Journalists, inspectors told to leave Baghdad

Saddam Hussein has warned that Iraq can fight the U.S. anywhere in the world, as the U.S. advises UN weapons inspectors to get out of Iraq

The weapons inspection process in Iraq is over. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Monday all UN staff would leave Iraq.

U.S. television networks are also pulling most of their workers out of Baghdad amid fears war is imminent.

ABC and NBC have told all their reporters to leave the city, while CNN and CBS are reducing their Baghdad contingents.

Crews working for the Fox News Channel were kicked out by the Iraqi government last month.

In the past week, the number of foreign journalists in Baghdad has shrunk from 450 to about 300.

Annan announced his decision to remove all UN workers from Iraq a few hours after the United States and Britain decided not to put a resolution authorizing war to a vote in the Security Council.

Reports out of Baghdad earlier Monday suggested UN inspectors will begin their rush for the border on Tuesday morning.

The United States said on Monday that UN weapons inspectors should get out of Baghdad, the head of the UN's nuclear agency, Mohammed ElBaradei said.

"I was advised by the United States government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad," ElBaradei said. Similar advice has been given to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

So far, only the nuclear inspectors have said they would leave. The other inspectors are awaiting word from the Security Council.

The decision to bring the inspectors out of the country is up to the Security Council. Five of the inspectors' eight helicopters were flown out of the country on Sunday after an insurance company cancelled their coverage.

Iraqi citizens have started lining up to buy gasoline, water and canned food.

On Monday, Saddam called Sunday's meeting of the American, British and Spanish leaders in the Azores a "summit of outlaws."

U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar met on the mid-Atlantic Portuguese islands to plan their last day of diplomatic efforts in the Iraqi crisis.

Bush repeatedly suggested that the only way for Iraq to avoid conflict would be for Saddam to go into exile.

"Saddam Hussein can leave the country if he's interested in peace," Bush said. "You see, the decision is his to make. It's been his to make all along as to whether or not there's use of the military."

Experts who have followed Saddam's career say he's unlikely to choose that option, even if it means saving his own life, avoiding a war or preserving power for his Baath Party.

Amatzia Baram, an academic studying Saddam, said the Iraqi leader would prefer to go down as an Arab martyr.

"Think about his self-image," Baram said. "In one of his speeches he said, 'I want Arab children 1,000 years from now to remember what we have done.'