Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched to the capitals of key member nations of the U.N. Security Council, including Mexico, Cameroon, Angola and Guinea, to warn leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq. The Bush administration is seeking to pass a new U.N. Security Council resolution, which will pave the way for a U.S. attack on Iraq. The U.S., Britain and possibly Spain are planning to introduce the resolution early this week. One Mexican diplomat told the Associated Press, “They actually told us any country that doesn’t go along with us will be paying a very heavy price.” In 1991, the U.S. withdrew $24 million in annual aid from Yemen after it voted against authorizing the Gulf War.
The nation’s second-largest city, Los Angeles, has come out against war in Iraq. On Friday, the L.A. City Council passed an antiwar resolution, joining over a hundred other cities and towns across the country, including San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, in opposing war. The New York City Council is expected to consider a similar resolution this week.
Iraq has been given until Saturday to destroy its stock of short-range missiles, which U.N. inspectors have determined to slightly exceed permitted range limits. The White House claims the existence of the missiles puts Iraq in material breach of U.N. resolutions, but U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has downplayed the incident and said he expects Iraq will voluntarily destroy the missiles.
Top Pentagon adviser Richard Perle threatened over the weekend the United States will attack Iraq even if France uses its veto to block a new resolution in the U.N. Security Council, this according to a report by Agence France-Presse. Perle also indicated that after overthrowing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Washington might set its sights on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
In Iran, for the first time international weapons inspectors have visited a nuclear site near the city of Natanz. Inspectors discovered evidence indicating the site may be part of Iran’s effort to develop nuclear weapons. The New York Times reports U.S. intelligence believes Iran’s nuclear program has benefited from Pakistani assistance and is far more advanced than the effort by Iraq.
The Bush administration has sent in 150 Special Forces to Colombia despite protests from Colombian politicians. The deployment comes in response to the murder of an American and the kidnapping of three others, all suspected CIA agents, the FARC says. The U.S. Embassy in Colombia has recommended Washington make a “major response” to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which took credit for the kidnappings.
A front-page article in today’s Washington Post reports on President Bush’s increasingly poor overseas image. The article begins, “The messages from U.S. embassies around the globe have become urgent and disturbing: Many people in the world increasingly think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.”