US embassy cable - 90BAGHDAD2098 (comparison)

SADDAM EXPLAINS AND DEFENDS (comparison)

Identifier: 90BAGHDAD2098
Wikileaks: View 90BAGHDAD2098 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 1990-04-09 13:14:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL US EG IZ
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Show unredacted version]
R 091314Z APR 90
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3443
INFO ARABLEAGUE COLLECTIVE
=== Original (unredacted) version ====== Wikileaks (redacted) version ===
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 02098 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, US, EG, IZ 
SUBJECT: SADDAM EXPLAINS AND DEFENDS 
 
REF: FBIS JN0804192190 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S INITIATIVE 
CALLING FOR A MIDDLE EAST FREE OF WEAPONS OF MASS 
DESTRUCTION CAME TOO LATE FOR INCLUSION IN BAGHDAD 
NEWSPAPERS APRIL 9.  WHAT IS IN THE PRESS--AGAIN, 
TWO DAYS AFTER THE EVENT--IS THE JOINT MUBARAK-SADDAM 
HUSAYN PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE END OF MUBARAK'S 
BRIEF APRIL 7 VISIT TO IRAQ (REFTEL).  DURING THAT 
CONFERENCE, SADDAM REPEATED OLD ARGUMENTS IN HIS 
ATTEMPT TO CLARIFY AND DEFEND HIS RECENT STATEMENTS, 
BUT DID NOT RETRACT THEM, AND BLAMED THE U.S. FOR 
THE CLOUDS DARKENING U.S.-IRAQI RELATIONS.  HIS ONE 
NEW IDEA: ARABS SHOULD UNDERTAKE COMMON SECURITY 
GUARANTEES.  END SUMMARY. 
 
ON CW - STILL UNREPENTANT 
------------------------- 
 
3.  SADDAM CONTINUES TO REVEAL THAT HE CANNOT AND 
DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HIS APRIL 1 REMARKS ON CW 
CREATED SUCH A FUROR.  GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO 
RETRACT OR MODIFY THEM, HE INSTEAD INSISTED, 
"THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG IN WHAT WE SAID." 
FOLLOWING HIS OLD ARGUMENTS, HE TRIED TO EXCUSE 
IRAQ'S CW CAPABILITY BY TYING IT TO ISRAEL'S 
NUCLEAR BOMB, COMPLAINING THAT PEOPLE ASSUME IRAQ 
WILL USE ITS CW (AND CONDEMN IRAQ FOR THAT), WHILE 
ASSUMING ISRAEL WILL NOT/NOT USE ITS NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS.  THE WESTERN MEDIA ARE CONCENTRATING ON 
IRAQ'S CW AND IGNORE ISRAEL'S CW, BW AND NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS.  (THIS ARGUMENT WAS FURTHER DEVELOPED BY 
MFA UNDER SECRETARY HAMDUN TO THE AMBASSADOR 
APRIL 8--BAGHDAD 2084.) 
 
U.S.-IRAQI RELATIONS: DARK CLOUDS 
--------------------------------- 
 
4.  MUBARAK WAS CAREFUL NOT/NOT TO CRITICIZE THE 
U.S., AND SO WAS SADDAM.  ON THE PRESENT POOR 
STATE OF RELATIONS, SADDAM LIMITED HIMSELF TO: 
"WE SEE CLOUDS DARKENING IRAQI-U.S. RELATIONS 
WHENEVER THE ZIONIST LOBBY INTERVENES IN AMERICAN 
POLICY AND WHENEVER AMERICAN POLICY ERRS IN 
ASSESSING THE SITUATION."  HE EMPHASIZED IRAQ 
WANTS NOT JUST GOOD, BUT FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH 
ALL STATES. 
 
BUT IRAQ WANTS PEACE 
-------------------- 
 
5.  BOTH PRESIDENTS WERE AT PAINS TO STRESS THAT IRAQ 
WANTS PEACE.  TRYING TO GET HIS BASIC MESSAGE 
ACROSS, FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE 
SADDAM EMPHASIZED THAT IRAQ AND THE ARAB NATION 
WANT PEACE.  HE CITED AS AN EXAMPLE IRAQ'S EFFORTS 
TO MAKE PEACE WITH IRAN EVEN BEFORE THE WAR ENDED. 
BUT, HE WARNED, "WE WILL NOT CONCEDE RIGHTS THAT 
RIGHTLY BELONG TO US IN OUR DISPUTE WITH IRAN." 
MUBARAK ECHOED SADDAM'S GENERAL SENTIMENTS. 
ACKNOWLEDGING IRAQ HAS FACED A HOSTILE CAMPAIGN 
(A SOP TO HIS HOST), AND CONTINUING HIS EFFORTS TO 
DEFUSE THE TENSIONS CREATED BY SADDAM'S APRIL 1 
SPEECH (CAIRO 7329), MUBARAK AVERRED THAT "IRAQ IS 
NOT A COUNTRY THAT WANTS WAR OR ADVOCATES WAR.  IT 
IS INDEED A COUNTRY THAT WANTS PEACE." 
 
6.  CLEARLY CUT BY WESTERN MEDIA REMARKS, SADDAM 
REPEATEDLY COMPLAINED THAT IRAQ IS NOT "WARMONGERING." 
"IRAQ HAS COMMITTED AGGRESSION AGAINST NO ONE," HE 
SAID.  ALL IT DID WAS EXECUTE A SPY AND TRY TO BUY 
"SIMPLE ITEMS."  SADDAM ARGUED THAT THE REAL 
"AGGRESSION" IS DENYING IRAQ ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY 
AND TRYING TO ENTRAP IT.  IRAQ HAS A RIGHT TO DEFEND 
ITSELF AGAINST AGGRESSION. 
 
 
UNITED WE STAND 
--------------- 
 
7.  BOTH PRESIDENTS TOOK UP SADDAM'S THEME THAT 
A UNITED ARAB POSITION WOULD STRENGTHEN INDIVIDUAL 
ARAB COUNTRIES.  MUBARAK CALLED FOR "GENERAL 
COORDINATION" TO GUARANTEE ARAB NATIONAL SECURITY. 
SADDAM WENT FURTHER, ADVOCATING "COMMON GUARDS"-- 
ARMY, POLICY AND BORDER GUARDS--AT OUR GATES AND 
OPEN GATES WITHIN THE ARAB NATION.  IF REAL SECURITY 
COOPERATION EXISTED, IRAQ COULD DISBAND 30 (OF 50) 
DIVISIONS AND USE THE MONEY SAVED FOR DEVELOPMENT AND 
TO IMPROVE THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF IRAQIS.  IF 
ARABS MEANT WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT UNIRY IN 1980, 
IRAN WOULD NOT HAVE DARED TO ATTACK IRAQ, SADDAM 
SAID TESTILY. 
 
PROHIBITIONS ON ARABS MUST END 
------------------------------ 
 
8.  AS IN HIS EARLIER SPEECHES, SADDAM COMPLAINED . 
THAT ARABS ARE TREATED AS SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS. 
(COMMENT:  PERHPAS STEMMING FROM HIS LIFELONG EFFORT 
TO PROMOTE A SENSE OF IDENTITY FOR "IRAQIS"--A SENSE 
HE OFTEN RECALLS HE LACKED AS A CHILD--SADDAM IS 
DWELLING MORE AND MORE ON THE THEME THAT ARABS ARE 
SEEN FROM ABROAD AS SECOND-CLASS HUMAN BEINGS; E.G., 
THE ISRAELIS CAN BE TRUSTED WITH CHEMICAL AND 
NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, WHILE THE 
ARABS CANNOT.) 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
9.  WITH MUBARAK AT HIS SIDE AND FOLLOWING SEVERAL 
HOURS OF CONVERSATION, SADDAM APPEARED SOMEWHAT 
SUBDUED AND DEFENSIVE, CERTAINLY LESS ASSERTIVE 
THAN DURING HIS APRIL TALK WITH HIS OWN MOD STAFF. 
 
10. WE HOPE EMBASSY CAIRO WILL BE ABLE TO ELICIT 
WHETHER THE EGYPTIANS THINK THEY MADE SOME PROGRESS 
IN DEFUSING TENSIONS WHILE THEY WERE IN BAGHDAD. 
THE TASK WILL BE DIFFICULT.  SADDAM IS NOT/NOT 
POSTURING.  HE IS GENUINELY CONCERNED ABOUT ISRAEL 
AND IRAN (WITNESS MOHTASHAMI-FUR'S CONTEMPT FOR ANY 
DIPLOMACY AND HIS CALL FOR JIHAD AGAINST IRAQ-- 
FBIS NC0704195090). 
 
11.  THOSE CONCERNS NOTWITHSTANDING, SADDAM SEES 
HIMSELF PLAYING A BROADENING LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE 
ARAB WORLD.  HISTORICALLY, THE IRAQIS DO NOT TAKE 
KINDLY TO BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO BY THEIR 
CENTURIES-OLD RIVALS.  IF MUBARAK TRULY WANTS TO DRAW 
SADDAM INTO HIS REGIONAL INITIATIVE, HIS DIPLOMATIC 
TASK WILL BE A DELICATE AND CHALLENGING ONE. 
 
 
GLASPIE 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 02098 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, US, EG, IZ 
SUBJECT: SADDAM EXPLAINS AND DEFENDS 
 
REF: FBIS JN0804192190 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S ...

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