Skip to comments.U.S. Confident of Broad Coalition in Case of War
Posted on 02/14/2003 7:19:10 PM PST by luv2ndamend
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday if there is a war against Iraq the United States will lead a coalition of nations perhaps even larger than the alliance in the 1991 Gulf War.
In remarks aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, Rumsfeld said the United States has received private assurances from nearly every country in the Gulf region that they would support U.S. action against Iraq.
Rumsfeld said these countries know it would be "foolish" to stand up as supporters of the United States in the showdown with Baghdad until a firm decision is made to invade Iraq.
He said countries in the region are anxious about the threat posed by Iraq, noting that in the past President Saddam Hussein has used chemical weapons against one neighbor, fired scud missiles at others, and invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Rumsfeld also said countries in the region are "deeply concerned about their street," referring to public opinion that often is strongly anti-American.
He expressed confidence that the United States would not go it alone against Iraq in the event President Bush launches military action, saying America would lead "a coalition as large or larger" than the one assembled during the 1991 Gulf War to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
Rumsfeld also pointed to the growing threat posed by North Korea's resumption of its nuclear activities. He noted that the United States already has estimated that North Korea possesses one or two nuclear weapons and could produce sufficient weapons-grade nuclear material in the coming months to make six to eight more nuclear bombs.
If North Korea does that there is "no doubt in my mind" that they will sell it, or some portion of it, to other countries, including countries that the United States formally lists as terrorist supporting nations, Rumsfeld said.
"What that means is the world we are living in ... in the next five to 10 years could end up with another four, five, or six countries with nuclear weapons -- countries, several of which are on the terrorist state list," he said.
"That is not a pleasant picture."
'LEAVE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE'
Rumsfeld told his audience of top U.S. military officials the United States has no interest in running post-war Iraq and would leave as soon as it could after establishing a stable and representative government.
He said Washington was actively planning how best to administer Iraq, under the guiding philosophy "to stay as long as necessary and to leave as soon as possible."
"Iraq belongs to the Iraqis, we do not aspire to own it or run it," he told the audience, which included Gen. Tommy Franks, who would command any war against Iraq.
Rumsfeld did not mention any specific time frame for U.S. administration of Iraq in the event Saddam's government is toppled in military action.
He said the United States would work with partner nations "to help the Iraqi people establish a new government ... which respects the right of its diverse population and the aspirations of all the Iraqi people to live in freedom and have a voice in their government."
Rumsfeld was alluding to the religious and ethnic differences in Iraq, where a Sunni Muslim minority rules over large numbers of Shi'ite Muslims and Kurds.
He said Iraq's oil resources would give the country the financial means in the future "to get on its feet," also pointing to "a solid infrastructure with working networks of roads."
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THESE ARE the 27 ALLIES for IRAQI peoples (women & children included) FREEDOM
U.S., Britian, Australia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Lithuania
Slovakia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Spain, Quatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Albania, Kuwait, Israel, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Japan
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