Laurie Mylroie, who is an internationally known expert on Iraq, reports that for the first time, Saddam Hussein has specifically threatened to retaliate against Israel for any U.S. campaign against their regime. A senior Iraqi diplomat says Saddam has an army of seven million called the Quds Army that would ?swallow Israel up? if Iraq is attacked. ?The Palestinian cause and liberation of Jerusalem as well as [the] campaign against Israel is a fundamental issue for Iraq, just like many other Islamic states,? says Iraqi charge d?affaires in Teheran Abdul Sattar Izzeddin Rawi said. The warning came hours after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein met with his defense chiefs on late Sunday. The Iraqi News Agency says the meeting focused on Iraqi preparations for any U.S.-led war against Baghdad. Rawi told the official Iranian news agency IRNA that Saddam sent three messages to the United States and its European allies warning against any attack on Iraq. He says the Kurds in northern Iraq will also suffer greatly if they cooperate in any U.S. efforts to topple Saddam. The Kurds have maintained self-rule in the north for a decade and are opposed to Hussein, just as the Northern Alliance was opposed to the Taliban. Rawi warns that the United States cannot achieve anything with an attack on Iraq. He also repeated Iraq?s refusal to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors.
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