Arab states reported plotting coup in Iraq


Arab states are attempting to orchestrate a coup against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in an effort to avert a destabilising war in the region, a US magazine reports.

Timemagazine says Saudi Arabia is heading a group of countries actively working to convince Iraqi generals to overthrow Saddam.

"Riyadh fears that war in Iraq could lead to chaos, civil war among ethnic factions and military incursions by neighbors like Turkey and Iran," the magazine reports.

"They see a coup as offering a better chance of maintaining order and preserving state institutions necessary for providing public services such as security, health care, electricity and water," it said.

The magazine says both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul met this week with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, to discuss the plan.

Saudi officials would not confirm the discussions, with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal saying only that Arab states want to try diplomacy before war.