Saudi FM: War to transform Iraq into another Afghanistan
Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it feared a U.S.-led war to overthrow Saddam Hussein would transform Iraq into another Afghanistan with rival ethnic and religious factions fighting for power.
"If things fall apart, who will come back and bring it all back together?" Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference.
"All the factions inside Iraq will present their visions for a new government like they did in Afghanistan. These are the consequences of a conflict, and if that happens, it will result in the division of Iraq," he said in the Saudi capital.
Prince Saud said a possible U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and Saddam's ouster would not only splinter his country's neighbor but also set off turmoil in the volatile region.
Prince Saud also asked the United Nations to "give equal attention to the territorial integrity of Iraq" before sanctioning military action.
"The goal of military action should not be to punish Iraq or occupy Iraq," he said. "It should result in maintaining Iraqi integrity and independence ... because if internal security is lost I don't think the United Nations, with all its forces, can regain it. There will be a collapse of the administration and that will result in grave consequences for the region."
“The Security Council is not an authority charged with granting permits to go to war but rather a body called upon to seek peaceful solutions to safeguard security, peace and stability in the world,” he said. “World peace and security will not be able to be guaranteed without safeguarding the territorial stability and integrity of all countries, including Iraq.”
Prince Saud said he had discussed his country's fears with President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, adding: "Our aim is to make the United Nations aware of its responsibility ... not only to (issue) a decree allowing the use of force against Iraq but to have one that would create a force to maintain Iraqi security but not occupy it."
Prince Saud added it was up to Baghdad to avoid war. "Without a doubt, if there is clear cooperation between Iraq and the inspectors that will be the fastest route or method to prevent war and only Iraq can decide that," he aired.
Prince Saud reiterated that Arab countries must be given a last chance to intervene on behalf of Baghdad to prevent a war in the event of a new UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)