Yevgeny Primakov: U.S. Administration underestimates aftermaths of strike at Iraq

The U.S. Administration underestimates the aftermath of the planned strike at Iraq, says ex-Prime Minister of Russia Yevgeny Primakov, a well-known expert on the Middle East. He made this conclusion after his meetings in Washington with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Primakov, who at present heads Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is staying in the U.S. at the invitation of ex-State Secretary Henry Kissinger.

The U.S. "underestimates the price it will have to pay" if it deals a strike at Iraq, Primakov told newsmen. It is not only that there may be numerous casualties among the Americans, he said -- the whole situation will change drastically. In his view, while at present the U.S. enjoys full support of the world community in its struggle against terrorism, after a strike at Iraq "this will largely not be the case."

"The situation will change also in regard to its relations with other states, not just with Russia," he pointed out. "I don't think that someone can simply support the U.S. strike at Iraq unless this will be done in keeping with a UN Security Council resolution," Primakov said.

In the opinion of the Russian ex-Prime Minister, the U.S. leadership has not yet taken a political decision on striking Iraq. Such a strike "will be a big mistake," he said. It would be wrong even in terms of combating terrorism, because there are no grounds to consider that such an action will reduce the possibilities for the emergence of terrorism - the contrary will most likely occur, Primakov warned.

He stressed in this connection that Russia maintains a "well-grounded and fairly strong position" - it is necessary to ensure that all UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq be fulfilled, which should be done by means of the work carried out there by the inspectors. "It should be proved once again for the world community that Iraq really has mass destruction weapons," Primakov said.

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