The future Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams warned yesterday that an attack on Iraq could bring chaos to the Middle East, and trigger nuclear retaliation by Israel - killing many hundreds of thousands. In his first public comments since his predecessor Dr George Carey retired last week, Dr Williams set out to counter claims that anti-war campaigners were similar to politicians who appeased Hitler in the 1930s. Writing in the Telegraph, he dismissed the comparison used by ministers including Foreign Secretary Jack Straw as "facile point-scoring". He claimed that Arab nations were in a state of "panic" at the prospect of a US-led strike on Iraq. He said: "The moral issue is whether we can properly say that our account of what the region needs takes precedence over what its inhabitants seem to say. "If the answer is that it does, there is the classic moral challenge to colonialism of various kinds - we are not the best arbiters of the interests of others when we have interests of our own at stake. (We are keenly aware of the matter of oil)" Dr Williams warned that a war "could risk the lives of hundreds of thousands in a region that could rapidly spiral into chaos." "The exact calculation of what weaponry might be employed by a cornered Saddam Hussein is uncertain; and so is the retaliation that might then be provoked from its sole nuclear power, Israel."
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