Published on Sunday, August 25, 2002 by Agence France Presse
Iraq Throws 'Failure' Taunt at US as Key Bush Ally Warns of Peril
Iraq taunted Washington for failing to win world backing for war and having to resort to the black arts as even a key ally of George Bush warned the US president of perils lying in wait.
The influential Babel newspaper put the US administration "up another dead-end with the increase in international opposition to its stupid unilateral policy and military projects against Iraq."
Washington "has suffered a resounding failure in its attempts to convince international public opinion of the excuses it uses to strike Iraq," said the tabloid run by President Saddam Hussein's elder son Uday.
As a result, the United States "is starting to use means with which it is familiar, that is to say threats, blackmail and terrorism, against countries who have stated their opposition to an American military offensive against Iraq," the daily said.
Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush, who appears to have publicly back-pedaled in his policy of overthrowing the Baghdad regime, may not have felt comfortable reading a warning from James Baker, the secretary of state to his father and ex-president George Bush during the 1991 Gulf War.
"Although the United States could certainly succeed, we should try our best not to have to go it alone, and the president should reject the advice of those who counsel doing so," Baker wrote in the New York Times.
"The costs in all areas will be much greater, as will the political risks, both domestic and international, if we end up going it alone or with only one or two other countries," added Baker.
Baker argued that the only realistic way to effect regime change in Iraq was through massive use of military force, including the occupation of Baghdad and installation of a new government.
He pointed out that would probably result in more casualties than the allies suffered during the Gulf War, and leave the United States alone to face the daunting task of occupying and administering a big and fractious country.
Instead, he urged the United States seek a new UN Security Council resolution requiring Iraq to submit to intrusive inspections anytime, anywhere, with no exceptions and authorizing all necessary means to enforce it.
Baker rejected arguments by some current Bush administration officials, who insist that Iraq's refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors to return was grounds enough for military action against Baghdad.
"Seeking new authorization now is necessary, politically and practically, and will help build international support," said Baker, whose words echo concern that the president has yet to make a convincing case for striking Iraq.
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix ruled out the need to draft a new UN resolution.
"The problem is that Iraq has not complied," Blix said, since the last arms inspectors fled Baghdad in 1998 on the eve of intensive US and British air strikes.
However, key US ally Jordan argued that the UN should induce Iraq to allow the return of weapons inspectors by making a firm pledge that the 12-year old trade embargo, in place since Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, would be lifted.
Jordan's hardline neighbor, Syria, blasted US designs on Iraq once again.
"The Arabs are strongly opposed to any act of aggression against Iraq," Information Minister Adnan Omran told journalists.
He warned "the whole Arab world is targeted" by US threats, echoing a growing fear in the Middle East of US military intervention.
In Yemen, President Abdullah Saleh worried that a US invasion of Iraq would set a "dangerous precedent" for strikes on other regional states.
"What will happen in Iraq will happen as well in Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and in several other countries. Nobody will be safe from such (US) threats," Saleh told a meeting of his General People's Congress party.
Western opponents of a war on Iraq have warned that an invasion could jeopardize the global campaign to root out terror in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Yemen, where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's family hails from, is a case in point.
Salah has deployed troops around suspected al-Qaeda strongholds in the country's northeast, while the US military has been sent to assist in the training of the Yemeni army.
Iran, which has also been quietly assisting the US war on "terror", moved Saturday to kill speculation that it would tacitly go along with a US strike on Iraq.
"Interpreting Iran's stance over the current Iraqi crisis as neutral is unreal and contradicts the country's clear and official position on this," said Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi whose country confirmed this month it had handed over 16 al-Qaeda members to US ally Saudi Arabia.
Copyright 2002 AFP