howard and crean say war will start this week.

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    from ABC Online;

    The Prime Minister, John Howard says the issue of Iraq will come to a head in coming days.

    And he says he spoke with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair last night.

    Mr Howard says he spoke to Mr Blair for about 25 minutes.

    "Mr Blair is very committed to the course of action that he's taken because he believes it's in the interests of his own country and also in interests of world order," he said.

    Mr Howard says matters will come to a head this week and he has moved to refute claims that a war without United Nations backing will be illegal.

    He says military action against Iraq will have adequate legal authority under existing United Nations resolutions.


    Federal Opposition leader Simon Crean has moved to toughen his stance against a US-led attack on Iraq.

    Mr Crean now says he will not support military action without the backing of the United Nations under any circumstances.

    He says he will be asking the Labor Caucus for a shift in the party's position this week.

    Labor has previously said it might consider backing US-led military action if there was an unreasonable veto by one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

    But he says this was dependent on whether there was evidence linking Iraq with the September 11 terrorist attacks or if there was proof Iraq posed an immediate security threat.

    He has told Channel Nine evidence has not been produced and his position has now changed.

    "The only circumstances in which we'd support action is if it had a decision of the United Nations," he said.

    Mr Crean says he believes Australia will join a US led war against Iraq this week.


    Looks like the Labor Party is divided and rudderless.

    Dave R.
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