Skip to comments.UAE Says Saddam Agreed to Exile Before War
Posted on 10/30/2005 7:20:40 AM PST by Valin
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Saddam Hussein accepted an 11th-hour offer to flee into exile weeks ahead of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion, but Arab League officials scuttled the proposal, officials in this Gulf state claimed. The exile initiative was spearheaded by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at an emergency Arab summit held in Egypt in February 2003, Sheik Zayed's son said in an interview aired by Al-Arabiya TV during a documentary. The U.S.-led coalition invaded on March 19 that year. A top government official confirmed the offer on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Saddam allegedly accepted the offer to try halt the invasion and bring elections to Iraq within six months, claimed the official and Sheik Zayed's son. "We had the final acceptance of the various parties ... the main players in the world and the concerned person, Saddam Hussein," the son, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said during the program aired Thursday to mark the first anniversary of his father's death.
Sheik Zayed's initiative would have given Saddam and his family exile and guarantees against prosecution in return for letting Arab League and U.N. experts run Iraq until elections could be held in six months, the official said. "We were coming (to the summit in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort) to place the facts on the table," said Sheik Mohammed, who is deputy chief of the Emirates armed forces and crown prince of Abu Dhabi. "The results would have emerged if the initiative was presented and discussed. This is now history."
The anonymous Emirates official said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa did not bring the proposal to the summit's discussion because Arab foreign ministers had not presented and accepted it as league protocol dictated. At the time, Arab League leaders said the summit decided not to take up the idea, citing league rules barring interference in members' domestic affairs.
It was not immediately possible to verify the Emirates claims that their offer had been accepted by Saddam, who is being held in U.S. military custody in Iraq and his facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity. Officials from the Egypt-based 22-member Arab League declined to comment.
But at the 2003 summit, the Iraqi delegation rejected the Emirates proposal, while Iraq's former U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Al-Douri, said Saddam was not going anywhere. The Al-Arabiya documentary claimed Iraqi officials had dismissed the idea because they did not know Saddam had accepted it. Saddam himself remained defiant ahead of the U.S.-led onslaught and hid in Iraq until being captured in December 2003. The speculation over Saddam's acceptance of the offer comes three years after the start of the Iraqi war. The documentary also included an interview from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, who said the United States was aware of the proposal.
In a January 2004 interview with British Channel 4 TV, ex-Lebanese President Amin Gemayel said Saddam had rejected calls to leave Iraq and end the 2003 standoff with the United States. Gemayel mediated between Saddam and the Bush administration. One country that came up in the exile discussions was Belarus, but the Emirates official said some governments balked at offering sanctuary to Saddam's notorious sons, Odai and Qusai. Almost all the Arab League's member states are Sunni Muslim-majority nations and the pan-Arab body has kept Iraq at arm's length since the U.S.-led invasion, which most of its members opposed.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
Just goes to show you what all of us last born (read: The baby of the family) have learned. If you don't clean up your own mess, someone bigger and more responsible will eventually come along and do it for you.
Saddam did not believe that an invasion would take place based on the assurances that France and Germany were giving him. He figured that the U.S. military buildup was a big bluff and that we wouldn't invade as long as he stood tough. Saddam thought wrong, underestimated U.S. resolve, and thought that France and Germany had more influence than they did.
Of course, I'm sure the clowns over at DU will believe this.
Your first line was sufficient.
> At the time, Arab League leaders said the summit decided
> not to take up the idea, citing league rules barring
> interference in members' domestic affairs.
Right, sure. They recognized the dangers posed by a
living Saddam being at large. They didn't want to
enable that then, and they don't now.
This is mere retrospective "don't blame us" weaseling.
They can strut and bluster in front of the cage holding
Saddam, feeling confident that he'll not escape it.
The Russians met with Saddam in the days leading up to the war and offered to give him refuge in Moscow.
Yevgeny Primakov (one-time Russia Prime Minister who had long-standing ties with Saddam and Iraq) was asked by Putin to meet with Saddam and make the offer.
Primakov said Saddam just laughed, slapped him on the shoulder and walked out of the room.
If he accepted, why was he still in Baghdad when the war began?
Because just like his allies the UN, DemoncRATs, and the MSM, he didn't believe until our tanks were entering Baghdad that President Bush would really order an invasion.
I could believe it.
For these reasons.
(1) Sadaam was always interested most in power and survival.
(2) GWB, Powell, Rumsfield, Franks et al were wrong not to have devoured earlier biographies and histories of Sadaam and his rise to power - devoured them. In the last power-grab from which he finalized his dictatorship, he did exactly what he did after the latest invasion - while in power set up an internal network that could survive a complete loss of power and come back as an insurgency. If this had been a dominant expectation, then there were enough signals along the road from Kuwait to Baghdad to realize that this is what Sadaam was doing.
(3) He could pull off the same thing from "exile".
(4) His "network" would remain and work through an Arab-League/UN conducted series of elections, and include crucial assassinations along the way, hoping to bring themselves to a stage of power where "the people" would invite Sadaam back.
So, I think the idea is one that could have been put to and accepted by Sadaam.
The "exile", from his point of view did not need to be orchestrated, approved or offered by the Arab League or its member states. He could have gone into exile in any country that would take him, like France for instance.
So, maybe Sadaam never took the idea for his own, or maybe he believed, as others have said, that the exile idea was not needed; the US would not invade, Chirac would save him.