BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 15:27 GMT
Saddam accuses UN inspectors of spying
Saddam Hussein makes a televised speech
Saddam said Iraq would defeat any US attack
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has said United Nations weapons inspectors are carrying out "pure intelligence work".

He denounced the work of the teams sent to monitor Iraq's compliance with demands to disarm, saying they were exceeding their mandate.

UN weapons inspectors in Iraq
Iraq has said UN teams have been overly intrusive in their work
The BBC's Caroline Hawley says the strong and direct criticism of the UN inspectors by the president is significant.

But it remains unclear if Iraq will stop co-operating with the scrutiny of its suspected weapons sites, which resumed in November with a threat of "serious consequences" from the UN if it did not do so.

The United States has described Saddam Hussein's comments as "unfortunate" and has said the inspectors' work must go on.

Inspections have continued at four sites on Monday.

Defiance

The Iraqi leader charged: "Instead of searching for so-called weapons of mass destruction to reveal the lies of liars... the inspection teams became interested in compiling lists of Iraqi scientists, ask workers questions that are not what they seem and gather information about army camps and legitimate military production.

"These things, or most of them, are pure intelligence work," he said in a television broadcast to mark Army Day.

The Iraqi president said Iraq had prepared for a possible attack led by the United States and predicted victory.

There is no doubt that the righteous will be victorious in their homeland while their enemy face certain defeat

Saddam Hussein

He described threats by US President George W Bush to disarm Iraq by force as the "hiss of snakes and bark of dogs."

He issued a defiant rallying cry to the "valiant men and women" in the Iraqi army and said they could win any war.

"There is no doubt that the righteous will be victorious in their homeland while their enemy face certain defeat," he said.

He said there was still time for a peaceful outcome, but he called on God to destroy anyone who dared attack.

"If the aggressors chose a way other than this, we should all be happier," he said in the nationally broadcast address which was peppered with Islamic rhetoric.

"Otherwise, smite them with your wrath," he said.

British peace hopes

The UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday that the prospect of war had receded, from a 60:40 likelihood of conflict to a 60:40 likelihood of peace.

Britain co-authored the United Nations resolution threatening Iraq with possible military action if there was no confirmed disarmament.

US President George W Bush salutes in front of a tank
US President George W Bush has ordered more troops to the Gulf

The US is accelerating its military build-up in the Gulf, deploying tens of thousands of troops plus equipment.

Mr Straw said the UK still hoped for a peaceful outcome, though the situation changed from day to day.

On Monday, teams visited a veterinary research centre north of Baghdad, as well as conducting inspections at a former nuclear research centre south of the capital, a maintenance centre in Baghdad and an industrial zone north of Mosul, the AFP agency reported.

Iraq said last week that the UN teams had visited 230 sites and had found no evidence of banned nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Baghdad says it has no weapons but has warned that the US is planning an invasion anyway to seize control of Iraq's valuable oil reserves.

'Ulterior US motive'

The Iraqi leader said the focus on Iraq was being manipulated to distract attention from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and domestic US difficulties, particularly after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

He praised Palestinians who continued to fight in Israel, including suicide bombers.

The US denounced these remarks.

"There is no excuse for suicide bombers. For Saddam Hussein to publicly praise those who take innocent life was horrific," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Saddam Hussein, Iraqi President
"The enemy will pay dearly later"
  The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"Part of the plan is to keep Saddam Hussein guessing"
  Abdel Bari Atwan, Al Quds al Arabi newspaper
"He is preparing his people for war"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

06 Jan 03 | Middle East
06 Jan 03 | Middle East
06 Jan 03 | Politics
05 Jan 03 | Middle East
03 Jan 03 | Middle East
31 Dec 02 | Middle East
28 Dec 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes