BAGHDAD - Iraq's parliament voted unanimously Monday to back military preparations
to repel any U.S. attack aimed at toppling President Saddam Hussein.
Saddam's eldest son Uday, meanwhile, told the rubber-stamp National Assembly that the expected U.S. attack would be "more cruel" than the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War that expelled Iraqi invasion troops from Kuwait.
The parliamentary vote came just over a week after the failure of talks between the United Nations and Iraq about the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Baghdad.
"The Assembly's meeting has discussed the threats by the U.S. administration to launch an armed aggression against Iraq, aimed at ousting the political national government and set up a puppet regime that would obey its vicious policy," the parliament stated.
The 250-seat assembly expressed at its extraordinary session what it termed "all out support for all measures taken by the Iraqi leadership to face the American-Zionist aggression on all political, military and economic aspects, and to prepare the prerequisites to face that aggression and repel it."
Since the latest third round of U.N.-Iraq talks broke down, reports have increased about U.S. plans for a military campaign against Iraq.
President Bush said last week Washington would use all tools at its disposal to topple Saddam. He has branded Iraq part of an "axis of evil" along with Iran and North Korea.
The parliament's decision also urged the Arab League and the U.N. Security Council to hold "emergency sessions to discuss American threats for an aggression against Iraq."
The Iraqi parliament would also contact Arab, regional and international parliaments to hold "special sessions to discuss such U.S. threats."
In a working paper presented to parliament, Uday predicted that Baghdad would be the main target for the new U.S. war.
He called for greater economic ties with Russia, France and Syria and to "make Jordan understand that Iraq shall have a different position than the previous cases in the event of its participation in an aggression against Iraq."
Some Western media reports said Washington had agreed with Amman to use Jordan as a launch-pad for its military campaign against Iraq. Jordan denies these reports.
Iraq's Culture Minister and parliament member Hamed Yousif Hummadi told reporters
after the end of the meeting that the government had taken all steps to "foil
the U.S. aggression. We shall teach the Americans lessons they shall never forget."
Copyright 2002 Reuters Ltd