The foreign office was told that bombing raids in the run-up to the war on Iraq were illegal under international law, according to leaked legal advice.
The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later British and US planes began “spikes of activity” designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving a pretext for war.
The decision to provoke the Iraqis emerged in leaked minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair and his most senior advisers
Those at the meeting on 23 July 2002 included Blair, Geoff Hoon (then defence secretary), foreign secretary Jack Straw, and Sir Richard Dearlove (then chief of MI6).
An Iraqi official has accused the US of “indiscriminate killing” and destruction in the Iraqi town of al-Qaim, on the Syrian border.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera TV last weekend Abdal Khaliq al-Rawi, director of telecommunications in al-Qaim, said that the town’s residents had begun acts of “civil disobedience” in protest at the killings.
Al-Rawi told the channel that US snipers were killing people every day in the town’s market.
He said, “These actions have increased in the past week. There are innocent victims on a daily basis.”
Responding to US claims that 50 militants have been killed in its assault on western Iraq, al-Rawi said the injured who had arrived at the hospital in al-Karabilah, the centre of the operation, were mostly civilians.
“Fifteen people, mostly civilians, were wounded and taken to hospital in al-Karabilah yesterday,” al-Rawi said. He added that he had seen no gunmen or militants in the streets.
A large minority of members of the Iraqi national assembly have demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of the US-led forces from Iraq.
A memorandum signed by 83 MPs in the 275-seat assembly was submitted to the house speaker last Sunday. In it they slammed the puppet Iraqi government’s request to the UN security council to extend the presence of the foreign forces in the country.
None of the other members of the assembly, dominated by Kurds and Shia Muslims, objected to the memo, which was read by one of the signatories.
It described the request to the security council, submitted by foreign minister Hoshiyar Zibari, as an “attempt to legitimise the US occupation of Iraq”.
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