Iraqi newspapers warned the populace Saturday that President Clinton might be planning to attack Iraq to divert attention from his sex scandal.
A statement from the Iraqi Cabinet said the government was discussing providing civilian weapons-training to help Iraqis “face the latest American plotting against Iraq.”
The U.S. has hundreds of warplanes in the Persian Gulf, having bolstered its presence there in response to repeated confrontations between Iraq and U.N. arms monitors.
Iraqi newspapers often strike out at Clinton and they seemed to relish the latest troubles besetting the leader of a country that Iraq blames for the continuation of U.N. economic sanctions.
Among the papers carrying the latest on Clinton’s woes were Babil, a daily newspaper owned by Saddam Hussein’s son, Odai, which devoted an entire inside page to the story.
“To keep the media busy with something other than his sex scandal, the American president may start a foolish military action by attacking Iraq - even though the odds are stacked against him if he ever decided to take such a step,” the newspaper said.
At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson on Friday dismissed any suggestion that the U.S. might be more inclined to use force against Iraq - if it meant getting the public and media to focus on something other than Clinton’s predicament.
“I won’t even dignify a response to that,” Richardson snapped.