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Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 17:33 GMT
Saudi Prince: Ask new ambassador to UK
Saudi Arabia has warned the United States over a possible war against Iraq.
It says that any unilateral military action by the US would appear as an "act of aggression".
But if the attack came through the United Nations Security Council, it would not be considered an aggression, he said.
Do you think a US attack on Iraq without UN backing would be seen as a war of aggression, rather than a war of implementation ? Does the United States need UN backing for a war against Baghdad ?
We discussed the crisis over Iraq in Talking Point, our global phone-in programme, Talking Point, with HRH Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence and now the kingdom's ambassador to the UK.
Those who argue that this war is an example of US greed for oil are hypocrites. This war is going to cost our country over 50 billion dollars, (plus another 40 billion if we have to pay Turkey to station our troops there) in addition to risking a lot of US lives. Then there is the cost of rebuilding Iraq once the war is over. If we were greedy, we would just use that money to pay Saddam for his oil and let him stay there and oppress his people and threaten the world indefinitely.
What produces better results, going to war with one key ally or going to war with the support of a dozen or more through the UN? Bush has not provided any evidence of his allegations against the "axis of evil"; it's not Saddam's fault that the US economy is lagging in all areas. The US thrives on war, we all know it, and unfortunately, we Canadians get dragged into something we do not want!! Let the inspectors do their jobs; war = more terrorist attacks against the US, and do we need a more deadly repeats of 9/11?
George Bush has put himself into a position where he MUST have a war. I think if he ignores the UN then the US should be removed from the UN. Also, if Saddam Hussein does have nuclear weapons then the US and UK could lose many soldiers. Does a dead Iraqi look so different to a dead American or dead Englishman? Not in the eyes of god
Should those irresponsible UN members like France play more tricks and cast a veto that, along with a possible China and Russia veto, would block any resolution, by all means yes - the US would have every right to enforce what the members of the UNSC haven't shown enough cohesion and coherence to enforce. The US has international backing from a lot of countries, so it's not unilateral. It's the UN that will be unilateral if it betrays its own purpose of maintaining security and preventing threats.
Michael, Alabama, USA
What about democracy in Saudi Arabia so that all citizens participate in the political process and the head is elected by public like in the UK? The present setup is also unislamic because it does not allow any platform for an ordinary citizen to raise his/her concerns.
The Iraqi people should grab this opportunity and welcome a full-scale invasion and occupation of their country by the US for selfish reasons best demonstrated by past grateful victims such as Japan and West Germany. They are masters of great rewards after negligible punishment. As an African I invite the US to occupy Africa after Iraq. "No Europeans invited".
It takes guts to say what Prince Saud said about the rise of Western fundamentalism. But I have a feeling this is all for public consumption given recent reports about the Saudis wanting to rid their land of US soldiers AFTER the supposed Iraqi threat is removed. Once again, they seem to be indulging in double-talk.
A war with Iraq should not be about oil or al-Qaeda or aggression against Muslims. It should be about regime change-the removal of a brutal dictator from power. That said, America, and the UN as a whole, will get itself into very dangerous and shaky territory, because, by the same token, it will have to invade North Korea and several African countries. Are the US and the UN ready for this kind of responsibility?
Lily Choong, Singapore
Well the Saudis fear that any normalcy in Iraq would increase the production of oil which in turn would affect their OIL MARKETS. That's their main source of revenue. I do agree that the war needs UN backing, but I am sceptical of Saudi's concern.
The US should move with great caution and realize the inescapable fact that the Iraqi people are victims living in a tyrannical state, and thus are not guilty for the crimes committed by their despotic leader. It would be a horrible crime against humanity to attack Iraq under these circumstances. It would be a far greater gesture to exercise restraint and allow aggressive inspections to prevail.
I think it's fairly clear that the US and UK are parties to the issue at hand, and, therefore, in debating a second Security Council resolution on Iraq should surrender their votes without protest.
Although the war option against Saddam's regime is tragic, it is a moral obligation to civilization to free Iraqi people and Middle East from Saddam and his son's fascism.
The Saudi foreign minister is in charge of foreign relations for a sovereign state. He has every right to forewarn America of the dangerous consequences that lie ahead. Saudi Arabia can make any claim it wants, however true or insulting it might be. As for war with Iraq, I don't believe Saddam has weapons. However, I think the Arab World and the Iraqi people would be better off without this evil and selfish tyrant. Imagine how wealthy Iraq might become without sanctions.
After Sadam, the Westerners should clean up the rest of the Gulf and assign colonial generals, and then shift south to Africa. Believe me re-colonization will be better than the neo-colonial status they left us in - puppets for leaders and massive and perpetual debts that are strangling us.
Israel and America have the right to invade and kill anybody at any time. That is called working for "peace". Rest of the nations should bow down and make sure they do not come in their way or face war on terrorism. That is called "co-operation ".
The Saudis are complete and utter obstructionists.
Why do you even think that US requires "approval" from the Cold War relic to protect itself from imminent threat that Saddam & his WMD represent? Does anyone seriously think UN ever did anything useful for the World Order without US?? Get over it people ... It has always been US that maintained World Order and defended democracy & liberty.
Badji, Taipei, TAIWAN
"The Saudi Foreign Minister is an unelected member of a ruling family clique. I doubt we should listen to anything he says." Replace 'Saudi Foreign Minister' with 'George W Bush' and see how it reads then.
I feel the UN in the present form is a waste of time and resources. For example, how can anything in UN be fair if five permanent nations in the security council have veto power? They decide important issues. This does not represent the world but it gives power to nations that were victorious in WW2. Time has changed and so should the structure of the United Nations. In brief UN is dead.....but yet to be cremated.
Gilbert Bogacia, FMS, Koronadal City, Philippines
As someone who marched recently on Manhattan's East Side in NYC's anti-war/anti-Bush demonstration, I was struck by the media's coverage of the event. Many only acknowledged a count of 100,000 when others claim a half a million or more. CNN and the major networks are poised to have high ratings, and therefore profits, from their war coverage. Is that why they are playing down the display of dismay for our government's bull-headed grab for Iraq?
The Saudi Foreign Minister is an unelected member of a ruling family clique. I doubt we should listen to anything he says. In fact, we should exclude from international forum all non-democratic countries. We would not then have the farce of Libya and Iraq rotating to chairmanship of UN committees on Human Rights and Disarmament.
With or without the UN Backing, we, Muslims, fear the casualties of Iraq people, we may not like Saddam, we may need a regime change in the area, but war will bring casualties. The war may take a brighter look with UN backing, but it would mean the same for us. Diplomatic solutions is the best way, other wise, I strongly support using force against N. Korea too.
Kollathodi Mohamed, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
It is stupid to call UN fence-sitter. It sanctioned the 1991 Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. God forbid, if US and UK wage war on their own, they might have solved one problem (Saddam) but created many for the entire world in the form of numerous (Osama's) jihadis. And don't forget, the US & UK are sleeping over the more dangerous N Korean crisis. It's a case of kid-glove treatment to DPRK and harshness to Iraq.
If Bush and Sharon can do whatever they want, let Saddam do whatever he wants. Why do we interfere? Let the Iraqis decide.
It is time for a change in the Middle East. There is a new generation of people in the region that are sick and tired of the way these regimes have ruled us. Unelected officials' words of protestation have more than a hint of self-preservation. What worse can befall the region? Yes, a change will bring upheaval but it is, in my view, a lesser evil than what we have to endure in our daily lives. And to the protesters in the West I say: Come live here under the same conditions we have to endure and you will protest against the preservation of Saddam's and other Middle Eastern regimes.
I don't wish my words to be interpreted as unequivocal support of the US. We will fight colonialism to the death if it seeks to enslave us but we want to be liberated and cannot accept to live any more under the boot of these despotic regimes where each leader has a decades-long monopoly on power that employs the ruthlessness and brutality of security apparatus to maintain his stranglehold on power.
The Saudi Government is trying to play both sides of the street. On one hand, they do not want Saddam as a neighbour- remember that the only thing that stood from Saddam taking over Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is the international community stepping in to turn back Saddam. Now, because of pressures within their own country, they are trying to show some resistance to the US and UK while praying that we will collectively stop him. That way, the US and UK are viewed as the villain and Saudi can live without fear of their northern border.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the UN objective is for the current Iraqi Government to explain what happened to the previously identified WMD's, not for the UN to supply "a safe minimum number of inspectors" to find them. It is a subtle, but very important, distinction between Europe and the USA.
The war against Iraq is totally unjustified.Blair and Bush want destruction.Yesterday Blair was talking about millions murdered by Saddam by thr use of chemical weapons. My question is just"Who provided those weapons" and answer is simple: US And UK
If Bush wants to go to war then fine, but I wish he'd stop looking for support from us. Most Europeans seem to be against the war when asked, but I personally feel it's nothing to do with us.
Have read most of the comments on the Crown Prince statement. I feel many have missed the implied central point in the statement: if the UN is overlooked in such crucial moments , those responsible would be actively contributing to its withering away !
Over the past 50 odd years or so, the West has proven one thing well: They know how to, destructively, meddle with Arab countries. So if there is anyone to blame its not Saddam or Bin Laden or Arafat...its themselves. Its about time they stopped meddling with what they don't understand and go back to playing democracy in their own countries.
I've heard arguments that North Korea is a bigger threat, and Israel has ignored more UN resolutions than Iraq. Therefore, the US is hypocritical to attack Iraq. Well these first two facts are true. However, with North Korea, the simple fact is military action is too costly. Not to the US, but to South Korea, and the US knows it.
Mohamed, Raleigh, NC, USA
I would like to point out that this is not a war of Muslims against the whole world. Islam like all other religions preaches peace, harmony and simply to lead a good and pious life.... For non-Muslims AND Muslims I ask you to read the translation of the Quran and understand for yourself the TRUE meaning of terms such as 'Jihad' to begin with. We are not against the west or east or south or north either. It is simply the frustration of knowing that we are the prime target and there is not much we can do about it. And finally to 'Les, Houston, USA', come meet myself and my family and I am sure your opinion will change.
Things changed after 9-11, we can not do nothing and hope for the best. If the UN were to unite here, the next regime would fold much faster and build the peaceful world that we all want.
Surely nobody wants Saddam to develop prohibited weapons. The only reason why he has cooperated to this point is threat of force. Even then, according to Blix himself, he still has not accounted for materials known to exist previous to 1998. Does anyone really believe he has "unilaterally disarmed"?
The US aggression on Iraq is for mainly the oil reserves , as the oil reserves of the US are limited and will be exhausted in the next 3 decades . This is also a part of the global campaign of discrimination against Muslims , headed by the US government . If Iraq has biological and chemical weapons and missiles , North Korea has Nuclear Weapons which are more deadlier at every respect .
I think Saddam should be removed from power. He has killed many millions of people. I find it absurd that some people believe┐ hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis" will be killed. I know the Americans will go out of their way to make sure civilians casualties will be low. Leaving Saddam in power is inhumane and will result in more hardships and death in Iraq than a war. It is naive and dangerous to believe war can always be avoided.
If the UN prefers to support the tyrant of Iraq over several democracies why should the US or any other democracy support the UN?
I think America should do what it believes is right, despite public opinion. Why? Because every time in the past(except for Vietnam), America has been correct in what it did, and was thanked by the world afterwards. Note WW2. Many were against the US entering that war, but if it hadn┐t, the Nazis probably would have won. And even if they didn't win, many more people would have died.
Andrew Brewer, Wichita, USA
In 1993 Alija Izetbegovich, then President of Bosnia-Herzegovina was quoted as saying: "Only the Americans can save us from annihilation. If they do not come, there will soon be no Muslims left in Yugoslavia. The Europeans will debate until we are all dead.". That quote speaks VOLUMES. Ask the 2-4million exiled Iraqi's what there preference for a solution might be. I think in percentage terms they'd be as much for U.S./U.K. attack now as the French/Germans are for inspections until the end of time.
The situation of war is fabricated by Americans. Iraq doesn't have any WMD's. Americans & Britons are repeating their lies. Both Britons and Americans should withdraw their forces from the Gulf. They are not the authorized body to change any regimes in the world. The UN should send inspectors to America & Britain and find out the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they have and bring Bush and Blair to the Hague and then punish for war crimes..
I believe a US attack on Iraq without UN backing is a war of aggression. But, while we debate, the US is already quietly staging a war on Iraq without UN's support. I hardly see what difference it makes to US, at this point, what UN votes. It will not save Iraq and her people. The racism present against Muslims in the US and UK, for decades, is staggering.
People of the world...you have two choices:
France and Russia controlling Iraq's oil or
US and UK controlling Iraq's oil.
I vote for no 2.
US & UK will attack and that will set a precedent that all is legal as long as you are powerful, irrespective of the feeling of citizens of the world. My questions is what if in 10-20 years China/Iran are mighty enough to attack the US/UK under the same pretext. After all many great powers have fallen in the past.
The United States must have the backing of the U.N. after all it is a U.N. resolution that we pretend Saddam is in material breach of ,isn't it? An attack (notice I say attack) without U.N. backing is absolutely an act of aggression against a sovereign nation. Bush's Doctrine (pre-emptive striking in the name of security) is coming back to haunt him and the rest of the world.
Americans are fed up with the world asking for hand outs then bad mouthing us in the press and doing an about face when we ask for a favour. A lot of Americans are making lists of what countries are helping us now and which ones are against us.
People debating this issue are forgetting one simple fact.
It was not France, nor Germany, nor Saudi Arabia that was attacked on 9/11, it was the US.
The UN already has issued more than 1 resolution for Iraq to disarm. The US has the right to defend itself against terrorism. If the UN decides to fulfil its obligations then much the better, otherwise the US, together with the willing partners can LEGALLY do it without another UN resolution.
A few years back, the US chose to stand back from Yugoslavia until certain EU countries howled that it wasn't doing enough to end the slaughter. Why must the world rely upon the US to solve all of the petty regional disputes, then criticize it when someone grows tired of it's presence? The world was agape at the destruction and death on 9/11, and instantly fell in line with unanimous resolve to end global terrorism once and for all. Yet now we see that resolve wane when certain countries in the EU have their financial interests threatened.
Would Salah from Mosul agree to be one of the small fractions that are willing to be die along with his family for the sake of getting rid of Saddam? I am Iraqi and I lost members of my family in the previous war when a rocket felll over their house and killed everyone. God knows what I went through and hasn┐t been able to recover till now. Millions of Iraqis had suffered the same thing so why do we have to go through the same tragedies again?
It is so easy for us to cry war when it's not us that are having our houses bombed. I pray for the human race and peace.
George Bush senior killed an estimated 100,000 Iraqis in the first Gulf War (WTC 30 times over!). Since then, American-led sanctions have killed over 1 million Iraqi children (entire population of San Francisco!) and reduced most of the civilian population to grinding poverty. Now George Bush junior wants to wage another war certain to kill tens of thousands more. Anyone who believes that the removal one man from power justifies killing well over a million innocent civilians is utterly insane.
Does anyone remember the League of Nations?
As I recall from my reading, no one country was willing to "go it alone" at that time. They decided to wait until they could all agree.
Do I remember rightly that France and a few "other countries" (not to get too particular) were convinced that
with time and rational discussion, Herr Hitler would see reason.
I agree with the Saudi Arabian position: a war without UN backing would be a war of aggression, not of implementation. The UN needs to specifically delegate the task of implementing its resolution to whichever army does the job, whether that be the United States and the United Kingdom or someone else. I think last weekend proved that the majority of people in the world think the same thing. Only George W. Bush and Tony Blair seem to think a different approach is justified. Unfortunately, they are the ones with the big sticks.
How can America threaten Iraq and expect her to disarm at the same time? Disarmament is best done when there is peace in the air, not threats of war.
I seem to recall reading in history books these same arguments about leaving Hitler alone. For those of you who argue no intervention, how many of you have lived under Saddam's rule? Since his reign began he has murdered almost 2 million. A war to oust him would only kill a very small fraction of that but yet you think that allowing him to survive unchallenged to kill more of our citizens is the better choice? I pity your lack of insight....
It is appalling to me that the "civilised?" world would prefer containing a tyrant than freeing his people, regardless of what other motives might exist. How easy it is to ignore the bondage of ones fellow man when they are not European, or rich. I think Old Europe can definitely now be called, as Homer Simpson so beautifully put it, a bunch of "cheese eating surrender monkeys." Containment is just plain not an option, get over yourselves!
Does anyone realise that this disarming by force action is completely what Saddam wants? He has not complied completely like he was supposed to. The only thing the peace protesters are doing is ensuring the possibility of war. If they would protest Saddam and support disarmament rather than support his delay tactics, than he would be more likely to step down from power and leave the country when offered exile due to international pressures. Unfortunately, the minds of the protestor rarely consider logic or doing their homework before taking up a cause. By the way, for all those ignorants out there that say the US is only interested in Iraqi oil, only 11.4% of US oil comes from Iraq. We could easily do without it.
Most Arabic states hate America anyway. A Gallup poll taken shortly after 9/11 when America was receiving a great deal of world sympathy proved it. Nothing short of abandoning Israel to destruction at the hands of the surrounding Arabic states that refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist will quell the hatred.
So if they are going to hate us anyway, we may as well take on those we perceive to be the greatest threat.
The bottom line is that all Muslims globally condemn the brutality and aggression carried out by Israelis in Palestine. Bin Laden and Saddam are products of Western terrorism and expansion. Muslims do not want a war but we will get one. The white man must invade and occupy. The big fish will eat the small, c'est la vie and the US is no exception. And you talk about Democracy?
Mikko Toivonen, Helsinki, Finland
The US does not need the UN's backing to go to war, but it will become the target of the world's anger and resentment if it decides to go it alone or with its so-called "coalition of the willing". This could lead to a public backlash against US economic and corporate interests, which would probably further worsen the world economy.
US can go to war only with UN approval. If not there is no need to have a UN. If Israel can ignore plenty of UN resolutions why not Iraq? This is a time to Bush and Blair to make up their minds. Both these leaders are greedy for war.
Ian Hill, UK
Everyone goes on about democracy and how it is dreadful not to have democracy in places like Saudi Arabia and how deposing Saddam will lead to democracy within the Middle East. Who are we to say what form of government other countries should have.
We in the UK can too be criticised for having a monarch as head of state who is not elected. And as for the US, did not Al Gore receive more votes than Bush in the presidential elections? The UN is also not democratic with five nations having the right to veto and permanency on the Security Council. So let's stop patronising others about their systems of government and focus on disarming an irresponsible despot like Saddam - peacefully if at all possible.
Ironically, the UN's strong and considered opposition to US aggression has won it a great deal of credibility. If Iraq blocked weapons inspections and the UN decided that war was the only option, I believe that most people would accept that.
Sadly, George Bush's violent rhetoric and thuggish attitude mean that the US will never have that credibility.
I think any action by the West in the Middle East will be seen as a war of aggression by extremists there, regardless of the UN's role. I might also note that France, Germany, and Russia would be thrilled if we ousted Hussein, but do not want to foot the political or economic bills.
In the end, the US government will do whatever it sees as being in the best interest of its own country, just like every other country.
Sure, most of the Middle East is governed by dictators and monarchs but it's the US who supports them and has always supported them. The last thing that the US would want in the Middle East is democracy. Since 1945, the State department has described Iraq's oil resources as a "stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history." I am so happy to see that the world is not standing on the sidelines allowing the US to DICTATE to the world.
War on Iraq would be an act of aggression whether it is allowed by Security Council or not. The war may become legal if Security Council allows it, but it surely won't become moral.
Beside western demonstrators the biggest opponents of war in Iraq are all those dictators, monarchs and tyrants who lead Arabic world. They know that any change in the region can be fatal threat to legitimacy of their rule. There is no democratic Arabic country. All those "leaders" rule their people by secret police, army, arrests, tortures and discrimination. If Americans kick out Saddam Hussein and create liveable social environment for people of Iraq what "bad" example it will be for the rest of Arab countries.
Ismail Mahroof, SriLankan living in Jeddah KSA.
Actually the Bush team does not need the UN backing to go to war, they do not need the Saudi backing and they do not need the backing of their own people. They simply do what they want.
In my view, the Saudi Royals are rightly concern that if the USA and UK go to war, they have a lot to lose. After the war, there will be only one winner in Saudi Arabia - Osama Bin Laden. So I ask Mr Bush and Mr Blair two questions (a) where is Osaman Bin Laden? (b) How is it that after the collapse of Enron and World Com, Bin Laden was replaced by Sadam in the US and UK press as the new enemy?
We all know how important "form" is in the Middle East, especially when the USA is involved. America being careful and going through he U.N. will help friendly Arab governments in selling their public opinion what will in any case be a U.S. aggression (however justified). It shall sweeten the pill, this placebo that keeps active fundamentalism under control in most Arabic states with a mix of political oppression, mild anti-Americanism and toothlessly proud rhetoric.
Anti western feeling is already high in Saudi Arabia. This is born out by the attack a couple of weeks ago in which a Briton was the victim of a drive by shooting in Riyadh. If the US and UK invade Iraq without UN backing there is a strong chance that many westerners could be attacked in similar ways by Saudis who feel that they are just being ignored while the US carries on it's anti-Arab war
So eventually they have spoken. Despite the many injustices going on around the Kingdom it has always bemused me that the Saudi family have never spoken on the World forum. I am not condoning war of any sort but it would help if the more influential nations (like France and Germany) especially Muslim, should speak out and let the war mongers know that this brain washing and justifying of an immoral war will not and shall not be tolerated.
I thought it was interesting what he had to say about the rise of religious fundamentalism in the West. It certainly seems to be true that the religious right (represented by Bush, Blair, Ashcroft, etc.)is in the ascendancy and that is truly scary. After all, if they believe that they are going to heaven as long as they stick to their 'beliefs', it doesn't concern them whether we are at war, or what sort of war that is, whether it be nuclear or whatever.
Michael Williams, Iowa, USA
In all the debate going on about war with Iraq it seems to me that one crucial and possibly key question has not been raised. How many teams of arms inspectors would be considered a safe minimum to give a firm assurance that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction? If this can be quantified then the issue becomes, are there inspectors available and will Saddam allow them to work freely, however many it takes?
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