Clinton: Al-Qaida was worse threat than Iraq

'Terrorism festering' in Iraq could make the lives of Iraqis worse than they had been under Saddam Hussein, says former President Bill Clinton.

    The former president is currently promoting his new book

    In an interview with the CBS programme "60 Minutes" to be broadcast on Sunday, Clinton commented on the situation in Iraq.

    When asked whether he agrees with President George Bush that removing Saddam from power has made the world safer from terrorism, Clinton responded: "I think the Iraqis are better off with Saddam gone, if they can have a stable government.

    "There have been more terrorists moving into Iraq in the aftermath of the conflict. I still believe, as I always have, that the biggest terrorist threat by far is al-Qaida and the al-Qaida network," Clinton said in the CBS interview.

    Clinton also said it was a mistake for the Bush administration to invade Iraq before UN weapons inspectors had finished their work.

    Inspectors pulled

    UN inspectors were pulled from Iraq just before the war began in March 2003, as senior US officials not only insisted that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction, but US intelligence knew where those weapons were located.

    Months later, retired chief US weapons inspector David Kay concluded Saddam did not have stockpiles of forbidden weapons, although he was conducting programmes related to producing such weapons.

    In an interview to be published in Time magazine, Clinton said that even though he didn't agree with the timing of the attack, he wants the Iraq invasion "to have been worth it."

    "I think if you have a pluralistic, secure, stable Iraq, the people of Iraq will be better off, and it might help the process of internal reform in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere," Clinton said.

    Clinton gave the interviews in advance of Tuesday's release of his memoir, "My Life."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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