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The BBC's Rageh Omar
"Hundreds of people took to the streets of Baghdad"
 real 56k

The BBC's Rageh Omaar in Baghdad
"The Iraqi leader is as defiant as ever"
 real 56k

Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein
"There were the enemies of Allah, and those with Satan as their protector"
 real 56k

Middle East Analyst, Tim Llewellyn
"This puts the nail in the coffin of any idea that this man has recently been ill"
 real 56k

Fomer Ambassador to Iraq, Sir Harold Walker
"We underestimated the skill with which he manages his personal power"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 10:05 GMT
Saddam savages Gulf War enemies
Baghdad demonstration, 17 Jan 2001
Demonstrations against sanctions preceded the speech
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has described his Gulf War opponents as "the enemies of God, the followers of Satan" in a televised address on the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict.

In a defiant speech, he said the war pitted "evil who gathered from everywhere against those who believed in God and in jihad [holy war] for the sake of God".

Allah was watching over Iraq. He turned their fire cool

Saddam Hussein
His appearance undermined recent claims by the Iraqi opposition that he was severely ill.

The speech was preceded by a demonstration of about 1,000 people in Baghdad against the international sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The Iraqi leader praised those who had fought for the country a decade ago, saying those who died had "become the candles that dispelled the darkness before Iraq".

He said Iraq had been "defending humanity, defending the principles of the Arab nation".

Blaming the West

He listed a number of the nations who had joined the 33-country coalition that assembled against Iraq, including "America, Britain, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, [and] Australia".

But he did not mention Arab countries involved.

"How can I give names and... open the wounds?" he said.

Iraq has been trying to improve regional relations in recent months.

Ten years ago

On 16 January 1991 at 2330 GMT, Iraq came under a devastating and sustained aerial bombardment from a US-led coalition.

The attack, sanctioned by a UN Security Council resolution, followed the Iraqi army's failure to withdraw from Kuwait.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in October 2000
Still standing: Saddam ten years on
By the end of February, following a three-day land campaign, Iraqi forces had pulled out of Kuwait in disarray.

Ten years on, Saddam Hussein remains in power - despite recent reports that he had suffered a stroke.

International sanctions are still enforced and UN organisations in the country say the people are enduring enormous suffering.

Surviving and succeeding

Speaking on the eve of the anniversary, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said his government had emerged victorious from the Gulf War.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
Mr Aziz said Iraq had triumphed
Not only had it survived the destruction of the conflict as well as 10 years of sanctions, he said, but it had recently succeeded in breaking out of its international isolation.

An increasing number of humanitarian flights are landing in Baghdad, bringing aid and sympathetic visitors, and a number of Western oil companies are eager to do business with Iraq.

Many countries are pressing for the sanctions to be lifted, and activists say they cause more harm to the Iraqi people than to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The US insists that the sanctions will remain in place until Iraq proves it has no weapons of mass destruction.

UN weapons inspectors were pulled out of Iraq at the end of 1998 and have not returned.

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See also:

17 Jan 01 | Media reports
Saddam's Gulf War anniversary speech
16 Jan 01 | Middle East
Aziz blames West for Gulf War
16 Jan 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Saddam and the future
16 Jan 01 | Media reports
Press marks Gulf War anniversary
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