Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | March 10, 2003

Blair's party may split over Iraq

As expected, PM Blair's unpopular push for war is placing intense pressure in his party, threatening a rash of resignations if Blair authorizes an invasion without UN approval.

Other government ministers closed ranks around Blair after International Development Secretary Clare Short threatened late on Sunday to resign if Britain went to war without United Nations backing.


The move by Short -- a popular and straight-talking member of Blair's ruling Labour Party -- could prompt other disgruntled ministers or members of parliament to follow suit.


"I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the U.N. and I will resign from the government," Short said. "The current situation is deeply reckless; reckless for the world, reckless for the undermining of the U.N. in this disorderly world...reckless with our government, reckless with his own future, position and place in history."

Only 15 percent of the British public supports an Iraq invasion sans UN backing.

Meanwhile, Powell is still claiming the UN Security Council will muster a majority for Bush's war resolution, though it would probably be vetoed by France. Powell didn't mention that Russia has now said it will vote against the resolution as well.

In television interviews Sunday, Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said they believed public opinion had been slow to follow the Bush administration. But they predicted the public and U.S. allies would come to support an American-led war with Iraq.

On "Fox News Sunday," Powell said "I think we're in striking distance of (nine or 10 votes). We'll be in intense negotiations over the next couple of days, a lot of diplomacy will be taking place."

Incidentally, note the administration has to finally acknowledge that it doesn't have popular backing for it's war. Both Powell and Rice, in seperate interviews, had to concede that "public opinion had been slow to follow the Bush administration".

Closer to home, the administration was bombarded by fresh criticism as those who oppose war are emboldened by public sentiment against the war. Canadian PM Chretien, Nancy Pelosi, Car Levin, and Jimmy Carter. And Condi Rice admitted the US was trying to buy votes at the UNSC:

The foreign minister of member Guinea will visit administration officials this week, Rice said. Asked whether the administration was trying to entice potential backers with promises of financial aid, as it sought to do with Turkey, she replied: "We're talking to people about their interests."
Finally, the US and UK plan on pressuring Blix to admit today that he has found a "smoking gun" in Iraq. Apparently, Blix's latest report mentions an Iraqi unmanned drone, with a wingspan of 25 feet.
"It's incredible," The Times, quoted an unidentified senior diplomat from a swing voter on the council as saying. "The report is going to have a clearly defined impact on the people who are wavering. It's a biggie."
Given the number of times Bush's people have lied and obfuscated, I won't hold my breath on this new evidence. We'll wait and see how it shakes out.

Posted March 10, 2003 06:58 AM | Comments (64)


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