Archive for Sunday, May 12, 2002

Jordan’s king warns against U.S. hostilities toward Iraq

May 12, 2002


— Imminent military action by the United States against Iraq would lead to widespread turmoil in the Middle East, Jordan's King Abdullah II said Sunday.

"If there's any sensitivity to what's going on between Israelis and Palestinians now, moving on Iraq at this stage would be tremendous instability in the area and one that I don't think the Arab world could handle," the king said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

President Bush has declared Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a menace and pledged to remove him from power, although the administration says it has not decided how or when that goal will be achieved.

Any U.S. move "would really create massive disturbances throughout all Arab countries," Abdullah said. "It would threaten a lot of countries."

Jordan's future would not be threatened, but "people would be very angry and very upset," he said.

Abdullah's father, the late King Hussein, incurred the wrath of Washington and its Arab allies when he refused to join the U.S.-led coalition that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. Jordanians overwhelmingly supported Saddam. Relations didn't improve until 1996, when Hussein called for a change of government in Baghdad.

Abdullah sidestepped questions about what side Jordan would take in another U.S.-Iraq conflict, saying he would press for peace.

"We have a very good relationship with the American administration, and I think they value our position that dialogue is the way out," he said.

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