- Following are excerpts from an interview with Iraq's
President Saddam Hussein conducted by Sayyid Nassar of the Egyptian opposition
weekly Al-Usbou and published on Nov. 3.
- Nassar: "Mr. President, what exactly does the U.S.
want from Iraq?"
- Saddam: "The U.S. wants to destroy the centers of
power in the Arab world, regardless of whether the center of power is in
Damascus or Baghdad! Look around you and see what is happening in the region.
See what is happening in southern Sudan, efforts to separate the south
from the north and to influence our big sister Egypt, its national security,
and the overall national security of the Arab nation!!"
- "Look and see what is happening in Algiers, see
what happened and is still happening in Somalia and all the countries in
the Horn of Africa. See what is going on in Palestine and what Sharon is
doing to our Palestinian brothers. All this exposes the scope of the conspiracy
against our Arab nation."
- Nassar: "Mr. President, if we go from the general
to the specific, what does the U.S. want from Iraq?"
- Saddam: "The U.S. wants to impose its hegemony on
the Arab world, and as a prelude it wants to control Iraq and then strike
the capitals that oppose it and revolt against its hegemony. From Baghdad,
which will be under military control, it will strike Damascus and Tehran.
It will fragment them and will cause major problems to Saudi Arabia. It
is trying to create small entities controlled by safe-keepers working for
the U.S., so that no country will be larger than Israel, quantitatively
and qualitatively. This way the Arab oil will be under its control and
the region, especially the oil sources after the destruction of Afghanistan
will be under total control of the U.S. All these things serve the Israeli
interests, and based on this strategy the purpose is to make Israel into
a large empire in the area."
- "Iraq's problem is that it opposes all these conspiracies,
and the others do not understand that we are defending [them]. Everyone
should know that no one will be safe from [the conspiracies] that are being
hatched now against Iraq. All, from the point of view of the U.S. and Israel,
are the same and what will happen to us, will happen to the others later."
- Nassar: "Does the fragmentation conspiracy concern
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries?"
- Saddam: "I am not (sic) one of those who think that
Saudi Arabia will be divided and that Yemen or Oman will benefit [from
that], or that there are efforts to eliminate some of the Sheikhdoms or
Emirates in the Gulf. To the contrary, I think that the model of the small
Sheikhdoms and Emirates will expand in the region.
- Therefore, all the large countries such as Iraq, Syria
or Saudi Arabia will be divided into small Emirates, and the oil resources
will be in the hands of midget-countries in a way that will serve the interests
of the U.S., which will gain complete control over the oil fields from
Algiers through the countries of the Caspian Sea. After dominating Afghanistan,
[the U.S.] is getting ready now to dominate Iraq, Iran and Syria."
- On the difference between North Korea's nuclear program
- Nassar: "Mr. President, two weeks ago North Korea
admitted, or more accurately announced without any pressure, that it had
a nuclear program. Nevertheless, we did not see or hear any hostile American
reaction similar to the American reaction towards Iraq, despite the fact
that Iraq declared that it did not have WMD and the international inspectors
confirmed that. Despite that, the U.S. is directing its strike against
Iraq only. What is the meaning of that in your opinion?"
- Saddam: "In short, North Korea does not have oil.
This is first. Secondly, North Korea is not Israel's enemy, and is not
close to it [geographically]."
- Nassar: "Mr. President, I want to ask you something
that I already know, but would like your confirmation. Do you have Kuwaiti
prisoners that you did not release as yet, knowing that Kuwait is demanding
their release as a condition for reconciliation?"
- Saddam: "You know, and everyone else knows, that
I issued a decision to release all prisoners, political and criminal, Arab
and Iraqis. Except for the spies who worked for Israel and the U.S. We
released even murderers, on condition that an agreement was reached between
the families of the murderers and the families of the victims, and that
the amnesty was the will of both sides. The jails in Iraq became the only
jails in the world, and in history, without occupants."
- Nassar "...And the wardens have a problem, Mr. President,
they have to look for a job since the jails are empty..."
- Saddam: "We shall turn the jails into shelters for
orphans, the victims of American daily missile attacks on the country's
south and north, and on Baghdad's neighborhoods, while the world conscience
- "We are ready for war"
- Nassar: "Mr. President, do you think that the attack
- Saddam: "We are getting ready as if the war will
start in an hour. We are ready for it psychologically. The U.S., in its
daily attacks and attempts to weaken us and to kill civilians every day
with its air missiles and artillery from neighboring countries, made us
feel as if we were in a perpetual war since January 1991. So we are ready
for war. But Iraq will not, in any way, be like Afghanistan. This does
not mean that we are stronger than the U.S., since it has long-range missiles
and naval forces, but we have faith in Allah, in our homeland, and in the
Iraqi people. Also, and this is important, we have faith in the Arab nation.
We will not turn the war into a picnic for the American or the British
soldiers. No way! The land always fights on the side of its owners."
- Nassar: "Mr. President, Let's go back to where we
started, are you satisfied with the position of several Arab countries
towards Iraq, as far as supporting it against the American and British
hostile schemes. Don't you think that there is a clear failure?"
- Saddam: "I am satisfied with all the efforts to
support the strong Arab position in supporting Iraq and Palestine. The
problem is no longer Iraq's problem only, it is the problem of the whole
Arab nation from Tangier to Baghdad. The fate is one, and it is written
in martyrs' blood."
- "If there is anyone who thinks that Iraq still has
problems with Kuwait, then [let me say] that all the Arab countries have
problems with neighboring Arab countries. We believe that any success accomplished
by any Arab country, including the Arab nation of Kuwait, is our success.
The nation of Kuwait is an Arab nation that believes in its pan-Arabism.
The latest event against the American base [there] proves it."
- "To a great extent, we put our faith in our Arab
nation. The Arab nation, which contrary to what many might think, is not
in a deep slumber. The demonstrations that we saw in the Arab world and
the West included thousands of supporters of peace and opponents of war
and aggression against Iraq. These demonstrations challenged the efforts
of the Zionist extreme right in Washington to destroy Iraq."
- "The American-British coalition will disintegrate"
- Nassar: "Mr. President, do you think that time is
working in your favor, or against you?"
- Saddam: "No doubt, time is working for us. We have
to buy some more time, and the American-British coalition will disintegrate
because of internal reasons and because of the pressure of public opinion
in the American and British street. Nations know the truth and are more
capable of understanding than the leaders who are preoccupied with the
Zionist conspiracies that are hatched by the media, conspiracies that blind
- Nassar: "Mr. President, let's go back to where we
started: What exactly does the U.S. want from Iraq?"
- Saddam: "It wants an Iraq that accepts the American
political and geographical hegemony over Arab resources. It also wants
an Iraq that acknowledges the Zionist existence and its control over Palestine.
Furthermore, it wants an Iraq free of the pan-Arab ideology, an Iraq that
would agree to destroying the Arab League and establishing a Middle-East
organization. It wants a non-Arab Iraq [divided] into separate nations."
- On the Iraqi opposition
- Nassar: "Mr. President, are you worried of the Iraqi
opposition, which is in cahoots with Washington and London? Could this
opposition become an alternative to the regime in Baghdad?"
- Saddam: "First of all, there is no true Iraqi opposition
that worries us. And if there was an opposition it should have struggled
from inside first in order to get control, and not from the outside, from
a distance of tens of thousands of miles."
- "Additionally, opposition members of whom we hear
but whom we do not see, and our people do not recognize, are a group that
includes some who were convicted of economic crimes, and others of moral
- "Members of the opposition, of whom we hear, have
no sense; they do not [even] hide the fact that they are agents of the
American and British intelligence, and that they receive money from them,
or that they are guilty of embezzling and squandering money. Finally, they
are a group of people that might fill one single bus in Baghdad, no more."
- Nassar: "Mr. President, a few days ago there was
a referendum about renewing the presidency for seven more years. There
were those who asked about the meaning of the 100% support that you received,
especially since the Western culture is unable to comprehend such a percentage."
- Saddam: "It has a great significance. It means that
I treat my people with justice and truth. To those who maintain that I
do not represent my people, it means that I truly do represent them. It
is the result of a referendum of a free nation, witnessed by Arab and foreign
observers and journalists, and it attests to the fallacy of the existence
of an opposition to the Iraqi regime."
- Nassar: "Mr. President, your handling of the recent
crisis is different than the crisis in 1991. Is this the result of a study
of the current conditions, or the past, or both. What were the lessons
- Saddam: "Politics are science, and in any science
there are experiments. The politician is an eternal student, and always
benefits from personal experience, or the experience of other people. We
believe in the importance of public opinion and its effects, and learn
from our experiences. Making mistakes and correcting them are a human act
that could be improved. No one among us is infallible, and Allah alone
- Nassar: "Mr. President, isn't it time to reconcile
with our Kurdish brethren in the north?"
- Saddam: "You know that Iraq gave them what no one
else did. You were the first Arab journalist who met with Mulla Mustafa
Al-Barazani in 1966, and you heard him say that his ultimate aspiration
was the autonomous rule that he got [later] from Iraq. Anything more would
be divisive. We reject that, and so do all the wise people among our Kurdish
brothers. We are convinced that if the U.S. and Britain get their hands
off northern Iraq, and do not interfere, we will define ourselves in complete
freedom, without their interference, and will reconcile the people and