Promoting Islamic apocalyptic themes, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein marked the Gulf War's 10th anniversary on Wednesday by declaring the conflict a glorious moment in Iraqi history while ignoring the economic plight his brutal regime has imposed on his countrymen. In addition, Iraqi media is reporting that Saddam used the Gulf War anniversary to threaten Israel once again.
In a televised speech broadcast today and a discussion with Palestinian Authority official Farouk Kaddoumi, the Iraqi leader said he would shell Israel daily for six months from land and sea in order to bring about Palestinian independence. Saddam said that Israel could not withstand an artillery bombardment, adding that Iraq would do it if the Arab world support the decision, according to ISRAEL RADIO.
In his speech, Saddam repeatedly invoked the name of Allah in claiming victory over a long list of nations in the "immortal mother of all battles" - despite the fact Iraqi forces were pummeled by six weeks of allied air strikes and then routed from occupied Kuwait in a matter of hours in February 1991.
"On a day like this day 10 years ago, evil and all those who made Satan their protector lined up in one place, facing those who represented the will to defend what is right," Saddam boasted. Iraq's enemies were "stamped with disgrace and shame that will never disappear until doomsday." Saddam mentioned by name the US and a number of European countries over which his people had triumphed.
"Iraq has triumphed over the enemies of the nation," proclaimed Saddam. "We assaulted falsehood and knocked out its brain and caused it to perish. It is the nation of prophets, of martyrs and of holy men, it is our nation. It is my nation," said Saddam.
In the 25-minute speech, Saddam made no reference to the ensuing decade of UN sanctions. His invasion of Kuwait and defiant stand in the face of economic sanctions have left Iraq impoverished.
On Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Iraq had no regrets about its invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, adding that the oil-rich emirate got what it deserved.
In another sign of Iraq's unrepentant stance, Saddam's son Oday, who is a member of parliament, proposed in the legislature that Kuwait be included in a new map of Iraq.
The US has been the leading proponent of maintaining sanctions until Iraq completely dismantles its programs for weapons of mass destruction. Iraq and the United Nations have been at an impasse since December 1998, when UN weapons inspectors left the country amid a dispute over sites they wanted to search. Next month, Iraq will hold talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the sanctions and the possible return of UN inspectors.
Oddly, although Iraqi officials claim that medical and food shortages due to the sanctions have caused over one million deaths, Saddam has just pledged tens of millions of US dollars to help poor people in America. He also has been paying out $10,000 to the families of each "martyr" in the Palestinian uprising.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.