- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2003

KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 29 (UPI) — Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Hamad al Sabah warned Wednesday that any Iraqi military action against the oil-rich emirate would be a suicide.

Sheikh Jaber told reporters after an Umma Council session that if Iraq carries out its threats and attacks Kuwait during a possible U.S. war on Iraq, such action will be "a suicide."

His comments came in response to comments by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz who said during an interview with a Canadian television station Monday that Baghdad will not attack targets inside the United States but will strike Kuwait if Washington launches a war from the Gulf emirate on Iraq.

Jaber was quoted by the official Kuwaiti News Agency Tuesday night as saying that the Iraqi regime would pay a dear price if it threatens Kuwait's security, sovereignty and territorial safety.

He said the Kuwaiti army was much stronger than it used to be when Iraq invaded the emirate in August 1990 and was now "ready to deter any aggressor."

He said the presence of "friendly and allied forces in Kuwait consolidate its army's ability to face aggression."

Asked if Kuwait would allow the United States to use its territories for launching war on Iraq even if such a war decision was not approved by the United Nations, Jaber said the country's political leadership was to decide on such a matter though it would prefer a U.N. cover.

Meanwhile, Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Jaber al Sabah told the Kuwaiti al Watan newspaper that he deeply regrets Aziz's threats, saying it was not the first such Iraqi threats against Kuwait.

"Let him try implement what he said and let him bear the responsibility of what will happen," Sabah said, adding "by bombarding Kuwait, he (Aziz) knows well he would be shelling the U.S. … The war is with the U.S. and not with us."

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