Tariq Aziz: U.S. should stay in Iraq

The Obama administration’s Iraq withdrawal plan got some criticism today from an unexpected — though not exactly unwelcome — source today. In his first interview since his capture after the fall of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein’s former top deputy Tariq Aziz tells the Guardian that it would be wrong for the U.S. to pull out of ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
MARCO DI LAURO/AFP/Getty Images
MARCO DI LAURO/AFP/Getty Images
MARCO DI LAURO/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration's Iraq withdrawal plan got some criticism today from an unexpected -- though not exactly unwelcome -- source today. In his first interview since his capture after the fall of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein's former top deputy Tariq Aziz tells the Guardian that it would be wrong for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq now: 

"We are all victims of America and Britain," he told the Guardian from his prison cell in Baghdad. "They killed our country in many ways. When you make a mistake you need to correct a mistake, not leave Iraq to its death."

Speaking only days after Obama confirmed that the US would be ending its combat mission in Iraq this month with the withdrawal of thousands of troops, Aziz said the country was in a worse state than before the war.

The Obama administration’s Iraq withdrawal plan got some criticism today from an unexpected — though not exactly unwelcome — source today. In his first interview since his capture after the fall of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein’s former top deputy Tariq Aziz tells the Guardian that it would be wrong for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq now: 

"We are all victims of America and Britain," he told the Guardian from his prison cell in Baghdad. "They killed our country in many ways. When you make a mistake you need to correct a mistake, not leave Iraq to its death."

Speaking only days after Obama confirmed that the US would be ending its combat mission in Iraq this month with the withdrawal of thousands of troops, Aziz said the country was in a worse state than before the war.

"For 30 years Saddam built Iraq and now it is destroyed. There are more sick than before, more hungry. The people don’t have services. People are being killed every day in the tens, if not hundreds. "I was encouraged when [Obama] was elected president, because I thought he was going to correct some of the mistakes of Bush. But Obama is a hypocrite. He is leaving Iraq to the wolves."

Aziz goes on to mount a defense of his old boss, though he says he tried unsuccessfully to talk Saddam out of invading Kuwait in 1991. He also remains an Iran hawk:

"Now Iran is building a weapons programme. Everybody knows it and nobody is doing anything. Why?"

 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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