Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Russian insider says Iraq war is wrong move

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - A war with Iraq is not necessary, Oleg Grinevsky, a senior member of the Soviet/Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said to a Miami University crowd Monday afternoon.

Grinevsky said he believes a war would be more dangerous than if Saddam Hussein were left alone.

"It is practically impossible for Saddam to use weapons against the United States or for Saddam to even use weapons against his neighbors," he said. "It is impossible to think of the result of war."

Whether or not war will begin against Iraq will be decided shortly, he said.

"We have just one or two weeks to see what will happen," he said. "I hope that everything will be okay."

Grinevsky was a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Special Group during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was the Russian ambassador to Sweden from 1991 until 1997, when he became a research fellow at Stanford University.

He is a visiting professor at the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University.

He worked directly with Saddam while working as Mikhail Gorbachev's ambassador-at-large.

"It was like you were talking with a snake ... calculating how to bite you," he said of Saddam. "He is very suspicious but he is not a fool."

Grinevsky said that he believes Saddam knows that if a war begins, his country will lose. But he "will take a lot of people out with him," he said.

Grinevsky painted a picture of a possible biological attack against soldiers invading Iraq. He said after soldiers enter Baghdad, Iraqi citizens might begin to spray biological agents from their windows. "It might spread throughout all of the Middle East and even possibly to the United States," he said.

Grinevsky reiterated that there have only been suspicions of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.

Grinevsky spoke on campus as a part of the Grayson Kirk Lecture Series, sponsored by Miami's international studies program, the Institute of Environmental Sciences and the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies.

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