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Saddam Pledges to Defeat Would-Be Invaders - 2003-01-17

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has pledged to defeat any country that tries to conquer his nation.

The Iraqi president vowed that any invaders would be defeated at the gates of Baghdad and said the United States would be committing suicide if it invades Iraq.

He called on his people to rise up and be ready to fight any aggressors.

Mr. Hussein's address, which was broadcast on state television, came on the anniversary of the start of the Gulf War in 1991. He said America failed to conquer Iraq in that war and was incapable of learning from its past mistakes.

The speech comes as the deployment of U.S. and British forces continues in the Gulf region and a day after United Nations arms inspectors discovered empty rocket warheads capable of delivering chemical weapons.

The United States says it is awaiting further details about the rockets before deciding how to react to their discovery.

President Bush has said he is ready to send forces into Iraq if it does not give up its banned weapons of mass destruction.