Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Tenth Report


1.We conclude that during January and February, it became increasingly clear that although they were making some progress, the weapons inspectors were not able to produce immediate and conclusive answers to questions about whether Iraq was co-operating immediately, actively and unconditionally with the inspectors, or about whether it was concealing prohibited weapons or weapons programmes. (Paragraph 21)
2.We conclude that by mid-February, some three months after the passage of UNSCR 1441, the Security Council had not been given any compelling evidence by UNMOVIC or the IAEA of Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction. Information about Iraq's alleged development of prohibited weapons had been produced by the United States, the United Kingdom and some independent sources, but the weapons inspectors had not verified whether the allegations were true. In the case of uranium from Niger, they had verified that intelligence provided by at least one government source had proved false. (Paragraph 43)
3.We conclude that Iraq's co-operation with weapons inspectors was limited and insufficient, but that UNMOVIC and the IAEA were reporting improvements in Iraqi co-operation, and some evidence of actual disarmament by Iraq, by early March 2003. (Paragraph 49)
4.We conclude that, according to the timetable for UN weapons inspections agreed by the United Kingdom and other Security Council members in 1999, it would have taken inspectors longer to build up capacity and make clear judgements about Iraqi prohibited weapons and weapons programmes than they were permitted before the war in Iraq commenced. (Paragraph 55)
5.We conclude that it would have been highly desirable to obtain a further Security Council resolution before taking military action in Iraq. (Paragraph 75)
6.We further conclude that seeking a Security Council resolution and then failing to secure its adoption in the Council highlighted the profound disagreements that had emerged between its members by late February 2003. (Paragraph 76)
7.We note the Foreign Secretary's comment that the United Kingdom tends "not to put forward resolutions with the idea that they will be repudiated", and recommend that the Government in its response to this Report state whether the failure to secure a 'second resolution' on Iraq in February 2003 should have been anticipated. (Paragraph 77)
8.We conclude that the divisions that emerged among Security Council members between January and March 2003 over how to deal with the threat from Iraq are likely to have been a consequence of genuinely different assessments of the nature and extent of that threat. (Paragraph 82)
9.We conclude that the disagreements that surfaced within the EU over Iraq have raised serious questions about EU member states' capacities to resolve differences over matters of foreign policy and of the feasibility of a CFSP on matters of controversy among the members of the EU. (Paragraph 105)
10.We conclude that it is now more important than ever for the United Kingdom to work with partners in the European Union and the United States, and to demonstrate that there is no need to chose between these valued and long-standing partners. (Paragraph 106)
11.We conclude that relations between member states of NATO have been severely strained by the Iraq crisis. We are, however, encouraged by recent initiatives to develop new roles for NATO in the prosecuting the 'war against terrorism'. We recommend that the Government persist in its efforts to restore good relations among Alliance members, and to push for implementation of the important initiatives agreed at Prague in November 2002. (Paragraph 112)
12.We commend the British armed forces and their coalition allies for securing Iraq's oil fields and installations, and for protecting some government buildings in the capital. (Paragraph 128)
13.We recognise that a breakdown of law and order immediately following the fall of the regime was highly probable. We conclude, however, that the failure of the coalition to restore order more quickly was deeply regrettable, and hindered progress towards one of the central objectives of the intervention: to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis. (Paragraph 129)
14.We recommend that the Government consider carefully the lessons from the immediate post-conflict period in Iraq, and specifically from the tragic deaths of the six Royal Military Police, who were killed in the village of Majar al-Kabir on 24 June. We further recommend that the Government consider whether the United Kingdom should further develop its capacity for post-conflict civil policing, and should encourage its allies to do likewise. (Paragraph 130)
15.We recommend that the Government now do its utmost, together with its partners in the Coalition, to ensure that the Coalition Provisional Authority maintains consistent policies and establishes transparent measures for the governance of Iraq, until more permanent Iraqi structures are created. (Paragraph 145)
16.We welcome the adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 1483, which permits the United States and United Kingdom to play a substantial role in the establishment of a transitional administration run by Iraqis. We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the Government supply us with a full statement of how, with partners in the US, it is discharging its responsibilities as set out in Security Council resolution 1483. (Paragraph 152)
17.We recommend that, in the rebuilding of Iraq, the Government maintain contact with, and—where possible—learn lessons from UN officials who have administered post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building, operations comparable to those currently being undertaken in Iraq. (Paragraph 154)
18.We commend the Government for its rapid establishment of a British Office in Iraq, and also for the appointment of a Special Representative to assist in political processes leading to the establishment of an Iraqi representative government. (Paragraph 157)
19.We commend the Government for its initiative in creating a 'flat pack embassy'. We recommend that the FCO supply us with a memorandum when the flat pack embassy is fully assembled, setting out how it has performed in its deployment to Iraq. (Paragraph 159)
20.We conclude that the level of resentment of the new US and United Kingdom presence in Iraq may well depend on the success or otherwise of efforts to improve the lives of Iraqi people and progress in the Middle East peace process. We therefore strongly recommend that the Government make a sustained commitment to the reconstruction of Iraq. (Paragraph 164)
21.We welcome the capture of a number of senior al Qaeda figures, in particular Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, Abu Zubaydah and Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi. We nonetheless conclude that those that remain at large—including Osama bin Laden—retain the capacity to lead and guide the organisation towards further atrocities. We further conclude that al Qaeda has dangerously large numbers of 'foot soldiers', and has demonstrated an alarming capacity to regenerate itself. (Paragraph 172)
22.We recommend that in its response to this Report the FCO set out its understanding of the extent to which the war in Iraq may have affected the fight against al Qaeda and associated terrorist organisations. (Paragraph 180)
23.We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the Government supply us with a memorandum detailing progress made by the United Kingdom's Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. (Paragraph 182)
24.We conclude that Afghanistan, and now Iraq, demonstrate the profound difficulties inherent in post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction operations. We conclude that the success of both operations is of central importance to the success of the 'war against terrorism'. We recommend that, in addition to devoting substantial resources to these specific operations, the Government review its overall capacity for post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building. (Paragraph 184)
25.We agree with Sir Jeremy Greenstock's assertion that no country can prevent terrorism in isolation. We recommend that the Government consider carefully Sir Jeremy's suggestion that the Counter-Terrorism Committee develop into a full-time body of terrorism experts, capable of providing support to member states over an extended period of time. (Paragraph 190)
26.We remain concerned that al Qaeda and associated organisations retain access to the funds necessary to carry out terror attacks. We recommend that the Government continue to sponsor projects to assist other states in their efforts to prevent terrorists from transferring and accessing funds, through the banking system and through charities—especially with states in the Arab world. We recommend that the Government in its response to this Report provide us with an update of its action in this crucial area. (Paragraph 195)
27.We conclude that, in spite of some notable progress, al Qaeda continues to pose a substantial threat to British citizens in the United Kingdom and abroad. (Paragraph 197)
28.We commend the FCO's decision to increase staffing levels in the Counter-Terrorism Policy Department and the Consular Department, and recommend that the levels currently agreed are kept under review. (Paragraph 204)
29.We recommend that the Government inform us when the twenty-four hour situation centre in the FCO is up and running. (Paragraph 207)
30.We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the Government detail the FCO's progress towards ensuring that British citizens affected by terrorist attacks or other emergencies abroad will have access to adequate medical support, and how the FCO will ensure that they can be evacuated from the country in question. We further recommend that the FCO, in its response to this Report, describe how call centres will be established during emergencies to help inform concerned friends and relatives of the crisis situation. (Paragraph 208)
31.We conclude that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be of central importance to the long term stabilisation of the Middle East region. We commend the Government's commitment to resolution of the conflict, and recommend that it persist in its commitment to implementation of the Quartet's Road Map. (Paragraph 216)
32.We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report progress on the promotion of human rights and civil society in the Arab world, and describe how its promotion of these objectives will be co-ordinated with its efforts to promote good governance in Iraq. (Paragraph 219)
33.We recommend that the Government inform this Committee, and likewise the House, of any new developments in United States nuclear weapons policy. (Paragraph 223)
34.We recommend that the Government inform us of any developments in its policy towards amending the status of incapacitants or calmative agents under the Chemical Weapons Convention. (Paragraph 226)
35.We conclude that the restoration of good relations between allies—both bilaterally and in multilateral organisations—is important for the security of the United Kingdom, and for the success of the war against terrorism. (Paragraph 234)
36.We further conclude that it is in the interests of the United States and the United Kingdom to restore the effective functioning of the UN Security Council. We note that the United Kingdom has traditionally played an important role, often working alongside the US, in securing agreement in the Council; we conclude that careful and effective use of Security Council membership is especially crucial at this moment in the UN's history. (Paragraph 235)
37.We conclude that the Government must work with allies in NATO and the EU to ensure that these institutions evolve to meet new political opportunities and threats. Rebuilding relations with France is also extremely important. (Paragraph 236)
38.We reiterate our concerns, raised in December 2002, that British citizens are being held without trial at Guantánamo Bay, and recommend again that the Government press the US towards trial of all the detainees in accordance with international law. (Paragraph 244)
39.We recommend that the Government press the US to ensure that the forthcoming trials of the two British citizens detained at Guantánamo are conducted according to internationally recognised judicial standards and that, if sanctioned by the Crown Prosecution Service, those trials should take place in the United Kingdom. (Paragraph 246)
40.We conclude that in a number of areas—including ensuring the fair trial of prisoners detained at Guantánamo Bay—the Government must ensure that its close relationship with the US administration brings substantive benefits to the United Kingdom and its citizens. (Paragraph 247)
41.On 2 April, in response to questions about Rumsfeld's comments, the Foreign Secretary replied that Britain would have "nothing whatever" to do with military action against Iran and Syria. We commend the position that the Foreign Secretary has taken in the present circumstances. (Paragraph 250)
42.We welcome the Government's engagement, bilaterally and through multilateral initiatives, in efforts to resolve the crisis over North Korea. (Paragraph 253)
43.We commend the Government's decision to provide substantial funds in support of the G8 Global Partnership for co-operative threat reduction, and welcome the agreement signed with the Russian Federation on 26 June regarding United Kingdom involvement in the disposal of Russian nuclear materials. (Paragraph 255)
44.We recommend that the Government consider carefully how it might control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through the internet. (Paragraph 256)
45.We welcome the outcome of the May 2003 Chemical Weapons Conference on challenge inspection, and recommend that the Government in its response to this Report provide us with an update on progress in implementing the measures agreed at this Conference. (Paragraph 257)
46.We recommend that the Government set out in detail the lessons that can be learnt from the experience of UN weapons inspections in Iraq for the future monitoring and verification of suspected biological weapons programmes. (Paragraph 259)
47.We recommend that the Government do its utmost to ensure that international co-operation to combat the proliferation of biological weapons is reinvigorated at the August 2003 Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference. (Paragraph 262)
48.  The Government's comments on non-proliferation reflect the complexity of security threats which face the United Kingdom, almost two years after the beginning of the 'war against terrorism'. We cannot conclude that these threats have diminished significantly, in spite of 'regime change' in Iraq and progress in capturing some of the leaders of al Qaeda. In the wake of the Iraq war, we recommend that the Government make it a priority to work towards restoring the cohesion of the United Kingdom's international partnerships, better to face the daunting challenges of the continuing 'war against terrorism'. (Paragraph 264)

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