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Profile: Jack Straw

 
  

Positions that Jack Straw has held:

  • British Foreign Minister


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, September 17, 2002

   Iraq's offer is “bound to be treated with a high degree of international skepticism. We shall continue to work with our international partners for an effective resolution before the security council.” [BBC, 9/17/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 30, 2002

   “It could well be the case that there were links, active links, between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime before Sept. 11. What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of that. And the answer is: I haven't.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Jack Straw actively participated in the following events:

 
  

March 22, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Peter Ricketts, the British Foreign Office's political director, offers advice to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who is to provide Tony Blair with a note (see March 25, 2005) before he sets off for a planned meeting with Bush in Texas. In the memo, Ricketts recommends that Blair back the Bush policy on regime change, in a broad sense, because it would allow the British to exert some influence on the exact shape of the administration's policy. “In the process, he can bring home to Bush some of the realities which will be less evident from Washington,” he says. “He can help Bush make good decisions by telling him things his own machine probably isn't.” But he acknowledges that the British, in backing US plans against Iraq, may have a difficult time convincing Parliament and the British public to support the use of military force against Iraq because of scant evidence supporting Washington's allegations against Iraq. “The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September.” He adds that the “figures” being used in a dossier on Iraq that Downing Street is drafting needs more work in order for it to be “consistent with those of the US.” He explains: “[E]ven the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile, or chemical weapons/biological weapons fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up.” He also says the US has little evidence to support its other allegation. “US scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda is so far frankly unconvincing,” he says. [Guardian, 4/21/05; Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2005; Daily Telegraph, 3/21/05 Sources: Memo from Peter Ricketts to Jack Straw, 3/22/2002]
People and organizations involved: Peter Ricketts, Tony Blair, Jack Straw
          

July 2002-March 19, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime has or is seeking ties with international militant Islamic groups. [CBC News, 11/1/02; Washington Post 9/10/02; Sunday Herald, 10/13/02; Telegraph, 2/4/03; Wall Street Journal, 8/15/02; Baltimore Sun, 9/26/02; Radio Free Europe, 10/29/02; International Herald Tribune, 11/1/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02; Knight Ridder, 10/7/02; New York Times, 2/3/03; Independent, 2/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Vincent Cannistraro, Rohan Gunaratna, Tony Blair, Igor Ivanov, Saddam Hussein, Youssef M. Ibrahim, Jack Straw, Brent Scowcroft, Michael Chandler, George W. Bush, Vincent Cannistraro, Daniel Benjamin, Jean-Louis Brugui←re, MIchael O'Hanlon, Baltasar Garzon, US Department of State, 4/30/2001, Anna Eshoo, Richard Durbin, Jean Chretien  Additional Info 
          

July 23, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Top British officials attend a meeting to discuss the UK's potential role in the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting, transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British intelligence service, MI6, says that during his last visit to Washington he noticed a “perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” Furthermore, he states, Bush's National Security Council indicated it “had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.” He also noted that there “was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” [Salon (op-ed), 5/6/05; Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05 Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Foreign Minister Jack Straw appears to agree with Dearlove's assessment, saying that it seems clear that President Bush has already decided on using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. But Straw notes that the Bush administration's case against Saddam was “thin.” The Iraqi leader “was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran,” the minutes say, summarizing his remarks. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] There is no indication in the minutes that anyone present at the meeting disputed Dearlove's or Straw's observations. [Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Furthermore, the account provided by the intelligence official and Straw are corroborated by a former senior US official who is later interviewed by Knight Ridder. It is “an absolutely accurate description of what transpired,” the official will say. [Knight Ridder, 5/2/05] Straw proposes that the next step would be to “work up an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors,” which “would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] Britain's attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, warns that “the desire for regime change [is] not a legal base for military action,” the minutes say. But Blair says that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] Finally, the officials agree that the British government “should continue to work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action” but “not ignore the legal issues.” [Guardian, 5/2/05] The minutes do not provide any indication that officials discussed how war might be avoided. [Salon, 6/10/2005] The minutes of this meetings will be revealed by the British Sunday Times three years later (see May 1, 2005). Commonly referred to as the “Downing Street Memo,” the minutes will re-spark the controversy over politicized intelligence.
People and organizations involved: Michael Boyce, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Alastair Campbell, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Dearlove, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Tony Blair  Additional Info 
          

October 30, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       When asked about claims that Iraq has ties to al-Qaeda, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw responds: “It could well be the case that there were links, active links, between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime before Sept. 11. What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of that. And the answer is: I haven't.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

November 22, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says that another UN resolution will be needed before taking military action against Iraq. Straw tells the BBC, “The most likely course of action, if military action is required—which it is not at the moment—is that we go to the security council, which is where there would be discussion. Our preference has always been for a further resolution for the Security Council, and that would then be put to the House of Commons for further endorsement, just as this original 1441 resolution is being put before the House for endorsement on Monday [Nov. 25].” [BBC, 11/22/02; The International News, 11/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

January 14,2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Foreign Minister Jack Straw tells the BBC that prior to using force against Iraq, there should be a second Security Council resolution. He also says that there should be “a substantive vote in the House of Commons before action takes place.” [New York Times, 1/15/03b]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw
          

Late January 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British officials order translators and analysts working at the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to cooperate with a US surveillance operation (see January 31, 2003), which is targeting diplomats from the “swing nations” on the Security Council—Chile, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan. China, too, is likely a target of the mission. The espionage operation is “designed to help smooth the way for a second UN resolution authorizing war in Iraq.” [The Observer, 2/8/04 Sources: Unnamed sources close to the intelligence services] The surveillance campaign is likely known to the director-general of GCHQ, David Pepper, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, “who has overall responsibility for GCHQ.” [The Observer, 2/8/04] The operation reportedly causes “significant disquiet in the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic.” [The Observer, 2/8/04]
People and organizations involved: Jack Straw, David Pepper
          

January 12, 2005      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The Pentagon announces that the US has agreed to release five prisoners from Guantanamo. They include Mamdouh Habib, an Australian, and the four remaining Britons: Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Jamaal Belmar and Martin Mubanga. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the Britons' release is the result of his “intensive and complex” discussions with the US. [New York Times, 1/12/2005] Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock says the Australian government requested Habib's repatriation to Australia after the US said it did not intend to bring Habin to trial. [ABC News, 1/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Jamaal Belmar, Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Mamdouh Habib, Martin Mubanga, Jack Straw, Philip Ruddock
          

March 25, 2005      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a memo to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw advises the prime minister on his upcoming visit to Crawford, Texas (see April 6-7, 2002), where he is to discuss Britain's role in the US confrontation with Iraq. Straw says that they “have a long way to go to convince” their colleagues in the Labor Party that military action against Iraq is necessary. He notes that “in the documents so far presented, it has been hard to glean whether the threat from Iraq is so significantly different from that of Iran and North Korea as to justify military action.” He points out that “there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with [Osama bin Laden] and al-Qaeda” and that “the threat from Iraq has not worsened as a result of September 11.” Another issue that needs to be resolved, according to Straw, concerns establishing a legal basis for military action. “I believe that a demand for the unfettered readmission of weapons inspectors is essential, in terms of public explanation, and in terms of legal sanction for any subsequent military action.” The “big question,” Straw notes, which seems “to be a larger hole in this than anything,” is that the Bush administration has not “satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. Iraq has had no history of democracy so no one has this habit or experience.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Memo Jack Straw to Tony Blair, 3/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Jack Straw
          

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