First Published: 2003-07-22

 
Perle: Finding Iraqi WMD may take 200 years
 

Top Pentagon adviser says US won't leave Iraq while Saddam's 30,000 armed supporters remain active.

 

Middle East Online

We never did know where to look for them: Perle

MOSCOW - Top Pentagon adviser Richard Perle said here Tuesday that US troops could not leave Iraq while a band of what he said were some 30,000 armed supporters of Saddam Hussein's fallen regime remained active.

He added that Washington has a generally positive view of President Vladimir Putin - who opposed the Iraq war - but would in the future judge the Russian leader on his actions rather than his public pronouncements.

"There were of course many reasons for starting the war in Iraq," Perle told reporters when asked about US and British troops' failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq more than three months after the campaign began.

"We are clearly starting to see that up to 300,000 people were killed and buried" by Saddam's regime, he said.

Perle added that "we are absolutely certain" that weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Iraq - Washington's motive for launching the offensive against Baghdad - but that it may take dozens of years to find them.

"We don't know where to look for them and we never did know where to look for them," he admitted.

Asked by a reporter when he thought the evidence of those weapons may be found, Perle joked: "I hope this will take less than 200 years."

Perle is recognized as one of the main architects of Washington's campaign to launch the offensive in Iraq although he has since played down his role in hatching the war plan.

The chief US hawk gave no time frame for when US troops may leave Iraq, saying they would do so only once Washington felt the country was safe and that its citizens could start forging a democracy without Western help.

"It will not be easy to bring democracy to Iraq after 30 years of tyranny," he said.

He further estimated there were still some 30,000 hardcore Saddam supporters who were undermining US efforts to restore peace and order in the nation.

"It would be irresponsible to leave while 30,000 of the most brutal supporters of Saddam are sabotaging the country," he said.

He did not state specifically how the US troops intended to put them out of commission.

Turning briefly to Russia-US relations, Perle said Washington in general supported Putin's policy but also had some concerns - in particular that most independent Russian media had been shut down under his rule.

Perle toned down those remarks by saying that problems in Russia-US relations "are very small especially if one considers the problems we had in the Cold War."

Perle was in Moscow to present a lecture at a prestigious Russian foreign relations institute.

 

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk

Gunman found in comfy Istanbul flat

Iran, Syria sign phone, petrol deals in Tehran

Jordan charges 8 with inciting opposition against regime

Iranian president rules out renegotiating nuclear deal

Turkey prosecutors demand up to 142 years in jail for Kurd leader

180 dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Saudi carries out first death sentence of 2017

Libyan granted right to sue UK ex-minister for rendition

Syria regime, rebels name heads of delegation for Astana talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker captured

Syria troops, IS jihadists battle on in Deir Ezzor

Israel occupation forces rearrest Palestinian journalist

Russian FM says Syria peace talks to ‘consolidate’ ceasefire

Amnesty warns EU's anti-terror laws threaten human rights

Saudi health emergency after mass food poisoning

Darfur rebel groups rebuilding their forces in Libya, South Sudan

Saudi FM says Washington, Riyadh interests align

Morocco parliament elects new speaker

Hamas rejects ‘absurd’ Paris peace conference

Israeli army shoots dead Palestinian in West Bank clashes

Obama warns Trump against undoing Iran deal on anniversary

Turkish policeman who assassinated Russian ambassador buried in unmarked grave

EU foreign affairs chief says bloc will stand by Iran deal

UN judge caught in Turkey coup probe leaves Rwanda court blocked

Tunisia receives two more US patrol boats

Libya forces retake Benghazi district from jihadists

Turkey roadside bomb kills three policemen

Iraq forces retake IS-bombed shrine in Mosul

Palestinians, Israelis look ahead to Trump's America

Heavy snow traps 1,000 motorists in Tunisia