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Bush: 'Outlaw regimes' threatening world

Iraq hiding weapons, aiding al Qaeda, president says

By Linda Petty
CNN

Pedestrians walk past a video screen in downtown Tokyo, Japan, that shows President Bush delivering his State of the Union address.
Pedestrians walk past a video screen in downtown Tokyo, Japan, that shows President Bush delivering his State of the Union address.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush says the greatest threat to the United States and the world comes from "outlaw regimes" that are seeking nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, Bush singled out three countries that he said were repressing their own people while seeking weapons of mass destruction: Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

"These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to their terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation," the president said.

He named the same three countries in his State of the Union address last year, calling them an "axis of evil."

On Tuesday, Bush also accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of aiding the al Qaeda terror network and hiding weapons he was prohibited from possessing through agreements with the United Nations.

Bush said the Iraqi leader has shown "utter contempt for the United Nations" in the three months since the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that he disarm himself of weapons of mass destruction.

"The dictator of Iraq is not disarming," Bush said. "To the contrary, he is deceiving.

The day before Bush's speech, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said high-level detainees in the war on terror have said Iraq has given al Qaeda training in developing chemical weapons.

Saying the world has waited "12 years for Iraq to disarm," Bush said the United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene February 5 to discuss Baghdad's "ongoing defiance of the world.

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

Bush said the United States and its allies in the war on terrorism would stand between "a world at peace and a world of chaos.

"Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind.And we accept this responsibility," Bush said, adding that the United States would act alone if necessary to protect Americans.

Bush also took aim at Iraq's neighbor.

"We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty, human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny, and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

Bush also had harsh words for North Korea, accusing the communist country of ruling its people through fear and starvation, as well as breaking its agreement not to pursue nuclear weapons.

"America is working with the countries of the region South Korea, Japan, China and Russia to find a peaceful solution and to show the North Korean government that nuclear weapons will bring only isolation, economic stagnation and continued hardship."

The president said North Korea's regime would earn respect and experience prosperity only when it gives up any quest for nuclear weapons.

Bush also said the United States was winning its war on terrorism, and he detailed several victories:

• Arresting or taking other actions against many key al Qaeda commanders

• Arresting 3,000 terrorism suspects in other countries

• Detecting and preventing plots targeting American embassies in Yemen and Singapore, a Saudi military base, and ships in the straits of Hormuz and Gibraltar

• Breaking up al Qaeda cells in Hamburg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Madrid, Spain; London, England; Paris, France; and Buffalo, New York


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