Report: Iraqi Military Troops Move Towards Jordanian Border; Saddam: Iraq Not Scared of “Threats”
Iraq has started moving its military forces westwards towards the Jordanian border, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said, quoting Iraqi opposition sources in Damascus, that Iraqi forces were pulling out of the northern Kurdish part of Iraq and digging into positions near Jordan.
The report has not been confirmed by other sources.
This unconfirmed move coincides with US Vice President Dick Cheney’s onset of a current visit to Middle East countries. Cheney begins his trip in Jordan, where he is due to meet Tuesday night with King Abdullah II.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said Monday that his country was not scared of "threats," amidst heightened indications Washington was considering military action to remove his regime from power.
"Your country has reached a point where threats do not make it frightened," Saddam said while receiving a delegation from the Kurdish Revolutionary Party, which is loyal to his government, AFP cited the Iraqi news agency.
The United States fears Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction, and has dispatched US Vice President Dick Cheney on a 10-day, 12-country trip to Europe and the Middle East region to discuss how to deal with Saddam.
Iraq has refused to accept a return of UN weapons inspectors, and accuses US President George W. Bush of using his country's campaign against terror as an pretext for going after Saddam's regime.
Furthermore, Saddam Hussein said Baghdad was not interested in holding talks any time soon with Iraqi Kurdish factions, which control some northern parts of the country "so as not to give the impression that the Iraqi leadership speaks of dialogue under the effect of threats launched in vain from here and there."
Prominent Iraqi Kurdish leaders who oppose Baghdad have not embraced a military intervention from outside. Last week, they called instead for a democratic change of regime involving domestic forces. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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