Posted by Tony from dsc02-lai-ca-2-198.rasserver.net (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 at 0:23AM :
By SAMEER N. YACOUB
Associated Press Writer
October 7, 2002, 11:36 PM EDT
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq will teach the United States "an unforgettable lesson" if it attacks, a senior official told a rally Monday in support of Saddam Hussein.
The demonstration marked the 43th anniversary of the assassination attempt against Iraq's late prime minister, Brig. Abdel Karim Qassim, by Baath party members, including a young Saddam. The party resented Qassim's rejection of Arab nationalism.
'If America dares to attack Iraq, our reaction will be tough and decisive," Sameer Abdul-Aziz al-Najim, a senior party official, said. "The Americans will be confronted by the one and united people who will teach them an unforgettable lesson."
Demonstrators waived banners reading, "Yes, yes to President Saddam Hussein" and "Death to the U.S." Some raised their rifles, shouting "Bush, listen carefully, we all love our president."
Bush has said the United States would be prepared to strike Iraq and topple Saddam if he refused to let U.N. weapons inspectors return to search freely for weapons of mass destruction.
Al-Najim said his country was welcoming the inspectors, on condition they return under existing agreements between Iraq and the United Nations.
"Now, it is up to the United Nations to send the inspectors as soon as possible," Al-Najim said.
Last month, delegations from Iraq and the United Nations worked out details to allow a resumption of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq, four years after they broke off.
However, the United States has opposed sending the inspectors back until the U.N. Security Council adopts tough new rules to govern the inspections.
Iraq opposes any new such resolutions and the Security Council remains divided on how to proceed. Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said his team will wait for further Security Council action before heading to Iraq.
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