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#3 - JRL 7010
Russian General: US Should Target Saddam, Not Iraqi People
January 9, 2003

MOSCOW (AP)--A top Russian military official suggested that the U.S. should "remove" Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein instead of launching a massive attack against Iraq that would lead to civilian casualties.

"I often tell the American military: 'You call Iraq and North Korea rogue nations. You don't like Saddam Hussein, (North Korea's leader) Kim Jong Il or somebody else,"' Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, the first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff told the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets.

"But what do people have to do with that?" Baluyevsky continued. "Isn't it simpler to remove one person instead of pouncing upon innocent people with all military might?"

Russia has backed a tough U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Iraq comply with weapons inspectors, but warned the U.S. against using force without explicit U.N. approval.

"The military solution isn't the best one," Baluyevsky said. "As a military expert I'm sure that the Americans would crush Iraq, there is no doubt about that. "But any war kills those who shouldn't die."

Moscow has been concerned that a possible U.S. attack on Iraq would destabilize the region and also endanger its own economic interest in Iraq. It fears that a new Iraqi government might renege on Baghdad's $7 billion Soviet-era debt to Moscow and snub Russian firms in favor of U.S. and other Western companies.

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