THE US is using bullying and dirty deals to try and ensure that the United Nations does not oppose war. That underlines why opponents of the war must be clear and say no war, with or without United Nations backing. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the US, Britain, Russia, France and China. Any of these can veto a resolution backing war. Bush can rely on Britain. That leaves the three others.
FRANCE: The government was last week moving to drop earlier criticisms of the US. Its president, Jacques Chirac, is nervous of being sidelined by the US in any post-war carve-up if he does not back war. So Chirac wants to bolster France's position by ensuring that any war is UN-backed.
'It's pretty straightforward. France has oil companies and interests in Iraq,' said James Woolsey, a former CIA director and keen advocate of 'regime change' in Iraq, in the Washington Post last week. They should be told that if they are of assistance we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them.'
RUSSIA: The government headed by Vladimir Putin looks poised to make a barbarous deal with Bush. That deal seems to be that the US will give Putin the green light to wage war against Georgia if Putin goes along with Bush's war.
Putin has been threatening Georgia, a state on its southern borders and a former part of the Soviet Empire.
He claims that rebels from neighbouring Chechnya who have been fighting against Russia's brutal occupation of that country are being 'harboured' in Georgia. Russia's rulers are using this as an excuse to extend their power over other areas of the economically and strategically important Caucasus region.
CHINA: The government looks like it will not stand in the way of Bush's war plans. Bush has made a dirty deal with China's rulers by last week officially branding as 'terrorists' a group wanting independence for part of western China.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement is one of the groups which wants independence for the Uighur people, mainly Muslims who live in western China. There is no evidence that these are 'terrorists' other than unproved Chinese allegations.
THERE ARE ten more temporary members of the Security Council drawn by rotation from the member states.
Bush needs to get nine of the total 15 Security Council states to launch a UN-backed war. Some of the temporary members will quickly line up with Bush. For example Colombia is run by a government that is waging a civil war with US backing against guerrillas.