On Anniversary of Invasion of Iraq, Ex-Arab League Chief Reflects on US Lies & Miscalculations

© AP Photo / Jerome DelayIn this file photo taken Wednesday, April 9, 2003, an Iraqi man, bottom right, watches Cpl. Edward Chin of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, cover the face of a statue of Saddam Hussein with an American flag before toppling the statue in downtown in Baghdad, Iraq.
In this file photo taken Wednesday, April 9, 2003, an Iraqi man, bottom right, watches Cpl. Edward Chin of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, cover the face of a statue of Saddam Hussein with an American flag before toppling the statue in downtown in Baghdad, Iraq. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.03.2022
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CAIRO (Sputnik) - The United States invaded Iraq based on false information about the country's alleged nuclear programme, ignoring warnings that a war could destroy Iraqi statehood and plunge it into a prolonged sectarian conflict, former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa told Sputnik.
The military operation of the joint forces of the United States and the anti-Iraqi coalition titled Shock and Awe, also known as Iraqi Freedom, began on 20 March 2003. The official reason for the invasion was the alleged link between Saddam Hussein's regime with international terrorism, as well as the CIA's claim that there were stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was never proven. The invasion was not approved by the UN.
The coalition's ground forces entered Baghdad three weeks after the start of the operation following massive air bombardments and a rapid offensive. On 1 May, US President George W. Bush announced the end of hostilities and the beginning of a military occupation of the country.

"We saw what happened in the UN Security Council, what kind of statements were made... [We were shown] pictures of cars with missiles with nuclear warheads installed on them, which supposedly drove around Iraq. All these talks were empty and false. Everything was set up against Iraqi politicians. The assessment was wrong, and the intervention took place despite all the negative assessments regarding the destabilisation of Iraq and the Iraqi people, and the threats of the destruction of the country's very statehood", Moussa said.

The former Arab League chief recalled that many international media outlets asked him before the war to assess a possible US intervention in Iraq. "I said then that the war in Iraq will open the gates of hell. This had circulated in all of the world's media with the reference to the secretary general of the League of Arab States", he noted.
U.S. President George W. Bush waves as he boards the Air Force One presidential plane in the airport of Merida, Mexico, Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
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Commenting on the initiative to send an international expert team to investigate Iraqi nuclear developments, Moussa said he had met with Saddam Hussein soon after taking the post as the head of the Arab League to discuss such a possibility.

"I asked [Saddam Hussein] if he would agree to it if there were guarantees that there would be no CIA agents among the experts and they would work at agreed facilities. Then he said that it was possible if there were guarantees that intelligence agents would not come under the guise of experts. I promised that I would discuss this issue with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Then the United States opposed this proposal, seeing a catch in it. That's when we understood that the intervention would happen", he said.

Today, Iraqi leadership is strong and the country has every chance to restore its stability and security, but for this Baghdad needs the help of Arab countries and friendly states such as Russia, according to Moussa.
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