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Iraq warns off 'stupid' invaders

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Western soldiers are facing "definite death" if they invade Iraq, a top Iraqi official says.

Meanwhile Wednesday, speakers in the Iraqi parliament made a show of support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an "extraordinary session," promising to fight to the end any "aggression" from the United States and its allies.

That meeting took place hours before the expiry of a 0100 GMT Thursday deadline set by U.S. President George W. Bush for Saddam to leave the country or face a U.S.-led coalition to remove him.

Information Minister Muhammed Saeed Sahaf told reporters that troops were kidding themselves if they thought an invasion would be "like a picnic."

Wearing a military uniform, he said "any aggression" would be greeted by "resistance" and that any entity that takes part in an attack would be "defeated."

"Our strategy is to defend our country and foil this stupid aggression," Sahhaf said.

He said the U.S. and others were deceiving troops into thinking that an invasion will be easy and talked about the "decline" of American arrogance.

"This is a very stupid lie they are telling their soldiers," Sahhaf said.

Sahhaf called the summit meeting in the Azores, attended by the United States, Britain and Spain, a "summit of the outlaws."

"They did not show their faces before the Security Council," he said, referring to the decision by the United States and Britain a day after the summit not to pursue a resolution that would have provided the green light for military action against Iraq if Saddam did not disarm.

"Any aggression against our country or our people will be met with resistance," he said. "We are here fighting on behalf of the Arab nation."

'We'll sacrifice our blood and souls'

Earlier on Wednesday, Saadoun Hammadi, the speaker of the parliament, told deputies that they should rally behind their leader. "We'll sacrifice our blood and souls for Saddam," they declared.

"We hear these hollow words by the American administration regarding Iraq and its leader," said one parliament member, referring to Bush's ultimatum.

"The world has rejected this idiotic policy," the same member said. "But for Bush and his cronies, we say that there is no difference between Saddam Hussein and Iraq, and the people of Iraq will defend their country and their leader. And we advise Bush to stay away from Iraq if he wants to save his skin."

Another parliament member, referring to Bush, said: "I say to this moron here today that you need to study Iraq and its history. Saddam Hussein is Iraq and Iraq is Saddam Hussein, who was elected by the majority of his people."

He added: "You cowards. You should be ashamed of yourself. And don't even entertain the idea of attacking Iraq, because you will regret it."

About 250 deputies are part of the Iraqi National Assembly.

"The aggression they are planning now will be defeated, God willing, and everyone will see the true face of American imperialism," said another speaker. "They claim that they believe in human rights and international law. We say to them, where is human rights in Palestine?"

A number of the parliament members spoke of Iraq's history -- how they believe America is unfamiliar with its historic resolve and how it has risen from the ashes after every defeat throughout the centuries.

"Iraq can fall back on its history, which goes back thousands of years, and will not forfeit its history, and will support the leader Saddam Hussein no matter what," said another parliament member.

"The American administration has revealed its ugly face this time against Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein," another speaker said. "On behalf of the Arabs and the Muslims and humanity, we will fight the infidels and the unbelievers."


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