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Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 19:56 GMT
US turns screw on Iraq
US troops in Kuwait
The US will act fast if Saddam refuses to co-operate

The United States is stepping up diplomatic and military pressure on Iraq as the pace of United Nations weapons inspections starts to quicken.

Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will be in Ankara early next week discussing Turkey's contribution to a possible military assault on Iraq.

Paul Wolfowitz
Wolfowitz will promise Turkey aid and reassurance
He and other American officials will also have talks in several EU capitals - and there will be visits too to countries in Asia and the Middle East.

The hunt for arms in Iraq is set to be accompanied by menacing music from Washington, as the date for a full declaration of all Iraqi weapons programmes looms.

The American envoys will be following up requests to more than 50 governments for military contributions and seeking to build a more solid political coalition.

Approach to Turkey

There are two aims:

  • To convince President Saddam Hussein that an invasion is inevitable if he does not co-operate
  • To make sure that if it comes it will be as rapid and devastating as possible.

The Americans are arguing that Turkish participation would get the war over more quickly and minimise the damage to others.

They are hinting at economic aid to compensate Turkey, backing its bid to join the European Union, and promising they will not tolerate an independent Kurdish state being created in northern Iraq.

German opposition

The Bush administration knows it will not get the same level of support from everybody.

Gerhard Schroeder
Schroeder: Access but no troops
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder repeated his opposition to military intervention in Iraq, and ruled out making available to the US German armoured vehicles equipped to counter chemical and biological weapons.

But Mr Schroeder softened the message by agreeing to the unrestricted use of German airspace and American bases in Germany, and by promising to supply defensive equipment to Israel.

The US says it has asked several countries, including Hungary, to allow members of the Iraqi opposition to have military training on their territory.

Their role would presumably be to act as guides and interpreters in Iraq.


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28 Nov 02 | Middle East
27 Nov 02 | Europe
20 Nov 02 | Middle East
16 Jul 02 | Middle East
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