Blair and Bush planned Iraq war without second UN vote, letter shows
Five months before invasion, pair agreed to go ahead if weapons breach was revealed, according to newly released letter
Britain and the US were planning to take action against Saddam Hussein without a second UN resolution five months before the invasion of Iraq, a newly released letter fromTony Blair's office shows.
A letter from Blair's private secretary reveals that "we and the US would take action" without a new resolution by the UN security council if UN weapons inspectors showed Saddam had clearly breached an earlier resolution. In that case, he "would not have a second chance".
That was the only way Britain could persuade the Bush administration to agree to a role for the UN and continuing work by UN weapons inspectors, the letter says.
Dated 17 October 2002, it was written by Matthew Rycroft to Mark Sedwill, private secretary to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw. "This letter is sensitive," Rycroft underlined. "It must be seen only by those with a real need to know its contents, and must not be copied further."
He sent it to a number of other senior officials, including Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's ambassador to the UN. There is no indication that it was seen by Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, who at the time was advising that invading Iraq without a fresh UN resolution would be illegal.
Rycroft's letter referred to a Downing Street meeting on the Iraqi crisis attended by Straw, the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, and the chief of the defence staff, Admiral Sir Mike Boyce. Also present were Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell; his director of government relations, Sally Morgan; his director of communications, Alastair Campbell; and his chiefforeign policy adviser, David Manning.
The meeting concluded, wrote Rycroft, that "the only way to keep the US on the UN route was for there to be a clear understanding that if [chief UN weapons inspector Hans] Blix reported an Iraqi breach of the first resolution, then Saddam would not have a second chance".
In a devastating passage, Rycroft added: "In other words, if for some reason [such as a French or Russian veto] there were no second resolution agreed … we and the US would take action."
The Downing Street letter is particularly significant considering the government's repeated emphasis in public at the time on the need for UN approval before any invasion of Iraq.
The first resolution referred to in Rycroft's letter was number 1441, passed unanimously in November 2002. Goldsmith and most of the government's legal advisers insisted a second UN resolution was needed before military action could lawfully take place.
Blair was put in an even more difficult position with Washington as, in the event, Blix never reported an unconditional breach of the first resolution.
The Rycroft letter also appears to conflict with Straw's actions at the time. A statement recently released by the Chilcot inquiry revealed that in October 2002 Straw told his French counterpart, Dominique de Villepin, that US acceptance of the wording of the first UN resolution "implied" a further one was required.
The statement was written by Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign Office's top legal adviser, who also opposed the invasion. It also disclosed that Greenstock had told his US counterpart that Britain would state publicly after the resolution was passed "that there needed to be a second resolution".
The issue is at the heart of the deep and continuing arguments over the legality of the invasion. Goldsmith originally advised Blair and Straw that the first UN resolution did not provide sufficient legal cover for war.
Goldsmith said he changed his mind in February 2003 after Bush's legal advisers told him on a US visit that they had agreed to the wording of 1441 only because it had not crossed their "red line" – the clear message was that, as far as the US was concerned, no new resolution was needed.
Philippe Sands, professor of international law at University College London, said: "The letter of 17 October 2002 is consistent with the conclusion that the prime minister wanted to proceed to action with the US on the basis of a single security council resolution, irrespective of what the law required, and ignoring the views at the time of the Foreign Office legal adviser and the attorney general."
According to Wood's statement to the Chilcot inquiry, Straw told the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, "that we needed a second resolution and that it was extremely unlikely we could find a legal basis without it".
Sands said: "It reflects the widespread view that what became UNSCR 1441 would not authorise military action without a second resolution. His latest statement shoots a very big hole in the arguments of Messrs Goldsmith and Straw, and one wonders why they ultimately failed to reflect its contents in their words and actions."
Lebih setahun dirancang dan setelah berbulan-bulan berkrisis, akhirnya nasib Langkah Kajang berada di tangan Sultan Selangor. Kerana melanggar titah Sultan dan menghantar hanya satu nama calon untuk jawatan Menteri Besar Selangor dua hari lalu, PKR bakal berdepan kemelut lebih panjang.
Krisis ini juga mungkin berakhir dengan pembubaran Dewan Undangan Negeri dan pilihan raya terpaksa diadakan. Arkitek Langkah Kajang, Rafizi Ramli, pasti tidak terfikir bahawa perancangan menaikkan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menjadi Menteri Besar Selangor tergelincir begitu jauh daripada matlamat asal. Pelan yang difikirnya bagus, hebat dan terperinci akhirnya meninggalkan kerosakan, keburukan dan kemusnahan yang pelbagai dan mendalam kesannya.
Yang pasti, Anwar tidak akan menjadi Menteri Besar. Calon penggantinya, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, pun belum pasti. Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim sudah dipecat sebagai bendahari dan ahli PKR. Beberapa pemimpin PKR juga sudah keluar parti. Kerana terlalu tumpu kepada usaha rampas kuasa di Selangor, urusan pemilihan parti menjadi medan perang puak-puak dalam PKR. Imej pemimpin dan parti berada pada tahap paling rendah dalam tempoh 15 tahun.
Pemimpin 'nampak bodoh'
Antara terkesan Langkah Kajang ialah Rafizi sendiri. Sejak dilantik Pengarah Strategi PKR pada 2010, dia mempamerkan diri sebagai orang paling cerdik dalam parti. Ramai pemimpin lebih senior 'nampak bodoh' dan akal mereka tidak berguna lagi. Justeru, walaupun dianggap orang penting dalam PKR, Rafizi dicemuh oleh ramai pemimpin pakatan pembangkang.
Ada yang berkata Anwar yang rosak menjadi lebih rosak kerana mendengar nasihat Rafizi. Setiausaha Agung PAS, Datuk Mustafa Ali pernah suruh Rafizi berhenti 'bercakap bodoh', manakala Datuk Zaid Ibrahim anggapnya 'budak pejabat Anwar yang jahat'. AJK PAS Pusat Nik Abduh Nik Aziz menganggap Rafizi seorang yang gelojoh dan mengkritik Langkah Kajang sebagai 'projek tanpa perancangan'. Faekah Hussin mendakwa Rafizi mempunyai agenda dan kepentingan diri jika Dr Wan Azizah jadi Menteri Besar Selangor.
Pemimpin DAP, Aspan Alias mempersoal: "Politik tidak hanya bersandar kepada undang-undang. Dalam demokrasi, ada elemen moralnya kerana yang hendak ditadbir ialah manusia. Manusia bukan batu atau haiwan yang boleh disembelih dan dijadikan hidangan enak-enak. Dari sudut moral, tindakan Anwar boleh dipersoal. Ia terjadi semata-mata kerana kemarahan Anwar yang digalakkan oleh beberapa pemimpin di dalam PKR yang bercita-cita tinggi sambil mengaku beliaulah yang bertanggungjawab."
Dalam pada itu, hubungan PKR/DAP-PAS menjadi renggang sehingga wujud kesangsian dan ketidakpercayaan antara pemimpin kedua-dua pihak. Mereka tidak berlapik lagi bila saling mengutuk. Diktator, bodoh, khianat, jahat, jengkel, biadab dan pelbagai gelaran buruk sudah lazim sesama mereka.
Bak 'buah buruk menunggu jatuh'. Golongan ulama dan konservatif PAS tidak mempercayai Anwar, seperti Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Hadi Awang juga menjadi sasaran pemimpin PKR-DAP yang tidak bersetuju dengan pendirian beliau.
Ada cadangan keluar daripada pakatan
Dewan Ulama dan PAS Selangor berikrar untuk menyokong sesiapa sahaja menjadi Menteri Besar kecuali Dr Wan Azizah. Semakin ramai dalam kalangan pemimpin PAS yang mahu tahaluf siyasi dengan PKR-DAP dikaji semula, malah ada yang mencadangkan keluar daripada pakatan.
Menzahirkan pendirian DAP, kolumnis Lim Hong Siang berpendapat PAS tidak sepatutnya membiarkan PKR terjebak dengan pengalaman yang pernah dilaluinya pada tahun 1977 dalam soal pemilihan Menteri Besar.
"PAS seolah-olah tidak mempedulikan sistem yang sedang diamalkan. Masyarakat Cina cuba memahami tekanan PAS tapi ramai tidak sangka bahawa dalam isu calon Menteri Besar pun PAS dilihat bermasalah. Saya tidak tahu apa rasional di sebalik strategi PAS ini. PAS harus tumpu masa menawan semula hati penyokong yang terkilan."
Sasterawan Dinsman menempelak kerana PAS telah dijadikan kambing hitam. "Puncanya masalah dalaman PKR. Mereka yang mencipta Langkah Kajang untuk atasi masalah itu, dan libatkan pengundi di Kajang dan beberapa pihak lagi, maka PAS pun terlibat. Apakah ia sesuatu yang terjadi secara sengaja hasil suatu perancangan pihak tertentu yang kemudiannya tidak dapat mengawal keadaan seperti yang sepatutnya? " (Harakah 29 Ogos 2014)
Collateral damage kepada Langkah Kajang yang gagal ialah perpecahan dalam PAS. Dahulu orang PAS berbalah dalam diam, tetapi hari ini, mereka berkelahi macam orang di pasar besar. Sudah ada wakil rakyat PAS yang sanggup ketepikan bai'ah parti dan tinggalkan jemaah, dipercayai dipengaruhi pemimpin kanan PAS yang pro-Anwar.
Kata Dinsman: "Wujud suatu kemelut tersendiri dalam kalangan pimpinan PAS, dan terserlah beberapa wajah yang hodoh dan tidak menyenangkan. Lebih parah ialah menghina agama pun sudah menjadi sikap yang dianggap rasional, wajar dan munasabah."
Perbezaan pendapat antara pemimpin PAS begitu ketara sehingga wujud puak pro-Hadi dan puak pro-Timbalan Presiden Mohamed Sabu. Jelas merujuk kepada Mat Sabu dan puaknya, Ketua Penerangan Dewan Ulama Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali berkata: "Ada usaha mencemarkan nama Presiden dengan pelbagai cara negatif. Usah dikira serangan di Facebook walaupun oleh mereka yang mengaku ahli PAS.
Ramai menjangka, langkah Kajang adalah langkah pre-emp masuk penjara kes Liwat. Sebagaimana biasa Anwar akan bina isu, usik jiwa rakyat dengan lakonan tertentu, kemudian ajak orang ikut sekali ke pintu penjara..... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi... Jangan lagi...... Biar dia sendiri pergi...
KUALA TERENGGANU: Pas has objected to the nomination of PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the Selangor menteri besar post, citing her questionable leadership qualities.
In an apparent move likely to further drive a wedge between the Islamic party and its opposition partners, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang yesterday said as the richest state in the country, Selangor needed a strong and capable administrator to run a tight ship.
Hadi denied that the party’s stand was gender- biased.
Nevertheless, he did not spell out the qualities required for one to hold the top executive’s office in Selangor.
“There is a series of criteria needed for one to be eligible as a leader.
“For example, among the skills (Dr Wan Azizah) must possess is the ability to face (detractors) and answer hard questions in Parliament and the state assembly.
“If you can’t hold your own in a debate with opposition members in the (Selangor) state assembly, how can you lead (in a vastly larger role)?” Hadi said in Marang here, when asked by a Pas member during a dialogue as to why the party would not accept Dr Wan Azizah as the menteri besar.
The dialogue was held for party members to seek clarification on current political issues prior to Pas’ muktamar next week.
On Wednesday, Hadi created a furore after his office sent a new list of three potential office-bearers to replace Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor menteri besar. Hadi had declined to reveal the names.
The names were not revealed, but it was confirmed by party secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali that the names of two PKR and one Pas assemblymen have been submitted as candidates.
Previously, on Aug 17, Pas had named Dr Wan Azizah and her deputy, Azmin Ali, as the party’s preferred candidates, after Khalid was sacked from PKR last month. Pas also had pledged that it would not put forth one of its own for the post.
The sultan of Selangor had decreed that each of the opposition coalition parties should at least provide three names for the post. PKR and DAP, however, remained adamant to only fielding Dr Wan Azizah.
To a question by another member on the party’s decision to submit three names to the Selangor palace instead of one, Hadi said the party was merely adhering to the sultan’s decree.
“If we push on to submit just one (name) to the palace, then people will label us as tak reti bahasa (unable to understand simple instructions).
“At the same time, how will the sultan be able to deliberate (his choice) if there is only one name?
“It is up to the others (DAP and PKR) to determine the contents of their (respective) list, but I am certain that Pas members will prefer to have leaders who understand the request made by the sultan,” said Hadi.
KUALA LUMPUR 5 Sept. - Tindakan Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang bersungguh-sungguh mahukan isterinya, Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail dicalonkan sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor disifatkan sebagai politik 'kucing kurap'. Bekas Setiausaha Pas Cawangan Kampung Banjar Baru, Batu Caves, Mohamed Nabi Bux Mohd. Nabi Abdul Sathar (gambar) berkata, permainan politik Anwar itu bukan sahaja terang-terangan memperbodohkan ahli PKR malah para penyokong DAP. "Sebelum ini, Anwar melantik Wan Azizah jadi Presiden PKR, kemudian Wan Azizah lantik Anwar pula jadi Penasihat. Sekarang Anwar nak Wan Azizah jadi Menteri Besar Selangor pula, permainan politik apakah ini? "Mungkin jika DAP menang pilihan raya umum di Melaka, Lim Guan Eng akan membuat perkara sama iaitu melantik isterinya, Betty Chew jadi Ketua Menteri. Tak mustahil perkara ini berlaku," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini. Dalam perkembangan sama, Mohamed Nabi Bux yang juga bekas calon Bebas dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Parlimen Bukit Gelugor memuji tindakan Pas menghantar tiga nama calon Menteri Besar kepada Sultan Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. "Pas tidak perlu malu atau takut, Pas telah memenangi 15 kerusi di Selangor. Malah tiga calon yang dikemukakan adalah sebagai menurut titah Sultan Selangor," katanya.
The president’s letter to the Selangor palace naming three candidates for the mentri besar post has put the party and Anwar-aligned progressives on a collision course.
PAKATAN Rakyat is reeling in confusion after the decision by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to deliver a letter to the Selangor palace allegedly naming three PAS exco-members as potential candidates for the Selangor Mentri Besar post.
By naming the exco members, Hadi excludes PKR president Datuk Dr Wan Azizah Ismail and the deputy president, Azmin Ali, as PAS choices for the post.
The letter, signed by Hadi, also repudiates the decisions taken by the PAS Central Committee on Aug 17 to back Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin.
The three whom Hadi named were believed to be Selangor exco members Iskandar Abdul Samad, Sallehen Mukhyi and Ahmad Yunus Hairi.
Since Azmin had withdrawn his name almost as soon as it was announced, it was only Dr Wan Azizah in the running as far as PKR and DAP were concerned.
Because the clerics were opposed to Dr Wan Azizah’s candidacy, PAS had been dilly-dallying with its recommendations and saying that it was going to endorse Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin, but now Hadi has surprised everyone with his own plan.
By excluding Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin, he has thrown PKR into a frenzy of anger and disillusionment.
Sources said Hadi’s decision has split the party between the clerics or ulamas who have ruled the party since the 1980s and the pro-Anwar Ibrahim (the adviser to PKR) progressives who are a new phenomenon in PAS and who came into their own after the 2008 general election.
“The clerics have decided to risk everything ... they want (to take) the party back from (what they see as) the negative influences of the progressives,” said one conservative PAS leader who asked for anonymity.
“The progressives won big in the 2013 general election and have been dominating PAS dialogue since.
“A big clash is brewing between the two groups,” he said, adding that he views the mentri besar crisis as the spark for the clash.
The backdrop could be the PAS general assembly later this month in Johor.
Progressive members in the PAS Central Committee who backed Dr Wan Azizah were reportedly flabbergasted at this latest twist.
“Are we working our way out of Pakatan? Is PAS burning all its bridges? Is this the beginning of the end for Pakatan?” asked an astounded central committee member who is said to be aligned to Anwar.
It also looks like Hadi submitted his letter to the palace without the knowledge of even PAS leaders such as deputy president Mohamed Sabu and central committee member Khalid Samad.
With this, Hadi has put into question PAS’ sincerity in its alliance with PKR and DAP.
PKR held a late night meeting when news of the letter broke to try to comprehend what one PKR leader described as a stab in the back.
“We never believed Hadi would do this… to reject our candidate entirely,” said a political bureau member who declined to be named.
“This is definitely the end of any meaningful cooperation with PAS in Pakatan.”
The progressives in PAS were equally confounded by what came from their own party president.
“All the while we were saying we were not interested in the post but suddenly we have named three PAS members.
“How are we going to explain this to the Pakatan rank and file?” said a PAS leader aligned to Anwar.
According to the sources, Hadi was relying on the Shura Council, which is known to be dead against Dr Wan Azizah as mentri besar, to back him.
And that puts him on a collision course with some of his own top lieutenants.
With the party’s general assembly coming up on Sept 18, the stage is set for a head-on clash between the two groups – the conservative clerics and the pro-Pakatan progressives.
PETALING JAYA: PAS has accused its ally PKR, of “creating a problem out of nothing” in its attempt to replace Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the party had been forced to “share the burden” in Selangor after PKR initiated the “Kajang move” and subsequently decided to replace Khalid with PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
“What has happened the past few days is a small matter. To those who are only just learning politics, it seems like a burden. The problem in Selangor is not our problem. It is a problem that was created by our friends and we are now forced to share in the burden,” he said during a ceramah in Terengganu, which was uploaded on YouTube on Friday.
Hadi said PAS had chosen to support Khalid because he was a trustworthy leader and had provided a valid explanation for his actions when questioned by a panel of Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including himself.
“We left it to PKR to run Selangor, and they were successful in their first term. Then all of a sudden there was a problem.
“First, PKR said Khalid was stingy and greedy, and refused to provide funds for state development, to which Khalid told me that the money was not his, it was the people’s,” he explained.
In his speech, Hadi also criticised the Kajang move, which is now to have been an early step in ousting Khalid.
PKR assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh resigned on January 27 to make way for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the seat. However, due to a speedy conviction in Anwar’s sodomy case, his wife Dr Wan Azizah ran in his place.
“The (Kajang) assemblyman was asked to step down. We were informed about the move without even a meeting. PAS said that we did not agree, that this was not how things are done. The general election had just passed, and to suddenly have a re-election is not right,” he said, explaining that PAS eventually relented and agreed to a by-election because they were in the same coalition.
“At the time, the mentri besar issue did not arise. Suddenly, there was a call to change the mentri besar. Letters of accusation against Khalid started to spread. As an Islamic party, the accusations must be looked at fairly. If it is not treated with justice and a verdict is given on a whim, then it would be a cruel action,” Hadi said, adding that Khalid had received PAS’ backing because of his honesty.
Politik adalah wadah kuasa dan pengaruh. Tidak lebih dari itu. Dalam ramai yang serius berpolitik mungkin terdapat jua beberapa kerat yang jujur, tulus, tegak dengan prinsip. Namun pokok pangkalnya, mereka yang terjun dalam dunia politik wajar dan terpaksa pikul tanggungjawab menjaga kesejahteraan negara dan rakyatnya. Mereka yang berpolitik boleh melalak sesuka hati sebagai pembangkang, boleh sentiasa memburuk-burukkan parti lawan yang memerintah.
Tapi ada satu garisan nipis yang akan memisahkan politik kotor dengan politik suci bersih. Awas jangan dalam keghairahan berpolitik menyanggah apa jua usaha kerajaan mereka bertindak dan melanggar garisan kewarasan dengan memburuk-burukkan negara sendiri.
Politik, Kerajaan, Negara, Kedaulatan berada pada aras-aras berbeza.
Rakyat tidak perlu jadi terlalu gila dengan politik.