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Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said on Saturday the Iraqis will emerge victorious in their resistance against any US-led aggression. "Fighting a war (against US-led forces) will settle a host of things, and will enable Iraq to regain its glory," Saddam said at a cabinet meeting, quoted by the official INA news agency (Getty Images)...






Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, February 23, 2003

 Saddam Says Iraqis will Emerge Victorious 

Iraq is preparing itself for a possible US-led invasion, while pledging to fully cooperate with UN arms inspectors to avoid any excuse for an attack.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said on Saturday the Iraqis will emerge victorious in their resistance against any US-led aggression.

"Fighting a war (against US-led forces) will settle a host of things, and will enable Iraq to regain its glory," Saddam said at a cabinet meeting, quoted by the official INA news agency.

"The peoples will hear from us, and not from them, that the United States attempts to torpedo Iraq's programs and principles, but we will win the war," he stressed.

Speaking before his departure for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to attend a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan denounced that the US war threat against Iraq is paving way to change the world order "internationally, regionally and geographically."

The 13th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), scheduled for Feb. 24-25, is set to see the largest gathering of leaders from NAM's 114 member nations since NAM's founding in 1961.

Heads of state or government from at least 62 countries were expected to attend the summit that would focus on the Iraq crisis, the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, the Pakistan - India relations and the war against terrorism.

Ramadan on Friday noted that he will bring documents, tapes and other information to the summit to show "the truth of what is happening in Iraq," which will help prove "Iraq's cooperation with the UN disarmament inspectors, the truth about the harm done to Iraq."

UN weapons inspectors took inventory of Iraq's Al-Somoud missiles on Saturday, a day after chief inspector Hans Blix gave Baghdad an order to destroy the missiles and their component parts.

Blix's demand came in a letter sent Friday to Iraq's top weapons expert, General Amir al-Saadi, in which Blix cites the recent findings of a panel of weapons experts, concluding that the Al-Samoud missiles exceed the allowed range of 150 kilometres (95 miles).

A team of missile experts from the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) "inventoried Al-Samoud 2 components and sub-assemblies at Ibn Al-Haytham that carries out the final assembly of the Al-Samoud 2 missile," their spokesman Hiro Ueki said.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday Iraq was not fully cooperating with UN weapons inspectors and UN inspectors "still believe that war is not inevitable."

"We are not getting full cooperation from Iraq," he told a news conference in Tehran, adding his team is looking forward to getting the due cooperation in the coming weeks.

Although Iraq has promised a full cooperation with the UN arms inspection, Washington on Saturday threatened that the issue of Iraqi destruction of Al-Samoud missiles alone is not enough to judge Baghdad's willingness to disarm.

"Whether Iraq destroys its missiles or not, it has not complied with the UN security council resolution 1441," said Amanda Batt, a department spokeswoman.

Batt echoed the words of President George W. Bush who said Saturday that Iraq's banned missiles, which the United Nations has demanded be destroyed, are just the "tip of the iceberg" of Baghdad's defiance.

US warplanes have taken the East Mediterranean under control, mass-circulated Turkish daily Hurriyet(Freedom) reported on Saturday, adding its two photographers aboard a special plane searched the Mediterranean sea on Friday to try to find the ships carrying US military equipment.

They found two ships off Karpaz, which were heading toward Iskenderun port in southern Hatay Province, and on each of which there were 50-60 containers.

The United States has accused Iraq of hiding and secretly developing banned weapons as well as having linkage with the al-Qaeda terror network, and vowed to disarm Iraq by force if


The US administration kept beating the war drums by sending more deployments to the Arab Gulf, which now amounted to 200,000.

The looming war has caused great concern over security among countries in the Mideast region.

Kuwait's  Arab Times reported Saturday that the Kuwait Army Command has sent a cable to all army brigades and units, instructing them to increase their alert from the current second degree (80 percent) to the first degree (100 percent) starting from next Friday.

Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said on Saturday that it has arrested an Iraqi who works for Iraq's intelligence services.

"Zuhair Faqira Mohammad Nader, a former officer in the Iraqi Defense Ministry, confessed he provided military and security information to intelligence officers in Iraq's Embassy in Bahrain."

In Egypt, more than 1,000 students of Cairo University gathered on campus Saturday to protest against a US war threat against Iraq.

The demonstrators shouted anti-US and anti-Israel slogans, denouncing US and British attempts to seek "colonialist and imperialist" objectives in Iraq.

Qatar, the current chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), expects a summit on the Iraq crisis with nearly 30 counties responding positively.

Qatari liaison officers disclosed Saturday that up to 27 members have no objections to a summit in early March, only 11 short of the quorum of 38.


Allies fear Iraq plotting 'scorched earth' war

Saddam plans to destroy everything in path of US and British assault

Peter Beaumont
Sunday February 23, 2003
The Observer

American and British war planners fear that Saddam Hussein may be preparing a scorched-earth policy ahead of any US military attack, destroying roads, bridges and other infrastructure to slow up advancing forces before a final and potentially bloody battle for Baghdad.

The revelation of a series of worst-case military scenarios emerged as military briefers, who have for months been portraying a military operation to remove Iraq as a 'walkover', began to offer more gloomy scenarios of potential pitfalls ahead.

Military analysts on both sides of the Atlantic now believe that an Iraqi strategy is likely to focus on slowing down advancing coalition forces - possibly with the use of chemical weapons or nerve agents - before a final battle for Baghdad.

The analysts believe Saddam Hussein is counting on forcing a stalemate by inflicting sufficient US casualties that any further advance becomes politically unacceptable in the United States and the UK. According to Pentagon officials, Saddam Hussein has given orders to blow up dams, destroy bridges and ignite oilfields.

British sources have speculated that Saddam Hussein may engineer a devastating humanitarian crisis against his own people - perhaps by use of weapons of mass destruction or denial of food - that would also draw in troops for humanitarian support, slowing any attack.

The deliberate leaking of the concerns over nightmare scenarios facing those prosecuting the war may, however, have a more cynical intent: to avoid accusations if the campaign encounters problems after months of leaks suggesting how easy it would be to depose the Iraqi dictator.

There are, however, genuine reasons for concern. Although defence officials are confident that much of the regular Iraqi army will surrender, they are less certain about better equipped and trained formations.

Leaks from Iraqi officers suggest that even the Republican Guard may be preparing to give up without a fight, but defence planners admit they have little or no information about the elite Special Republican Guard, which has between 15,000 and 30,000 soldiers dedicated to protecting the regime and is the only force permitted inside Baghdad.

US officials believe that in any attack on Baghdad besieging forces would most likely meet Iraqi forces deployed in 'collapsible concentric rings' who would try to draw US troops into fighting for the city's streets.

A recent order to equip these special units with chemical-protective gear and atropine anti-nerve agents has alarmed officers who fear they may use such weapons in any defence of the city.

The nature of Iraq's potential defence strategy was revealed to Congress by the director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Vice-Admiral Lowell Jacoby.

'If hostilities begin, Saddam is likely to employ a 'scorched-earth' strategy, destroying food, transportation, energy and other infrastructure, attempting to create a humanitarian disaster significant enough to stop a military advance,' he warned.

US and British military planners have been hoping to avoid heavy fighting for urban centres, with the high risk of casualties, and the even bigger political risk of already widespread international opposition to such a war being bolstered by media images of combat in civilian areas.

US troops have also had little training for fighting in urban areas in recent years, despite efforts to improve their urban warfare skills after the debacle in Somalia.

But while planning for the nightmare scenario continues, officials admit they simply do not know if the Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard will follow Saddam Hussein's orders in the event of a war, or if they will switch sides to save themselves.


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