Saddam says Iraq ready to war; Bush says Saddam ''dangerous man'', but Washington delays U.N. vote
Saddam Hussein said Iraq was ready to face up to any US military campaign, as US President George W. Bush stepped up pressure for a tough new UN resolution on disarmament.
"We are preparing ourselves as if war were to take place in one hour. We are psychologically ready," Saddam told Egyptian weekly Elosbu in a rare interview Sunday.
"We are thus prepared for for war," Saddam said in the interview. The Iraqi leader warned the United States that "Iraq will never be like Afghanistan. "That is not to say that we are stronger than the United States, which has fleets and long-range missiles. But we have our faith in God, the homeland and the Iraqi people as well as the Arab people."
A war "will never be a cakewalk for US and British soldiers," the Iraqi president warned in the interview.
"The Arab people are not, as some think, in a deep sleep. The protests in the Arab world and the West, gathering hundreds of thousands of pacifists opposed to a war on the Iraqi people, challenge the wish of the Zionist right and extremists in Washington to destroy Iraq."
Saddam accused the United States of wanting to "extend its hegemony over the Arab world by starting with control of Baghdad and then striking capitals that reject this hegemony."
Meanwhile, U.S. officials said a vote in the Security Council is unlikely until late next week because of the need to revise the draft resolution and have the council discuss the updated draft — which will delay U.N. action until after Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections.
The proposed U.S. resolution would strengthen inspections, declare Iraq in "material breach" of its obligations to eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and threaten "serious consequences" if it fails to cooperate with inspectors.
On his part, Bush kept the pressure up Saturday, saying in political stops that Saddam is "a dangerous man" and U.N. inspections for weapons of mass destruction are critical. "We know the implications of him having a nuclear weapon," Bush said. "We know he's had contacts with terrorists' networks like al-Qaeda."
According to AP, Bush said that Saddam "would like nothing more than to use an al-Qaeda-type network, if not al-Qaeda itself, to be the advanced army to utilize his training and his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction on his most hated enemy, the American people." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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