Newsweek: Iraqi Officials Pretend They're Not Worried About Threat of U.S. Invasion, Yet Regime Members Are Stockpiling Food, Gas, Medicine, Oil; 'You Can Sense That They Are Really Concerned,' Says Western Diplomat

But U.S. Military Planners and Bush Political Advisers Not Enthusiastic;

Expert Familiar with Administration's Thinking: 'Invasion Off the Radar

Screen'



Apr 28, 2002, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Although Iraqi officials pretend they
 aren't worried about the mounting threat of a U.S.-led invasion to oust leader
 Saddam Hussein, Western diplomats in Baghdad tell Newsweek that members of the
 regime are stockpiling food, gasoline, medicine and crude oil. "You can sense
 that they are really concerned," says one Western diplomat. "They take the
 threat seriously."
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20020428/NYSA010 )
     There have been unusual Iraqi troop movements lately, both around Baghdad
 and in northern Iraq, Newsweek reports in the current issue. Most notably, say
 the diplomats, the ever-paranoid Saddam has surrounded himself with a new
 "special presidential guard" established by the dictator's son and heir
 apparent, Qusay Hussein.
     Still, Iraqi officials pretend they aren't concerned. "The Iraqi armed
 forces will be prepared for any attack," a close associate of Saddam's told
 Newsweek. "The United States talks about sending 250,000 soldiers. Let them.
 They'll go home in plastic bags. They sent 500,000 last time and they could
 not achieve their aims."
     The U.S. military's top ranks are said to be less than enthusiastic about
 an invasion, even as they dutifully draw up contingency plans for it, reports
 Jerusalem Bureau Chief Joshua Hammer in the May 6 issue of Newsweek (on
 newsstands Monday, April 29). Some of Bush's closest political advisers think
 it would be risky. As one well-connected diplomatic source puts it: "They are
 saying, 'We haven't got bin Laden, we haven't got Mullah Omar. What happens if
 we go into Iraq and don't get Saddam Hussein?'"
     A Mideast expert familiar with the administration's thinking tells
 Newsweek, "Realistically, an invasion of Iraq is off the radar screen for now.
 It's merely DoD and the vice president's office who haven't figured that out
 yet."
 
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SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Although Iraqi officials pretend they
 aren't worried about the mounting threat of a U.S.-led invasion to oust leader
 Saddam Hussein, Western diplomats in Baghdad tell Newsweek that members of the
 regime are stockpiling food, gasoline, medicine and crude oil. "You can sense
 that they are really concerned," says one Western diplomat. "They take the
 threat seriously."
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20020428/NYSA010 )
     There have been unusual Iraqi troop movements lately, both around Baghdad
 and in northern Iraq, Newsweek reports in the current issue. Most notably, say
 the diplomats, the ever-paranoid Saddam has surrounded himself with a new
 "special presidential guard" established by the dictator's son and heir
 apparent, Qusay Hussein.
     Still, Iraqi officials pretend they aren't concerned. "The Iraqi armed
 forces will be prepared for any attack," a close associate of Saddam's told
 Newsweek. "The United States talks about sending 250,000 soldiers. Let them.
 They'll go home in plastic bags. They sent 500,000 last time and they could
 not achieve their aims."
     The U.S. military's top ranks are said to be less than enthusiastic about
 an invasion, even as they dutifully draw up contingency plans for it, reports
 Jerusalem Bureau Chief Joshua Hammer in the May 6 issue of Newsweek (on
 newsstands Monday, April 29). Some of Bush's closest political advisers think
 it would be risky. As one well-connected diplomatic source puts it: "They are
 saying, 'We haven't got bin Laden, we haven't got Mullah Omar. What happens if
 we go into Iraq and don't get Saddam Hussein?'"
     A Mideast expert familiar with the administration's thinking tells
 Newsweek, "Realistically, an invasion of Iraq is off the radar screen for now.
 It's merely DoD and the vice president's office who haven't figured that out
 yet."
 
                       (Read Newsweek's news releases at
               http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X59186543
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek