The prospects of a US-British war against Iraq remained on the horizon as British PM Tony Blair arrived in Texas for talks with the US president, George Bush, about options for tackling Saddam Hussein. Bush, in an interview broadcast Friday night, hinted that even Iraqi compliance with UN demands on weapons inspections might not be enough to avoid war.
However, according to analysts, forcing out now the Iraqi President has become a difficult proposition for the United States because of the war in the West Bank.
Just weeks ago, the Bush administration was talking as though Saddam was a new target in the war on terrorism, and military action was an imminent possibility.
Nevertheless, President Bush said in an interview Friday with a British television network that he is confident he can build a coalition to "deal with Saddam Hussein."
Asked if he had made up his mind on whether Iraq should be attacked, he said: "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go. That's about all I'm willing to share with you."
Bush and Blair will discuss all options during the latter's weekend visit to the president's Texas ranch, the American leader said.
According to a US official, quoted in the Guardian, the two leaders will have to decide during their meeting whether events in Israel and the occupied territories will mean that military action against Iraq will have to be delayed.
Blair was expected to press for diplomatic rather than military action.
Asked whether the Israeli-Palestinian crisis had derailed the administration's plans to confront Saddam, the US official said: "No, the two issues advance in parallel. What is at issue is timing and that is something that is going to be covered this weekend."
"It is absolutely not viable in the near future," for America to launch an attack on Iraq, said retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll, now an independent analyst in Washington. "The small region simply cannot contain two conflicts at the same time." (Albawaba.com)
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