Dancing in the streets

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Wed Apr 9 23:43:58 MDT 2003

At 10:13 PM 4/9/2003 -0700, you wrote:

>At 08:02 PM 4/9/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>>         Jim, they are vehemently in denial, just like Baghdad Bob.
>Baghdad Bob, isn't he the Iraqi bullship (that's the boat they put the
>bulls on) minister?

         One and the same, sir...........the Brits call him "Comical
Ali"............dig the following:

Dubbed Comical Ali by some British newspapers, the Iraqi Information
Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has become a cult figure because of his
colourful language and wild claims.

With a grinning face and wild gesticulations, he is the man charged with
giving the Iraqi side of the story.

         Here are a selection of some of his quotes:

         "We will push those crooks, those mercenaries back into the swamp"
- Al-Sahhaf makes his debut as the Coalition launches its first bombing raids.

         On an air attack on Najaf, he said: "What they say about a
breakthrough [in Najaf] is completely an illusion. They are sending their
warplanes to fly very low in order to have vibrations on these sacred
places......they are trying to crack the buildings by flying low over them."

         Early in the campaign, al-Sahhaf accused the Allies of
booby-trapping pencils.

         "The authority of the civil defence...issued a warning to the
civilian population not to pick up any of those pencils because they are
booby traps," he said. He added that British and American forces were
"immoral mercenaries" and "war criminals".

         He continued: "I am not talking about the American people and the
British people. I am talking about those mercenaries....They have started
throwing those pencils, but they are not pencils, they are booby traps to
kill the children."

         'A despicable creature'

         At one point in the campaign, Al-Sahaf said the Iraqis had "shot
down a lot of those cruise missiles" and said the war's impact was "trivial."

         "I can assure you that those villains will recognize, will
discover in appropriate time in the future how stupid they are and how they
are pretending things which have never taken place," he added.

         And he has a low opinion of US Secretary of Defence Donald
Rumsfeld. A "crook" and "the most despicable creature" is how he describes him.

         He was dismissive of footage shown by several media outlets
showing American troops defeating Republican Guard units on the outskirts
of Baghdad: "These images are not the suburbs of Baghdad," he said. "From
what I glimpsed, these gardens with rows of palm trees on the side, which
you saw in the images, are located in the south of Abu Ghreib, where we
have surrounded the Americans and British."

         After the Americans seized Saddam Airport and TV cameras were
allowed in, al-Sahhaf continued to deny the reports: "We butchered the
force present at the airport," he said.

         'We are destroying them'

         Al-Sahhaf perhaps saved his best performance for the moment
American tanks rolled into Baghdad.

         "There is no presence of American infidels in the city of
Baghdad," he declared to journalists on the roof of the Palestine Hotel as
gunfire echoed across the city and tanks fired from the banks of the Tigris
just a few hundred yards away.

         As the audience of bemused reporters pointed out the fierce
firefight across the river, he continued: "There is no presence of the
American columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we
killed most of them."

         "Today, the tide has turned", he continued confidently. "We are
destroying them."

         And after an American tank shell hit the hotel, killing two
cameramen, he moved to reassure the world's press corps. "We are not
afraid," he proclaimed, adding paternally "And don't you be afraid".

         Asked on Tuesday whether Iraqi soldiers should surrender, he said:
"They [the Americans] are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks.
They will surrender, it is they who will surrender."
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