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Panorama
Panorama interactive special
Panorama held an interactive special programme on the crisis with Iraq on Sunday 29 September, giving viewers the chance to ask BBC senior correspondents questions about the threat of war.

Here are some of the questions and answers raised in the programme. A full transcript of the programme will be available online at a later date.


Q: (For Matt Frei in Washington) Sarah Quinn, Bristol asks, how did we get from the World Trade Centre attack to military action against Iraq?

A: It's really everyone's question here. Just compare those images, the demonstration we saw in London yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating against America and against the war and then a year ago, the outburst of sympathy we saw for the US that we saw around the globe.

An awful lot has changed in the interim, and I think the main thing is that 9/11 as its called, has very little to do directly with Iraq but it has triggered a new thinking on foreign policy which is probably going to change the world in many ways.

Q: (To Andrew Marr) Does Tony Blair believe there is a connection between 9/11 and Iraq?

A: Whenever he is asked about this, the first thing he says is look: 2 or 3 days after it all happened, one of the first things I said in the House of Commons was we'd have to deal with weapons of mass destruction and that's what Iraq's all about.

But he doesn't believe there is a direct connection. We've had, and the Americans have had spooks crawling all over this for a year now trying to find some kind of direct connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and you can bet everything you've got in your wallet that if they could find it, it would have been in the dossier.

Q: Jonathon Markham is asking us is there a specific threat against the UK Or the US?

A: (Andrew Marr) Not against the UK as such, the threat is against the region, the belief is that if Saddam Hussein achieves nuclear capability, modernises his chemical weapons and as he's trying to do, extends the range of his missiles, then he'll be able to hit Cyprus, where there are British bases. Israel, Turkey and other countries in the region.

And the argument being made by Tony Blair is that Saddam Hussein has such form, such record. He's twice attacked other sovereign countries, he's an unstable, bellicose and dangerous man. He's the sort of person who in short you can't allow to have nuclear weapons.

Q: Wendy from Bath says 'This war has nothing to do with 9/11 or any threat to the west, it's all about oil, oil, oil?'

A: (Caroline Hawley, in Baghdad) That's what they've said all along, they say this is not about weapons inspections, it is about oil. I was talking to a senior Iraqi official who said that really there is no reason now for any attack, when Iraq went into Kuwait in 1990 that was the justification for the 1991 Gulf War.

But he said what have we done now? what have we done over the last decade? So certainly the feeling in Iraq, and the feeling among ordinary people as well, is that it is about oil.

Q: And not just in Baghdad. Probably one of the most frequent questions we've received in our huge bag of emails is this that is about oil, Evan are they overreacting, or is there an economic case?

A: (Evan Davis, Economic Editor) Well there was a slogan being said at the time of the last Gulf War, that if Kuwait exported broccoli that we wouldn't have gone in to defend it, and I go along with this conspiracy theory to some extent.

Interest in the Middle East, diplomatically and militarily is clearly not unrelated to the fact that we have an interest in the Middle East though oil.

But I don't see a mechanical or direct connection, America's prime interest would be lower oil prices, and if they wanted lower oil prices the easiest thing to do would be for Iraq to turn on its oil and lift the sanctions. That would probably be an easier way to get the supply of oil in the world flowing.

And as Matt Frei said earlier, you don't need a conspiracy theory to explain American motives here, we know that the Americans are very security conscious and that's what's changed in the last year.


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