CNN BREAKING NEWS
Saddam Hussein To Address Kuwaiti People
Aired December 7, 2002 - 07:54 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We just heard a few moments ago from our Baghdad correspondent Rym Brahimi that CNN -- excuse me -- that Saddam Hussein is preparing an address to the Kuwaiti people coming up soon but we're not exactly sure why or what that is all about but one person who might have a little more insight for us is CNN's Walt Rodgers, joining us now from Kuwait City -- hello Walt.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello Miles. What we suspect is going to happen is that Saddam Hussein will go over the head of the Kuwaiti leadership and talk to the Kuwaiti people here, reminding them that they currently have between 9,000 and 12,000 U.S. troops here one might anticipate that he would appeal to their paternal Arab -- fraternal Arab kinship with the Iraqis and call on them to resist any moves which would allow the Kuwaiti government or for that matter the Bush administration to use Kuwait as a launching pad or a springboard for an attack if indeed President Bush decides to launch such an attack.
There is no illusion on Mr. Saddam Hussein's part that Kuwait will be used as the launch pad for an attack -- the U.S. troops are up against the border with Iraq, they've not been rehearsing with live fire exercises if president Bush issues a call to go forward and move toward the gates of Baghdad, the second Brigade of the First Army plus the First Marine expeditionary force is in here in Northern Kuwait when they could be ready in a moment's notice.
The U.S. troops are not quite ready to go yet, that is to say more reinforcements are expected to come in but 60,000 more U.S. forces could be brought in within the matter of a very few weeks and Saddam Hussein is probably feeling the pressure of those U.S. forces looking north across the border to Baghdad -- that perhaps is what has inspired him to -- to issue this statement that he's going to speak to the Kuwaiti people.
Remember one important footnote to all this is that the Kuwaiti leadership is something of a troika, that is, there are three people involved and two of the three leaders are either incapacitated, relatively ill, or old -- and one man is carrying the leadership responsibility here so the Kuwaiti leadership is paralyzed. Saddam Hussein might well try to take advantage of the paralysis in the Kuwaiti government leadership and appeal over the head of the government as I say to the Kuwaiti people -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: Well, Walt I'm sure that's going to be must-see TV in Kuwait City. I'm just curious how Saddam Hussein might be received there given 12-13 years ago the plunder of their country by Saddam Hussein's forces. I can't imagine he can tap dance his way out of that one.
RODGERS: Indeed, Miles, that's a suggestion of how desperate Saddam Hussein might be at this point. I've been here several weeks now, talked to Kuwaitis; there is no affection for Saddam Hussein or the Iraqis here. They have very horrible memories of the way the Iraqis treated them when they invaded Kuwait in 1990 and '91.
There's no love lost for the Iraqis here. He -- Saddam Hussein -- may appeal to fraternal Arab fellowship, fraternal Muslim fellowship, but the -- but the Kuwaitis, unlike other Arabs in this part of the world -- the Kuwaitis are very anxious and they'll tell you so to your face -- very anxious for the United States to move against Saddam Hussein and take him out once and for all. That's what the Kuwaitis have been telling me when I talk to them in just private conversations -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: CNN's Walt Rodgers in Kuwait City. We'll check in with him as this unfolds and whenever that address occurs -- I don't know that we have a specific time just yet but whenever it does occur, we'll do our level best to get that address to you live. Saddam Hussein talking to the people of Kuwait.
We're on the story in every way, shape and form. We've got people all over the region, all over the country, bringing you the latest on the situation in Iraq. Stay with us as we continue our coverage.
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