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memri
November 26, 2002 No.
4

Unidentified Senior Iraqi Official: We Did Not Hesitate to Use WMD in the Past and Will Not Stand Idly By This Time Either

In the first statement of its kind, a senior Iraqi official confirmed that his country is not ruling out the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction to defend the regime. His statements were published in a lead article in today's London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which is known to support Saddam Hussein. [1] The articles title stated that Iraqi sources do not rule out the possibility of using chemical weapons to defend the regime. The following are excerpts from the article:

"A senior Iraqi official who refused to reveal his name said that the Iraqi regime would defend its existence and its reputation. The Iraqi official said unequivocally: 'When the regime was under intense attack in Al-Fau and began to be under threat, it did not hesitate to use all the weapons of mass destruction in its possession. Similarly, when the people of Halabja, or some of them, became guides for the Iranian forces that tried to breach the northeast [front], the regime did not hesitate to use chemical weapons.' Therefore, 'do not expect us to stand idly by in the face of any aggression that seeks to destroy and banish us not only from the regime but also from life.'"

A top party official from Iraq in Amman, Jordan told the newspaper: "The Iraqi regime has drawn up emergency plans to confront any American aggression." He said that the plans were based on the following elements:

"First, deployment of the Republican Guard forces at the periphery of the cities, primarily Baghdad, to resist any American ground offensive that seeks to take them. The mission of the Republican [Guard] forces will also be to resist any attempt at internal Iraqi rebellion, such as the one that followed the American offensive in January 1991 in the South and the North."

"Second, deployment of special forces that will include the 'elite of the elite' - in his words - inside the capital Baghdad, so that they can participate in street combat if the American forces or their allies enter. Then, will begin fierce resistance operations, such as those carried out in occupied Palestine."

"Third, deployment of groups of 'Saddam's Fedayeen' within the capital and in other cities, to control the internal situation and participate in the resistance operations."

The party official further stated: "The collapse of the Iraqi forces in 1991 and their refraining from resisting as much as was necessary will not recur this time, because Iraq and its 'loyal sons' are defending themselves and their personal and national 'honor'… We will make you proud this time, and prove to you that the Iraqis are men."

The official added that "Iraq does not put its trust in the Arab regimes and Arab masses at all; Iraq will rely on itself this time, and will not be surprised if some of the Arab regimes collaborate with the American aggression and even participate in it."

The top party official spoke "with bitterness" of Syria's vote in the U.N. Security Council in favor of Resolution 1441, saying: "The brothers in Syria did not consult with us at all on this issue; we believed that they would vote against it, or at worst abstain."

The Al-Quds Al-Arabi article also quoted members of the Iraqi opposition.


[1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), November 26, 2002.