Washington, 7 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Saying the "game is over" for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, U.S. President George W. Bush has called for a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would back the use of military force to disarm Iraq. In a speech at the White House yesterday, Bush called on the Security Council to take action to punish the Iraqi regime for flouting UN disarmament demands. Bush gave no deadlines but declared that Saddam Hussein "will be stopped" either through UN-approved action or by a U.S.-led campaign. "Saddam Hussein has the motive and the means and the recklessness and the hatred to threaten the American people. Saddam Hussein will be stopped," Bush said.
Earlier, Russia and France said they remained committed at the current time to seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Russia and France, both of which are veto-holding members of the Security Council, have called for continued weapons inspections.
Iraq yesterday met one of the UN's key demands by allowing, for the first time, an Iraqi scientist to be interviewed privately by UN arms inspectors. The move came after the top UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohammad el-Baradei, warned that Iraq has been failing to cooperate fully with inspections. The two arms inspectors are due to visit Baghdad this weekend ahead of their report on 14 February to the Security Council.
Meanwhile, an elite combat unit from the U.S. Army, the 101st Airborne Division, has been ordered to deploy to the Persian Gulf region in advance of a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq. The 101st Airborne, which uses helicopters to move troops into conflict, played a key role in the quick routing of Iraqi forces during the ground phase of the 1991 Gulf War.
U.S. officials say some 150,000 U.S. troops are expected to be in the Persian Gulf region by about the middle of February. Three U.S. aircraft carriers are already in striking distance of Iraq, while a fourth aircraft carrier is now sailing to the region.
The Turkish parliament yesterday voted to allow the United States to begin renovating Turkish military bases and ports for use in a possible war against Iraq. The Turkish parliament is expected to vote on 18 February on a second measure allowing the United States to deploy troops to military bases in Turkey.