CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: Inside Iraq
Aired October 7, 2002 - 12:10 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The United Nations says weapons inspectors are ready to go on short notice, but for now, they're waiting on the outcome of Security Council discussions.
This weekend, Iraq's United Nations ambassador suggested Iraq may give inspectors unrestricted access to presidential sites.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED ALDOURI, IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: I don't think that will be a huge problem between us and inspectors. I don't think that we will have a problem on that question -- on that issue. So, I'm telling you, we can accommodate ourself with the U.N. to have free access to presidential sites.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's get the view directly from inside Iraq right now. Our Baghdad bureau chief, Jane Arraf, is joining us now live
Does the Iraqi ambassador at the United Nations, Jane, speak with that kind of authority, saying that they could go visit the presidential sites without any problem?
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: No, Wolf. As you know, Iraqi ambassadors and Iraqi officials don't speak off the cuff in any sense. What Mr. Aldouri was saying was clearly an indication that at least the government wants to appear to be flexible on this issue, and it's creating a bit of optimism here.
At the same time, though, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is making clear that if it comes to a fight, he believes he has the support of his military, and not only his military, his people.
There was a very interesting demonstration today in Iraq on downtown Rasheed Street (ph). It was to commemorate actually a failed assassination, which is not something you usually commemorate. But in this case, would-be assassin was a very young Saddam Hussein.
Now, he tried to shoot Abdul Karim Qassem (ph), the prime minister at the time. The future Iraqi president was wounded himself, and he fled to safety, spending four years in exile before he returned.
Now, this was the occasion to gather people together to chant their loyalty and support for the Iraqi president, to say, in fact, they would fight for him. Now, the Iraqi leader convened his military advisers as well just yesterday, saying that they had to concentrate on their air defenses, and making clear that he's not about to leave power. If there is an attack, he feels that he does have his military commanders on his side, and that's the message he definitely wants to get across to President Bush, who is likely to call upon those commanders not to follow Saddam Hussein's orders -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jane Arraf joining us live, as she does all of the time, from Baghdad -- thanks for that report.
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