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Dossier: Iraq leads criticism

Iraq has denied that it has nuclear, biological or chemical weapons
Iraq has denied that it has nuclear, biological or chemical weapons

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Has the UK's dossier strengthened the case against Saddam Hussein?


LONDON, England -- Iraq has dismissed a 50-page dossier published by the British government on Tuesday.

The report alleges that Iraq has "military plans" for chemical and biological weapons, and says the past 11 years show "a history of U.N. will flouted, lies told by Saddam ... obstruction, defiance, and denial." (Full story)

Iraq -- which maintains it does not have nuclear, biological or chemical weapons -- said the information in the dossier was untrue.

Lt. Gen. Amir Sadi, an adviser to Saddam, said: "His (Blair's) allegations are long, his evidence is short.

"His evidence is a hotchpotch of half truths, lies, short-sighted and naive allegations which will not hold after a brief investigation by competent experts.

"We advise Mr. Blair to hand over his document ... for proper assessment and soon enough the truth will come out."

Iraqi Culture Minister Hamed Yousif Hummadi said: "Blair is acting as part of the Zionist (Israeli) camaign against Iraq and all his claims are baseless."

While Prime Minister Tony Blair explained the details of the long-awaited dossier to a special session of the Parliament, in London, some of his Labour Party colleagues spoke out against war on Iraq and the evidence in the dossier.

Up to 150 MPs have signed a House of Commons motion opposing military action.

Backbench MPs from the "Labour Against the War" pressure group said the dossier was a "flimsy" document containing little new evidence.

The group's chairman, Alan Simpson MP, who has circulated colleagues with his own dossier making the case against war, said: "I am relieved that we now have a document in front of us, rather than a series of rumours and speculation.

"But as you go through it, it is hard to find anything new. It increasingly looks, under scrutiny, like a fight looking for a pretext. There is precious little in here that would make the case for a war."

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the report demonstrated the importance of getting U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq.

Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said Saddam had been willing "to terrorize and starve his own people to continue his weapons programme.

"Those who refuse to contemplate military action at any price must ask themselves: How are we to force Saddam to comply with U.N. resolutions that he has flouted for a decade?"

British anti-war Labour parliamentarian George Galloway, who has travelled several times to Baghdad in recent weeks in a bid to stave off war, dismissed Blair's dossier as "pulp fiction."

"Nothing that will persuade people who haven't already been persuaded of the need to plunge over a cliff in the Middle East, when there's already enough bloodshed there already."

Major Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies, said: "It does not produce any convincing evidence, or any killer fact that says that Saddam Hussein has to be taken out straight away.

"What it does do is produce very convincing evidence that the weapons inspectors have to be pushed back into Iraq very quickly."

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