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Iraq, Kuwait exchange threats as tension builds
Shyam Bhatia in Kuwait |
January 29, 2003 16:35 IST
Kuwait and Iraq have exchanged threats, even as United States President George W Bush, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, characterised Baghdad's response to UN weapons inspectors as 'deceptive' and 'deceiving'.
Calling on Saddam Hussein to disarm, Bush said Iraq has threatened the lives of scientists and their families if they reveal information to the UN weapons inspectors.
A few days ago Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz had told Canada's CBC News channel that he did not rule out an attack against Kuwait if it was used as a base for US military operations against Baghdad.
In Kuwait, Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah rejected the warning. "Threats by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz do not scare us. Kuwait is protected, god willing, from the evil of war."
But 'we should not kid ourselves... if a war breaks out between the United States and Iraq, we will be affected', he added.
Kuwaiti Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, meanwhile, told a local news agency: "The Iraqi regime would pay a high price if it makes a move that threatens the security and sovereignty and territorial sanctity of Kuwait.
"This is yet another proof that reveals the hostile nature of the Iraqi regime and affirms that Kuwait has taken the correct choice of seeking aid from sisterly and friendly states for maintaining the sovereignty and security of Kuwait.
"The Iraqi regime has pursued its aggression against Kuwait with the continued holding of Kuwaiti prisoners and the dispatch of saboteurs and informants to the country in a bid to undermine internal security."
Last week, an editorial believed to have been authorised by Saddam Hussein's son Uday, and published in Iraq's Babil newspaper, had said that the 9/11 attacks 'will be like a walk in the park' when compared to what Iraq would do if the US attacked it.
Asked whether it meant that Iraq would attack American territory, Aziz said, "No, it doesn't, because we don't have the means and we don't have the wish to make any mischief inside the United States."
In Kuwait's national memorial museum, pictures of Kuwaitis who were allegedly dipped in acid by Iraqi troops during the 1990-91 occupation are being displayed.
Museum guide Noura Jaffar said, "We are sure Saddam will attack Kuwait with soldiers or with chemical weapons. But we have the United Nations and the United States on our side."