Gulf crisis: Iraqis claim universal support

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THOUSANDS OF Iraqis queued outside gasoline stations yesterday as Iraq's official media ignored the loss of Arab support in its confrontation over UN weapons inspections.

Official newspapers published articles praising Saddam Hussein's decision to end all co-operation with the UN Special Commission, and claimed worldwide condemnation of American threats.

"The world calls for dialogue and peace and America seeks war and aggression," the official al-Iraq newspaper said.

"There is condemnation of American threats on both Arab and international levels," al-Thawra, the voice of the ruling Baath party newspaper, said.

At one petrol station, 20 cars queued up in front of each of its eight pumps. "I fear the Americans will hit refineries and there will be a shortage of fuel," said one driver.

Markets in Baghdad were crammed and at the Al-Shorja market, 40-year- old Naima Aidan said she was buying coconut and sugar to make sweets for her four children. "I don't think anything will happen to us because God will keep us safe," she said.