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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Saddam scorns threats to Iraq
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein: Even devils cannot help aggressors
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has said that "evil tyrants and oppressors" will not be able to unseat him and his government.


The wind will blow away foreign rattling as the noise of an evil covetous tyrant

Saddam Hussein
"You will never defeat me this time. Never!" said Saddam Hussein, speaking in a televised address.

The US has branded Iraq part of an "axis of evil" supporting terrorism, and President George W Bush has vowed to pursue the Iraqi leader's removal.

US Under Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, who is visiting neighbouring Turkey, said that Saddam Hussein's Iraq is "one that we can't afford to live with indefinitely".

Mr Wolfowitz is seeking Turkish backing for possible action against Baghdad, and stressed the regional importance of such action.

"Turkey stands to benefit enormously if Iraq becomes a normal country," said Mr Wolfowitz.

There has been no official reaction to Mr Wolfowitz's visit, but Hurriyet newspaper reported that the government would back military action against Iraq if it did not harm the Turkish economy, and if no Kurdish state was created in northern Iraq.

Baghdad denial

Iraq has denied US allegations that it is developing weapons of mass destruction.

US President George W Bush
Bush has made Saddam's removal a major objective
The prospect of US military action increased earlier this month, when talks between Iraq and the United Nations on the return of UN weapons inspectors to Baghdad broke down.

Saddam Hussein said that aggressors would never succeed "even if you come together from all over the world, and invite all the devils as well, to stand by you".

The Iraqi president did not make specific mention of the US or threats of military action, but he implicitly warned other Arab countries not to back any US campaign.

Anniversary

Saddam Hussein was speaking on the 34th anniversary of the 1968 coup d'etat which brought his Baath Party to power.

The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Baghdad says that the speech was less fiery than usual, and less forceful than had been expected.

The revolution "returns to us ... to meet the level of your struggle and your jihad. But its resolve, this time, is deep-rooted," he said.

"It will not succumb to, or be shaken by, the propaganda of foreign powers," Saddam said.

"The wind will blow away foreign rattling as the noise of an evil covetous tyrant, the enemy of Allah."

Baghdad has been hung with defiant banners for the occasion, and the press has reinforced the president's line.

The state-run Al-Iraq newspaper said: "US plans against Iraq will meet with failure".

The US administration is "seeking to export its internal crises to cover up financial scandals and its failures in Afghanistan," said Ath-Thawra.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Adams
"War is not inevitable yet, but it begins to sound more than likely"
Simon Henderson, Middle East analyst
"I only hope the Iraqi people saw through it"
Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector
"There is no justification for war based upon the facts"

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See also:

16 Jul 02 | Middle East
17 Jul 02 | Middle East
17 Jun 02 | Middle East
15 Jul 02 | Middle East
11 Jul 02 | Politics
09 Jul 02 | Middle East
15 Jul 02 | Middle East
12 Jul 02 | Middle East
16 Jul 02 | Politics
17 Jul 02 | Media reports
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