THE GOVERNMENT is sending a naval task force to the Gulf to prepare for a murderous attack on Iraq. The fleet includes a submarine, a destroyer and an aircraft carrier. Officially the ships are heading for a training event off Malaysia. But one senior official called the exercise 'a very convenient cover'.
A 20,000-strong ground force of British troops is expected to join them soon. The US has ordered another 27,000 reserve and national guard troops to prepare for active duty early in the new year. A document leaked last week showed that the US is prepared to use nuclear weapons against any country that is deemed to pose a biological or chemical weapons threat.
But the US is massing its own weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Some 90,000 anti-personnel landmines are now stockpiled at US bases around the Gulf. Other weapons being lined up for use in Iraq include 'bunker busting' weapons that can 'count' how many floors to smash through before exploding.
Anti-War In Egypt
AN ANTI-WAR conference in Egypt was to take place this week despite attempts to ban it. The pro-US Mubarak government in Egypt attempted to stop the meeting but pressure from activists forced it to reinstate the conference.
International speakers at the conference will include former US attorney general Ramsey Clark and former UN officials Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck. The left wing Labour MP George Galloway and John Rees from the Stop the War Coalition in Britain were also to speak.
Blair's brutal pal
TONY BLAIR met Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria, on Monday of this week in another attempt to win the Arab world's backing for an attack on Iraq. Assad runs a regime as bad as Saddam Hussein's in Iraq. Syria has been run under a state of emergency since 1963. Assad's father came to power in a military coup in 1970.
Assad became president of Syria after his father's death two years ago. Hundreds of people still remain in prison, where torture and ill treatment are 'routine' according to Amnesty International. Syria has a chemical and biological weapons programme. But it voted in favour of the US's resolution on Iraq at the UN Security Council last month.
A thirst for blood
THE HEAD of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said the UN will need 'a few months' to assess Iraq's weapons dossier. But the warmongers in the White House have no intention of holding back. 'The hawks in the administration are forcing the pace,' said a former national security adviser. They weren't too happy about getting involved in inspections. Now they are making sure we're not inspecting into next summer'.