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Iraq said on Wednesday it was not intimidated by U.S. threats of military force over Iraqi defectors in Jordan and dismissed U.S. reinforcements in the region as "cowboy" policies.

U.S. defense officials said on Tuesday they were keeping one aircraft carrier longer than planned in the Persian Gulf and sending another to the eastern Mediterranean to deal with possible Iraqi threats to Jordan following the Iraqi defections last week.But Nouri al-Marsoumi, senior undersecretary at Iraq's culture and information ministry, delivered a scathing attack.

"America should distance itself from the morals and policy of cowboys as evident in Western films . . . the use of the whip may be useful with individuals but not with nations and countries which possess means to respond," he said in a front-page article in the official al-Iraq newspaper.

"The time has come for the American administration to learn from its desperate lessons of the past that the revolution led by Saddam Hussein . . . was born to stay," Marsoumi added.

Marsoumi said the fleeing of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, who ran Iraq's military and civil industries, was "an ordinary and individual incident the like of which occured several times in history of nations and countries."

Hussein Kamel and his brother Saddam Kamel, escaped to Jordan last week with their wives, both daughters of Saddam, accompanied by a group of aides.

Jordanian officials have said Iraq might send hit squads or use radical Palestinians in Jordan to retaliate over the defections. But Iraqi officials have played down the affair, saying Baghdad's ties with Amman would not change.


Additional Information

`Wife not in Jordan'

Jordanian officials and Iraqi diplomats Wednesday denied that Saddam Hussein's wife had come to Jordan to try to persuade her two defector-daughters to return home.

Rumors have been circulating for days that Sajida Hussein, the Iraqi leader's first wife, was on a secret visit seeking to meet her daughters, who arrived in Jordan on Aug. 8 after fleeing Iraq with their high-ranking husbands. All were given sanctuary by King Hussein.

Senior Jordanian government officials and Iraqi diplomats contacted by The Associated Press said the rumors were false.