Powell: US Looking for Ways to Topple Saddam, No Clue About Bin Laden Location

Published December 22nd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that the quick American military success in Afghanistan is no reason to believe that a similar campaign in Iraq to oust President Saddam Hussein would succeed. 


In an interview to the Washington Post, Powell sought to quiet speculation that the Iraqi government would be an early target in the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign. He declared that Hussein's military is far stronger than the ill-equipped Taliban forces and that the Iraqi opposition is not comparable to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance. "They're two different countries with two different regimes, two different military capabilities. They are so significantly different that you can't take the Afghan model and immediately apply it to Iraq," Powell said.  


He asserted, however, that the administration s "constantly looking" at ways to topple Hussein. The Bush administration's focus remains on Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan, Powell disclosed. U.S. Special Forces and Pakistani troops are searching caves along the Pakistani border for clues to the location of the al Qaeda leader.  


Powell said Bush plans to persevere for as long as it takes to track down bin Laden and destroy his terrorist network. "I don't know where bin Laden is. Nor does anyone else," Powell said. "We're chasing. We're looking. We may trip over him. We may trip over his body. We may get a lucky hit, a lucky piece of intelligence. Who knows?" 


On the Palestinian issue, Powell said the administration remains committed to working with both Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to achieve peace in the Middle East, although some U.S. officials have said peace will remain elusive as long as these leaders are in office. "We have to deal with the people who are there. We can't sit back and say just wait for a better or different or newer or other leaders to come in," Powell said.  


He added, "The enemy of this process right now is not Yasser Arafat or Sharon. It's Hamas. It's Palestinian Jihad. It's others. The burden now is for Mr. Arafat to demonstrate his commitment by going after these organizations." (Albawaba.com) 


© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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