BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 17 July, 2000, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Saddam tones down rhetoric
Anniversary parade in Baghdad
Anniversary: Iraqi soldiers at Baghdad's Monument of Martyrs
By Caroline Hawley in Cairo

The Iraqi president has given what observers describe as a low-key speech to mark the 32nd anniversary of the revolution that brought his Ba'ath Party to power.

In the speech - broadcast live on state television - Saddam Hussein said that under Ba'ath rule the Iraqi nation would achieve victory and evil doers would be defeated.


[Like] the smile of a baby, the prayer of a hermit and rain falling on parched land

Saddam Hussein, on Iraq's 1968 revolution
But he made no direct mention of Iraq's long-running confrontation with the West, or of nearly a decade of United Nations sanctions.

The tone of the address contrasts with the defiance of previous speeches to mark the anniversary of Iraq's 1968 revolution against the monarchy.

Resistance

Last year, the Iraqi leader praised his people for resisting what he called abortive attempts by successive American administrations to bring them down.

In 1998, he used the occasion to say that international sanctions against Iraq were beginning to crumble and would soon be completely eroded.

This time, almost a decade since his invasion of Kuwait - which led to the embargo - there was no direct reference either to the sanctions, or to the West.

Saddam Hussein
The Iraqi leader spoke live on state television
Dressed in a dark suit and tie and standing in front of an elaborate flower arrangement, Saddam Hussein spoke in abstract, almost philosophical terms.

He said the Ba'ath revolution had been like "the smile of a baby, the prayer of a hermit and rain falling on parched land".

Transformed

The revolution had transformed Iraq from a wasteland, he added.

But he made no mention of the terrible suffering that 10 years of sanctions have inflicted on his people.

Nor did he refer to Iraq's relations with the UN Security Council.

Baghdad has rejected a UN resolution that could ease sanctions if it allows weapons inspectors back into the country.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

17 Jul 00 | Middle East
UN observers leave southern Iraq
28 Jun 00 | Middle East
UN Baghdad staff killed
09 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Is Saddam still a threat?
04 Jun 00 | Middle East
Ex-Unscom chief attacks sanctions
14 Apr 00 | Middle East
Iraq's ward of death
17 Feb 00 | Middle East
US congressmen criticise Iraqi sanctions
14 Feb 00 | Middle East
'Lost generation' faces bleak future
08 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iraq sanctions 'a tragedy'
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