News

PT 1/2, The Belligerent Statements of the Iraqi Leadership

Iraq News, FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 1999

By Laurie Mylroie

The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .



I.   AL SHIRA, INTERVIEW WITH SADUN HAMMADI, JAN 11
II.  TAHA YASIN RAMADAN, PRESS CONF, AL-JAZIRAH SPACE TV, JAN 13


   In addition to the articles by Tariq Aziz [four parts so far], 
several recent statements of the Iraqi leadership have been threatening 
and bellicose.  On the anniversary of the start of the Gulf war, Jan 
16/17, Saddam will give another major speech.

   On Jan 11, al-Shira' published an interview with Sadun Hammadi, 
speaker of Iraq's Nat'l Assembly.  Hammadi explained, "The majority of 
Arab governments-I mean the regimes-does not do anything for Iraq unless 
they are obliged to do so."  Nonetheless, Hammadi said, "I envisage that 
all the Arab countries will reject and lift the siege.  They will say 
that the siege is groundless, illegal and immoral."  But why should they 
do so, if they do not do anything for Iraq unless they are obliged to?  
   Hammadi also explained, "The Security Council adopted resolutions and 
we accepted them regardless of our opinion of them.  We are implementing 
these resolutions and the Security Council must implement what it must 
implement, namely lift the blockade. . . . The problem is that there is 
a superpower that is preventing the Security Council from implementing 
its resolutions."  Hammadi also said that if the Arabs rejected the 
embargo, "The United States would then reconsider its calculations-its 
profits and losses.  Like the Zionists, the Americans will do nothing 
unless they pay a price. . . . If the United States was not in a 
position to pay a price for its intransigence, why should it change its 
policy?"  What price does Hammadi anticipate the US may/will pay?  The 
loss of Arab support?  Or something more?

  On Jan 13, Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan gave a press conference, 
broadcast by Qatar's al-Jazirah Space Channel.  He began by asserting 
that Iraq would not accept UNSCOM back in any form, "We would like to 
say, as we said in the past, that UNSCOM has become something of the 
past, representing a dark chapter in it.  Any talk about the future of 
this commission, whether the talk about beautifying it and its mode of 
action or changing one of its spies or the roles, structure, and 
positions of those people in it, we say that this is a waste of time.   
... What would be the mission of the restructured UNSCOM they are 
talking about?  It has no other mission than spying. . .  Is the 
Security Council now in charge of setting up espionage committees for 
world states so that peace and security can prevail? . . . We would like 
to say to everyone that this issue is a waste of time. . . 
   "In looking for any future formulas, the Security Council must first 
of all lift the embargo fully and unconditionally.  It must condemn the 
aggression and condemn those states of the region which facilitated and 
provided the necessary means for this aggression and I specifically mean 
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. . . .
   "The other issue is the issue of the so-called no-fly zone.   . . . 
This issue has nothing to do with the UN Security Council resolutions.  
So, it is an aggression, and Iraq rejects and confronts this aggression. 
. . .
   "The other issue is that there are Arab and international calls for 
lifting the blockade.  These calls include conditions and bases that can 
only be interpreted as replacing a blockade that has been in place for 
more than eight years-a blockade which was described as a temporary one 
that ends with the end of its conditions, and was imposed on Iraq under 
known circumstances-by a permanent blockade with the approval of Iraq.  
Otherwise, how will we describe the sides, which call for lifting the 
blockade and trying, at the same time, to place Iraq's exports, imports, 
and money under control, in addition to plan for a future control of 
Iraq's industrial activities? . . . We can call these attempts an escape 
from the Arab masses' call on the Arab governments to unilaterally break 
the blockade, condemn the aggression, and fully blame the aggressors for 
the results of the aggression. . . 

   Yesterday, as INA reported, Saddam held a meeting that included 
Ramadan, Aziz, Ali Hasan al-Majid, and Foreign Minister Muhammad 
al-Sahhaf.  The INA summary of the meeting began by asserting a 
principle--Iraq must be treated like all other states.  It said that any 
solution regarding Iraq must be applied "to everyone without exception, 
particularly those who committed the latest aggression against Iraq, 
especially the United States and Britain."  It also affirmed that what 
is demanded of Iraq, must also be demanded "of the Zionist entity with 
the result that the same measures and procedures that were applied 
against Iraq must be applied against it, especially with regard to the 
usurped rights of the Arabs in Palestine and the other occupied Arab 
territories."  Based on that principle, it asserted:
 "1. The embargo imposed on Iraq must be immediately lifted in all its 
forms.  What has thus far been achieved regarding the so-called issue of 
weapons of mass destruction is considered sufficient . . . The Zionist 
entity possess all these types of weapons, in addition to nuclear 
weapons, which are far more fatal and dangerous . . .
  "2. The issue of Iraq's due compensation for the aggression inflicted 
in several stages since 1991 and the demands that others are making to 
Iraq must be dealt with on the basis of international law and legal 
precedents so that each party can get what is rightfully his.
  "3. It would be unfair to make Iraq bear the expenses and the cost of 
UN activities, and it would be impossible for Iraq to do so.  If there 
are expenses to be born, then all the parties concerned must contribute 
to sharing the cost.
  "4. Everyone must respect Iraq's sovereignty, security, and 
independence in a serious manner, and they must not interfere in Iraq's 
internal affairs.  The illegitimate no-fly zone in northern and southern 
Iraq must especially be lifted."

  On Jan 12, as Iraq Radio reported, Saddam met with Ramadan, Aziz, 
Hammadi, Sahhaf, and Information Minister, Humam Abd-al-Kahliq.  
Following that meeting, an official source stated, "Iraq believes that 
an equitable dialogue-which is based on goodwill and held under the 
canopy of the Arab nation's supreme interests in a manner the expresses 
the conscience of the nation . . . --can provide practical solutions to 
the various, or conflicting positions and opinions of this party or 
that. . . . This requires each Arab country to carry out its duty toward 
this aggression in accordance with the Collective Arab Defense Pact.  
This also requires Arab officials to take a clear and specific stand, 
condemning and denouncing the American-British aggression against Iraq 
and those who supported and provided facilities, requirements, and 
practical and political support to this aggression."
  The BBC, Jan 12, commenting on this statement said, "Iraq's President, 
Saddam Hussein, has given strong hints that his country is prepared to 
enter into dialogue to find a diplomatic solution to the current 
crisis."  "Iraq News" strongly disagrees.  The statement, which still 
called for denouncing Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, was just a blip in a 
series of otherwise hostile and aggressive Iraqi statements, accompanied 
by the tensions generated by Iraq's persistent challenges in the 
no-fly-zones.   

I. AL SHIRA, INTERVIEW WITH SADUN HAMMADI
Beirut al-Shira' in Arabic 11 Jan 99 pp 8-10  
[Interview with Iraqi National Council Speaker Sa'dun Hammadi by Samiyah 
Dallal in Amman; date not given]
[FBIS Translated Text]
[Dallal] How would you describe Iraq's relations with the Arab 
countries?
[Hammadi] The majority of Arab governments--I mean the regimes--does not 
do anything for Iraq unless they are obliged to do so. Regrettably, 
several Arab regimes address the Arab issues from a regional perspective 
and from the perspective of their relations with the United States and 
Britain, believing that these countries guarantee their security. 
Consequently, these Arab regimes are sacrificing national and public 
interests. Naturally, this does not apply to all the regimes. But there 
are several Arab regimes that are shaping their policy on this basis. 
Therefore, there is a big gap between the people's aspirations that 
express the public interest and the governments' behavior. Therefore, I 
do not expect that these regimes will change their policy without 
pressure from the public institutions and parliaments.
   I said in my speech (at the opening of the Arab Parliamentarians 
meeting) that this meeting was successful because it adopted clear 
resolutions. This in itself was good. If these resolutions were the 
starting point for good work, yes for them. Serious work does not come 
automatically but stems from militant popular and parliamentary activity 
that must address the Arab regimes and convince them and push them into 
adopting the correct course.
[Dallal] Do you not believe that the resolution of the Iraqi crisis must 
start by a resolution of the crisis between you and Kuwait?
[Hammadi] The issue is not between us and Kuwait. This is not the key to 
resolving the crisis. First of all, what is between us and Kuwait now? 
Kuwait re-demarcated its borders in more than way until they are not the 
same old borders anymore. There are US and British troops in Kuwait that 
get paid monthly from Iraq's revenues under the name of compensations. 
There is no outstanding problem or issue between us and Kuwait.
   The issue is the United States and its effort to change the Iraqi 
regime. If you ask me why, I say because the Iraqi regime has built its 
strength to match Israel's strength. This does not suit the United 
States. The United States wants the Zionist entity to be in full control 
and to be superior to all the Arab countries combined so that the 
Zionist entity can impose its political will and desire. The Iraqi 
regime tried to build a military force. They attacked it, destroyed it, 
and smashed it. Regrettably, some Arabs participated in this operation 
in the name of international legality and so forth. The issue is not 
between us and Kuwait, or between us and any Arab country, or between us 
and Iran, or between us and the United Nations. The issue is between us 
and the United States, which has a specific policy for the region, 
namely Israeli and US hegemony over the region and total control of the 
oil resources. This is the basic issue. There is no issue between us and 
Kuwait, between us and Syria, or between us and Iran. All these are 
secondary issues. The main issue is with the United States.
[Dallal] What do you expect to happen between us and the United States 
after your decision to expel the inspectors from Iraq for good?
[Hammadi] The Security Council adopted resolutions and we accepted them 
regardless of our opinion of them. We are implementing these resolutions 
and the Security Council must implement what it must implement, namely 
lift the blockade. The ball is not in Iraq's court but in the Security 
Council's court. As you know, the Security Council is divided. The ball 
is not in Iraq's court.  There are no resolutions that are obstructed or 
not implemented.
  The problem is that there is a superpower that is preventing the 
Security Council from implementing its resolutions. The Russians, 
Chinese, and French said that the time has come to lift the siege on 
Iraq. The destruction of weapons has been completed. UNSCOM has 
completed its work, closing the nuclear file and other files. But the 
United States is objecting, and on the excuse of preserving the unity of 
the Security Council, nothing has been done. The ball is not in our 
court.
[Dallal] Can we understand from this that there are differences within 
the Security Council?
[Hammadi] This is known.
[Dallal] How do you envisage the future of the Iraqi crisis?
[Hammadi] I envisage that all the Arab countries will reject and lift 
the siege. They will say that the siege is groundless, illegal, and 
immoral.
   Even the United States, what concerns it is not the weapons but the 
Iraqi regime. This is clear in US statements, actions, and measures. The 
starting point is not to address the Security Council, Butler, or 
UNSCOM. There is no doubt that this course must be followed, but the 
main thing is that the Arab countries must abolish the embargo imposed 
on Iraq. If this were to take place, it would create a stir and the 
United States would realize that it has no free hand to control the 
affairs of the world and the Arab countries and that some countries can 
stand up to it. The United States would then reconsider its 
calculations--its profits and losses. Like the Zionists, the Americans 
will do nothing unless they pay a price. The Zionists give nothing and 
take no step before calculating their losses and profits. If profits are 
higher than losses, they will give nothing. As an imperialist country, 
the United States does the same. If the United States was not in a 
position to pay a price for its intransigence, why should it change it 
policy?
[Dallal] The United States is calling for changing the Iraqi regime. 
What is your assessment of this issue and what are the reasons?
[Hammadi] The reason is clear: Iraq built a military force to confront 
Israel. Iraq does not agree to a peaceful settlement. In addition, Iraq 
built a pan-Arab regime bound to an ideology. The Iraqi regime did not 
come about through a military coup by a risk-taking officer or through 
heredity. The Iraqi regime is the son of the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party. 
Since 1930, it called for Arab unity and for the liberation of 
Palestine. The Iraqi regime cannot agree to cede part of the Arab land 
even if it were unable to liberate it, whatever the circumstances. It 
will not rubber stamp such agreements. A time will come in the future. 
This is a long conflict but no one will see our signature ceding Arab 
land. It is in the interest of the Palestinians themselves and of all 
Arabs to have a rejectionist front. The Iraqi regime pursues an 
independent policy. It says yes when there is interest in something 
offered and says no when it is not in the interest of Iraq. It does not 
always say yes. The United States does not like this here in the region 
and everywhere in the world. Consider the US stand on any regime 
anywhere worldwide if it showed any measure of independence. Mahathir 
Mohammad adopted an independent stand. The Americans are now inciting 
his deputy against him. They pursue the same policy everywhere. They do 
the same even with the Arab countries even though it stands by the West. 
If the Arab countries show any tendency for independence the Americans 
create problems for them. Look in Egypt for instance, they are creating 
the problem human rights, Copts, and water. The United States and the 
West do not want the other countries to pursue an independent policy but 
a subservient one.
[Dallal] Do you think if Iraq had joined the peace process between the 
Arabs and Israelis in 1992, the embargo would have been lifted?
[Hammadi] The Iraqi regime did not consider this. According to 
information I have, this was offered to Iraq. I personally know that the 
offer were made twice, once through an international envoy and another 
through an Arab party. President Saddam Husayn told one of the envoys: 
Please do not discuss this issue with me again. When a foreign envoy 
broached the issue, President Saddam Husayn told one of the attendants 
to publish the issue next day, even though it is not custom to do this. 
He ordered that the minutes of the meeting be published again. Iraq will 
not bargain over the embargo.
[Dallal] What do you think of the Iraqi opposition?
[Hammadi] Its members have become unashamed to deal publicly with the 
CIA and the British intelligence. I am really surprised how the 
Americans expect people who cooperate with them publicly can
move the Iraqi people. No one will listen to these members, not only in 
Iraq but in the whole Arab world. The Americans do not trust the 
opposition members or think that they can do anything. These individuals 
are trying to find a means to make a living.  They are mercenaries, 
insignificant, and cannot incite anyone in Iraq or anywhere in the Arab 
world. They do not enjoy minimum respect and can do nothing.
[Dallal] During the US-British aggression against Iraq, leaflets were 
dropped in south Iraq. Is this true?
[Hammadi] The Americans said this. So the issue is not Iraqi weapons. 
They want to fragment partition Iraq into three parts: a a Shiite state 
in the south, a state in the center, and a Kurdish state in the north. 
They want to partition Iraq and any Arab country they can. This is a 
Zionist goal. They do not want Iraq to return strong. Iraq has 
academicians, willpower, and courageous leadership as well as the 
world's second largest oil reserves.  Iraq has 25 million [not further 
identified], major technical resources, willpower, determination, and 
zeal. All Arab countries are against partition and support Iraq's unity. 
However, we are not sure of everyone who maintains this. Perhaps there 
are regimes that agree to destroy Iraq's power.
[Description of source: Pro-Syrian Arab Nationalist Weekly Magazine]

II. TAHA YASIN RAMADAN, PRESS CONF, AL-JAZIRAH SPACE TV
Doha Qatar al-Jazirah Space Channel Television in Arabic 1705 GMT 13 Jan 
99
[Part of news conference by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan to 
local and international correspondents in Baghdad -- live]
[FBIS Translated Text] [Ramadan] In the name of God, the merciful, the 
compassionate. Esteemed audience, I wish through this meeting and 
through you to convey Iraq's view on current matters in the
Arab and international arena as sincerely and frankly as possible.
   We would like the sons of our people and the Arab nation in 
particular to be fully informed so that they would be able to perform 
their duty toward the movements, plots, and challenges. We attach basic 
importance to this subject. Before we take your questions, which 
constitute the axis of this meeting, we wish to convey Iraq's view on 
some basic and important issues although Iraq's stand on most of them 
has been explained directly by the leadership more than once.
   First, there is an ongoing direct or indirect talk through the press 
or statements by some officials, particularly in the states of 
aggression and those who supported them, on the Special Commission 
[UNSCOM] and its future and the future relations with the Security 
Council. We would like to say, as we said in the past, that UNSCOM has 
become something of the past, representing a dark chapter in it. Any 
talk about the future of this commission, whether the talk about 
beautifying it and its mode of action or changing one of its spies or 
the roles, structure, and positions of those people in it, we say that 
this is a waste of time. We are not saying this simply because we 
dislike or reject this commission, or without any legal basis. According 
to their resolution, the ill-reputable Resolution 687, which we accepted 
under its own circumstances, UNSCOM's mission is to search for what was 
called weapons of mass destruction. That was according to Part C of the 
resolution.
    We all know that this subject has been over since late 1991. For 
eight years, UNSCOM has carried tens of thousands of inspections, but 
has not found any documents, equipment, weapons, or spare parts related 
to this subject, apart from those presented by the Iraqi side. All its 
mission was to stir problems and create fabrications for further 
restrictions and US hegemony and arrogance. Lastly, the same aggressors 
claimed that their latest aggression destroyed all that is related to 
the issue of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, they destroyed all 
that has nothing to do with this issue, including hospitals and grain 
warehouses.
   So what would be the mission of the restructured UNSCOM they are 
talking about? It has no other mission than spying. In fact, it has been 
doing nothing for eight years except for this mission. It has done 
nothing until 18 December 1998 except for supplying the latest 
information to help the US-British aggression achieve its objectives 
more accurately.
   Is the Security Council now in charge of setting up espionage 
committees for world states so that peace and security can prevail? If 
[UNSCOM's] mission --as it was earlier alleged and as stipulated in 
Article C of Security Council Resolution -- is to dismantle weapons of 
mass destruction, then we have already said and they themselves said 
that after eight years these weapons have already been destroyed.
   We would like to say to everyone that this issue is a waste of time. 
Any talk about embellishing this picture whether by suggesting to 
replace the first spy Butler by someone else, or as the US secretary of 
state said about the United States being willing to reconsider UNSCOM's 
modus operandi [is useless]. What she means by that is finding new ways 
and means of espionage after all the other means have failed and America 
and its satellite Britain were unable to achieve their goals. Iraq 
refuses to talk about this issue anymore.
   As for the relationship with the Security Council, to be frank we 
would like to say that this Council had lost its credibility even prior 
to the 16 December aggression. The Security Council was a docile tool in 
the hands of the US-UK schemes; however the Security Council completely 
and blatantly lost its credibility right after the 16 December 
aggression. We all remember that this Council was in session at 1130 
Baghdad time [2030 GMT] on the night of the 16th. After midnight, and 
while the Security Council was still in session, the aggression began 
and the meeting was adjourned. Iraq was left facing the shelling of the 
 missiles and raids and this Council did absolutely nothing. Two of its 
permanent members were attacking the sovereignty, security, and economy 
of a member state at the United Nations. This same council had earlier 
affirmed in many of its resolutions that it cares about the sovereignty, 
security, and integrity of this country [Iraq]. The Security Council 
translated this statement into action be standing by watching a 
malicious aggression that so blatantly violated the sovereignty, 
security, and territorial integrity of this country without doing 
anything about it. The Security Council was well described by the 
Chinese foreign minister when he visited Cairo. The trait he used was 
indeed well deserved, and I do not wish to repeat what he said.
   In looking for any future formulas, the Security Council must first 
of all lift the embargo fully and unconditionally. It must condemn the 
aggression and condemn those states of the region which facilitated and 
provided the necessary means for this aggression and I specifically mean 
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It must hold these states responsible for this 
aggression. This would constitute a sound and healthy basis for a 
dialogue and a discussion that would looking for a future formula that 
achieves our goals with the  agreement of the parties concerned.
  The other issue is the issue of the so-called no-fly zone. Iraq, as 
well as all the good ones who do not plot against Iraq, know full well 
that this issue is no different from the 16-17 [December 1998], which 
continued for years. If the United States, Britain, and their small 
agents in the region say that Iraq should implement the UN Security 
Council resolutions, then where does the no-fly zone stand in the UN 
Security Council resolutions? The Security Council should first deny 
this and say that this issue has nothing to do with the UN Security 
Council resolutions. So, it is an aggression, and Iraq rejects and 
confronts this aggression. I believe it is the responsibility of all 
citizens, all the sons of our people, and all the  governments, which 
are outside the circle of plotting and are concerned about security and 
stability in the world, to raise their voices for the sake of stopping 
this continuous aggression against Iraq. He who considers this violation 
as normal, taking into consideration that it is made by the United 
States and its satellite, Britain, then I believe he is trying to say 
that the apostate United States has the right to violate the airspace of 
any country in the world while the world and the Security Council are 
standing idly by doing nothing. The UN Security Council does not move 
unless the United States asks it to adopt a resolution, as the Chinese 
foreign minister put it. He said the United States uses the Security 
Council to achieve its purposes and objectives.
   We say that confronting this violation of Iraq's airspace is not only 
the responsibility of the Iraqi leadership, army, people, and the Arab 
masses, but it is also the responsibility of all the good ones. All 
those who do not have any ulterior motives in this world should call for 
halting this continuous aggression against Iraq through the violation of 
its airspace. We will continue to confront this violation by all 
available means regardless of the cost.
   The other issue is that there are Arab and international calls for 
lifting the economic blockade. These calls include conditions and bases 
that can only be interpreted as replacing a blockade that has been in 
place for more than eight years--a blockade which was described as a 
temporary one that ends with the end of its conditions, and was imposed 
on Iraq under known circumstances-by a permanent blockade with the 
approval of Iraq.
   Otherwise, how will we describe the sides, which call for lifting the 
blockade and trying, at the same time, to place Iraq's exports, imports, 
and money under control, in addition to plan for a future control of
Iraq's industrial activities? What can we conclude from this formula and 
this move by some Arab countries, which have a direct connection with 
the aggression against Iraq, not only with the 16-17 December of 1998, 
but also with the aggression of 1991. We can call these attempts an 
escape from the Arab masses' call on the Arab governments to 
unilaterally break the blockade, condemn the aggression, and fully blame 
the aggressors for the results of the aggression. These sides laid down 
the basis of the 1991 aggression through the Cairo summit resolution in 
1990. During their Doha meeting, the Damascus Declaration foreign 
ministers also paved the way for the aggression of 16-17 December of 
1998.
   They are now trying to do the same job because it is they who had 
provided these exposed covers. On this occasion, we would like to tell 
the masses of the Arab nation that aggression is still going on against 
Iraq, its people, its capabilities, and its regime and that the foreign 
aggressors and some governments in the region are using every means to 
conspire against Iraq. We urge these masses not to be deceived by some 
statements and proposals, which are aimed at distracting the masses' 
attention and struggle from the slogans, which have been calling for 
breaking the blockade and condemning the aggressors and everybody who is 
involved in the aggression. We also urge the organizations and unions, 
such as the airline companies and the production and industrial 
companies, to react and do the same to break this blockade and boycott 
the products of the states of aggression, promote integration, expand 
trade exchange among the Arab countries, and exert effort to confront 
the interests of the aggressors as long as they endanger the security 
and stability of the Arab nation and its front-line, great Iraq. Thank 
you.
[Unidentified correspondent] How do you view Saudi Arabia's call for 
lifting the trade sanctions on Iraq at a time when Baghdad accuses it of 
carrying out a US plan to prolong the economic sanctions, launching a 
military strike against Iraq, and harming its sovereignty? How are you 
going to deal with the no-fly zones imposed on the north and the south?
[Ramadan] We know that any decision, formula, or proposal cannot be 
viewed only from its title, but from its content, its instrument, its 
source, and its credibility. Everybody knows for sure that the rulers of 
Saudi Arabia have a direct connection with the aggression, in addition 
to their knowledge and approval of it, because the aggression is 
launched from their territory and because the military capabilities used 
to harm Iraq's people and children come from the Saudi territories. 
They, however, feel the desire of the Arab street and all the good 
people in the world.  They know that all forms of blockade have become 
without any cover by the Security Council. [At this point, Al-Jazirah TV 
announcer says that more details will follow during later newscasts]