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Key Developments Concerning Iraq

February 27, 2003

Developments in the Iraq crisis:

_ U.N. weapons inspectors took metal samples from a pit in the town of al-Aziziya where Iraq says it destroyed biological warheads in 1991. Another team of inspectors helped Iraqi workers destroy 155mm artillery shells filled with mustard gas and visited a medicine factory and an electronics plant.

_ Heavily armed police took up positions in Baghdad’s streets and Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqis to dig trenches in their yards as protection against U.S. bombs.

_ President Bush said that toppling Saddam Hussein could bring peace to the Middle East and reduce terrorism. ``The passing of Saddam Hussein’s regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers,″ Bush said in a speech to conservative activists.

_ The U.N. Security Council was set to meet Thursday to discuss a French-Russian-German paper aiming to stave off war and prolong inspections at least until July 1.

_ Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said in a report that Iraq still hasn’t committed to disarming. He said its new information about weapons programs doesn’t represent ``full cooperation or a breakthrough.″

_ In an interview with CBS anchor Dan Rather, Saddam Hussein said Iraq was bracing for a U.S.-led attack. ``It is our duty, it is our responsibility to defend our country, to defend our children, to defend our people, and we are not going to succumb, neither to the United States nor to any other power,″ Saddam said.

_ The Bush administration dismissed a compromise proposal by Canada to set an end-of-March deadline for Iraq to comply with U.N. disarmament demands. Canada had proposed it to bridge the opposition of France and Germany to a U.S.-British-Spanish call for a second U.N. Security Council resolution allowing immediate military action against Iraq.

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