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U.S.: Nine nations pledge troops - Armitage expresses concern Saddam Hussein may give al-Qaeda WMD
The Dallas Morning News ^ | Jan | By RICHARD WHITTLE / The Dallas Morning News

Posted on 01/31/2003 6:59:27 AM PST by MeekOneGOP


U.S.: Nine nations pledge troops

Iraq has 'weeks and not months' to disarm, White House says

01/31/2003

By RICHARD WHITTLE / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON - Nine nations will commit troops, and nearly two dozen will let U.S. forces use their territory and airspace for a war with Iraq, a top State Department official said Thursday.

"I do not desire to announce the names publicly," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He said 21 countries have pledged to give U.S. forces "access en route" to Iraq, up to 23 will allow basing and 22 countries have promised overflight rights.

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"We've got a total of nine countries who have either fully committed or partially committed some troops," Mr. Armitage added, disputing warnings that the United States and Britain will be virtually alone if they decide to attack Iraq without backing from the United Nations.

Echoing a statement President Bush made earlier Thursday, Mr. Armitage said Iraq had "a matter of weeks and not months," to comply with the U.N. demand that it disarm.

The leaders of Germany and France have declared themselves against going to war with Iraq and rebuked the United States for threatening military action.

But the leaders of Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain signed an article on the opinion page in Thursday's Wall Street Journal calling on global leaders to back the U.S. position.

"Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat," the article said. "Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world."

Congress wants evidence

Mr. Armitage said Secretary of State Colin Powell was working "24/7" on the statement he is to make to the U.N. Security Council next week aimed at persuading the international body to back the hard U.S. line against Iraq.

Mr. Powell is to present evidence gathered by intelligence agencies that Iraq is thwarting U.N. inspectors, is hiding illegal weapons of mass destruction and has connections to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

"This is more than just an appearance before the Security Council," Mr. Armitage said. "We're going to try to lay this out for the world."

Senators urged that Mr. Powell present the evidence to Congress before he goes to the United Nations on Wednesday.

"I'm not your opponent, but my people [constituents] want to know why we're going to do this," Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., told Mr. Armitage and U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte, who testified together.

Mr. Armitage said the administration "owes" Congress as much information as it can give on Iraq, but he declined to promise that Mr. Powell would appear.

Among the points Mr. Powell will make to the Security Council is that "there are al-Qaeda in Baghdad," Mr. Armitage said.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, said the claim of a link between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda terrorists was "not real."

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is a "secular leader" who has oppressed fundamentalist Muslims in his country, Mr. Biden said. "Osama bin Laden would like to kill Saddam Hussein," he ventured.

Mr. Armitage replied that "after 9-11, a lot of things changed."

"It's clear that al-Qaeda is harbored, to some extent, in Iraq, that there is a presence in Iraq," Mr. Armitage said.

There is "some evidence," he added, that the assassination in Jordan of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley on Oct. 28 was "orchestrated" by an al-Qaeda member "resident in Baghdad" - an apparent reference to Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, a top al-Qaeda commander.

Last month, Jordan arrested two men described as members of an al-Qaeda cell and charged them with Mr. Foley's killing.

Information Minister Mohammad Affash Adwan said at the time that the men received from Mr. al-Zarqawi machine guns, grenades and money to carry out terrorist attacks against embassies and diplomats in Jordan.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Mr. al-Zarqawi, an international fugitive believed to be one of al-Qaeda's top chemical weapons experts, had a leg amputated in a Baghdad hospital after being wounded in Afghanistan.

"I am not making the case here that this is a 9-11 connection," Mr. Armitage said. But it is al-Qaeda's "thirst for the weapons of mass destruction - and our belief that if Saddam Hussein can pass them to people who will do us ill without being caught, he will do it - that gives us so much concern."

Weighing the risks

Mr. Biden said the administration should portray possible military action as a move to enforce the 1991 U.N. agreement with Iraq that ended the Gulf War rather than as a pre-emptive strike.

"We are not acting pre-emptively," Mr. Biden said. "We are enforcing a surrender document."

But Mr. Biden said the risk of taking military action within weeks might outweigh the risk of giving the U.N. inspectors another six months or so to do their work.

Several Democrats, and Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., argued that there would be little risk in letting the inspections continue.

"Why not wait a year?" Mr. Chafee asked. "I think the American people are feeling, with the inspectors in there, there is a sense of security."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said more of Iraq's weapons were destroyed by U.N. inspectors in the 1990s than by bombs dropped in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"We should give the process a chance to work, and then we'll have a chance to develop the type of coalition we had in the first Gulf War," Mrs. Boxer said.

Mr. Armitage replied, "From our point of view, 12 years, two months and some days is about enough time."

Mr. Armitage and Mr. Negroponte said that without Iraqi cooperation, the 108 inspectors in Iraq - a nation the size of California - would find it impossible to uncover Iraq's biological and chemical weapons stocks, even if their ranks were bolstered with more inspectors.

"More inspectors is not going to force more cooperation," Mr. Armitage said. "If you're not going to get the cooperation, another year will only make the situation worse."

After Mr. Powell speaks at the United Nations, "We're going to enter into a dynamic phase of our diplomacy," Mr. Negroponte told the committee.

Getting the U.N. Security Council to adopt a second resolution backing the use of military force more explicitly than the resolution the body approved last fall would be "desirable but not absolutely necessary," Mr. Negroponte testified.

"We'll let this germinate a bit, and then we'll make a judgment," he said.

E-mail rwhittle@dallasnews.com


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/world/stories/013103dnintiraqforce.642a4.html


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; colinpowell; imminentiraqwar; iraq; richardarmitage; terrorism; waronterror; wmd
There is no doubt in my mind that Hussein, the Evil one, would use WMD or pass them to terrorists...

"I am not making the case here that this is a 9-11 connection," Mr. Armitage said. But it is al-Qaeda's "thirst for the weapons of mass destruction – and our belief that if Saddam Hussein can pass them to people who will do us ill without being caught, he will do it – that gives us so much concern."

< snip >

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said more of Iraq's weapons were destroyed by U.N. inspectors in the 1990s than by bombs dropped in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"We should give the process a chance to work, and then we'll have a chance to develop the type of coalition we had in the first Gulf War," Mrs. Boxer said.

Mr. Armitage replied, "From our point of view, 12 years, two months and some days is about enough time."


1 posted on 01/31/2003 6:59:28 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: All



2 posted on 01/31/2003 7:00:59 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: All

Arms Inspector Meets With Saddam Hussein


3 posted on 01/31/2003 7:01:19 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: All
Debate escalates over war with Iraq -
Bush continues to press his case;
'RATS warn of consequences

Excerpt (see post #13):

"An asymmetric capability of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons gives an otherwise weak country the power to intimidate and blackmail. We risk sending a dangerous signal to other would-be proliferators if we do not respond decisively to Iraq's transgressions. Conversely, a firm response would enhance deterrence and go a long way toward protecting our citizens from the pernicious threat of proliferation. . . . Fateful decisions will be made in the days and weeks ahead. At issue is nothing less than the fundamental question of whether or not we can keep the most lethal weapons known to mankind out of the hands of an unreconstructed tyrant and aggressor who is in the same league as the most brutal dictators of this century" Senator Joseph Biden, D-DE [Congressional Record, 2/12/98].

4 posted on 01/31/2003 7:03:11 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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To: MeeknMing
Nine nations pledge troops

But Sen. Kerry (D-Heinz) blasted Bush for dangerous unilateralism?

5 posted on 01/31/2003 7:36:05 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: MeeknMing
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, said the claim of a link between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda terrorists was "not real."

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is a "secular leader" who has oppressed fundamentalist Muslims in his country, Mr. Biden said. "Osama bin Laden would like to kill Saddam Hussein," he ventured.

What a simpleton.

6 posted on 01/31/2003 7:43:45 AM PST by happygrl
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To: happygrl
Contrast that to Biden's take of WMD from 1998 in post #4...
7 posted on 01/31/2003 9:27:48 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (9 out of 10 Republicans agree: Bush IS a Genius !!)
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