Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Iraq Crisis

Delivered in Plenary - 4th September 2002

Mr President

UN Resolution 678 and the 1991 US Congressional resolution predicated the whole Gulf War ceasefire agreement on the undertaking that Iraq would dispose of all weapons of mass destruction, but instead UNSCOM inspectors were expelled accused of being American spies. Saddam Hussein still possesses huge quantities of biological and chemical weapons and three years ago he attempted to buy weapons-grade uranium from Serbia. He has been negotiating with North Korea to acquire ballistic missile technology. Therefore he clearly poses a global threat to oil supplies, and, were he to become a nuclear power, could hold the whole world to ransom.

Let us also be morally consistent. Nobody in this House asked for UN resolutions to attack Milosevic's Serbia, and human rights violations alone were deemed sufficient. Surely Saddam Hussein's violations of the rights of the Kurds whom he has gassed, the Marsh Arabs and the Shias whom he has tortured and killed, and the Israelis, where he has paid the families of suicide bombers to kill innocent victims, is much worse than any of Milosevic's crimes, - not to mention the British and the Americans whom he has sworn revenge against for our participation in the Gulf War.

I remain sceptical about neighbouring countries' concerns about military intervention, as some fear democracy in Iraq and others giving the Kurds autonomy in the north. I welcome foreign minister de Palacio's support yesterday for the British and American position. I also hope that China and Russia will not veto any requests in the UN Security Council for further resolutions on this matter, should America so request.

In the West, we should support our American allies' quest to complete the unfinished business of ridding the world of this extremely evil man.