Baghdad celebrates 'victory'
November 20, 1997
Web posted at: 10:26 a.m. EST (1526 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- For weeks, anti-U.S. demonstrations
organized by President Saddam Hussein's government have been
a regular feature in Baghdad. With word that the showdown
over arms inspectors apparently had ended, the mood at
Thursday's staged protest seemed victorious.
"America has failed in its conspiracy!" shouted demonstrators
-- most of them members of state-run unions and other
official organizations -- outside the National Assembly.
"Of course Iraq was victorious," one demonstrator told CNN.
"We didn't care if America attacked us or not."
The assembly, Iraq's parliament, approved the plan worked out
with Russia and first announced in Geneva. It allows U.N.
arms monitors including Americans to return to Baghdad and
resume inspections, apparently defusing a three-week-old
In return, Russia will work to lift U.N. sanctions imposed on
Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
"Our diplomacy has succeeded in reaching a first step -- the
beginning of the end to lift the embargo," parliament member
Mohamed Al-Adhami told CNN.
A statement broadcast on Iraqi television and radio praised
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Foreign Minister Yevgeny
Primakov for authoring a deal that took Iraq's grievances
"Iraq has accepted the return of U.N. Special Commission
(UNSCOM) inspectors, including the Americans," said the
statement, issued after a meeting of the Revolutionary
Command Council and officials of the ruling Baath party,
chaired by Hussein.
The Iraqi public has been preparing for a possible military
confrontation over its government's defiant stand. But as
news of the agreement circulated around Baghdad,
government-run television broadcast patriotic songs and
pictures of previous national celebrations.
Iraq charges that the United States has been exploiting the
arms inspectors issue to prolong sanctions and topple
Correspondent Peter Arnett contributed to this report.