September 2001>News Stories>UK plays down Iraq force requests
|UK plays down Iraq force requests
A Desert Storm-style plan is reportedly being considered
BBC News. 10 March 2002
Downing Street has played down reports that the US has requested 25,000 UK troops to join an attack on Saddam Hussein. The Observer newspaper said the troops had been requested as part of a possible ground force aimed at overthrowing the Iraqi president. "No decisions have been taken, let alone any requests made," a Number 10 spokesman said. The Foreign Office did confirm, however, a Sunday Express report that minister Ben Bradshaw this week had meetings with Iraqi opposition groups in London, and will have more in the coming week. A spokeswoman described the meetings - in which the potential for national rebellion against Saddam was reportedly discussed - as "nothing out of the ordinary".
The US has threatened to remove Saddam Hussein by force
The US has threatened action against Iraq unless it lets UN weapons inspectors back into the country - and possibly even if it does. The Observer suggested that UK Prime Minster Tony Blair was considering three options for a possible assault on Iraq:
"Our argument is that the US must internationalise what they are doing, work with other people in the world community. "Any action in these fields is only likely to succeed if you have got the world community united in dealing with it," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
More than 70 MPs, including many Labour backbenchers, have signed a motion against military action in Iraq. On Monday, MPs Alice Mahon (Halifax) and Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow, also Father of the House), will deliver a letter to Downing Street warning Mr Blair against joining any action against Iraq. The delivery will coincide with a visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney to Mr Blair, where it is expected that the matter will be discussed.