British join U.S. in rejecting pause in attack on Iraq WAR IN THE GULF

January 18, 1991|By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite | Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,London Bureau of The Sun

LONDON -- Britain, its pilots flying wing-to-wing with Americans and Saudis on the multiple air sorties in the Persian Gulf, moved its heavy armor up to the Saudi-Kuwaiti frontier yesterday for the eventual opening of a ground campaign.

The government of Prime Minister John Major, the United States' most staunch ally in the 28-nation coalition, also joined the Bush administration in rejecting any "pause for thought" in the bombardment of Saddam Hussein's military machine.

Mr. Major stressed in the House of Commons that the war had only just begun and that Iraq remained a potentially dangerous foe.

Mr. Major said the military action would continue until President Hussein "comes to his senses" and withdraws totally and unconditionally from Kuwait.

The British leader reported to a packed Parliament the loss of one Royal Air Force Tornado ground attack bomber after the crew reported an engine fire.

It was not known whether the plane, returning to its base in Bahrain after the second wave of attacks yesterday, had been hit by the Iraqis or developed mechanical trouble. The crew, listed as missing, was later reported to have bailed out and radioed an SOS. A rescue effort was under way. Later, British officials said a second Tornado was missing.

In another military development, Britain's powerful 7th Armored Brigade, with its Challenger heavy battle tanks, was reported by British correspondents in the gulf to be repositioning itself nearer the Saudi-Kuwaiti frontier, apparently in preparation for eventual land combat.

Gerald Kaufman, the opposition Labor Party's foreign affairs spokesman, added his rejection of any letup in the aerial onslaught unless the Iraqis lay down their arms and withdraw from Iraq. "If Saddam doesn't do that, which has been open to him to do at any moment, I think there is no point in having any kind of pause," he said.

Paddy Ashdown, leader of the minority Liberal Democrats, made the no-pause posture unanimous, saying: "A pause would be extremely unwise. We have seized the initiative in this. We must continue the drive for Kuwait. If Saddam Hussein wants a pause, he knows what to do."

In other developments in Britain:

* The government expelled 35 more Iraqis on security grounds. More than 60 Iraqis are now in prison awaiting deportation.

* Peace protesters rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square yesterday and assembled for a mass rally in Trafalgar Square last night. The Committee to Stop the War issued a statement saying: "The outbreak of hostilities will lead to a wave of revulsion across the world."

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