CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt denied on Sunday that President Hosni Mubarak had swayed his then US counterpart George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003 because its leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Soleiman Awad, spokesman for the president’s office, “categorically denied” Mubarak had told Bush the Iraqi president had such weapons, the grounds used to invade but which turned out to be false, the official news agency MENA said.
In his memoirs, “Decision Points,” Bush says Mubarak had warned Tommy Franks, then the US commander of troops in the Middle East, that “Iraq had biological weapons and was certain to use them on our troops.”
Bush wrote that Egypt’s president had “refused to make the allegation in public for fear of inciting the Arab street. But the intelligence from a Middle Eastern leader who knew Saddam well had an impact on my thinking.”
On the contrary, insisted Awad, Mubarak had “cautioned the US president and many other US officials whom he met against an invasion of Iraq, warning it would constitute a flagrant violation of international law.”
He had predicted “an invasion would not be an easy mission because it would provoke fierce resistance during which Iraq would use all the arms at its disposal,” added Awad, without mention of weapons of mass destruction.