One year ago, today

The following are selected quotes from key players involved in the war on Iraq which encapsulate the events of the day, one year ago.

    April 10 2003

    President Bush speaking to the Iraqi people on a new Iraqi television station called Towards Freedom:

    "At this moment the regime of Saddam Hussein is being removed from power and a long year of fear and cruelty is ended. The future of your country will soon belong to you. The goals of our coalition are clear and limited. We will end a brutal regime whose aggression and weapons of mass destruction make it a unique threat to the world. Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that Iraqis can live in security."

    International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman speaking in Baghdad, amidst widespread looting and the break down of any law and order in the city:

    "Small hospitals have closed their doors and big hospitals are inaccessible. Al-Kindi (hospital near the centre of Baghdad) has been looted by an armed group. Security in the city is very bad and people are not daring to go to the hospitals."

    Iraqi man as reported by The Guardian newspaper:

    "What is happening shouldn't happen. This is barbaric. This is not Saddam's money. This is the nation's and the people's money."

    US marines as reported by NBC television, shouting as a bomber strikes at a military checkpoint in Baghdad, killing one solider:

    "Suicide bomber. Suicide bomber. Get all civilians away."

    Eyewitness account on the killing of prominent exile returnee Shia Muslim cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei  who was was murdered in the holy city of Najaf, in the Imam Ali mosque:

    "The people were shouting they hate him, he should not be here."

    Hamid al-Bayati,, representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) in Iraq, the largest Shia political party:

    "We could be part of an Iraqi government but we can't be part of a military rule over the country."

    Iraqi student Hasan on the invasion of his country and collapse of the Iraqi regime:

    "I have no problem with the American people. But I would have preferred that if there was any kind of regime change, the Iraqi people did it. Now in Iraq there's no control, no government and no safety, and this is a mistake."


    April 9 2003

    "All these problems because of

    Iraqi man in Firdous Square, central Baghdad, as the statue of Saddam Hussein is toppled by US soliders and Iraqis, signalling the end of the Iraqi regime:

    "Can you believe it? People are happy. I am not sure. Shit, all of these problems because of Saddam. They are going to stay forever, these Americans."

    Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed al-Douri :

    "The game is over."

    British prime minister Tony Blair, speaking from Westminister :

    "We have no doubt at all that these weapons [WMD] exist."

    Senior US officer, speaking to reporters in Baghdad:

    "There is a lot of the country that we still need to get to. There are fierce days of fighting ahead."

    US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld speaking at the Pentagon:

    "Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed, brutal dictators…[later comments] senior regime people are moving out of Iraq and into Syria."


    April 8 2003

    "Witnesses saw the plane fly over
    twice before dropping the bombs." 

    Ibrahim Hilal, Aljazeera's chief editor on the death of the channel's correspondent Tarek Ayyoub, when US warplanes fired two missiles at the Baghdad bureau, killing him and injuring colleague Zuhair al-Iraqi:

    "Witnesses saw the plane fly over twice before dropping the bombs. Our office is in a residential area and even the Pentagon knows its location."

    Reporters Sans Frontieres secretary general Robert Menard, on the US attack on the Palestine hotel in Baghdad which housed the international press, killing Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Jose Couso, cameraman for Spanish television channel Tele 5:

    "This evidence does not match the US version of an attack in self-defence and we can only conclude that the US army deliberately and without warning targeted journalists."

    Sky News correspondent David Chater on seeing a tank pointing its gun at the Palestine hotel:

    "I noticed one of the tanks had its barrel pointed up at the building. That tank shell, if it was an American tank shell, was aimed directly at this hotel and directly at journalists. This wasn't an accident. It seems to be a very accurate shot."

    US Colonel Jim Work, speaking from Qatar, on the American military's push towards Baghdad: 

    "My sense is centcom [central command] is becoming increasingly confident. It can set the tempo and it can set the initiative. My sense is the regime is starting to crumble."

    Iraqi troops chanting in Baghdad to television cameras of the international media:

    "With our blood and our spirit, we will sacrifice for Saddam."


    7 April 2003

    "Garner's task is to work himself
    out of a job"

    Richard Armitage, US deputy secretary of state on the announcement of general Jay Garner to head the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) in Iraq (the coalition's first civilian provisional authority):

    "Garner's task is to work himself out of a job as soon as possible."

    Iraqi student 'William', speaking in Basra on the widespread looting taking hold in the city:

    "I need air conditioning units. It gets very hot and we do not have any in the people's houses. We have had nothing for so long that now we have to take what we can."


    6 April 2003

    "Ali was Saddam's shadow in Iraq
    and the most hated man"

    Iraqi Kurd Kani Hejar on reports of the death of Ali Hassan al-Majid aka 'Chemical Ali' in a coalition missile attack:

    "This is extremely important news. Ali was Saddam's shadow in Iraq and the most hated man. Everybody was afraid just at the mention of his name. He had a huge net of people spying for him in every city, every town and every village. He is responsible for killing maybe 300,000 people in the south and 200,000 Kurds in the north."

    US military commander on the fate of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein:

    "There is a real possibility that if he is alive he has moved to Tikrit. The town is one of his main command and control centres."

    5 April 2003

    'You must inflict more wounds on
    this enemy'

    Written statement read out on Iraqi television from President Saddam Hussein:

    "You must inflict more wounds on this enemy and fight it and deprive it of the victories it has achieved ... you must rattle their joints and terrify them and speedily defeat them in and around Baghdad."

    Delegate member of Bechtel, the US construction giant, at a Rebuilding Iraq conference in London:

    "We know there is a section of the NGO community that believes we should not be talking about reconstruction, particularly as there are some people arguing that the US went to war simply to get their hands on oil and contracts for their companies."

    4 April 2003

    'This war proceeds without the UN'

    Pentagon official on US post-war plans for Iraq:

    "This war proceeds without the UN. There is no need for the UN, which is not relevant, to be involved in building a democratic Iraq."

    Iraqi information minister Muhammad Said al-Sahaf on a US military patrol's incursion into Baghdad earlier in the morning:

    "I reassure you Baghdad is safe. They are beginning to commit suicide at the walls of Baghdad."

    3 April 2003

    'Religious leaders who have had
    enough of this regime'

    Brigadier General Vince Brooks in response to an edict issued by Ayat Allah al-Sistani, the leading Shia cleric in Iraq,  on not fighting occupation troops:

    "We believe this is a very significant turning point. We are seeing evidence of religious leaders who have had enough of this regime."

    Comments made by Palestinian cabinet minister Saib Uraiqat after four Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in a raid on a Gaza Strip refugee camp:

    "I condemn these killings, including the [teenager] in Qalqiliya, and urge the international community not to allow Israel to continue exploiting [world attention with] the war with Iraq to achieve its end goal."

    2 April  2003

    'We are getting closer and closer
    to Baghdad'

    Captain Frank Thorp, at US central command in Qatar:

    "We are getting closer and closer to Baghdad. When we decide to go into Baghdad, we will be in Baghdad within a matter of hours from when we decide to go."

    British troops on the outskirts of Basra distributing leaflets written in Arabic to local people:

    "This time we won't abandon you. People of Basra, we are here to liberate the people of Iraq. Our enemy is the regime and not the people. We need your help to identify the enemy to rebuild Iraq. English speakers please come forward. We will stay as long as it takes."

    1 April 2003

    'Aljazeera had advised the
    Pentagon of all relevant details'

    Aljazeera statement released in response to American shelling of its offices in Basra:

    "Aljazeera had officially advised the Pentagon of all relevant details pertaining to its reporters covering the war on Iraq, as stipulated by relevant international practice and conventions governing reporting wars. The details included official HQs of all its reporters in Basra, Mosul and Baghdad."

    US Colonel Bill Bennet, commander of the 101st Airborne artillery division, answering reporters' questions regarding a firefight between American and Iraqi forces in Najaf:

    "I've got 30 cannons and I'm shooting them all. I never shot so much in my life. I need some more bullets."

    31 March 2003

    'Now America is reappraising the

    Veteran American war correspondent Peter Arnett speaking on NBC news [after these comments, Arnett was fired by the television network]:

    "Clearly, the American war plans misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces. Now America is reappraising the battlefield, delaying the war maybe a week and rewriting the war plan. The first plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance."

    Washington Post journalist William Branigin reporting from the scene of American soldiers shooting up a car at a checkpoint in southern Iraq:

    "'Cease fire!' Capt Johnson yelled over the radio [to his soldiers]. You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"

    30 March 2003

    'We consider such trafficking as
    hostile acts'

    Rumsfeld on US army discoveries of night vision binoculars in Iraq:

    "These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces. We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments."

    Iran's foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, on allegations by Donald Rumsfeld that his country had deployed militants into neighbouring Iraq:

    "Iran is not taking sides in the war."

    29 March 2003

    'I want our troops home before
    more of them are killed'

    Former British foreign secretary Robin Cook, who resigned in protest against the Iraq war, writing in the Sunday Mirror newspaper:

    "I have already had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war. I want our troops home and I want them home before more of them are killed."

    US marine captain Daniel Rose at a military checkpoint, south of Baghdad:

    "We're going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and they're using that against us."

    Claude Johnson, father of US soldier Shoshana Johnson on her capture and televised interview by the Iraqi army:

    "She can defend a perimeter or something like that, but her primary mission is to cook for the company. She can cook anything - chicken enchiladas, cakes."

    28 March 2003

    'An awful lot has been achieved'

    Blair speaking on BBC radio on the Iraq campaign:

    "We're a week into this and an awful lot has been achieved."

    Tarif Jamil, a doctor from al-Nur hospital in Baghdad on a US missile which hit a suburb of Baghdad, killing at least 52 people:

    "There were limbs torn off, and burns, multiple shrapnel injuries, head and chest injuries. I saw about six children - all dead - and at least three women."

    27 March 2003

    'The enemy we're fighting is

    Lt Gen Wallace, the commander of the US army's V Corps, overseeing ground operations in Iraq:

    "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we had war-gamed against."

    Iraqi defence minister Sultan Hashim on the expected battle for Baghdad:

    "God willing, Baghdad will be impregnable. We will fight to the end and everywhere."

    26 March 2003

    'We are taking every action to prevent Iraq from using its WMD'


    US President George Bush to US troops in Florida:

    "We are taking every action we can to prevent the Iraqi regime from using its hidden weapons of mass destruction."

    The UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on the use of Iraq's banned weapons of mass destruction in this conflict:

    "So far, we have not identified or heard from the allies that anything that was proscribed would have been used."

    25 March 2003

    'Is this democracy?'

    Saad Shalash Aday, a resident from south Baghdad on the US bombing of the Iraqi capital:

    "Is this democracy?"

    Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, on the US bombing of Iraq television's main station:

    "There should be a clear international investigation into whether or not this bombing violates the Geneva Conventions. We have every reason to believe this is an act of censorship against media that US politicians and military strategists don't like."

    24 March 2003

    'Arabs expect their governments
    to take a firm position'

    Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri, at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo:

    "The Arab people expect their governments to take a firm, historic position against aggression."

    Blair at his monthly televised press conference in London:

    "[Iraqi] people will demonstrate very clearly what they want, which is not to swap Saddam for government imposed from the outside, but to have the chance to express themselves in a representative and democratic way."

    23 March 2003

    'It is unknown what


    Iraqi missile was carrying'

    US military statement from Camp Saliyah, Doha, Qatar:

    "Two bright orange flashes were seen over Kuwait as the engaging Patriot missile destroyed the Iraqi tactical ballistic missile. It is unknown at this time what type of munitions the Iraqi missile was carrying."

    French cameraman Daniel Demoustier, whose colleague, ITN reporter Terry Lloyd, went missing and was later found dead:

    "I'm so angry that we were fired on by the allies. The Iraqis must have been their real target but I'm sure they were surrendering - and anyway they were all dead within minutes."

    Aljazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout responding to US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld's claim that captured US soldiers shown by the channel breached Geneva conventions:

    "We didn't make the pictures - the pictures are there. It's a facet of the war. Our duty is to show the war from all angles."

    22 March 2003

    'It's just unbelievable ... huge
    balls of orange flames'

    ITN news reporter Mike Nicholson on the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad:

    "It's just unbelievable ... huge balls of orange flames... I'm telling you now they are destroying Baghdad."

    Senior British army officer:

    "The plan is to keep the military largely intact to maintain the security of the country after Saddam falls."

    Jalal Talabani, Kurdish leader and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK):

    "George W Bush is another Winston Churchill, a hero who will liberate not only Iraq but the Middle East."

    21 March 2003

    'We will not let them leave the
    quagmire they have entered'

    Iraq Information Minister al-Sahaf:

    "They targeted the houses of Saddam Hussein and his family, but they are safe. They are safe ... George Bush is the leader of an international criminal gang of bastards ... We will not let them leave the quagmire they have entered. They will meet their fate."

    French president Jacques Chirac speaking from the Elysee palace:

    "Whatever the results of the military operation ... it [Iraq] must be rebuilt, and for that there is just one forum - the United Nations."

    British Sky News reporter Geoff Meade on the lack of information coming from the Pentagon:

    "There is a growing sense of frustration because we are not being given the overall picture. This is a war in which we have been constantly surprised. It began with the first strike - up until then we had been led to expect a huge onslaught with a possible land invasion. None of that happened."

    20 March 2003

    'Coalition forces have begun
    striking selected targets'

    Bush's televised address from the White House:

    "On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war."

    Saddam in a statement to Iraqi state television:

    "The criminal, reckless, little Bush and his aides committed this crime that he was threatening to commit against Iraq."

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russian state television:

    "Russia demands the swiftest end to military action. The military action against Iraq is a big political mistake. The military action in Iraq is being conducted in spite of world opinion, in spite of the principles and norms of international law and the UN charter. This military action cannot be justified."

    Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) chairman Carol Naughton:

    "Crimes against humanity will be perpetrated in this bloody war."

    19 March 2003

    'Any money from Iraqi oil will go
    in a trust fund'

    Blair speaking in the UK parliament:

    "Any money from Iraqi oil will go in a trust fund … for the benefit of the Iraqi people."

    UN weapons inspector Jorn Siljeholm referring to US intelligence on Iraq:

    "None of their hot tips were ever confirmed. I don't know of a single decontamination truck that didn't turn out to be a fire engine or a water truck."

    18 March 2003

    'Saddam and his sons must leave
    Iraq within 48 hours'


    Bush's televised address from the White House:

    "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our own choosing."

    Saddam in a statement to Iraq's al-Shabab television station:

    "Iraq doesn't choose its path through foreigners, and doesn't choose its leaders by decree from Washington, London or Tel Aviv."

    17 March 2003

    'The United Nations has failed to
    enforce its own demands'

    White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, as reported in The Guardian newspaper:

    "The United Nations has failed to enforce its own demands that Iraq must immediately disarm. The US president, George Bush, is to make a televised address at 8pm Washington time (0100 GMT). He is expected to demand that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, leave the country within days or face attack."

    Saddam on Iraq state television:

    "We are not collectors of weapons, but we had these weapons to defend ourselves when we were at war with Iran for eight years and the Zionist entity was threatening us… Saddam Hussein cannot say that we don't have banned weapons if we have such weapons. I confirm here that we do not have weapons of mass destruction."

    French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, speaking on French radio:

    "France cannot accept the resolution that sets an ultimatum and envisages an automatic use of force."

    16 March 2003

    'There is a time to negotiate;
    there is still room for peace'

    Pope John Paul II, St Peter's Square:

    "In the face of the tremendous consequences that an international military operation would have for the population of Iraq and for the equilibrium of the entire Middle East, as well as for the extremism which could stem from it, I say to all: There is time to negotiate; there is still room for peace."

     Bush at the Azores summit:

    "Tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world. The dictator of Iraq is a danger to his neighbours. He is a sponsor of terrorism. Saddam Hussein has a history of mass murder. He possesses the weapons of mass murder."

    Blair at the Azores summit:

    "This was his final opportunity. He had to disarm unconditionally. Serious consequences would follow if he failed to do so."

    Saddam statement run by the Iraqi news agency:

    "When the enemy starts a large-scale battle, he must realise that the battle between us will be open wherever there is sky, land and water in the entire world. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

    15 March 2003

    'There is little reason to hope
    that Saddam Hussein will disarm'

    Bush in his weekly radio address:

    "There is little reason to hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm.

    "If force is required to disarm him, the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory." 

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.