- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 24, 2002

The Bush administration took its case for toppling Saddam Hussein directly to the Iraqi people yesterday, with a radio broadcast by the Pentagon's No. 3 official urging Iraqis to rise up against the dictator.
"The future that we see for Iraq is a future that would be based on the Iraqi people freeing themselves from the oppression they are now suffering," Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith said in an interview with the U.S.-funded Radio Sawa.
Radio Sawa's Iraq channel has been broadcasting a mix of Arab and American pop music and pro-U.S. news into Iraq since June 9 as part of a reorganization of the Voice of America's Arabic service.
The station broadcast the 13-minute interview in its entirety yesterday evening and plans to run excerpts of the interview over the weekend during its five-minute news bulletins at the top of the hour.
"We are getting a message to the Iraqi people," Daniel Nassif, Radio Sawa's Iraq channel news editor, told United Press International.
"We are saying we support the people, not the regime. But we still believe in the territorial integrity of Iraq after Saddam is gone," Mr. Nassif said.
The broadcast of Mr. Feith's interview comes amid confusing signals from the White House, with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice laying out the case for military action against Saddam followed by President Bush a few days later chiding the press for its "silly" Iraq obsession.
Yesterday, U.S. warplanes bombed an air-defense site in northern Iraq after being targeted by an Iraqi missile-guidance radar system, the U.S. military said.
The planes were on a routine patrol when Iraqi radar locked on the warplanes flying near the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil, the Stuttgart, Germany-based U.S. European Command said.
Mr. Feith's interview with an Arabic translation voiceover and beamed into Iraq from Kuwait on an AM radio transmitter designed to overpower Iraqi attempts to jam the signal sought to boost morale among Iraqi opposition groups:
"We have various types of cooperation with Iraqi opposition groups. We're talking with them, we're working with them, and there are important areas of cooperation," he said.
"I don't want to get into the details, but they are an important part of the administration's thinking about how to implement the policy of freeing Iraq."
Mr. Feith said of U.S. plans for a post-Saddam government: "We view Iraq as a country whose territorial integrity should be respected and preserved."
The U.S. government has broadcast radio programming into Iraq on and off through shortwave stations since the end of the Persian Gulf war, but with little success.
The signals were often jammed by the Iraqi government and did not garner a large audience.
The new station, however, is the most powerful American radio signal to be beamed into Iraq since 1991.
The broadcast is part of a larger public diplomacy effort under way by the State Department to make the case more forcefully to the Arab world and Europe for the president's goal of "regime change" in Iraq.
Next week, a group of Iraqi exiles will meet with senior diplomats in Washington for what one State Department official called "media training."
The official said that the State Department is counting on the dissidents to explain the American policy on piecing together a post-Saddam regime to both the Iraqi people and other groups.
This fall, the U.S. government also plans to begin another initiative, in which senior U.S. officials will speak directly with opinion leaders in Europe and the Middle East.
Miss Rice, in an interview with the BBC aired on Aug. 15, gave an early indication of what to expect.
"We just have to look back and ask how many dictators who ended up being a tremendous global threat and killing thousands and indeed millions of people should we have stopped in their tracks. That's really the question," she said.
The U.S. government also plans to publish material on Saddam similar to the material produced after September 11 regarding Osama bin Laden.
On Aug. 9, Mr. Feith and Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman met with representatives of the six Iraqi opposition groups to discuss coordinating their efforts to topple Saddam and ways to end the infighting that has characterized opposition efforts in the past.
These groups included the two parties sharing sovereignty over northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan; the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq; the CIA-funded Iraqi National Accord; the Constitutional Monarchy Movement, which seeks to restore the Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad; and the Iraqi National Congressfl a U.S.-backed umbrella group that has in the past included the other five.

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