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Former Egyptian Foreign Minister: ‘Everyone Knew There Were No WMDs in Iraq’

Iraq War news

Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi was Egypt’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States at the time of the US invasion of Iraq.

He shared his memories in an interview with Sputnik.

In his interview, Nabil Fahmi said that the American invasion of Iraq was already in place when George W Bush came to power, and he was simply looking for a suitable opportunity to carry out the plan.

Sputnik: As an Egyptian diplomat at the time, how did you feel about the US decision to invade Iraq in 2003?

Nabil Fahmi: At the time, in 2003, I was Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States. Of course, the entire Arab diplomatic corps was discussing the invasion in one way or another. Even with the election of Bush Jr as President of the United States, I noticed a really unhealthy interest the neocons took in Iraq. US vice-president Richard (“Dick”) Cheney was particularly prominent in this regard. On his first visit to Arab countries, he told me personally that he wanted to focus on Iraq.

Sputnik: Why Iraq in particular?

Nabil Fahmi: I asked him why Iraq and not, for example, the Palestinian issue. But he said that Iraq had caught his attention. I told the leadership in Cairo about the strange interest of the new American administration: but at that time, no one imagined that it would come to an open invasion in 2003.

Sputnik: Could you please tell us about Egypt’s position on the US invasion of Iraq?

Nabil Fahmi: I conveyed a message from President Hosni Mubarak to the Chief of Staff of the US Army and to one of the military commanders in the region that an invasion of Iraq was not advisable, and that there was a big difference between the liberation of Kuwait from occupation – in which the Egyptians had also been involved – and the direct occupation of an Arab country. This message was also conveyed to various American officials in Washington, including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and others.

The Egyptian delegation arrived in Washington about four weeks before the invasion in a last-ditch effort to acquaint the US side with Cairo’s position. The delegation visited US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. They were warned that an invasion of an Arab country would be disastrous for the region.

Sputnik: And how did the Americans respond?

Nabil Fahmi: The US administration questioned us point by point, ranging from the invasion and how to take control of certain places. Each time we responded, we emphasized that we did not support the US invasion. At one point, Rice specifically asked why this point was being repeated in every response. Our delegation explained that Egypt continued to oppose the invasion in any case: the Iraqi state must be preserved.

Sputnik: What did Washington think of Cairo’s response to the invasion?

Nabil Fahmi: Our position put me, as Egypt’s ambassador to Washington, in a difficult position before the US Congress. I explicitly said that Cairo did not support the war in Iraq, even though we were friends of America.

Sputnik: And how did you assess the international position on the invasion?

Nabil Fahmi: The US administration was determined to invade Iraq from the first day it came to power, and this was evident in the speeches of Cheney and Wolfowitz. The course of action had started taking shape after 9/11. The Bush administration had to justify this military operation to convince the American public that there was a real threat. To this end, they played the card of Iraq’s possession of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Although in fact everyone knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

Sputnik: What then were the real reasons for the US invasion of Iraq?

Nabil Fahmi: The US decision to invade Iraq was made regardless of the actions of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the suffering of the Iraqi people, and there was no real evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. Either it was because they wanted to realize their ambitions after the liberation of Kuwait – because at that time the controversy about the need to end the war of liberation was raging – or maybe it was because the US was already developing the concept of a “New Middle East” and the easiest place to start implementing it was with a sanctions-weakened Iraq.

Sputnik: In your opinion, what has been the most significant consequence of the US invasion of Iraq?

Nabil Fahmi: I opposed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and saw that it was unacceptable and a big mistake on the part of Saddam Hussein. I do not believe that any country has the right to invade another country without respecting international law. That is why I did not support the invasion of Iraq. However, this war caused a lot of trouble in the Levant and the Gulf Region, and later the emergence of Daesh* terrorists in the region. To this day, the Middle East is still dealing with the consequences of the US invasion of Iraq 20 years ago.

Sputnik: Has there been a change in American policy toward Arab countries in the years since the invasion of Iraq?

Nabil Fahmi: Nothing has changed. What has changed is the American reality and the Arab reaction. In the early 2000s, the US wanted to show the Middle East that after the collapse of the Soviet Union it could do whatever it wanted with Moscow’s former allies – that was its interest.

Circumstances are different now. Washington is no longer willing to give guarantees or sacrifice its wealth or forces to protect anyone in the region as a whole. For their part, the Arab countries began to realize – after the American invasion of Iraq – that the US could not be given preferential treatment. Thus, the Arab countries began to balance their foreign policies, giving the US the role of an important partner, but by no means the only one. The Arabs now realize that they must take the lead in solving most of the region’s problems and not rely on others to do so.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries

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4 COMMENTS

  1. mr. Ambassador : read ” The Trigger” by David Icke.
    You will get all the answers. Appalling. Difficult read ( +/- 1000 pages) with all the names, positions and interconnections between the USA and israel’ s ultra zionists.

    John LeCarré , well informed, also mentionned this war in his memoirs ” The pigeon tunnel”. Informative and entertainjnh

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