Shiite opposition leader: Saddam likely to order use of chemical weapons in event of US attack
Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein is likely to order the use of chemical weapons if his country comes under US attack, the leader of Iraq's main Shiite Muslim opposition group told AFP in Tehran Monday.
Ayatollah Mohammad-Baqir Hakim, head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), said however, "many Iraqi (army) units will refuse to fight" because they did not support Saddam's government. The Iraqi ruler "has shown in the past that he does not hesitate" to resort to chemical weapons, he said.
"We have information that he is preparing to counter-attack with chemical weapons" if Washington launches military action, Hakim stated.
SCIRI, founded in the year 1982, claims to represent Iraqi Shiites who make up over half the population inside Iraq and staged a failed uprising against Saddam following the 1991 Gulf War.
This time again, said Hakim, "it is up to the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and not any foreign force. "The Iraqi people were very close to doing it" back in 1991 when both the Shiites and Kurds launched uprisings in the wake of Iraq's defeat in the war over Kuwait, the SCIRI leader said.
However, the United States "gave the green light" for Saddam's forces to crush the revolts. Following the overthrow of the Iraqi president, a government should be set up "representing all Iraqi forces, the Arabs, Kurds, Turcomans and all national minorities," he said.
"The Iraqi people will not accept" the establishment of a provisional military government as the United States envisaged after the overthrow of Saddam, said the Iran-based Shiite leader. "We have told the Americans this, and they understood," he added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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