*Pakistan will back a second UN Security Council resolution against Iraq, essentially authorizing war, according to the Los Angeles Times. The government is aware that the war will be hugely unpopular with the Pakistani people and that there will be large demonstrations. They are reported as saying they are confident they can “weather” those demonstrations. They are almost certainly right. The pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslime League (Q) now has a majority in both houses of parliament, and the government is not going to fall any time soon. Even the opposition parties don’t want that. Only the small fundamentalist religious parties are likely to push demonstrations very hard, and it is unlikely that they will get much traction. They protested the Afghan war, too. But the crowds that they could bring out were relatively peaceful and the army never had to be called in. This performance is likely to be repeated.
*The US has also picked up support from Mexico, and apparently thinks Angola and Guinea are warming to its position. It needs one more (Chile or the Cameroons) for a majority of nine in the Security Council, and it needs to avoid a veto from France, Russia or China. The Bush administration may yet pull off a resolution. It would make things easier for them. Saudi ambassador to the UK Turk al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence, said that the kingdom will not support an Iraq war without an explicit Security Council go-ahead. The US doesn’t need much from Saudia any more, though, any way. Overflight rights and maybe some indirect support at Prince Sultan air base. They probably can have that anyway.
*Between 140,000 and 250,000 Egyptians of various political stripes demonstrated against the looming war yesterday in Cairo. They chanted, “America and Israel are one enemy to the Arab people.” The Egyptian government declined to get involved in Wolfowitz’s adventure in Iraq, so it is apparently avoiding being the target of this popular rage. But let’s just say now is not a good time to book a Nile cruise if you are an American. Bush will say this is another “focus group.”