An Iraqi government newspaper on Monday branded the US secretary of state-designate, retired General Colin Powell, as a "war criminal" and said his nomination was a sign that American diplomacy was in decline.
"The choice of Colin Powell, an arrogant military man who understands nothing of how to manage political affairs, ... proves the new US administration has nothing new to offer, except for continued aggression against the will of independent peoples," charged Al-Jumhuriya.
It accused Powell of being a "war criminal," apparently for his leading role in the 1991 Gulf conflict which evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait.
"All the indications are that American diplomacy is in a state of decline in the face of the forces defying the aggressiveness of the United States," said the Iraqi daily.
On Saturday, US President-elect George W. Bush nominated Powell, a Gulf War hero for the United States and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, as his secretary of state.
Powell promptly delivered a blunt warning to Iraq's leadership.
"Saddam Hussein is sitting on a failed regime that is not going to be around in a few years' time ... We are in the strong position, he is in the weak position," said Powell.
"We will work with our allies to re-energize the sanctions regime," which has been in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he added.
An Iraqi information ministry spokesman said Sunday Powell had "ignored the fact that the (US-led Gulf War) coalition has fallen apart" and that only Britain continued to support the hard line against Iraq.
"The current international mood is against US policy and maintaining the embargo," he said -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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