Thursday, Jul 18, 2002
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By Atul Aneja
Temmuz (July revolution) returns to say to all evil tyrants and oppressors of the world: You will never defeat me this time. Never! Even if you come together from all over the world, and invite all the devils as well, to stand by you, he said. Mr. Hussein's address follows an extraordinary session of the Iraqi Parliamentarians where lawmakers condemned the U.S. hostility and pledged to stand by the revolutionary leadership of Iraq.
Amid expressions of unity in Iraq, the U.S. has intensified interaction with Iraq's neighbours revolving around the possible use of military power to oust the Iraqi regime. The U.S. suspects that Iraq is developing mass destruction weapons that can reach terrorists in the future. It is therefore insisting that Iraq should provide access to U.N. weapons inspectors to some of its sites where work on producing nuclear and chemical weapons might be in progress. Iraq has rejected this demand unless the survival of its existing regime is guaranteed. With the divide between Washington and Baghdad deepening, Washington has sent Paul Wolfowitz, the number two man in the Pentagon for consultations with Turkey, a frontline state for launching military strikes against Iraq. While Turkey is likely to cooperate with U.S., it nevertheless has its own reservations about military action against its neighbours. Turkey fears that a war with Baghdad will trigger a mass exodus of ethnic Kurds on its soil. Given its economic difficulties, Turkey will find it had to absorb a flood of refugees on its territory. Jordan, another neighbouring country from where multi-directional strikes against Baghdad can be launched will find military cooperation with Washington even more difficult.
Iraq is Jordan's largest trading partner. Its dependence on Iraq for fulfilling its energy requirements is substantial as Jordan imports nearly 105,000 barrels of crude oil, and 15,000 barrels of petroleum products a day from it. Not surprisingly, Jordan has, so far, rejected the use of its territory for launching military assaults against Iraq. Fearing that it can get more embroiled in a U.S.-Iraq military tussle than its neighbours on account its physical proximity to Iraq, Kuwait has also contradicted reports that it was likely to become a staging post for future U.S. military operations against Baghdad. Saudi Arabia, which has served as a command and control hub for military operations in the region, has also expressed reservations of a war that targets fellow Arabs.
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