U.S. vows to oust Saddam; Sources: Turkish refusal may delay war
The White House ruled out leaving Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in power in the event of war.
"Nobody should think, not even for a second, that military action could be possibly taken to disarm Saddam Hussein that would leave Saddam Hussein at the helm for him to re-arm up later," said spokesman Ari Fleischer. "That's not an option," said Fleischer.
Asked whether Washington might be inclined to let Saddam stay in power if he were to comply fully with UN Security Council Resolution 1441, Fleischer demurred, saying only that Iraq has thus far flouted that November 8 ultimatum.
"There is one thing that is helpful, and that is complete, total, immediate disarmament per Resolution 1441," he said. "It has not been any one of those three."
"We have seen nothing that the United Nations Security Council called for except for, under pressure, Saddam Hussein finding things that he said he never had and apparently destroying small amounts of things that he said he never possessed," said Fleischer.
In the past, Fleischer and others have said that a substantive change in policy by Saddam's government -- namely, complete disarmament -- might be enough to satisfy "regime change."
"What we've always said is that if the regime were to have completely done what the United Nations called on them to do in Resolution 1441 last November, it would indeed be a different type of regime," Fleischer said Monday.
Meanwhile, Turkey's refusal to let United States troops use its bases for any invasion of Iraq could delay a war until late March or early April, U.S. officials and defense experts said on Monday.
The White House said Turkey's stance had made the situation "more complicated". "The president has said the timetable [for possible war] is weeks not months. He said that just over a month ago and nothing has changed that timetable," Fleischer told reporters.
But analysts said Turkey's decision, depriving the United States of a "northern front," could delay war for two weeks or more, possibly into April.
A top U.S. general said on Monday, however, a war in Iraq would be successful even without a northern front. "I don't think it's absolutely a show stopper in terms of whether you have a northern front or not," General James L. Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, told a news conference in Stuttgart, Germany. "We're going to be successful regardless of what we're limited to."
In Baghdad, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said Saddam's government would survive any U.S.-led invasion. "We have no option but to fight the American aggression by all means and we have confidence that we'll win in the end," Aziz told reporters. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)