Friday, October 14, 2005

Going Beyond Iraq

Tomorrow's edition of the Guardian (London) reports that President Bush had his sights on Saudi Arabia early in 2003:

George Bush told Tony Blair shortly before the invasion of Iraq that he intended to target other countries, including Saudi Arabia, which, he implied, planned to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Bush said he "wanted to go beyond Iraq in dealing with WMD proliferation, mentioning in particular Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan," according to a note of a telephone conversation between the two men on January 30 2003.

The note is quoted in the US edition, published next week, of Lawless World, America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules, by the British international lawyer Philippe Sands. The memo was drawn up by one of the prime minister's foreign policy advisers in Downing Street and passed to the Foreign Office, according to Mr Sands.

Certainly the mention of Saudi Arabia is surprising, but so is the concern expressed over Pakistani nuclear weapons given the "see no evil" policy adopted eleven months later when A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, was revealed to have sold nuclear secrets.