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>From Reuters http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=topnews&StoryID=1306683# Iraq's Saddam Says He Is Unmoved by U.S. Threats August 08, 2002 07:47 AM ET By Nadim Ladki BAGHDAD (Reuters) - President Saddam Hussein said on Thursday he was not frightened by U.S. threats to topple his administration and warned that those who attacked Iraq would be "digging their own graves." Marking the anniversary of the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Saddam called for "equitable dialogue" with the United Nations but made no new offers in response to international calls for weapons inspectors to be allowed back into Iraq. "The forces of evil will carry their coffins on their backs, die in disgraceful failure, taking their schemes back with them, or digging their own graves," Saddam, 65, said. Any invaders would "bring death to themselves" in the Arab world, "including Iraq, the land of the jihad (Holy War) and the (Muslim) banner," he added in a 22-minute address to the nation. Saddam saluted Palestinians, who began an uprising in 2000 against Israeli occupation, and other Holy Warriors. "Greetings...to the Arabs in the forefront of whom come the heroic people of Palestine, and to every honorable warrior of the faithful who met his God with a pure heart," he said. In a show of force, thousands of Iraqi volunteers, clad in military fatigues and brandishing assault rifles, paraded in Baghdad, vowing to defend Iraq and Saddam to the death. Ordinary Iraqis appeared galvanized by the defiant speech. "We are not afraid of America, Bush or others," Hadi Abbass told Reuters. "We are ready to sacrifice our blood, soul and children for the president." President Bush has said repeatedly Saddam was a threat to peace and stability, and he wanted a "regime change" in Iraq, clearly advocating the overthrow of the Iraqi leader. A U.S.-led coalition drove Saddam's invasion forces out of oil-rich Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War but stopped short of deposing the Iraqi leader. The coalition was forged by Bush's father and then U.S. President George Bush. Saddam, dressed in civilian clothes, was defiant but stuck to well-known Iraqi positions. "There is no other choice for those who use threat and aggression but to be repelled even if they were to bring harm to their targets," he said in the taped televised speech. "I say it in such clear terms so that no weakling should imagine that when we ignore ill talk, this means that we are frightened by the impudent threats...and so that no greedy tyrant should be misled into an action the consequences of which are beyond their calculations," he said. SAYS U.N. SHOULD ANSWER QUESTIONS Saddam called on the U.N. Security Council to answer a list of questions recently posed by Baghdad, and said the United Nations should honor obligations over trade sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait. "The right way is that the Security Council should reply to the questions raised by Iraq, and should honor its obligations under its own resolutions," Saddam said. He repeated Iraq's recent calls for further talks on U.N. demands that arms inspectors be allowed back into Iraq, and on Baghdad's calls for the lifting of the trade sanctions. "The right course is to respect the security and rights of others, through dealing with others in peace and establishing the obligations required by way of equitable dialogue on the basis of international law and international covenants," he said. His address came a day after Bush said that while Baghdad posed "real threats," he would consult with Congress and U.S. allies on how to proceed. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made clear on Wednesday that no decision had been made to go to war to oust Saddam. But Cheney also said a return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq may not resolve concerns over Baghdad's ability to develop weapons of mass destruction. In an initial reaction to Saddam's speech, Israel said the Iraqi leader had broken no new ground. "He's not saying anything new," Raanan Gissin, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Reuters. Israel has expressed support for any U.S. military action but many Israelis are concerned Saddam would again target the Jewish state with Scud missiles as he did during 1991 Gulf War. In Dubai, a Gulf Arab analyst who requested anonymity, said: "This is Saddam's habit, he spoils things as always. It is a pity that when most countries in the world, even Canada and Germany, are opposed to an attack on Iraq, he comes out with provocative statements that antagonize everyone. "We had hoped that the latest gestures by Iraq on arms inspectors and (inviting) U.S congressmen (to Iraq) would have been followed up, but this man never learns from his mistakes. What a shame." Key U.S. allies have been urging the United States not to launch a strike against Iraq in an attempt to oust Saddam. Arab leaders are adamantly opposed to such a move. Iraq offered last week to discuss the possible return of U.N. weapons inspectors, placed in Iraq after the Gulf War but withdrawn in 1998 on the eve of a U.S.-British bombing raid. A resumption of inspections aimed at stopping Iraq from acquiring weapons of mass destruction could increase pressure on the United States from its European and Arab allies not to attack. _________________________________________________________ Read the LATEST Regional and international news on Maktoob News. http://www.maktoob.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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