quasi in rem

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Gettin' the 'f ' outta town...: "TONY Blair and George W Bush have speeded up their work on a new plan to ensure the new Iraqi administration to be set up on June 30 is a sovereign government supported by a new UN resolution, according to the prime minister's spokesman last night.
As Robin Cook, Mr Blair's former cabinet colleague, stepped up pressure for a change in strategy in Iraq and anti-war campaigners demanded that the prime minister seek a fresh political mandate if he decides to send more troops there, Downing Street admitted it had announced details of the new strategy in an attempt to convince the public that it had a grip of the political and military strategies.
The prime minister's spokesman, insisting that Mr Blair was not diverted by speculation over his future but was concentrating on getting the job done, denied the new strategy was a panic measure to silence the anti-war critics on both sides of the Atlantic.
He said: 'They have been working on a joint strategy for the last few weeks and it has speeded up in the last few days. It is a recognition that people need to see we have a grip, that we are not there for ever amen, politically or militarily.
'Neither is this a case of cutting and running, but showing we have a strategy of achieving what we said we wanted to achieve: the transfer of authority to an Iraqi government and responsibility to an Iraqi security system.'
Mr Blair is visiting Turkey today, when he is expected to explain the strategy in neighbouring Iraq. However, he would have been in little doubt about the feelings of some factions in the country when last night, on the eve of his visit, three bombs exploded outside branches of the British bank, HSBC, in Ankara and Istanbul.
The bombs caused minor damage and no casualties but were a sharp reminder of four devastating blasts which "


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