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Iraqi Information Minister:

Update on military campaign and media distortions

Abu Dhabi TV in Arabic 2022 gmt 27 March 2003.
www.globalresearch.ca   28 March 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/IIM303B.html


Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Sa'id al-Sahhaf has denied that his country has executed captured British soldiers and accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair of telling lies to the British public. In a live interview from Baghdad with the United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Sahhaf said such claims against Iraq are part of a psychological war which neither America or Britain would win. He also said it is the Iraqis who are laying siege to the invading "infidels" rather vice-versa. The following is the text of his interview; broadcast by the television on 27 March:

Presenter

We have now with us live from Baghdad the Iraqi in Information Minister Muhammad Sa'id al-Sahhaf. Your excellency, a short while ago we were watching what everyone has been talking about - really what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the war - the scene of clouds of smoke rising up from place hit by the Anglo-American forces. Our correspondent has already told us that it had been hit before. What is your reaction to what you have been witnessing?

Al-Sahhaf

Well, it is the usual sight of the aggression against Baghdad, the capital of Caliph Al-Rashid and the capital of Saddam Husayn. These flops are hitting places which are mainly civilian. Their strikes against Baghdad increase proportionally with their failures on the war front. Yes the place, which was shown by Abu Dhabi television just a while ago, was being hit for the forth time.

Presenter

You excellency, the US secretary of defence has said that Baghdad would completely be under siege in five to seven days. What is your reaction?

Al-Sahhaf

I would like to clarify a simple fact here: How can you lay siege to a whole country? Who is really under siege now? Baghdad cannot be besieged. Al-Nasiriyah cannot be besieged. Basra cannot be besieged. We are in our country, among our kin and kith. Are we suggesting here that villages outside Basra are not Iraqi villages? Or are the towns north of Basra are not Iraqi towns? This boa, the American columns, are being besieged between Basra and other towns north, west, south and west of Basra. The Americans are the people who are under siege. This is what should be understood here: Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege. Therefore, in reality whatever this miserable Rumsfeld has been saying, he was talking about his own forces. Now even the American command is under siege. We are hitting it from the north, east, south and west. We chase them here and they chase us there. But at the end we are the people who are laying siege to them. And it is not them who are besieging us. How can they lay siege to Baghdad where 6 million people live?!

All right, are they not going to find themselves besieged by the people of the countryside which they will have to cross in order to reach Baghdad? Fida'iyyi Saddam will be busy. Civilians will be busy. And the grassroots of the Ba'th Party will be busy attacking them . This boa will find itself under siege. It is not us, the Iraqis, who are going to find themselves under siege. Rumsfeld should be understood within the context of a their disappointing psychological war which is faltering.

Presenter

Could this mean that the Anglo-American military strategy is to send a message to the rest of the Iraqi people to do whatever they like because the Iraqi leadership is under siege in Baghdad. Do you think such an eventuality is likely?

Al-Sahhaf

By God, I think this is rather very unlikely. This is merely a prattle. The fact is that as soon as they reach Baghdad gates, we will besiege them and slaughter them. Until now they have refused to do battle with us. They are just going places. One can describe them as a boa: when it feels threatened, it runs to somewhere else.

Surely you've heard about their siege of Al-Najaf. But as soon as this took place, we sent forces there which hit them and burnt their tanks. We killed and captured several of their troops. Now, Al-Najaf is normal once again.

Now they are laying siege to Al-Najaf Sea Arabic; Bahr , i.e. to the villages and farms in Al-Najaf Sea. But they are encircled in Abu al-Sukhayr. Members of the resistance in Al-Kufa are laying siege to them. Wherever they go they will find themselves encircled. The simple fact is this: they are foreigners inside a country which has rejected them. Therefore, these foreigners wherever they go or travel they will be rained down with bullets from everyone. Attacks by members of the resistance will only go up. So how are they going to lay siege to us if they reach Baghdad? I believe that they are going to become more frustrated with their efforts. The whole world will realize that they are stupid to come in. I hope you remember that they thought the whole thing was going to be very simple: Just shock and terrorize Iraqis to submission. The Iraqis, however, met them with bullets and resistance thunder of an explosion could be heard in the background, Al-Sahhaf continuing Listen, this explosion does not frighten us any longer. The Cruise missiles do not frighten anyone. We are catching them like fish in a river. I mean here that over the past two days, we managed to shoot down 196 missiles before they hit their target.

Presenter

your excellency can you please confirm to me what you told me a while ago that you had captured more prisoners in the Al-Najaf battle, and that you will be showing these prisoners.

Al-Sahhaf

Yes. Once a decision has been taken, all their infidels will be shown.

Presenter

The British prime minister said today that Iraq has executed captured British soldiers. In your opinion, why such a statement was made and how accurate is it?

Al-Sahhaf

I think this all started at the House of common because of what Deputy Tam Dalyell said when he saw the pictures which we decided to show on television of the British soldiers being incinerated inside their vehicles. This created a crisis in Britain because the public found out that the British prime minister was telling them lies. Therefore when we showed some pictures - and we have more pictures in store - in which a number of British soldiers were being shown burning near Umm Qasar, Tam Dalyell told him: Blair, you are a war criminal. You should be tried because you told the British public lies. I think in order for Blair to divert the attention from himself, and in order to launch a psychological war against us, he is accusing us of executing British soldiers . We want to tell him that we have not executed anybody. They are either killed in battle, most of them get killed because they are cowards anyway, the rest they just get captured.

Presenter

We heard today news reports that the Iraqi forces in the north are withdrawing. It has been reported that the Peshmerga Kurdish resistance forces are having the upper hand. Was it a withdrawal or merely a redeployment? Or what?

Al-Sahhaf

It was neither. It was not a withdrawal nor a redeployment. These reports are within the framework of attempts to divert the attention. Remember the news reports, which yourselves have repeatedly broadcast, that the Americans have begun to parachute troops in the north, and that 1,000 troops have been dropped in. Very nice news indeed.

The most important thing here is that the Iraqis might withdraw from a position, which might be considered as too difficult to hold for example, in Chamchamal near Kirkuk. For your information Mr Ahmad, Chamchamal is in Al-Sulyamaniyah Governorate, and it is very far from al-Ta'min Governorate and therefore too far from Kirkuk city.

However, whoever fabricated such reports did not know about such geographic inaccuracies. These reports are categorically unfounded. However, although I knew this fact, I double-checked with the command of the Northern Region. I spoke to its spokesman who has also categorically refuted such reports. This is all part of the effort to divert the attention from other issues, like the Americans' disappointments in the centre and the south of the country and to insinuate to others that Iraq is facing a new problem in the north. This is untrue.

Presenter

Your excellency: we do not want anyone to say tomorrow that Abu Dhabi channel has indirectly jeopardized your safety because from where you are talking to us now can be a target at anytime. Thank you for your interview. I hope to have another one with you very soon.

Al-Sahhaf

I hope so, God willing. Thank you.


 Copyright Abu Dhabi TV, BBC 2003.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .


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