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Bush, Blair worse than Saddam: ex-Malay PM

Mahathir Mohamad said that the US president should face the same 'sham' justice as Saddam.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 13:19 IST

United States President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are war criminals with more Iraqi blood on their hands than Saddam Hussein, former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.

Mahathir, one of the developing world's most strident and veteran critics of the West, launched a shrill attack on Bush and Blair, telling reporters at his Malaysian peace foundation that Bush should face the same "sham" justice as Saddam.

Saddam, ousted by the US-led invasion in March 2003, was hanged nine days ago for crimes against humanity for killing Shi'ites. Guards filmed and taunted Saddam on the gallows.

"He (Bush) should resign straight away and be tried by the same kangaroo court," Mahathir told a news conference called to promote a peace conference he is hosting in Malaysia next month.

The conference, 'Expose War Crimes: Criminalise War', will be accompanied by an exhibition on Western war crimes, including atrocities in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Vietnam and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, according to organisers.

It will also contain an interactive exhibit on torture in US custody at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and the Guantanamo Bay interrogation camp at a US base in Cuba.

Mahathir also branded Blair a war criminal. Blair backed the 2003 invasion with thousands of British troops.

"He is a culprit," the 81-year-old said. "He is as much a war criminal as he accuses Saddam of being a war criminal.

The number of people he kills or causes to be killed is very many more than the number of people that Saddam caused to be killed."

Saddam is accused of killing thousands of Shi'ites and Kurds in massacres inside Iraq, as well as starting an eight-year war with Iran that killed hundreds of thousands.

Since the 2003 invasion, up to about 6,400 Iraqi military personnel and up to about 58,500 Iraqi civilians have been killed by military action, as well as more than 3,000 US-led coalition personnel, according to some unofficial estimates.

Mahathir is no stranger to controversy.

The Malaysian premier and Bush crossed swords in 2003 over Mahathir's remarks that Jews controlled the world.

Mahathir has long been a critic of Western democracies, which he says offer too much freedom, including allowing homosexuality and same-sex marriages.

First Published: Jan 08, 2007 14:38 IST