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11/29/02 - IRAQ’S FINAL OPPORTUNITY - 2002-11-29

The Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, said U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, “has a long terrorist past. Whether it is in support of Palestinian rejectionists or the Abu Nidal organization, or helping some al-Qaida operatives gain training.”

Nobody has said that [Saddam Hussein] has operational control of al-Qaida. “That’s not the point,” said Ms. Rice. “The point is, if you look at a regime like Iraq, with. . . .growing capabilities in terms of weapons of mass destruction. . . .and you look at the potential for that to link up with terrorist organizations, including with al-Qaida, you have to be concerned with that.”

Saddam Hussein has used ballistic missiles and chemical weapons against Iran. He has also used chemical weapons against Kurds and other minorities inside Iraq. During the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein used ballistic missiles against Israel, Saudi Arabia, and coalition forces. Now, as National Security Adviser Rice put it, Saddam Hussein has “a final opportunity. . . .to cooperate” with the United Nations and disarm. “The world does not need to waste time with the kind of behavior that we’ve seen for the last eleven years,” she said.

President George W. Bush has made it clear that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a potential threat because of its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and its support for terrorism.

United Nations weapons inspectors are resuming their work in Iraq. Iraq must reveal and give up its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile and means-of-delivery programs. “Delay and defiance,” said President Bush, “will invite the severest of consequences.”