Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Iraq

Delivered in Plenary - March 12th 2003

Mr President,

Many claim the split over Iraq is between Europe and the USA. However, in reality it is between France and Germany and 19 other pro-US new European governments. France and Germany have alienated America, undermined the UN and NATO and exposed the difficulties of achieving the CFSP. France and Russia will be judged harshly for using their UN veto for cynical, commercial interests in a second resolution, sending all the wrong signals to Baghdad.

There are legitimate differences over the immediacy of the military threat posed by Iraq, but Saddam Hussein continues to defy the credibility of the UN in its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Interestingly, Iraq and North Korea are the only two cases in the world of non-compliance with NPT safeguard agreements and I would not wish to see Iraq in the position that North Korea is in now, possessing nuclear weapons and immune from assault.

Personally, I am convinced of the need for regime change, ideally via Saddam's exile or, failing that, by military intervention, as the only way to ensure a disarmed and peaceful Iraq. The allies must install a democratic government to prevent refugee flows or instability in the region, allowing the 200 000 in my constituency, London, to return and guarantee that Iraq's oil wealth be used for its people and not for arms purchases. The alternative is to contain Saddam for a while until the world's attention is focused elsewhere and he can once again rearm.

The Clinton administration appeased North Korea for years, bankrolling the regime while it starved its own people and secretly carried on developing nuclear weapons, contrary to the 1994 agreement.

Perhaps the appeasers in this House could also explain why they embraced a war in Kosovo that involved no weapons of mass destruction or threat to other states without any UN authority and now find it so difficult to take action against an evil, genocidal dictator who has started two wars responsible for the deaths of almost one million people and who has gassed more people in a single day than died in the whole of the Kosovo conflict.

Certainly, once the almost inevitable war is over, the US, through the Quartet, must show resolve for a roadmap solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and ensure a viable two-state solution. In the meantime, let us not be deterred from confronting a dangerous menace when we can.