Iraqi President Saddam Hussein planned to invade Kuwait and Saudi Arabia this month, but he relented after two relatives deserted to Jordan, one of them said Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid, who was head of the country's clandestine weapons program and is Saddam's son-in-law, said he attended meetings of the Cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council in which the invasions were discussed.
"All army units were informed to enter Kuwait and the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "The latest movement of a large number of troops toward Basra was aimed at entering Kuwait. The move was reversed after our departure," he said. Basra is a city in southern Iraq near the Kuwaiti border.
U.S. intelligence reports indicated "unusual" Iraqi troop movements in southern Iraq, beginning last month.
Al-Majid, who also was Iraq's industry minister, was granted asylum in Jordan after defecting on Aug. 8 with his brother Saddam Kamel and their wives - both of whom are daughters of Saddam.
After the desertions, the United States vowed to protect Jordan against any reprisals from Iraq and moved warships and military supplies toward the Persian Gulf.
U.S. officials had said that the Iraqi defectors indicated that Saddam had contemplated attacking Kuwait or Saudi Arabia but that he had not said that any such plan might be imminent.
Iraq has denied it is engaged in any unusual military activity, saying only that its armed forces have recently held several training exercises. …