The Presidential Inauguration: Iraq hopes for new chapter in US relations

IRAQ yesterday greeted the inauguration of President Bill Clinton with the hope that it would open a new chapter of relations with America. By contrast, a government newspaper fired a parting shot at George Bush, advising him to commit suicide to get rid of his obsession with Iraq. 'For Bush, suicide is the best remedy,' Al-Jumhouriyah said.

The Information Minister, Hamid Yousef Hammadi, described the conflict as not between Iraq and the international community but between Iraq and the Arab world, on the one hand, and the US specifically of Mr Bush, on the other. 'We hope,' the minister said, 'that President Clinton will seek to establish a relationship of equality that ensures the legitimate interests between Iraq and the Arabs on the one hand, and the US on the other.'

This analysis of the forces ranged against Iraq conveniently overlooked the 28 countries, many of them Arab, that had joined in the coalition against Baghdad, even if the most recent US-led attacks have stretched to the limit the cohesion of the coalition. At the same time, Iraq observed its commitment not to seek confrontation with US planes over the northern and southern no-fly zones as a gesture of intent. UN weapons inspectors stranded in Bahrain for more than two weeks leave today for Baghdad to resume work suspended by a confrontation with Iraq.

In London, however, John Major yesterday urged President Clinton to treat with scepticism President Saddam's offer of a ceasefire. Downing Street officials reinforced the Prime Minister's message, warning that President Saddam could not be trusted because he had 'lied through his teeth' since the Gulf war.

Mr Major underlined British concern at France's decision to disown the attack by US forces with cruise missiles on the nuclear plant near Baghdad. He made it clear the French had been consulted and had approved the raid. 'This was a raid made by the US rather than the allies because they had the equipment on site to do it, but there was discussion between the allies, including the French,' said Mr Major. He said the legal position was clear. 'This was within international law and I think the US were wholly justified.'

In Washington it emerged that a military coup against President Saddam, of which the US had advance notice, came close to succeeding last June, according to Brent Scowcroft, President Bush's National Security Adviser. He said it was foiled only because the Iraqi leader 'has one of the most efficient security systems in the world'.

The plotters were assured they would receive US aid if they succeeded. There were reports from Iraqi emigres last year of an attempted coup which had been defeated by forces loyal to President Saddam, but it was not previously believed that it had come close to unseating the Iraqi leader.

Gen Scowcroft told the Washington Post just before stepping down from office that, while the US had a covert plan to oust President Saddam, it had not plotted his assassination. He emphasised the degree to which the outgoing administration had tried to balance the competing threats from Iraq and Iran. He said the Tehran government was 'potentially the bigger threat'. An unnamed government official was quoted as saying that, while the US had promised support to the men plotting the Iraqi coup if they succeeded, it had not provided military, logistical or financial aid.

Andrew Marr, page 25

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee