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26 September 2002 Edition

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Blair rolls over

So it would appear that George Michael's music video 'Shoot the Dog' hit the bulls eye as far as relations between Britain and the US go.

Only five minutes back from his get-together with Bush in Camp David, and Blair is already singing the President's tune on Iraq. The British leader, who appeared a little cautious when leaving for the States, has now thrown that caution to the wind.

On Tuesday, in a special nine-hour session in the British Parliament, Blair prepared his colleagues for the possibility of war with a rallying cry for US policy, falling just short of committing to a regime change.

Opening the session, he declared that Saddam Hussein had an active and growing programme of weapons of mass destruction, and referred to him as a murderous dictator. He reassured alarmed MPs that the British-US purpose was to see the implementation of UN resolutions, but anti-war MPs noted that he was keeping his options open, telling the house at one point that the whole world would be better off without Saddam. The sad thing is that, despite Saddam's atrocious record on upholding the human rights of the Iraqi people, it is those same people that will suffer further in any foreseeable war.

Blair has refused to comment on whether Britain would engage with the US on unsanctioned measures against Iraq.

So it looks as though Britain is now intent on coming to the aid of the US, as both show contempt for international consensus, eschew the diplomatic channels still available to them, and imperil the lives of thousands of Iraqi people.


Ariel Sharon has found himself in a difficult position this week. Israel's long-term ally, the US, has refused to veto a UN resolution demanding an end to the siege of Yassar Arafat's compound in Palestine.

The US decided to abstain from the vote, passing the resolution, although it referred to it as 'one-sided'. The neutral move made by the US has sent Israel into a whirl, with international opposition against its occupation of Palestine mounting.

Israel must now choose between Sharon's failed legacy of coercion and brutality, and the potential that still exists for a peace process with Palestine.

An Phoblacht
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