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Iraq War Opposition - 2003-02-27

The chorus of calls against a war on Iraq increased Monday during a meeting in Malaysia of the 116-member non-aligned movement. Some 30,000 demonstrators gathered in a nearby stadium Sunday to express their opposition to war.

And Monday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, a strong U.S. ally against terrorism in the past, had sharp words for the Bush administration. Mahathir Mohammed accused the U.S. of employing, in his words, a “blatant double standard,” by demanding that Iraq cease any efforts to build nuclear weapons.

“The attack against Iraq will simply anger more Muslims who see this as being anti-Muslim rather than anti-terror. The fact that North Korea’s open admission that it has weapons of mass destruction has met only the mild admonishment by the West seems to prove indeed that it is a war against Muslims and not against a fear of possessions of weapons of mass destruction by the so-called rogue countries.”

Mr. Mahathir also accused the West of ignoring the frustrations of millions of Muslims concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the weekend, thousands of protestors staged demonstrations across the Middle East.

In Rafah, Gaza, Palestinians burned U.S. and British flags and a picture of U.S. President George W. Bush.

In Baghdad, protestors carried banners reading, “No Blood For Oil,” and at least five thousand Lebanese and Palestinians marched in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, carrying signs and chanting anti-war slogans. Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, said Iraq controls its own fate.

“The key actually is in the hands of the Iraqi Government to show its full compliance with the resolutions and show utmost cooperation with the inspectors. They have to remove any doubt that they still have weapons of mass destruction there”