Iraq to rally international support against U.S. attack

Sunday, August 25, 2002

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq will be sending envoys abroad with a message that U.S. military intervention to overthrow President Saddam Hussein is doomed to fail, the country's vice president said in remarks published Saturday.

The comments by Taha Yassin Ramadan to the Iraqi weekly al-Ittihad come as the U.S. administration is considering whether, how and when to undertake a war to topple Saddam, accused of developing weapons of mass destruction and blocking the return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

America's allies in Europe and in the Middle East have shown little interest in backing military action against Iraq. Such a position, according to Ramadan, shows "the strong and just stand of Iraq and unmasks the goals and intentions of the American aggressors and their policy to control and use the nations of the world."

"Iraq will defeat evil and come out victorious in its struggle against terrorism and the evil power (the United States)," Ramadan said in separate remarks Saturday, the official news agency reported.

He told al-Ittihad that presidential envoys will soon be visiting Arab, Asian and African capitals to brief the leaders on Iraq's position.

The diplomatic offensive is meant to persuade Arab leaders in particular that an American strike against Baghdad would pose a danger to their countries, too, Ramadan was quoted as saying.

He did not elaborate, but Arab leaders have repeatedly voiced their opposition to a U.S. military attack for fear it would antagonize the Arab public against Washington and friendly Arab governments.

"We are confident that they understand American threats against Iraq are against the whole Arab nation ... be it Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, or any other Arab country," Ramadan told al-Ittihad.

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