Saddam Hussein ‘acted like Hitler’ during Kuwait invasion, former UK PM Thatcher said

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher compared Saddam Hussein to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler when Iraq invaded Kuwait. (Reuters/File Photos)
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher compared Saddam Hussein to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler when Iraq invaded Kuwait. (Reuters/File Photos)
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Updated 25 February 2021

Saddam Hussein ‘acted like Hitler’ during Kuwait invasion, former UK PM Thatcher said

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher compared Saddam Hussein to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler when Iraq invaded Kuwait. (Reuters/File Photos)
  • This week marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War, which concluded when a US-led military coalition liberated Kuwait
  • British government papers declassified in the past few years reveal Thatcher also described the Iraqi leader as a “selfish, despotic dictator”

LONDON: As the 30th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War approaches, much interesting historical detail and context can be found by reviewing official UK government documents that were only made public in the past few years.

For example, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher compared Saddam Hussein to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler when Iraq invaded Kuwait. She also described him as a “selfish, despotic dictator” who engaged in “psychological warfare,” according to papers that were declassified and released in 2017.

Feb. 28 marks 30 years since the end of the Gulf War. It concluded when US-led coalition forces liberated Kuwait from the Iraqi dictator’s invasion and occupation that began in August the previous year.

One of Thatcher’s aides sent a memo to a Foreign Office colleague detailing a conversation between the prime minister and Douglas Hurd, who was the UK foreign secretary at the time.

The memo said: “Both the prime minister and the foreign secretary agreed that it now seemed highly likely that foreign nationals would be detained at key installations.

“Saddam Hussein was behaving like Hitler and using psychological warfare. His aim might well be to provoke hostile action. The prime minister stressed the importance of the UK studying his psychological warfare tactics carefully and responding in a suitable way.”

The note also said Thatcher and Hurd, in reference to the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s during which hundreds of thousands of people died, described Saddam as “a selfish, despotic dictator.”

Iraq invaded small, but oil-rich, neighbor Kuwait in 1990, two years after the conclusion of the economically devastating Iran-Iraq War. Not only did the invasion provide a much-needed financial boost to Iraq’s oil supplies, it also posed a serious and imminent military threat to Saudi Arabia and its smaller Gulf neighbors.

The invasion and occupation of Kuwait prompted a response by a 35-state military coalition, led by the US, UK, and Saudi Arabia, that quickly forced Saddam’s forces to withdraw.

The end of the Gulf War heralded an era of economic hardship, sanctions and diplomatic isolation for Iraq, which only ended with his overthrow during the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.


Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya
Updated 29 sec ago

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya
  • During a meeting in New York with Mohamed El-Manfi, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full support
  • Shoukry praised the efforts of the Libyan House of Representatives in preparing the electoral law as an important step toward holding presidential and parliamentary elections

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has affirmed his country’s keenness to strengthen relations with neighboring Libya.

This follows visits by officials from both sides and last week’s meeting of the Egyptian-Libyan Joint Higher Committee in Cairo.

During a meeting in New York with Mohamed El-Manfi, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full support for efforts to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people, stabilize the country and develop its various regions. 

Shoukry praised the efforts of the Libyan House of Representatives in preparing the electoral law as an important step toward holding presidential and parliamentary elections.

He also affirmed Egypt’s firm support for the preservation of Libyan sovereignty and opposition to foreign interference.


Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in few weeks

Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
Updated 33 min 7 sec ago

Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in few weeks

Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
  • World powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna
  • The talks stopped in June, pending the start of Iran’s new government

DUBAI: Iran said on Tuesday that talks with world powers over reviving its 2015 nuclear deal would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
“Every meeting requires prior coordination and the preparation of an agenda. As previously emphasized, the Vienna talks will resume soon and over the next few weeks,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to IRNA.
The world powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna to try and work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.
The Vienna talks were adjourned in June after hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president and took office in August.
Ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will not meet jointly with Iran at the United Nations this week to discuss a return to the talks, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Monday.
But Khatibzadeh said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian would meet individually with ministers from those countries on the sidelines of the annual UN gathering of world leaders and the nuclear deal and the Vienna talks would be among the main topics under discussion, IRNA reported.


Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government
Updated 21 September 2021

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

TRIPOLI: Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Tuesday it had withdrawn confidence from the unity government, though it would continue to operate as a caretaker administration.
The vote in the House of Representatives exemplifies the wrangling between rival factions and state bodies that has plagued UN-backed efforts to resolve Libya’s decade-long crisis by establishing a unity government and holding national elections.
In 2014, eastern and western factions split Libya in two in a civil war, with an internationally recognized government in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by the House of Representatives in the east.
Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s unity government was selected through a UN-sponsored dialogue and his government was installed by the House of Representatives in March.
Dbeibeh has a mandate to unify state institutions, improve government services and prepare for national presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, on Tuesday, after parliament summoned Dbeibeh and his ministers to answer questions this month, 89 of the 113 members present voted to withdraw confidence in him, the chamber’s spokesman and several other parliament members said.
There was no immediate comment from the government.
The UN forum decided that presidential and parliamentary elections should take place on Dec. 24, but disagreements now rage over the legal basis for the votes and the laws that will govern them.
This month, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the House of Representatives had passed a law for the presidential election, though it did not hold a final vote on the bill.
The validity of that law was promptly challenged by the High Council of State based in Tripoli, in the west, which produced its own, alternative election law.
The House of Representatives, which was elected seven years ago but divided when Libya split, has not yet produced a law for a parliamentary election. 


Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
Updated 21 September 2021

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
  • El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has announced Egypt’s aspiration to host the UN Climate Change Summit in 2022 on behalf of Africa. Britain will host this year’s summit in Glasgow in November.

El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

During the meeting, he stressed the importance of developed countries shouldering their responsibilities within the framework of the Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on Climate Change.

He also stressed the need to deal seriously with any unilateral measures that contribute to exacerbating the consequences of climate change, including construction of dams on international rivers without agreement with downstream countries.


El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis
Updated 21 September 2021

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed his country’s support all efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said Yemen’s Defense Minister Muhammad Ali Al-Maqdashi conveyed the greetings of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to El-Sisi and praised bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially military and security.

Radi added that El-Sisi asked to convey his greetings to Hadi and stressed the need for a solution that achieves Yemeni stability and unity, meets its people’s aspirations and ends foreign interference in the country.

El-Sisi said Egypt will spare no effort to assist Yemen in achieving these goals.