The planned final US withdrawal from Iraq is leaving the country "to the wolves," its former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, has said in an interview published Friday, dpa reported
Aziz, who is serving a 15-year sentence for a conviction for a crime against humanity, made his remarks in an exclusive interview with the Guardian in what was his first public appearance since the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the paper said.
In the interview he sharply criticized plans by US President Barack Obama for a final withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
"He (Obama) cannot leave us like this. He is leaving Iraq to the wolves," he said. "When you make a mistake you need to correct a mistake, not leave Iraq to its death."
"It's been seven years and four months that I have been in prison," the former close ally of ex-President Saddam Hussein said.
"But did I commit a crime against any civilian, military or religious man? The answer is no."
He said that he and Saddam were convinced that the US was going to invade Iraq by late 2002.
"Bush and Blair lied intentionally. They were both pro-Zionist. They wanted to destroy Iraq for the sake of Israel, not for the sake of the US and Britain," maintained Aziz.
Iraq would be better off if it was returned to the rule of an Arab strongman, he suggested.
"There is nothing here any more. Nothing. For 30 years Saddam built Iraq, and now it is destroyed. There are more sick than before, more hungry. The people don't have services. People are being killed every day in the 10s, if not hundreds. We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country.