Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, yesterday called Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a liar whose invasion of Kuwait betrayed the cause of Arab unity and forced Saudi King Fahd to call on the United States and other friendly states to prevent further Iraqi aggression.

"It is very difficult for us to take the word of the Iraqis, period, now," Bandar, a nephew of the king and the son of Prince Sultan, the Saudi defense minister, said in an interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Post.

"Everything they have told us, they lied to us. President Saddam told the king of Saudi Arabia that he will not attack us or use military force against Kuwait. He told King Hussein {of Jordan} that personally. He told {Egyptian President Hosni} Mubarak personally, and he told President Bush and {Soviet President Mikhail} Gorbachev through emissaries that he would not attack -- and he did. . . . He said he will not move his troops south against my country, and he did."

That left Saudi Arabia with no option except to seek outside aid, Bandar continued. "King Fahd was not willing or ready to gamble with the lives and the property and sovereignty of the Saudi Arabian people, and we did what we thought was right to ask our friends and brothers around the world to come and help us -- to stop him continuing his aggression against us."

In the midst of the interview, Bandar received word that 12 of the 20 Arab League members meeting in Cairo had agreed to send troops to help defend Saudi Arabia and impose economic sanctions against Iraq.

"Fantastic!" he exclaimed in delight. "Bingo. Now when people talk about us selling out the Arab world or working with imperialism, we can say 12 Arab countries have decided what we did was right and what the other guy did was wrong. I think this vindicates our position. It vindicates the {U.S.} position too."

Bandar said he believes other Arab leaders feel that Saddam's grab for Kuwait's oil riches and his subsequent attempt to justify it as a step toward reuniting the "Arab nation" made a mockery of the Arab world's attempts at unity and its pursuit of support in the international community for such Arab interests as a homeland for the Palestinians.

"He has defeated all the Arab causes that we were fighting for years," Bandar said. "He took them totally out of the map of the world's interests. How can we be credible when we tell the Israelis you are wrong to occupy other people's land by force but it's okay for Saddam Hussein to occupy our brothers' lands by force?"

"There is no way now that we can repair the damage he {Saddam} has done unless he goes back to the {pre-invasion} situation," he continued. "A wrong has been done, and that must be righted. A whole nation, a whole people have been raped by the Iraqis, and we see ourselves now almost in a replay of the 1930s."

Asked for the Saudi view on a solution, he said: "We don't think there is a fair and honorable settlement short of withdrawals from Kuwait and the legitimate government going back, and then they can negotiate their problems like civilized people do."

In response to questions about whether the Saudi proposals mean that deposed emir Jabir Ahmed Sabah and his family should resume their rule of Kuwait, Bandar replied: "Yes we do. Because we don't believe anybody has the right to dictate to people from outside by force who should lead them. . . . The people of Kuwait have a right to decide whatever they want. It is nobody else's business. But the biggest testimony about that ruling family is that when the invasion took place, the invaders could not find eight people to come and say we are the new government."

Bandar predicted that the next few days will see forces from several Arab countries and Europe joining the U.S. troops now pouring into his country. But he refused for security reasons to discuss what countries might be involved or the nature of the forces they will contribute.

He said the command structure for the military buildup now taking place in Saudi Arabia will be announced shortly, and he added, "All these forces are coming at the invitation of the kingdom. All forces that have come or are committed to come have agreed with us that they will leave either when the mission is finished or when we ask them to leave."