U.S.: Video by bin Laden shows link with Hussein

France, Germany and Belgium vetoed a measure authorizing NATO protection for Turkey.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel today that what appears to be a new statement from Osama bin Laden shows why the world needs to be concerned about Iraqi ties to terrorism.
Powell said he read a transcript of "what bin Laden -- or who we believe to be bin Laden" will be saying on the Al-Jazeera Arab satellite station later today, "where once again he speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq."
"This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored," Powell told the Senate Budget Committee.
It was Powell's second appearance before the Senate since his presentation to the U.N. Security Council last week. At that time, he detailed his indictment of Iraq as a deceptive stockpiler of weapons of mass destruction.
Lawmakers have praised Powell's U.N. performance, but many Democrats remain skeptical about whether war is necessary, particularly if key U.S. allies remain opposed.
Defending Turkey
The split between the United States and its allies widened when France, Germany and Belgium jointly vetoed a U.S.-backed measure Monday to authorize NATO to make plans to protect Turkey if Iraq attacks it. Russia then joined France and Germany in demanding strengthened weapons inspections.
Powell noted that while "much is being said about disagreement in NATO," that 16 members -- including the United States and Turkey -- back the U.S. position, while three -- France, Germany and Russia -- oppose it.
"I think this is time for the alliance to say to the fellow alliance member, 'We agree with you, and if you are concerned, we are concerned.' That's what alliances are all about, and I hope NATO will be doing the right thing with respect to Turkey within the next 24 hours," he said.
Powell said the United States is prepared to work with the 14 other nations to give Turkey the help it needs if it cannot win formal NATO support.
Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla, said of France: "I'm amazed at their presumption that they are controlling the [NATO] alliance, but they are not a part of the military alliance."
France's stand on Turkey could signal its steadfast opposition or even a threatened veto to a U.S.-backed resolution at the United Nations that would authorize force to disarm Iraq and remove President Saddam Hussein from power.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said today there was still a reasonable expectation that Bush could persuade the Security Council to adopt a new resolution.
"At the end of the day, the president would like to believe the United Nations will be relevant," he told reporters.
In Brussels today, NATO strove to surmount the standoff -- one of the worst crises in its 53-year history. A second emergency meeting of the alliance's decision making North Atlantic Council was postponed for five hours while diplomats held "intensive informal negotiations" to resolve the deadlock, said a NATO official speaking on condition of anonymity.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., lined up with the Bush administration in saying he was deeply troubled by the NATO allies' move. Lieberman, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, said "it's time to tone down the rhetoric and stop shouting at each other."
Bush's stance
Bush continued his verbal assault against Saddam after meeting at the White House on Monday with a solid supporter, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia.
Bush accused Saddam of "trying to stall for time" by offering last-minute concessions to U.N. weapons inspectors. "We're not playing hide-and-seek," Bush said. "That's what he wants to continue to play. Saddam has got to disarm. If he doesn't, we'll disarm him."
Escalating his assault, Bush said the Iraqi people had been tortured and brutalized under Saddam. "He's a brutal dictator," Bush said.
At the U.N. Security Council, the United States began consultations with other countries on a new resolution designed to strengthen Bush's hand if he should decide to go to war. He also is reserving the option of going to war outside the United Nations, with a coalition of supporting nations.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.