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Iraq: CIA Says Unprovoked Strike By Baghdad Unlikely

Washington, 9 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says the probability of Iraq initiating an attack on the United States without provocation in the foreseeable future was "very low." But the CIA said that if attacked, the likelihood Iraq would respond with biological or chemical weapons was "pretty high." The CIA document which was made public late yesterday came as both houses of Congress debated a resolution giving President George W. Bush broad authorization to use force against Iraq if Baghdad fails to disarm.

Bush yesterday vowed to use the "full force and fury" of the U.S. military if necessary to make Iraq disarm. But he reiterated that a war against Iraq is neither imminent nor inevitable.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said Bush's threats are prompted by the U.S. president's inability to make Iraqis "beg for forgiveness."

Diplomats said France has submitted to the United States and Britain proposals for a new UN Security Council draft resolution on Iraq. France, along with Russia and China, has been reluctant to accept a previous U.S.-proposed draft authorizing automatic use of force if Iraq failed to meet UN demands.