There is a 50:50 chance of a US war with Iraq. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Defense and Security Committee Colonel General Valery Manilov at a conference in the Primorsky Territory.
In his opinion, Russia should put as much diplomatic pressure on the United States as possible to resolve the Iraq crisis, even if it means vetoing a new UN security council resolution which could signify the start of war. Mr Manilov believes that up to 1.5 million Iraqis could flee the country as refugees in the event of a war. What is more, 30 thousand American soldiers could die as a result of a ground operation on Iraqi territory. However, Mr Manilov emphasised that the main struggle will take place in the field of information, as despite US assertions about the instability of Saddam Hussein's regime 'the 20 million-strong Iraqi population supports its leader and Mr Hussein's authority is unquestioned. It is simply a myth that the people are against him,' Mr Manilov insisted. Moreover, he said that 'many people of different nationalities are now rallying together in protest against the US for its policy on Iraq.'