which won applause from ambassadors: 'Real progress is
beginning to be apparent: Iraq has agreed to aerial reconnaissance
over its territory; it has allowed Iraqi scientists to be questioned
by the inspectors without witnesses; a bill barring all activities
linked to weapons of mass destruction programs is in the process
of being adopted, in accordance with a long-standing request of
the inspectors; Iraq is to provide a detailed list of experts
who witnessed the destruction of military programs in 1991.' (<www.un.int/france/>)
Not to forget inspectors' ready access
to Presidential palaces.
If we want to test Iraqi compliance,
we must follow the procedure laid down in UN Security Council
Resolution 1284, which asked inspectors to draw up the 'key
remaining disarmament tasks' for Iraq, saying that 'what
is required of Iraq for the implementation of each task shall
be clearly defined and precise'. <www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/>
This was a resolution proposed and championed by Britain, with
Now France is trying to get the Security
Council to implement this resolution. A new Franco-Russo-German
memorandum asks for the drafting of the 'key disarmament tasks'
to be `speeded up': 'The key remaining tasks shall be defined
according to their degree of priority. What is required of Iraq
for implementation of each task shall be clearly defined and precise.
Such a clear identification of tasks to be completed will oblige
Iraq to cooperate more actively. It will also provide a clear
means for the Council to assess the co-operation of Iraq.' (24
Feb. 2003, <http://www.un.int/france/>)
How can Iraq have failed the disarmament
How can you fail someone when you
haven't even written the examination paper, let alone presented
it to the person being tested, or given clear a timetable for
when it should be finished?
DID 1441 AUTHORISE WAR?
The draft US/UK resolution
does not explicitly authorise war, but British officials 'say
that it provides "water-tight" legal authority for war',
and this is the general impression one receives through the British
media. 'It would trigger the serious consequences threatened in
resolution 1441.' (Telegraph, 25 Feb., p. 1) The phrase
'serious consequences' is reported almost universally as 'diplomatic
code' for military action, thus authorising war.
This is a lie. Professor Vaughan
Lowe, Chichele Professor of Public International Law at Oxford
University, and a practising barrister was asked by the Radio
4 Today programme to consider the legality of war on Iraq
in Dec. <www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/reports/international/iraq_hearing.shtml>:
He said, 'The statement in paragraph
13 of the Resolution  that "the Council has repeatedly
warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result
of its continued violations of its obligations" is a simple
statement of what the Security Council has done in the past. It
cannot in my opinion possibly be interpreted as an express or
implied authorization to States unilaterally to take military
action against Iraq in the future.
'Certainly, paragraph 13 amounts to
an implied threat of "serious consequences" if Iraq
breaches its obligations in the future. But nothing in paragraph
13 suggests that the consequences would be decided upon and taken
by anyone other than the body that has, under the procedure
established in the immediately preceding paragraphs 11 and 12,
been given responsibility for deciding how to respond to material
breaches: that is, by the Security Council itself.
'Equally, the simple fact that Resolution
1441 does not expressly forbid the use of armed force plainly
cannot itself amount to an implied authorisation to use force...
Most Security Council resolutions do not expressly forbid the
use of force: no-one would argue that they therefore all authorise
'My conclusion, therefore, is that
under present circumstances it would be contrary to international
law for the United Kingdom to engage in military action against
Iraq, or assist any other State in taking such action, unless
it was expressly authorised to do so by the United Nations Security
Council.' Thus sinks the new resolution. The US and Britain
are engaged in a last push for an illegal war of aggression.
War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldnt Launch Another War
Against Iraq by Milan Rai
'An excellent weapon for all those opposed to Bush's war'. Tariq
'Excellent'. Alice Mahon MP
'Required reading for anyone concerned about the risk of war'.
Professor Paul Rogers, Bradford School of Peace Studies
'Timely and important'. Hilary Wainwright
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