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Author:Lancaster, Pat
Position::Iraq War, 2003- - Column
 
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The majority of people living in the Gulf feel that a US strike on Iraq--with or without the backing of UN--is now inevitable. Nobody in the region seems to want it to happen but Saddam Hussein's near neighbours feel the matter is out of their hands, that the decision to go to war has been taken by President Bush and there is little or nothing they can do about it.

In London in mid-February a protest march against the war brought the English capital to a standstill. An opinion poll in The Times newspaper found that 51% of those questioned saw Prime Minister Tony Blair as a US poodle, although 47% trusted him to do the right thing. An overwhelming 86% wanted more time for weapons inspections and only 25% thought enough evidence had been found to justify a war.

From Portugal to Russia, opinion surveys indicate that without a further UN resolution, most Europeans are overwhelmingly against war and even a second UN resolution would not convince most of them.

In Germany, the BBC European analyst William Horsley observes that an opinion poll makes it look as if the Germans now see the United States--not Iraq--as the main threat to world peace.

France, Germany and Belgium pitched Nato into one of the most serious crises in its 54-year history by blocking the alliance from activating plans for Turkey's defence against any attack from Iraq. Their continued veto of the plans deepened an already acrimonious split with the United States over its preparations for military action against Iraq, which threatens lasting damage to the Nato alliance.

The Iraqi crisis is poisoning transatlantic relations and relations within Europe, said one commentator from Washington and he is not wrong. The extent of the disarray that has been created is extraordinary. The political mudslinging started almost immediately. Basically, France, Germany and Belgium are not convinced that a war to...

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