Iraq has unused assets, Hussein says WAR IN THE GULF

January 21, 1991|By New York Times News Service

AMMAN, Jordan -- President Saddam Hussein of Iraq sought to rally Arab supporters and embattled Iraqis yesterday, saying his forces had used only a fraction of their weaponry to fight and win what he again called "the mother of all battles."

In a seven-minute address on the Baghdad radio -- his second since the outbreak of the Persian Gulf war -- the Iraqi leader forecast a long battle and renewed calls for a holy war around the world against "the forces of evil, treachery, and corruption everywhere and targeting their interests wherever they are."

A Cable News Network reporter in Baghdad, Peter Arnett, said Iraqi television carried a live broadcast showing seven men identified as captured allied pilots. Mr. Arnett said that the men -- three Americans, two Britons, one Italian, and one Kuwaiti -- were interviewed and that some of them criticized the allied air strikes on Iraq.

Mr. Hussein's military speech, his missile strikes at Saudi Arabia and the demonstration of prisoners contributed to his effort to keep morale up in the face of the intense and ceaseless allied bombardment.

The Iraqi leader, seeking support both within his own country and among Palestinians and other Arabs who call him their champion, said Iraq's land forces "have not been used in the battle until now and only a fraction of our air forces have been used." Western assessments say that only a small proportion of Iraq's estimated 700 combat aircraft have been destroyed and that the rest are being hidden in bunkers.

"Our army air wing and naval forces have not been used," the Iraqi leader said. "When the battle becomes a comprehensive one with all types of weapons the deaths on the allied side will be increased with God's help," he said.

His comments seemed intended specifically to respond to questioning among many Iraqis about the absence of strong defenses against waves of allied attacks.

Baghdad radio reported yesterday that an allied missile had struck the small, unassuming town of Tikrit, Mr. Hussein's birthplace north of Baghdad, suggesting that part of the Western intention might be a psychological campaign against the president and his followers, presumably to crack the military's will to fight on. The radio listed a total of 10 allied air and missile attacks in places ranging from Baghdad to the far north of the country.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.