Short Quits UK Cabinet, Attacking Blair over Iraq

British Secretary of State for International Development Clair Short, who resigned early Monday, said Prime Minister Tony Blair had broken his promise on UN's role in post-war Iraq and was "increasingly obsessed with his place in history."

In her resignation statement, Short told the House of Commons that her position was made impossible by the UK-backed draft new UN resolution which would give Washington and its allies control over Iraq's post-war oil revenues.

"This resolution undermines all the commitments I have made in (parliament) and elsewhere about the reconstruction of Iraq," Short said. "Clearly this makes my position impossible."

She claimed that Blair, America's staunchest ally over Iraq, was "making grave errors in providing cover for the US mistakes," undermining international law and increasing risk of terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, she criticized the "power centralization" by Blair and his several advisers, saying the British government was led by"diktat" rather than collective responsibility.

"Thus we have the powers of a presidential-type system with theautomatic majority of a parliamentary system," Short said.

Short was immediately replaced by junior Foreign Office minister for Africa Baroness Amos who becomes Britain's first black woman to join the cabinet.

Before the war, Short had threatened to quit if Blair went intothe US-led war against Iraq without UN backing, branding Blair's Iraq policies as "reckless."

But she broke her word and decided to stay afterward when the war broke out on March 20, saying that to leave at that moment would be "copping out" when Blair had no option but to go ahead. She thus was felt by many to have lost political credibility.

Short has caused controversy since becoming a Labor lawmaker in1983 and she twice resigned from Labor's frontbench in opposition -- including one in protest against the party's backing for the 1991 Gulf War.

People's Daily Online ---