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Saddam not like Taliban, says Iraq

Amman, Aug. 30 (Reuters): Iraq said today the US would not be able to bring down President Saddam Hussein the same way it toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban, as Washington pressed ahead with the case for action against the Iraqi leader.

The US ignored calls for a new UN Security Council resolution to approve any American military action against Iraq as its key ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair came under pressure from his own party for his pro-US stand.

Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Washington knew it would not be able to overthrow Saddam the same way it ousted the Taliban.

“We don’t want to compare the two; Iraq is not Afghanistan,” Ramadan told reporters in Beirut. “I believe that the US administration is convinced of that.” Iraqi Opposition sources said they were planning to meet in September to elect a government backed by the US.

“This talk about the Iraqi Opposition is insignificant, something that doesn’t merit a reply. It doesn’t exist, and has no roots on the ground in Iraq,” Ramadan said. Yesterday US Vice-President Dick Cheney hammered home Washington’s case for pre-emptive action against Baghdad, brushing off a groundswell of unease among European allies.

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