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US Ready to Attack Iraq With or Without Allied Support, says Powell

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Iraq has failed to provide the truth in its weapons declaration and that it must disarm or be disarmed. In a hard-hitting speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Secretary Powell said the United States is ready to attack Iraq with or without allied support.

Secretary Powell said the United States is determined to see the current arms crisis in Iraq continue no longer. He argued that there are no signs of honest disarmament being carried out by Baghdad.

"Let the Iraqi regime have no doubt, however, if it does not disarm peacefully at this juncture, it will be disarmed down the road. The United States believes that time is running out. We will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. We continue to reserve our sovereign right to take military action against Iraq alone or in a coalition of the willing," Mr. Powell said.

Secretary Powell said the United States is eager to hear the U.N. chief arms inspectors report Monday, and will consult with its allies about what the next steps should be. But he warned that multi-lateralism cannot become an excuse for inaction.

He said in endorsing Security Council Resolution 1441, council members assumed a heavy responsibility to put their will behind their words. "Saddam Hussein and others of his ilk would like nothing better [than] to see the world community back away from this resolution, instead of backing it with their solemn resolve," Mr. Powell said.

Secretary Powell said the Iraqi leader had clear ties to terrorist groups, including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida.

He said that Iraq's weapons declaration had failed to account for missing biological and chemical weapons as well as tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and the toxin that causes botulism. He expressed fear that these materials or technology could be passed to terrorist groups. For that reason, he argued, time is running out for Iraq's disarmament.