What a difference 9 1/2 years make?
Today the Guardian reports that the UK has rebuffed requests from the US to use British bases in Cyprus for the build up of US forces in preparation for a possible pre-emptive strike against Iran, quoting legal advice from the Attorney General that Iran does not pose a “clear and present danger” and that the UK would be in breach of international law if this facilitated an attack on Iran. Attorney General advice has been known to twist in the wind in the past.
For example, compare this to the legal advice issued in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq when the Attorney General at the time, Lord Goldsmith, initially stated that it would not be lawful for the UK became involved in a military operation against Iraq without clear approval from the UN Security Council, which Goldsmith felt was not automatically covered by resolution 1441 .
He then changed his advice in the days running up to the invasion after Blair’s meeting with George Bush and his own meetings with Jack Straw, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the time, and with the UK’s ambassador to the UN ,Jeremy Greenstock , after which he became prepared to accept that a reasonable case can be made that Resolution 1441 revives the authorisation to use force in Resolution 678. Even given this change of heart he still expected The government to be accused of acting unlawfully.
Will the advice on the case for a strike on Iran alter if and when a political decision is made to deal with their unproven nuclear weapons programme militarily?
Keep your eyes and ears on Cyprus.
By Jonathan Woodrow Martin