CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Tariq Aziz Speaks Out
Aired March 24, 2003 - 13:18 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Just a little while ago, Tariq Aziz spoke with reporters and I want to show our viewers this videotape. The deputy prime minister of Iraq speaking out for the first time since the start of this war.
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TARIQ AZIZ, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISER (through translator): ... And if we talk in facts and figures, official figures, Iraq has the second-largest reserve of oil, but practically and most experts know that actually Iraq has the No. 1 reserve in the area. And the reserve of Iraq is not 110 billion oil barrels, but more than 300 billion.
Then the second objective that was very clear was dividing the region to redraw the map of the area, and they admitted that, even the general that turned to be diplomatic, Colin Powell. He said they want to redraw the map to the interest of Israel. Then Israel will become, as they plan -- after destroying Iraq and dividing Iraq and redrawing the map in the area and changing the region to small cantons, Israel will be the party that is more -- that is the strongest and the most influential in the area as a whole and will guarantee -- completely guarantee its dominance and control over the region.
These are the objectives since the beginning and all those who give more time to research and read books and give analysis have read that many years ago in the books and articles that were written by the engineers of the domino policy, like Paul Wolfowitz and others very well known.
And when they were preparing and planning for their aggression, let us remember how they put their strategy and on what strategy they worked and prepared the war since the war started.
First, they said that this war will be destructive, as it will destroy all the Iraqi capabilities to resist. They also said that immediately and after the start of the war, the leadership in Iraq will collapse. And they also said that the Iraqi people will support the Anglo-American aggression and that the Iraqi people will rebel and revolt against its government. And even the high-level person, Dick Cheney, at the pinnacle of responsibility there, he's a vice president of the United States, he said that the Iraqi people will receive the American forces with music and flowers.
I would like here to remind the colleagues in the media that this was mentioned before me when I was interviewed by many American media, like ABC, CBS and "New York Times" and other American media outlets and newspapers and TV stations. They said, "We have heard that the Iraqi people would receive the American forces, the invaders, as liberators and they will be received with throwing flowers at them and with music."
I told them, "Don't fool yourself and don't fool the public opinion in your countries and don't fool your armed forces, because the American soldiers, the invaders, if they enter the territory of Iraq, they will be received with bullets, not flowers and not music, but rather with bullets."
And if we take this factor alone and compare it -- and make the comparison, I would ask you to do that in your comments or commentary on this situation. I ask you to embark on a very genuine, sincere analysis to compare what was said originally by the American administration in the period that came before the aggression and after the start of the aggression. Go ahead and have a genuine, sincere, honest analysis of what they said and what we said.
In reference to the reaction of the Iraqi people, they said, "Who is with Saddam Hussein?" Saddam Hussein is isolated, in complete isolation inside Iraq. He has the army, the Republican Guard, not all of them, but a few elements of the Republican Guards and only the citizens of Tikrit support Saddam Hussein and the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people are against him. So the moment that the Americans start the aggression, he will be in complete isolation. And he will fight alone with but a small number of his supporters.
I would like here to draw your attention in this context to a number of facts. In Umm Qasr there were no Republican Guards. The division that fought the Americans and the British, and which is still fighting the Americans and the British, is not a unit of the Republican Guard, it is the divisions of the Iraqi regular army.
I also would like to draw your attention to the fact that the people who are in An Nasiriya or Sokashuyu (ph) or in Samawah or Najaf and in the outskirts of Basra and Zubayev (ph), these are not from Tikrit; you know, Iraq, these are not from Tikrit.
They also talked about Sunni and Shi'a and the Sunni dominance on Iraq, and how Shiites are against the Sunni government.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to break away from Tariq Aziz. This is videotape that was shot just a little while ago in Baghdad. Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, for the first time holding a news conference since the start of this war.
There had been some rumors, speculation out there that he may have been killed in that initial U.S. ar strike. Clearly, he is alive and well at this news conference, speaking out about very contemporary issues, including Umm Qasr -- the battle for Umm Qasr.
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