By Charlie Keenan


Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri addresses the UN Security Council in New York on February 18.
(Photo: Shawn Baldwin/AP Wide World)

While Iraq might be an oppressive regime, it has portrayed itself on the world stage as a victim of America. Simply put, Iraq sees U.S. as the bully.

Iraq says the recent threat by America to overthrow Saddam Hussein is just to protect American interests.

"This aggression is baseless, is illegal, is immoral," says Tariq Aziz, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister. "The main objective of this aggression is to colonize Iraq."

Aziz says America wants to invade Iraq to control the oil and reshape the Middle East to serve its own goals and those of Israel.

While America accuses Iraq of developing and hiding chemical and biological weapons, Aziz says Iraq is complying with United Nations weapons inspections and is ready to do more. The Iraqi government claims it has no weapons of mass destruction.

"We are doing our best, and we are open for more cooperation," Aziz says. We will help the weapons inspectors "reach the ultimate truth about the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Iraq also says it does not maintain ties with any terrorist groups, and says that it would not look for support from al Qaeda if a war broke out. A recently released audiotape believed to be from Osama bin Laden quoted the terrorist as supporting Iraq in its conflict with the U.S. Iraq officials have tried to distance the country from bin Laden's words.

"We do not need any support from al Qaeda, or from any other source, to defend our country," Aziz says. "We have enough brave men and women among the 25 million Iraqis to defend our own country."

Yet the Bush administration has argued Iraq could give any weapons it has to the terrorists, who would then use them to attack Americans. Iraq calls this reasoning "baseless."

"This is a bad American movie," Aziz says. "It's not the reality."

U.S. President George W. Bush, however, cites experience with Afghanistan as an example of what can happen when a rogue regime is allowed to harbor terrorists and build power. Osama bin Laden was using Afghanistan as his base of power.