- President Bush faced world anger last night over America's
seven-nation nuclear hit list.
- British MPs joined the outcry after a leaked Pentagon
report revealed contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against China,
Russia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya. The secret policy was
denounced as warmongering "lunacy".
- Alarmed officials from Moscow to Tehran warned that the
"power crazy" President, buoyed up by the successful campaign
in Afghanistan, could plunge the world into chaos. British politicians
said the strategy threatened the stability of the NATO alliance.
- International tension mounted as Washington pressed Britain
to back an attack on Iraq - including the possible commitment of 25,000
British troops to topple Saddam Hussein.
- Cabinet Minister Clare Short hinted that she might resign
if Tony Blair supported a mass strike against Baghdad. She said: "We
need to deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein - we don't need to inflict
further suffering on the people of Iraq."
- Labour MPs Alice Mahon and Tam Dalyell will today deliver
a letter to 10 Downing Street warning the Prime Minister against joining
any military action.
- US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in London last
night for talks with Mr Blair which will cover the threat posed by Iraq.
- No 10 insisted last night: "No decisions have been
- Amid mounting anger, the target nations accused America
of intimidation and "wreaking havoc on the whole world" and branded
the plans a "lunatic" threat to world peace.
- In Britain, MPs said the sensational disclosures threatened
the stability of the Western alliance.
- Labour MP Alice Mahon said: "The lunatics have taken
over the White House. This report must be ringing alarms throughout NATO".
The Pentagon document, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, was leaked
as the US lobbied Britain to join an invasion of Iraq.
- International Development Secretary and Cabinet Minister
Clare Short hinted she might resign if a strike went ahead.
- The review says the US must be ready to use nuclear weapons
against China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya. It then
identified four areas where the US should be prepared to press the button:
- In an Arab-Israeli conflict, in a war between China and
Taiwan, in an attack by North Korea on South Korea and in an attack by
Iraq on Israel or another neighbor. Additionally, the weapons could be
used against targets able to withstand conventional attack and in retaliation
for the use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
- They could also be used in the event of "surprising
military developments", reflecting fears that rogue states or terrorists
could deploy weapons against the US.
- The review, leaked to the Los Angeles Times, orders the
military to plan for the use of "smaller nuclear weapons" as
a more effective deterrent against terrorist attacks. It also calls for
cruise missiles to carry nuclear weapons. It is the first time the US has
reviewed its nuclear strategy since 1994 and the first list of target nations
to be made public.
- Last night it was seen as a warning to those states who
might be harboring terrorists. In Russia, defense hawk General Leonid Ivashov
said: "The heart of US political doctrine is to push powerful Russia
off the political scene."
- Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin added: "This is
a nuclear stick intended to intimidate us." Vyacheslav Nikonov, of
the Politika think tank, branded the plans a "very negative signal"
which would be "received in an appropriate fashion by Russia's leadership".
- Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an
aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: "The US believes
that by threatening countries they'll withdraw their demands. Their policy
is one of intimidation."
- The Tehran Times newspaper said: "This indicates
the US is going to wreak havoc on the world to establish its domination."
Professor Michael Yahuda, professor of international relations at the London
School of Economics, warned: "China won't be happy to be classified
among rogue nations."
- Liberal Democrat spokesman Menzies Campbell said: "America
seems to be moving from nuclear deterrence to nuclear war fighting.
- "It would drive a coach and horses through NATO's
doctrine of nuclear strikes as a last resort."
- US Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted the report
did not signal imminent action.
- He said: "We should not get carried away with some
sense the US plans to use nuclear weapons in some contingency in the near
- "It's not the case. What the Pentagon has done with
this is sound military, conceptual planning.
- "Not a single nation is being targeted by an American
nuclear weapon on a day-to-day basis."
- National security adviser Condoleezza Rice added: "We
all want to make the use of weapons of mass destruction less likely.
- "The way that you do that is to send a very strong
signal to anyone who might use them against the United States that they'd
be met with a devastating response."
- Vice-President Dick Cheney arrived in London last night
to meet Tony Blair. He is expected to appeal for military support against
Iraq. It is reported the US will ask for up to 25,000 British troops to
form part of an invasion force.
- In the first sign of a Cabinet split, Ms Short denounced
any invasion plans yesterday. She said: "An all-out military attack
is, of course, not at all sensible.
- "We need to deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein.
We don't need to inflict further suffering on the people of Iraq."
- Ms Short said the best answer was to allow UN inspectors
back into Iraq, a move firmly ruled out by Iraq's Vice-President Taha Yassin
Ramadan yesterday. Her warning amounted to a threat to resign if there
is a strike against Iraq. Donald Anderson, Labour chairman of the Commons
foreign affairs select committee, said military action on Iraq must only
be a last resort.
- He said: "I think there are reckless elements in
the Pentagon who are on a roll because of Afghanistan.
- "I would hope part of the task of our Government
is to influence those who take a contrary view."
- Downing Street played down the reports of an American
request for British troops. A spokesman said: "No decisions have been
taken, let alone any requests made."
- Published in the Daily Mirror © 2002 mirror.co.uk