Warlords in the
White House on the war path
NEW YORK-- When
the US faced an eye-ball to eye-ball military confrontation with
the then Soviet Union at the height of the cold war in 1962, the
legendary US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson made a theatrical
appearance before the Security Council providing starkly vivid U-2
surveillance photographs of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba deemed
threatening to the United States.
was so damning that the Soviets had to pull out their missiles and
the Security Council was more than convinced with the American case
for a possible nuclear war at that time.
of State Colin Powell has announced that he will appear before the
same Security Council next Wednesday to produce the evidence the
US thinks it has to go to war with Iraq.
''But it won't
be an Adlai Stevenson moment,'' warns one senior US official, preparing
sceptics for a disappointment.
Sergey Lavrov, who speaks halting Sinhala after having served in
the Soviet Embassy in Colombo in the early 1970s, was very demanding
last week when he told reporters: "We would like to see undeniable
At a closed-door
meeting of the Security Council, 11 out of the 15 members wanted
more time for UN arms inspectors to continue their search for weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq, instead of going to war.
and China-- three veto-wielding permanent members, along with Pakistan,
Angola, Germany, Mexico, Chile, Guinea, Cameroon and Syria-- supported
further inspections. The only countries supporting the US to end
inspections were Britain, Spain and Bulgaria.
The US is hoping
that Powell's appearance before the Security Council next week will
be a militarily defining moment making the American case for war
In a country
steeped in gun culture, the US wants to produce any gun to prove
its case-- now that it has found no "smoking gun".
When Hans Blix,
the UN's chief arms inspector produced his first progress report
on the ongoing inspections in Iraq, the US selectively picked his
criticisms to make a wobbling case for war.
But in an interview
with the New York Times on Friday, Blix challenged several of the
Bush administration's assertions about Iraqi cheating.
Blix also challenged
a statement attributed to Powell that UN arms inspectors had found
that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials to
world's warlords are no longer in the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan.
They are inside the White House Oval Office in Washington DC.
hawks in the Bush administration-- led by Vice President Dick Cheney
and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld-- are clearly on the warpath
looking for any plausible excuse to send in the troops.
But their plans
to legitimise a military attack on Iraq may be frustrated by a divided
UN Security Council which is refusing to give the Americans a blank
US -- running true to form -- may cajole, browbeat and threaten
the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council into falling
in line, the Bush administration is now facing strong resistance
from three of the veto-wielding permanent members, namely France,
Russia and possibly an ambivalent China.
A single veto
can torpedo any US-sponsored resolution seeking UN authorisation
for a military attack on Iraq.
already charted a collision course with the US expressing strong
reservations about such a resolution. At a UN press conference,
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters that
the international community must sustain "a consensus"
and cannot afford the luxury of a "military shortcut"
to resolve the Iraqi crisis.
who urged that UN arms inspectors be given more time to complete
their search for weapons of mass destruction, hinted that France
could use its veto to block any US-sponsored Security Council resolution
that calls for a war on Iraq.
the anti-war demonstrations worldwide have continued to increase.
A major demonstration is scheduled to take place in New York on
The US claims
it has about 20 countries who have agreed either to join an American-led
military coalition against Iraq or to provide access to military
bases. But it is refusing to name the countries.
One of the
strongest criticisms of the US came last week from former South
African President Nelson Mandela who continues to be the most outspoken
political leader today.
is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world,
it is the United States of America", he said.
both US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
of undermining the UN and threatening the credibility of the world
do not care," he said. "Is it because the Secretary-General
of the United Nations is now a black man?".