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banner Monday, 24 September, 2001, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Calls for Saddam's overthrow
President George Bush now has the chance to avenge his father's post Gulf War failure to help the people of Iraq topple Saddam Hussein, says Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson.

Speaking at a conference fringe meeting, the former Conservative MP and long-time campaigner for humanitarian aid to Iraq suggested the dictator's fingerprints were on the terror attacks on the US.

That claim was backed too by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the umbrella organisation for opposition parties in the Middle Eastern state that organised the fringe meeting.


That will enable George Bush junior to avenge to his satisfaction the scar on American history

Baroness Nicholson
Lady Nicholson argued the strength of that opposition had removed the key concern that caused the western allies to stop short of moving to overthrow President Hussein at the end of the Gulf War.

The enemy faced now took a more difficult shape to that faced in the Gulf in the early 1990s, she argued.

State sponsored attack

"I believe the fingerprints of the enemy are already visible. It is not just Bin Laden. I believe that we will find the fingerprints of state sponsored terrorism and maybe the foremost state will be the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Lady Nicholson said she found it impossible to believe President Hussein was not involved in the attacks and predicted evidence of those links would soon surface.

"That will enable George Bush junior to avenge to his satisfaction the scar on American history that George Bush senior left when he mistakenly replied to the Iraqi opposition plea for support if they rose up.

"He said yes and found himself unable to follow that through."

Hotbed of terror

INC spokesman Sharif Ali BinAl Hussein branded Iraq's involvement in global terrorism "pervasive".

"It is undeniable that Iraq under Saddam remains a hotbed of extremism and terror," he said.

"The most recent atrocities bear all of the hallmarks of being born in Baghdad."

He pointed to President Hussein's speeches urging attacks on western targets and said the INC knew the dictator had been supplying terrorist groups with funds, as well as holding meetings with them for years.

Stressing the need to topple the Iraqi president from power and tried for crimes against humanity, he added: "The people of Iraq do not want to wait another 10 years."

Muslim condemnation

Sheikh Mohammed Mohammed Ali, an Iraqi spiritual leader, stressed the horror felt by the Muslim world about the US terror atrocities.

"It is totally against the values of Islam. We condemn it totally."

He added: "If you want to get rid of the terrorist groups you should think about the terrorist centres and I think Saddam with his history is one of the great centres."

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