"Shut up you minion, you U.S. agent, you monkey. You are addressing Iraq," Ibrahim said. "You are insolent. You are a traitor to the Islamic nation," he spat out as Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani tried to shut him up.
Islamic Summit Rocked as Iraq Slams Kuwait
By Ghaida Ghantous
DOHA, Qatar (Reuters - 5 March) - Bitter enmity between Iraq (news - web sites) and Kuwait erupted in a vitriolic name-calling match on Wednesday at an Islamic summit meant to unite the voices of the world's one billion Muslims against war.
In a clash caught on live television before the Qatar state broadcaster shut down transmission, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's top aide Izzat Ibrahim departed from his text to zero in on the Kuwaitis sitting across the conference chamber.
"Shut up you minion, you (U.S.) agent, you monkey. You are addressing Iraq," Ibrahim said. "You are insolent. You are a traitor to the Islamic nation," he spat out as Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani tried to shut him up.
A Kuwaiti delegate responded that the insults were "the words of an infidel and a charlatan," as the two sides shouted and gesticulated angrily at each other.
Key U.S. Gulf ally Kuwait, which is publicly grateful to Washington for leading a coalition that liberated it from Iraqi occupation in 1991, is hosting thousands of U.S. Army and Marine forces in preparation for a possible invasion of Iraq.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah told reporters the clash proved that only the voluntary exile of Saddam and his leadership could avert war.
This step was "the only thing and the miracle that can end this matter and the miracle is in the Iraqis' hands," he said.
Muslim leaders had hoped the emergency summit of the 56-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) would send a clear message opposing an attack on Iraq.
But no new initiatives to halt the drive toward war were discussed, and the summit only agreed a broad statement on Iraq which said diplomacy should be given more time.
The written statement was not read on Qatar television, which only broadcast general closing remarks.
"Islamic countries would not participate in any military action which targets the security and territorial integrity of Iraq or any Muslim country," the statement said.
In fact, several Gulf states plus OIC member Turkey host U.S. forces and bases which would be used in an attack on Iraq. As Muslim leaders flew out of Doha, U.S. heavy transport aircraft were flying in, continuing the military buildup.
Only a quarter of OIC members sent their heads of state to the one-day gathering, the latest in a series of top-level Muslim or Arab gatherings called at short notice in a desperate but so far unavailing bid to halt the slide to war.
RELIGION UNDER THREAT, SAYS IRAQ
Ibrahim, second-in-command of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council told the members of the world's largest Islamic grouping that they were all at risk from "the reckless and foolish United States" and said Baghdad expected "concrete steps to support Iraq against this tyrant."
"There should be a point-blank refusal of any aggression and no help should be given to this enemy... We hope Islamic nations can face the challenge that is before them," he said.
"In the face of this bitter reality, we must rally our forces and the foremost condition for our success is joint Muslim action," Ibrahim added. "We must not allow anyone to break our ranks or religion will be wiped out and our territories placed under foreign control."
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri again rebuffed proposals that Saddam go into exile to avert war, telling reporters it was President Bush (news - web sites) who should "step down and leave other people to live in peace."
"Any call for stepping down should be asked to Mr. Bush. He is causing his people and his country to be hated all over the world, isolated all over the world, becoming Public Enemy Number One all over the world."
OIC Secretary General Abdelouahed Belkeziz said the Islamic nation "with all its political weight, power and resources" could make its voice heard if it was united and sincere.
But recent Arab and Muslim summits on the Iraq crisis have been marred by arguments and initiatives lost in dispute.
"I think the Arab and Islamic world is divided because we do not know what we want to do," Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani told the summit's closing news conference. "We do not speak with a single voice."