Iraqi army holds exercises; NATO chief supports U.S. policy on Iraq
The Iraqi army said Thursday it has been holding exercises in central Iraq aimed at countering a U.S. attack.
The soldiers showed they were ready "to foil the schemes of America and its evil allies and to respond to the aggressors and bury their low schemes," Fadel Mahmoud Ghareib, in charge of the ruling Baath party's Babil province branch, was quoted as saying in the army's Al-Qadissiya newspaper.
The newspaper added troops had practiced fighting in rural and populated areas in Babil, and rehearsed techniques of "distracting the enemy in different directions by using light and medium weapons."
Meanwhile, Iraq continued to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors, who on Thursday visited a technical university that employs a scientist interviewed earlier this week about Iraq's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, NATO chief said Thursday the alliance had a "moral obligation" to support the United States if it goes to war against Iraq. NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said President Bush was committed to acting through the United Nations to disarm Saddam Hussein.
Robertson said NATO "is very, very supportive of the United Nations process and if that breaks down then clearly there is a moral obligation by NATO to give whatever support is required. "Up to now the United States has kept very rigidly to the United Nations route. They still do; the inspectors are still there," Robertson told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"The decision (on military action) won't be taken by America, the decision will be taken by Saddam Hussein," Robertson said. Robertson said it would be impossible for the United States to go to war without the support of its allies, but that no decision had been made on what role the 19 NATO nations would play in any military action.
"What the Americans have done in NATO is to suggest a number of options where NATO could help in a military action and countries have been invited to consider that, but no decisions have yet been taken on it," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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