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President Mubarak Blames Iraq For Possible War - 2003-03-19

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told his country that Iraq must bear much of the responsibility for the war that Baghdad almost certainly faces.

While Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continues to oppose any U.S.-led attack against Iraq as a means of changing the regime in Baghdad, he is placing blame on Iraq for the war that it almost certainly faces.

In a nationally televised address, Mr. Mubarak detailed what he called numerous Iraqi mistakes he believes Baghdad made in bringing the Arab world to "this dangerous stage."

Mr. Mubarek said Iraq's first and most important mistake was its 1990 invasion of Kuwait because he said it produced an intense foreign presence in the region and created security concerns for its neighbors. The Egyptian president said the second mistake was the absence of real Iraqi effort to deal with the crisis in confidence in the region that resulted because of the attack against Kuwait.

Mr. Mubarak said Iraq could have made better use of the last 12 years to rebuild confidence and trust with its Arab neighbors as well as the rest of the international community.

However, the Egyptian president also blamed the international community for failing to find ways to fully enforce its own resolutions regarding security concerns in Iraq.

And even though war could be just a matter of hours away, Mr. Mubarak called for the Arab world to continue its efforts to resolve the Iraqi crisis peacefully, even though he himself has publicly said the Arab world could not stop the United States from attacking Iraq.

The Egyptian president said that while he fully supports the decision to remove banned weapons from Iraq, he called for the international community to support efforts to make the entire Middle East, including Israel, free of weapons of mass destruction.