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UK Ministers Told Of Need For Gulf War ‘Excuse’

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Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’


Michael Smith
June 12, 2005

For full story see…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1650822,00.html

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

“US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia,” the briefing paper warned. This meant that issues of legality “would arise virtually whatever option ministers choose with regard to UK participation”.

For full story see…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1650822,00.html

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FULL TEXT: Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action


June 1

For full story see…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1648758,00.html


The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source.
PERSONAL SECRET UK EYES ONLY

IRAQ: CONDITIONS FOR MILITARY ACTION (A Note by Officials)

Summary

Ministers are invited to:

(1) Note the latest position on US military planning and timescales for possible action.

(2) Agree that the objective of any military action should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD.

(3) Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. This should include a call from the Prime Minister to President Bush ahead of the briefing of US military plans to the President on 4 August.

(4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.

(5) Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.

For full story see…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1648758,00.html

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