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Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 16:19 GMT
Iraqis 'resigned to US attack'
Iraqis walk past a billboard of Saddam Hussein
Iraqis have come to believe war is inevitable

He sits on the pavement of Baghdad's bustling Rasheed street - an old man who has seen too many wars, quietly counting his prayer beads with a furrowed brow.


I think America will hit us whatever we do. It wants our oil

Iraqi woman
Like most Iraqis, he is fatalistic about what now lies ahead for the country.

As the clock ticks towards Friday's deadline for Baghdad to agree to the new UN resolution, Iraqis know there is nothing they can do to change the course of events.

But few believe that Iraqi acceptance of the resolution would remove the threat of war.

"It will postpone, not prevent conflict," said one civil servant.

Another woman shopper said: "I think America will hit us whatever we do. It wants our oil."

'Interference'

Many Iraqis see the terms of the new UN resolution as deliberately humiliating and impossible for the Iraqi Government to fulfil.

"The resolution is bad for Iraq," said a pharmacist on Yasser Arafat street. "It is interference. Could our government go to England and dictate to London what to do?"


When the inspectors come, I think they will make problems and I think that will lead to an American strike

Iraqi businessman
But an internationally isolated Iraqi Government now has little choice but to swallow the new resolution in its entirety, however unpalatable it may be.

"Now it is the accused who is being asked to prove their innocence," says political analyst Wamid Nadhmi, who believes Iraq will bow to overwhelming international pressure and agree.

Buying time

But accepting the resolution is only the first hurdle for Iraq. It then has 30 days to declare weapons of mass destruction that it insists it no longer possesses.

"You can't prove a negative," according to a prominent member of the ruling Ba'ath party, who said the resolution was "written not to be implemented".


It is interference. Could our government go to England and dictate to London what to do?

Iraqi pharmacist
By accepting the resolution, Iraq may buy itself some time, but few Iraqis believe the country will be spared a new war.

"I don't think now there will be a strike before the new year," said an Iraqi visitor to the Baghdad annual international trade fair, where businessmen from 49 countries have been seeking new market opportunities in Iraq.

"But when the inspectors come, I think they will make problems and I think that will lead to an American strike."

As a parting thought he smiled and added: "We hope for the best."


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10 Nov 02 | Middle East
10 Nov 02 | Middle East
09 Nov 02 | Europe
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