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Iraq warns of Arab hitback

Mumbai, Sept. 7: Iraq’s ambassador to India Salah-al Mukhtar today warned that if the US launched an attack on his country, it would be different from last time as many Arab nations had realised America’s “true intentions”.

Mukhtar, here to attend a seminar on the ‘Relevance of NAM’, said America’s proposal to launch an assault in the name of wiping out anti-democratic regimes and Islamic fundamentalism is actually driven by a much baser instinct.

“It is only about oil and a desperate attempt to establish control over it in the entire region,” he said. “The US propaganda to trace out and eliminate Osama bin Laden is only a façade.”

Mukhtar said other Arab countries would be with it if America attacks.

“Arab countries have been convinced about the theory of US intentions about oil and in a recent meeting at Beirut, many Arab countries, along with Kuwait, have appreciated Baghdad’s views and warned against any fresh attacks. They said an attack on Iraq would be taken as an attack on them, too,” he said.

The diplomat said the US and its allies like Britain and France are after Iraq’s oil reserve. “Our oil reserves now surpass that of Saudi Arabia with 220 billion barrels,” Mukhtar said, maintaining that a fresh assault would open a “Pandora’s box”.

It is a “quirk of history” that the oppressor is masquerading as the champion of rights and the victim is being portrayed as oppressor, Mukhtar said, warning the US not to take the possibility of retaliation lightly. “Our great weapon of destruction is the determination of the people and our leadership. Each of the six million men and women are armed with light and medium size weapons to defend out nation.”

Iraq, though, is “happy” with India’s stand. “The Indian government has issued four statements on behalf of Iraq and cautioned that any assault would prove counter-productive,” Mukhtar said. “We are happy with it.”

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