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Old 03-11-2003, 07:47 PM   #1
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Britain distances itself from White House

From the NY Times:

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By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN


UNITED NATIONS, March 11 The United States dropped its plans to seek a Security Council vote today on a draft resolution that would open the door to a military strike against Iraq, but the White House insisted that it would secure a vote this week even as support for its position appeared to be withering.

Britain, the United States' staunchest ally in its campaign to disarm Iraq, has begun to distance itself from the White House's insistence on confronting Baghdad with or without the United Nations' blessing. France and Russia said unequivocally on Monday that they planned to veto the draft resolution if and when a vote occurred.

While France and Russia have become familiar opponents of the United States in the Iraq debate, the possibility of a shift by Britain presages an even thornier diplomatic path ahead for the White House. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has come under strong domestic criticism of his support for the United States, criticism that has undermined his popularity and threatens the viability of his government.

In response, the British are now adopting a more temperate posture toward Iraq. Diplomats here say that Britain is hesitant to support military action against Iraq without United Nations backing and that it does not support the White House's advocacy of "regime change" in Baghdad to overthrow the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"In the U.K., because of the political situation there, there's a strong desire to keep the U.N. involved in the process, and I think the White House recognizes that," said Catherine Mackenzie, a spokeswoman for the British Mission to the United Nations.

The United States budged a bit itself today, agreeing to extend a proposed disarmament deadline for Baghdad beyond March 17. Nonetheless, the White House rejected a 45-day delay sought by six of the Security Council's 15 members who have yet to indicate which way they would vote on the draft resolution.

"There is room for diplomacy here," Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said today at a news briefing. "Not much room and not much time."
I had a feeling that Tony Blair would start putting the brakes on things, because at home, he's in deep doodoo.
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:11 PM   #2
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This is getting interesting. It looks like Blair may have shot himself in the foot. Even U.S. press people are saying that it looks tough for Blair and the White House is uptight about the British political situation. I don't doubt it.
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:16 PM   #3
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Re: Britain distances itself from White House

Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
From the NY Times:



I had a feeling that Tony Blair would start putting the brakes on things, because at home, he's in deep doodoo.
Rumsfeld Leaves Open Iraq War Without U.K. Forces



Reuters
Tuesday, March 11, 2003; 7:13 PM



By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday left open the possibility that the United States might invade Iraq without the help of British forces, but said that decision would have to be made by President Bush.

"That is an issue that the president will be addressing in the days ahead, one would assume," he said when pressed at a Pentagon news conference on whether Washington might go ahead without its closest ally.

The United States and Britain currently have more than 250,000 troops gathered in the Gulf region around Iraq, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair has come under mounting anti-war pressure at home.

Rumsfeld was asked by reporters whether the United States, with about 225,000 of its troops already in the Gulf region and thousands more on the way, might go ahead without Britain or whether Britain might scale back its participation.

"This is a matter that most of the senior officials in the government discuss with the U.K. on a daily or every other day basis," said the secretary, adding that he had spoken on the telephone with British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon "about an hour ago."

BLAIR FACES INTENSE PRESSURE AT HOME

Britain has recently appeared to show more willingness at the United Nations to compromise on a controversial new resolution which might authorize war against Baghdad.

Rumsfeld seemed to suggest that it stemmed from political pressure. "Their situation is distinctive to their country and they have a government that deals with a parliament in their way, distinctive way," he told reporters.

"And what will ultimately be decided is unclear as to their role, that is to say their role in the event a decision is made to use force. There is the second issue of their role in a post-Saddam Hussein reconstruction process, or stabilization process, which would be a different matter."

Britain has committed about 42,000 military personnel, including ground troops, to the potential war effort but only about 25,000 are in the Gulf region so far,

"I think until we know what the (U.N.) resolution is, we won't know the answer as to what their role will be," Rumsfeld said.

"And to the extent they are able to participate -- in the event that the president decides to use force -- that would obviously be welcomed. To the extent they're not, there are work-arounds and they would not be involved, at least in that phase..."
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:32 PM   #4
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I still doubt the distance, for now. It would seem very strange, considering U.K. often had just as strong ties to the U.S. as to the rest of Europe. If United Kingdom and United States start to quarrel, though, the diplomatic transatlantic connection is really in danger.
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:33 PM   #5
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I think Blair is nuts to continue with us. I hold nothing against him. He has fought a good fight. He now needs to think about his political future.
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:52 PM   #6
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i thought "Britain" was already a few fecking thousand miles away from the White House anyway, thank God!

wouldn't want them getting too close and burning down half of it again!!

not "GREAT" anymore, england, you aholes, would you stop "invading" with big f#@$ rock bands and then say you were inspired by "United States" music, like rocknroll or swizel stick dancing gospel tunes...go take a hike! go climb a mountain in Russia, for all i care, you can't SWIM the ocean, so get back to your grande naval vessels and ride around the Carribean, and TRY not to meet any buccaneers, they are very healthy and hearty after winning the championship game this year to all the Florida fans, so much better at cheering CANADIAN singers and ENGLISH exPolice members...if it weren't for Gwen Steffani, there would have BEEN no United States born singers in the show at halftime, and it wouldn't have SUCKED like when that "spy" band, i forget their name, lol, took over and sang sad songs...at least Gwen was peppy and able to dance around when Shania had departed....RIP, Joe Strummer!
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:53 PM   #7
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:15 PM   #8
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:17 PM   #9
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:17 PM   #10
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Uh, we are talking about the political situation in the UK, not British rock bands.
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
I think Blair is nuts to continue with us. I hold nothing against him. He has fought a good fight. He now needs to think about his political future.
I agree. He has fought the good fight, I've nothing against him, and I hate to see him plot his own political demise.
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:26 PM   #12
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First Turkey, now Blair, is W's good amigo Fox of Mexico next?

Will the coalition of the willing be revealed to be W and Sharron?
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:27 PM   #13
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My concern....is this. I truly, believe deep in my heart, that Tony Blair is absolutely the only reason we went to the UN in the first place.

This means one of two things. War is sooner than we think or Bush is going to back down.
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:31 PM   #14
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ahh shite
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
First Turkey, now Blair, is W's good amigo Fox of Mexico next?

Will the coalition of the willing be revealed to be W and Sharron?
Given that Richard Pearle is one of Bush's biggest advisors....And Israel's as well.....

LOL

I would not be surprised.
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