NEWS

Iraq war is not inevitable

A day after President George W. Bush presented his State of the Union address to the American people, in which he vowed to disarm Iraq and rebuild the US economy, American sources in Athens said that war was not inevitable. They placed emphasis on the fact that Secretary of State Colin Powell is to brief the Security Council next Wednesday (Feb. 5) on Saddam Hussein’s alleged links with terrorist groups and possession of weapons of mass destruction. The Americans believe that Powell’s presentation – after a debate among US officials as to how much intelligence can be released without jeopardizing their sources – will help tip the balance of public opinion in favor of action against Iraq. The Americans would like the broadest possible coalition against Iraq but are prepared to act with whatever allies they have if they cannot bring everyone on board. They will also not commit themselves to seeking another resolution from the Security Council sanctioning military intervention in Iraq. They want a coalition of countries who agree on the objective (disarming Iraq) rather than allow the coalition to shape the objective. The Americans also believe that a tough stand is the only one that will bring about success, noting that without the threat of a military buildup, and with Saddam knowing that it would take five months to bring the necessary forces into place, the Iraqi government would not pay any attention to the demand for cooperation with the United Nations. For the same reason, American sources say that a united stand by the international community will be a most valuable asset, noting that widespread protests, such as those planned for Feb. 15, will make Saddam believe that the international community is not determined to disarm him. Regarding oil, American officials say that the campaign against Iraq is not motivated by oil. The oil belongs to the people of Iraq, they say (and as Powell stressed recently). If there is a change of regime in Iraq, it is the new government which will decide on how the oil issue will be solved. This will depend on what kind of change comes about and who will take over, they say.