Osama bin Laden's latest solidarity tape about the war in Iraq is no proof that Saddam Hussein has a nexus or is in "partnership" with al-Qaeda against the United States to justify a Bush war on Iraq

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya Wednesday): United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday that the new statement believed to be from Osama bin Laden talks of the "partnership" the al Qaeda terrorist leader feels with Iraq, and that the nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored.

Osama bin Laden's latest solidarity tape about the war in Iraq is, however, no proof that Saddam Hussein has a nexus or is in "partnership" with al-Qaeda to justify a Bush war on Iraq, or the majority of the peoples in the world, including the peoples of the United States and United Kingdom, who are opposed to an unilateral US-led war on Iraq without specific United Nations sanction, could be similarly accused of complicity or conspiracy with the crimes of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.

The Bush Administration will be doing both the United States and the international community a grave and tragic disservice if it attempts to use the latest bin Laden audio tape which called on Muslims to fight on the side of Iraq as evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda are in cahoots.

Although the Bush administration had raised the US national alert to "orange", the second highest level, it was most ironic that President Bush did not mention Osama bin Laden a single time in his State of the Union Speech last week, prompting the German Foreign Minister, Joshka Fischer to ask US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Munich on Monday before the surfacing of the latest bin Laden tape as to why Iraq, rather than the threat posed by al Qaeda terrorists, was the US priority now.

Saddam Hussein is a brutal and horrible dictator for decades, and international pressure must mount relentlessly that Iraq comply with UN Security Council resolution that it disarms its weapons of mass destruction. This however can be no licence for the United States to lead an unilateral war against Iraq without specific UN Security Council sanction, which would be no less an act of international lawlessness.

DAP had on Monday sent an urgent fax to the US Ambassador to Malaysia, Marie Huhtala for a meeting this week to convey DAP's strong opposition to any unilateral US-led war on Iraq using the forthcoming Friday's Security Council meeting and the second report of the US weapons inspectors as the trigger point for war.

DAP has not received any response from the US Embassy, which seems to reflect hyper-power arrogance.

It would most regrettable if the Bush Administration and the US embassies have become deaf to voices of reason and dialogue and can only understand the language of demonstrations for peace-loving peoples all over the world to convey their feelings and concerns on the issue of war and peace in Iraq and the world.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman