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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Galloway defends Iraq comments
Labour MP, George Galloway, left, sits next to Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz in 1999
George Galloway (left) with Iraq deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz in 1999
An anti-war MP who described Tony Blair and George Bush as "wolves" for committing the "crime" of military action against Iraq has defended his comments.

In an interview for Abu Dhabi TV, Labour MP George Galloway questioned why Arab countries were selling oil to the coalition forces.

The Glasgow Kelvin MP accused Mr Blair and Mr Bush of lying to the armed forces about the likely length of the war.

Mr Galloway also argued that the war was illegal - and urged British soldiers to refuse to obey "illegal orders."

Quick and easy

In the television interview, broadcast last Friday, Mr Galloway said: "Even if it is not realistic to ask a non-Iraqi army to come to defend Iraq, we see Arab regimes pumping oil for the countries who are attacking it.

"We wonder when the Arab leaders will wake up. When are they going to stand by the Iraqi people?"

Turning his attention to Mr Blair and President Bush, he added: "They have lied to the British Air Force and Navy when they said the battle of Iraq would be very quick and easy.

"They attacked Iraq like wolves. They attacked civilians.

"It is better for Blair and Bush to stop this crime and this catastrophe. It is time for them to return to the UN Security Council and give diplomacy a chance."

The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders
George Galloway

Mr Galloway has long been an outspoken critic of American and British policy on Iraq.

The MP has consistently opposed sanctions imposed on Iraq after the last Gulf War complaining that they inflict huge suffering on ordinary Iraqis.

Mr Galloway has visited Iraq on numerous occasions and met the country's president and major figures in the government.

His comments were condemned by armed forces minister Adam Ingram.

"Are there no depths to which George Galloway will not sink? I am sure such disgraceful comments will be rightly condemned the length and breadth of this country," he said.

Mr Galloway responded by saying: "The wolves are Bush and Blair, not the soldiers. The soldiers are lions led by donkeys, sent to kill and be killed."

The MP rejected suggestions that his interview amounted to an act of treachery.

He said: "As for being a traitor, the people who have betrayed this country are those who have sold it to a foreign power and who have been the miserable surrogates of a bigger power for reasons very few people in Britain can understand."

He added: "Given that I believe this invasion is illegal, it follows that the only people fighting legally are the Iraqis, who are defending their country."

Mr Galloway denied that his interview amounted to incitement to Arabs to kill British troops.

He added: "The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders."


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BBC Scotland's David Porter
"There is very little the leadership can do to control him"



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