The Iraqi armed forces are prepared for war against the United States and Britain, Defence Minister General Sultan Hashem Ahmad said in an interview published Thursday.
"Iraq's armed forces are fully prepared for any military confrontation if the United States and Britain step up their aggression," he told the weekly al-Zawra.
The comments came after US President-elect George W. Bush nominated Colin Powell, a Gulf War hero for the United States and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, as his secretary of state.
Powell delivered a blunt warning, saying "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."
General Ahmad riposted: "The operational experience that Iraq's armed forces have acquired enables them to face up to (American) military technology and defeat it on the battle field."
President Saddam Hussein's regime had taken several measures to prepare for further aggression," he said.
Baghdad has also drawn up a plan to call up all Iraqi men born between 1958 and 1976 for two months of training.
Since the last major aerial confrontation between Iraq and the United States in December 1998, British and US warplanes have regularly bombed the country as part of a policy to contain and try to remove Saddam from power.
Iraq was capable of "destroying the Zionist entity" (Israel)," Ahmad added.
"The Palestinian question will be settled only by the departure of the Jews and the return of (the Palestinians') rights." -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)