United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern for the millions of civilians who could be caught in the looming war in Iraq.
“It is the plight of the Iraqi people which is now my most immediate concern,” he told a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York – just hours before a US deadline for war was due to expire.
Mr Annan said Iraqis had suffered a lot over the years and were faced now with a disaster “which could easily lead to epidemics and starvation”. (more…)

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 Posted: 5:08 AM EST (1008 GMT)
LONDON, England (CNN) — Robin Cook, the leader of the UK House of Commons, made an impassioned personal statement in parliament following his resignation on Monday. (The following are from that speech):
France has been at the receiving end of bucketloads of commentary in recent days. It is not France alone that wants more time for inspections. Germany wants more time for inspections; Russia wants more time for inspections; indeed, at no time have we signed up even the minimum necessary to carry a second resolution. We delude ourselves if we think that the degree of international hostility is all the result of President Chirac. The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner — not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council. (more…)

The skies of Iraq are alight with fire and smoke. Fear is turning to panic on the streets of Baghdad. The war hawks are loose.
After he failed at diplomacy, after his ultimatums to the United Nations were denied, after he bullied, bribed and argued for months, the President was left thoroughly isolated. Only after Iraq began destroying its missiles did George W. Bush announce that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to get out of Dodge. The empire struck. (more…)

The Bush administration’s apparent resolve to wage war against Iraq, tempered for the moment by conservative critics, violates the spirit and letter of the US Constitution, as well as disregards the prohibitions on the use of force that are set forth in the UN Charter and accepted as binding rules of international law. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Nothing in Iraq’s current behavior would justify a preemptive attack against Iraq based upon self-defense as set forth in Article 51 of the Charter. Even Henry Kissinger has stated, “The notion of justified pre-emption runs counter to modern international law, which sanctions the use of force in self-defense only against actual – not potential – threats.” (more…)

Victims describe ‘friendly fire’ terror

From the BBC: March 11,2003

Washington has been unimpressed by an appeal from UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan, that going to war without UN backing might
breach the organisation’s charter.

A White House official told the
BBC that America had all the authorisation it needed to
wage war, either alone or as part of a coalition.

Full text to be read in: news.bbc.co.uk

UK pushes new
Iraq Initiative (more…)