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Iraq situation at a glance

Political:

-- Britain's Parliament voted 412-149 to grant the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair permission to use "all means necessary" to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

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-- The White House said Saddam would make his final mistake if he fails to leave Iraq by the Thursday (Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST) deadline imposed by U.S. President George W. Bush.

-- Saddam's oldest son, Uday, rejected Bush's ultimatum and said the Iraqis "will make the mothers and wives of the U.S. and British invading soldiers shed blood instead of tears on their sons and husbands" if they invade.

-- Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council said Bush's ultimatum was reckless, and declared Iraq ready for any U.S.-led attack.

-- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Marie Aznar said Spain would not take part in combat in Iraq, but would send a hospital ship, army engineers who could defuse land mines, and troops trained to decontaminate after nuclear, chemical or biological attacks.

-- French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte told CNN that France could assist the U.S.-led coalition if Iraq used biological or chemical weapons. France had vowed to veto any U.N. resolution seeking force against Iraq.

-- Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said 3 1/2 months was too short a time for Iraq inspections. He pointed out he never said Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction, only a lot of unaccounted-for material.

-- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned to resubmit to the national assembly a motion to authorize deployment of 62,000 U.S. troops in Turkey and Turkish troops in Iraq. The motion also has been revised to include permission for use of Turkish airspace. The motion had been rejected on March 1.

-- Iraqi opposition groups meeting in Ankara agreed to cooperate fully with the United States and to join with coalition forces in the expected war to depose Saddam Hussein.

-- Bush telephoned Russian President Vladamir Putin and they discussed the importance of cooperation despite disagreement over Iraq, the White House said. Putin invited Bush to visit St. Petersburg in May.

-- Bush also telephoned Chinese President Hu Jintao, discussing the importance of U.S.-China relations, the situation in Iraq and North Korea, and reiterating the administration's one-China policy, the White House said.

Military:

-- U.S. forces dropped 360,000 leaflets over southern Iraq telling Iraqi soldiers not to use chemical or biological weapons and warning civilians to avoid military sites, with an invasion of Iraq possibly just a day away.

-- Iraqi Republican Guard units near Baghdad might have chemical munitions filled with a form of VX nerve agent and mustard gas, CNN reported.

-- The Pentagon said Iraqi forces have dug more than 100 trenches that could be filled with oil and set on fire in an attempt to confuse smart bombs. But most of the 3,000 bombs expected to be used at the start of war are satellite-guided and impervious to smoke.

Economic:

-- A major drop in oil futures indicated the world petroleum markets were acting as though the United States and its allies already had won the war. OPEC has pledged to maintain exports in the event of war, and the United States has an emergency crude stockpile in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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