August 15, 2002

MORE UNWELCOME NEWS FOR THE SAUDIS:

LONDON — The United States has warned Arab leaders to prepare public opinion for a change in the Iraqi regime.

Diplomatic sources said the Bush administration has sent letters to the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the Middle East. The letters, said to be nearly identical, assert that Washington is determined to topple the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

U.S. officials did not confirm the message, Middle East Newsline reported. But in Washington, U.S. National Security Council Adviser Condoleezza Rice stressed in an interview on Thursday with the British Broadcasting Corp. that the Bush administration has presented a powerful case for toppling Saddam.

“We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing,” Ms. Rice said. “We believe the case for regime change is very powerful.”

The Saudis don’t like talk of regimes changing.

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