March 5, 2000Saddam rips Arab states over Kosovo
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- President Saddam Hussein said Sunday the United States and fellow NATO countries were "dogs" for their attacks against Yugoslavia last year, and he denounced Arab states for supporting them.
Speaking at a reception for the former speaker of the Serbian parliament, Dragan Tomic, Saddam talked about the NATO airstrikes, which were designed to pressure Yugoslav officials into stopping the forced expulsion of ethnic Albanians from the province of Kosovo.
"Those who attacked you are dogs, and we cannot justify any Arab (states) who stand with dogs against you," Saddam said on state-run television.
During the conflict, many Arab countries sided with the ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims, and sent aid to their refugee camps in neighboring Macedonia.
"When dogs attack a friend, we should not join the dogs even if the friend was wrong. We must save him from the dogs first, and then listen to him," Saddam said. The purpose of the visit by Tomic, who was Serbia's parliament speaker until last month, has not been announced.
The Iraqi president's comments came days after U.S. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin called Saddam a "mad dictator" who cared nothing for the welfare of his people. Rubin spoke in a Feb. 29 presentation designed to counter the charge that U.N. sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, had caused widespread suffering among ordinary Iraqis.
Saddam accused the United States of using the Islamic faith of the Kosovo Albanians as an excuse for actions which, he said, were aimed at "dominating the world."
"We refuse the use of Islam as an excuse to massacre, destroy and terrorize nations," Saddam said, adding that "Islam is not American and, if Islam were American, it would not be Islam.