Iraq’s foreign minister has declared that “the teachings of Islam,” and not the Geneva Convention, will be the nation’s guidelines in the treatment of coalition POWs.
“First of all, we are committed to the teachings of Islam. We are faithful Muslims. We take care of our prisoners of war in accordance with our teachings of Islam,” Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told a BBC radio program.
According to an Agence France-Presse report, the foreign minister said, “We are committed first of all to the teachings of Islam, and second we are committed to the conventions of Geneva in dealing with the prisoners of war.”
Sabri is in Egypt on a diplomatic trip aimed at rallying Arab governments against the U.S. and British policies of “colonialism, neo-colonialism and war,”
reports newssite icWales.
“We are the people who created law when the grandfathers of Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush were living like animals in the caves. Iraqis created the law and were dealing with physics, arithmetic, literature and music,” Sabri told the radio program.
Sabri left Baghdad under heavy bombardment to make the trip, via Syria, to Cairo where the 22-nation Arab League is meeting to try and reach consensus over the war. He made the statement after five captured U.S. soldiers were shown on Al-Jazeera TV being interrogated yesterday in apparent violation of the Geneva Convention. Al-Jazeera also aired a gruesome video of bodies in U.S. uniform, apparently in an Iraqi morgue.
Al-Jazeera has since stopped airing the video, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said today.
Article 13 of the Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949, states that prisoners of war shall not be exposed to “public curiosity.”
Sabri was upbeat in his assessment of Iraq’s performance in the war, saying, “We are beating the enemy beaten and buried in the desert of Iraq.”
“I think that the mistake that the British and the Americans made is that they thought this was a country that was just Saddam Hussein’s,” Sabri said. “This is a country with ancient civilizations who have defeated every aggressor that has come there.”
Last week, during the 48-hour ultimatum President Bush gave Saddam Hussein prior to hostilities beginning, the Russian Rosbalt news agency reported that Sabri predicted any American caught by the Iraqi regime would be “burned or beheaded.”