Saddam says Iraq ready to fight
Saddam Hussein said Tuesday that Iraqis were ready to fight a holy war against the United States, and he accused Washington of using lies and military might in a bid to rule the world.
In an address read in the Iraqi television on Christmas Eve, Saddam said the world was entering a new year "under unique circumstances ... which have been manufactured by the forces of evil and darkness in order to create a situation of instability, chaos and tension."
"As much as Iraq loves life, its people are ready for martyrdom in the defense of its land and air space ...," he said. "The road to deter the injustice, aggression and wickedness of the evil-minded is the road of jihad (holy war) and struggle," according to Saddam.
Saddam said the United States and Israel were bent on waging war against Iraq in a first step to spread their authority "across the world and control fortunes and futures" of other states.
The Iraqi ruler rejected U.S. and British claims that his regime possesses weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, Saddam said his regime wanted to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.
"We are confident that the outcome of the (U.N.) inspection operations will be a big shock to the United States and will expose all the American lies," Saddam's statement said.
An Iraqi scientist interviewed by U.N. inspectors Tuesday also said Baghdad is not hiding weapons of mass destruction.
Sabah Abdel-Nour, a former member of Iraq's nuclear program who now is a professor at Baghdad's University of Technology, said his interview with U.N. inspectors was "very objective, the discussion was very friendly."
"I explained to them (the inspectors) all that I know and that we do not have anything to hide," he said, according to Reuters. "The questions were mainly about what has been done or any progress which has been achieved in Iraq since 1998.
"They wanted to inspect whether this university has anything of their interest, they were inquiring whether there is any advanced equipment which could be used or misused."
But Abdel-Nour said he refused to be quizzed in private, preferring instead to have Iraqi officials present during the meeting.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)