British MP: Saddam ready to accept weapons inspectors; Report: Israel to retaliate if Iraq attacks

Published August 11th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Iraq's President Saddam Hussein has promised a British parliamentarian that he will give weapons inspectors access to his country, a British newspaper reported.  

 

The Mail on Sunday said George Galloway, a member of parliament from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party, met last week the Iraqi leader at a secret underground bunker near Baghdad. Saddam announced "he would implement all U.N. resolutions on Iraq and admit weapons inspectors without hindrance," the newspaper said, although it did not quote the pledge directly.  

 

It said Saddam had asked for better ties with Britain. "We don't know why you turned against us more than any other European country," it quoted Saddam as saying.  

 

But Saddam also echoed Winston Churchill to warn that if Western countries invade Iraq, "we will fight on the streets, on the rooftops, from house to house, we will never surrender."  

 

Polls show a war on Iraq would be unpopular in Britain, and some members of Blair's Labor Party are among the most outspoken opponents of hostilities. According to Reuters, Galloway said: "I believe the anti-war movement is growing in Britain and the message I am bringing back from Saddam will encourage them. Saddam clearly understood that Iraq has to be seen to go the extra diplomatic mile and he promised to do so."  

 

Israel 

Meanwhile, Israel has notified the United States that it cannot afford to practice the same kind of restraint it demonstrated in the Gulf War in 1991 in the event of another Iraqi attack, Ha'aretz reports on Sunday.  

 

The Americans empathized with the Israeli position, but said that if there are no casualties, Israel should make do with a symbolic response, the report added.  

 

According to senior Israeli sources, the U.S. would prefer for Israel to stay out, and will therefore do its utmost to keep Iraq from attacking Israel. Senior Israeli sources in have said they were expecting a 72-hour warning before the American attack, although Israel has asked the U.S. to warn it a week ahead of time.  

 

Cheney 

Representatives of six Iraqi opposition groups met in Washington on Saturday to confer via video link with United States Vice President Dick Cheney regarding plans to topple Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The Iraqis, joined by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, met for 30 minutes in downtown Washington for the videoconference with Vice President Cheney, who is vacationing at his home in Wyoming.  

 

On Saturday, President Bush labeled Saddam a "danger" and an "enemy." "As I said (Friday), I have no timetable for any of our policies with regard to Iraq," Bush, vacationing on his Texas ranch, told reporters before an early-morning round of golf. Nonetheless, he said he would describe Saddam "as an enemy until proven otherwise."  

 

The Iraqi opposition leaders presented the American officials with a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s "dictatorial regime" and added they would hold a conference to outline a blueprint to bring democracy to Iraq. The coalition described its meetings on Friday as "important and constructive."  

 

"We have presented our vision for overthrowing the dictatorial regime in Iraq and the establishment of a democratic and pluralistic government," said Hamid al-Bayati of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).  

 

Washington and the Iraqi opposition "share a vision of a better future for the Iraqi people after the departure of Saddam Hussein and his regime," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Friday, according to AFP

 

Iraqi opposition leaders attending the meeting included Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement, Iyad Allawi of the Iraqi National Accord, Abdelaziz al Hakim of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress and Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. (Albawaba.com) 

 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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