President Bush will address the nation tonight at 8PM EST. He is expected to say that Saddam Hussein must leave Iraq immediately or be forcibly removed. At 11:00AM EST, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan announced that all UN inspectors would be withdrawn from Iraq beginning today.
The United States had informed both UN inspection teams in Iraq that they should leave, and the leaders of the teams referred the matter to the president of the UN Security Council. UN Secretary General Kofi Anan then made his announcement.
There are 60 inspectors and 148 supporting staff still in the country. Chief Inspector Hans Blix has said that it will take 24 to 48 hours for them to leave.
Russian and German nationals are being withdrawn from Iraq by their respective countries. So far, only France has not advised its nationals to leave the area. Most nations, including the United States, area advising their nationals to leave the entire gulf area, including Kuwait. U.S. TV networks have told their reporters to leave the country.
The Israeli military is reported to be on full alert and chemical and bioweapons containment units are deployed throughout the country.
The UN Observer Mission that has been in place on the border between Iraq and Kuwait has been withdrawn.
The United States and the United Kingdom formally withdrew their proposed new resolution clearly authorizing war against Iraq in the event that it fails to disarm from consideration by the Security Council. This follows a meeting in the Azores between the US president and the British and Spanish prime ministers. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting with his cabinet to discuss ways of shoring up flagging Labour Party support in Parliament. The British public is overwhelmingly against sending British troops into the conflict.
Meanwhile, polls in the US indicate support for the war hovering at around 60%. (To express your opinion, vote in our latest poll. Click here.)
Saddam Hussein said that he would fight to the end.
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