Allies And Opponents : Testing Saddam
A nice breakdown of who’s with us and who’s against us in military action against Saddam. Also more evidence that a second — actually 18th — resolution is necessary.

America does not appear to want to wait this long. Mr Blix is scheduled to give another report to the council at the end of the month. If an invasion is to take place, military planners would hope that their forces would be well on their way to Baghdad by mid-March. Any later, and the desert heat and dust would make things far more difficult for the 200,000 troops gathering in the Gulf region.

America needs to win nine votes in favour (and no veto) to get a new resolution passed by the 15-member Security Council. As well as the five veto-wielding nations (America, Britain, France, Russia and China), the council has ten non-permanent members, which serve on a rotating basis. Currently these are Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Germany, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria and Spain. Most of them are against war.

Within Europe, America’s allies include Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark and the central and east European countries. The rest of Europe is mostly against war. Yet some of the divisions have been mended: France, Germany and Belgium ended an impasse within the NATO military alliance on February 16th by lifting their objection to planning for the defence of Turkey in the event of a war. But Turkey itself is now causing problems for the Americans: on February 18th, the Turkish president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, said his country wanted to see a new UN resolution before it would allow American troops to use its bases.

If America concludes from its diplomatic soundings that it will not be able to get a second resolution of its liking passed by the Security Council, it may drop the idea altogether and simply continue making its war plans. Mr Bush has said he is prepared to lead a “coalition of the willing” against Iraq if the UN will not act. The peace protests last weekend have shown that there is massive international opposition to a war, especially one not supported by the UN. Yet, while it is not yet impossible to imagine America sending its troops home without a fight, it does not look at all likely.

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