President Bush’s State of the Union address on 28 January is expected to be dominated by the subject of Iraq. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that there would be no deadline or declaration of war, but that the president would spell out the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. According to reports in the Washington Post, Bush has also decided to release some intelligence showing Iraqis moving and concealing weapons before inspectors arrive, and demonstrating Iraq’s ties to the Al-Qaeda network.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz responded to the inspection report with a combination of conciliation and belligerence. In an interview on Canadian television, he said; ‘All -aspects of co-operation have been met and we promise to be more forthcoming in the future, replying to all their needs in [a] way that satisfies them.’ However, he also refused to rule out attacking Kuwait if US soldiers used it as a base for an invasion. ‘We will of course retaliate against the American troops wherever they start their aggression on Iraq. This is legitimate,’ he said.