Arabs urged to seek nuclear arsenal
By PAUL KORING
Globe and Mail - January 2
Washington — The Arab world should follow North Korea's example and arm itself with nuclear weapons to prevent further humiliation at U.S. hands, a leading Iraqi newspaper owned by Saddam Hussein's son said yesterday.
"Korea insists on its right to possess a technology used by the United States to raze Japanese cities, and which it still uses to blackmail the world and force it to obey," the newspaper Babel said as it urged the Arab world to take heed.
"Arabs need to learn the lesson from the Korean example," it added, calling on Arabs to launch a joint effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
U.S. President George W. Bush's markedly different approach to the two rogue states has increasingly drawn criticism, both domestically and internationally. While threatening war against Baghdad to force it to disarm and to oust Mr. Hussein, the Iraqi President, Mr. Bush says he wants dialogue with Pyongyang, which has already developed a handful of nuclear warheads.
Despite his professed loathing for leader Kim Jong-il and his vow to prevent rogue and terrorist-supporting states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. President says he wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis. The difference was seized on yesterday by the Iraqi newspaper, owned by Uday Hussein, elder son of the Iraqi ruler.
"Through its courageous stance, North Korea demands that international law be applied to all in the same manner," Babel said.
In the Middle East, only Israel is believed to have a nuclear-weapons arsenal.
The U.S. inclination toward diplomacy with North Korea followed Pyongyang's defiant decision to restart a nuclear reactor capable of processing weapons-grade plutonium. Senior U.S. officials deny that the different approaches adopted toward Iraq and North Korea are driven by the reality that Pyongyang already has nuclear warheads and the missiles to reduce Seoul and Tokyo to rubble.
Mr. Bush insisted that Baghdad poses a far greater and more immediate danger to the United States than does North Korea.
More than 10,000 fresh U.S. troops, specialists in desert warfare, were ordered to head for Kuwait yesterday as the Pentagon deployed its first full fighting division to the region since the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf.
"As for the North Korean crisis, this is not a military showdown. This is a diplomatic showdown," the President said.
Mr. Hussein "has defied the international community" for more than a decade, Mr. Bush said on New Year's Eve in Crawford, Tex., near his Prairie Chapel ranch, where he has spent the holiday. For the first time, he suggested that war against Iraq might be needed to prevent a Baghdad-backed terrorist attack that "would cripple our economy."
United Nations inspections and U.S. air strikes continued in Iraq yesterday, New Year's Day.
U.S. warplanes attacked an Iraqi air-defence missile after it was moved into the southern no-fly zone, U.S. military officials said. The Iraqi account of the raid said civilian targets had been hit and one person killed.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of strikes by U.S. and British warplanes in the no-fly zones imposed on Iraq after the 1991 war.
At sprawling Fort Stewart army base in Georgia, more than 11,000 troops in two brigades received orders yesterday to deploy to Kuwait, joining the Third Infantry Division's third brigade, which is already in the oil-rich emirate that borders Iraq.