Jordan's King Hussein Says It's Time for Saddam to Go

Article excerpt

In a harsh attack on Saddam Hussein from an unusual source, King Hussein of Jordan said it was "the right time for change" in Iraq's leadership.

"If a change occurs, it will only be a change for the better," the king said in an interview published Monday in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

The king is a traditional ally of Iraq and was one of the few regional leaders who tilted toward Saddam in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

King Hussein praised the defection of Saddam's son-in-law, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid, who was granted asylum when he reached Jordan last week with his family and an entourage of army officers.

The Jerusalem Post reported that al-Majid had coordinated the defection with U.S. officials. Al-Majid decided to defect only "after he was assured by the CIA that the move would be welcomed and rewarded," the Post said, quoting an unidentified Israeli security official.

But while the king denounced Saddam, Jordan's prime minister stressed that his nation would not be used as a springboard for anti-Saddam political activity. Prime Minister Zeid Bin Shaker said Jordan had "granted only a humanitarian asylum" to the defectors.

Al-Majid "will not be allowed to launch any activities to oppose the Iraqi regime from inside this country," the prime minister said. "If he wants to, he can go to any other country."

Al-Majid is expected to move on to another country soon, probably in the Arab world. …