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Evidence Syria helping Saddam backers flee - US
Reuters | 4/09/03 | Charles Aldinger

Posted on 04/09/2003 3:42:44 PM PDT by kattracks

Evidence Syria helping Saddam backers flee - US

By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it had evidence that Iraq's western neighbor Syria might be helping family members and supporters of missing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein flee the country.

"We are getting scraps of intelligence saying that Syria has been cooperative in facilitating the move of the people out of Iraq and into Syria," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference as triumphant American military forces were greeted by jubilant Iraqis in Baghdad.

"Then, in some cases they stay there and find safekeeping there. In other cases, they move from Syria to some other places," Rumsfeld said when asked by reporters where supporters of Saddam had gone from Baghdad and elsewhere.

He later told reporters after a congressional appearance that those fleeing into Syria included Saddam's supporters and "some family members."

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said scraps of intelligence showed "they're trying to move some of their family members out."

Rumsfeld later cautioned that he was not talking about "very senior, senior people" fleeing to Syria.

"We mentioned senior people that had transited Iraq into Syria and in some cases then into other countries. I did not mean to leave the impression that these were some senior people that you'd ever heard of. These were regime-type people who ... intelligence scraps suggest have been transiting in that direction," Rumsfeld said.

The secretary also repeated earlier U.S. charges that Syria had facilitated the movement of military equipment and people into Iraq to help fight U.S.-led forces that launched an invasion to overthrow Saddam nearly three weeks ago.

Syria, which has called for the defeat of U.S. and British forces by Iraq, earlier dismissed the charges that it allowed night vision equipment and other military aid into Iraq.

Rumsfeld said he did not know the whereabouts of Saddam, who with his two sons have been targeted by U.S. bombing raids including one earlier this week.

'IN SOME TUNNEL SOMEPLACE'

"He's not active. Therefore, he's either dead or he's incapacitated, or he's healthy and cowering in some tunnel someplace trying to avoid being caught," the secretary told reporters.

But Rumsfeld said the end of Saddam's rule was at hand, calling the scenes of jubilation, of celebrating Iraqis riding on American tanks, in Baghdad "breathtaking."

"Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators, and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom," he said.

The secretary said the U.S. government was offering rewards to Iraqis to come forward with information on chemical and biological weapons and on alleged atrocities committed by Saddam's government.

"Rewards are available to those who help us prevent the disappearance of personnel, documentation and materials. Good lives and a better future are possible for those who turn themselves in and choose to cooperate with coalition forces," he said.

Washington says Baghdad has been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, a charge denied by Saddam's government.

Rumsfeld did not provide details of the rewards except to suggest that those who provided information would receive amnesty for any previous cooperation with Saddam.

Rumsfeld and Myers hailed the progress of U.S.-led forces. But they warned that fighting in Iraq, including the northern part of the country, was not over.

"The scenes of free Iraqis celebrating in the streets, riding American tanks, tearing down the statues of Saddam Hussein in the center of Baghdad are breathtaking," said Rumsfeld. "Watching them, one cannot help but think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

(With additional reporting by Deborah Charles)

04/09/03 18:38 ET


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 04/09/2003 3:42:44 PM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks
Step No. 1: Get their addresses.
Step No. 2: Give them to the Israelis.
Step No. 3: Step back and watch.
2 posted on 04/09/2003 3:44:01 PM PDT by Mister Magoo
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To: All

"It's Time to Pony Up".


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3 posted on 04/09/2003 3:46:03 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Mister Magoo
Took the words right out of my brain.
4 posted on 04/09/2003 3:48:35 PM PDT by liberty or death
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Let's hear if for Donald BUMPsfeld:

"Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators, and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom."

5 posted on 04/09/2003 3:51:20 PM PDT by adam_az
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To: kattracks
I can't help but wonder how well this will work for them.

People used to having the kind of power that they had typically do not make very appreciative housegeusts.
6 posted on 04/09/2003 3:54:02 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: adam_az
He also shares one other important similarity with the other failed dictators: They're all dead.
7 posted on 04/09/2003 3:58:02 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: kattracks
Last night, one of the Generals on FOX said the Mossad is traking a TON of Iraqui generals and Baathists who have fled to Latakia, Syria
8 posted on 04/09/2003 4:44:03 PM PDT by jbstrick (Behold the Power of CHEESE!)
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To: kattracks
Syria doesn't understand the English meaning of the word "NEXT" obviously.

V


9 posted on 04/09/2003 4:45:26 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Oh the quagmire of it all....)
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To: jbstrick; All
Thanks for the info! I've been wondering how we'll be able to get our hands on these guys and also do we know where they've kept Hussein's "stuff" that he sold them? Anybody know? Thanks.
10 posted on 04/09/2003 5:00:54 PM PDT by Lady In Blue (Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld,Rice 2004)
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To: Beck_isright

Actually, we want this to happen.

Remember that it is always best to give a cornered rat an out to his obscurity. Saddam is probably dead, along with his sons. So we need not lean on Damascus directly. However, should the Boy President decide to give shelter to his wayward Ba'athist cousins, it should not bother us. They will dwell in an obscure exile as their liberated countrymen, out from under the boot at long last, advance with a measure of freedom towards what Mr. Churchill called, "the broad, sunlit uplands".

Be Seeing You,

Chris

11 posted on 04/09/2003 5:05:46 PM PDT by section9 (You will all be shot unless you download the Saddam screensaver...)
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To: Mister Magoo
Why do the Israelis want them?

Israel wants US to do THEIR dirty work. They don't care to do ours.
12 posted on 04/09/2003 5:32:07 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: section9
Agreed. I can see a large amount of evidence "suddenly" appearing about the terrorist links and WMD programs in Damascus in the next 6 months. We would never launch another offensive until October at the earliest.

V


13 posted on 04/09/2003 5:36:48 PM PDT by Beck_isright (Oh the quagmire of it all....)
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To: kattracks
And yet we refuse to do anything about it but talk about how we don't like it.
14 posted on 04/09/2003 6:01:34 PM PDT by yonif
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To: kattracks
Just as Iraq had ample chances to be removed from "Axis of Evil" status through peaceful means, so does Syria have the CHOICE about what status she shall acquire.

My betting position, at this time, is that Syria replaces Iraq.

I suspect the equipment now in Iraq needs a lot of maintenance. Leave much of it in place, pull maintenance, even if the majority of troops are redeployed elsewhere.

Then if a need arises in the region, it is as simple as bringing the people, fire up the motors, etc.

A strategy and tactic along those lines, would keep Syria, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia on their toes (to the extent that their "humiliation" allows rational thought).
15 posted on 04/09/2003 6:22:00 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: kattracks
BREAKING !! Syria / US Troops in Major firefight, Israel tanks rolling into Palestine, Cruise Missiles reportedly stike North Korea
16 posted on 04/09/2003 6:30:11 PM PDT by Scythian
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To: kattracks
"The scenes of free Iraqis celebrating in the streets, riding American tanks, tearing down the statues of Saddam Hussein in the center of Baghdad are breathtaking," said Rumsfeld. "Watching them, one cannot help but think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Watching them, I cannot help but think how sad that the Tiennaman Square guy stopping tanks didn't get his wish.

17 posted on 04/09/2003 6:37:17 PM PDT by FreeReign (V5.0 Enterprise Edition)
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To: Scythian
BREAKING !! Syria / US Troops in Major firefight, Israel tanks rolling into Palestine, Cruise Missiles reportedly stike North Korea

Breaking!! Collins and Snowe renounce their moderate ways paving the way for spending reductions.

18 posted on 04/09/2003 6:41:06 PM PDT by FreeReign (V5.0 Enterprise Edition)
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To: Illbay
Why do the Israelis want them? Israel wants US to do THEIR dirty work. They don't care to do ours. I don't think so. I think that Israel participated in this war in many ways (including helping the American soldiers learn urban combat techniques and sharing intelligence. Israel would have done more, except that the US State Department prohibited this for geopolitical reasons (i.e., not to offend the Arab countries that we still regard as allies)
19 posted on 04/09/2003 6:43:30 PM PDT by Piranha
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To: Illbay
Israel wants US to do THEIR dirty work. They don't care to do ours.

Israel should take care of itself. We should approve of that.

20 posted on 04/09/2003 7:01:19 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Open the pod bay door HAL.)
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To: section9
Remember that it is always best to give a cornered rat an out to his obscurity.

I agree with giving them an "out" to prevent urban warfare. But they should be hunted down and "dealt with" anyway. The historical record must show that all of these monsters were destroyed without mercy.

21 posted on 04/09/2003 7:05:49 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Open the pod bay door HAL.)
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To: FreeReign
BREAKING !! Syria / US Troops in Major firefight, Israel tanks rolling into Palestine, Cruise Missiles reportedly stike North Korea

Breaking!! Collins and Snowe renounce their moderate ways paving the way for spending reductions.

I am more inclined to believe that the former is true.

22 posted on 04/09/2003 7:16:11 PM PDT by CatOwner
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To: section9; Poohbah
Unless the Syrians decide to set up a government-in-exile, and claim that the elected government of liberated Iraq is illegitimate and illegal.

If they and the French go that route, then there could be a lot of trouble.
23 posted on 04/09/2003 7:31:16 PM PDT by hchutch ("But tonight we get EVEN!" - Ice-T)
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To: Mister Magoo
well now... I suppose the difficulties between Israel and Syria are THEIR business.

I'm sure the liberals would agree.

ROTFL
24 posted on 04/09/2003 10:32:18 PM PDT by bonesmccoy (Defeat the terrorists... Vaccinate!)
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
I do approve of that.
25 posted on 04/10/2003 4:36:01 AM PDT by Illbay
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To: El Sordo
People used to having the kind of power that they had typically do not make very appreciative housegeusts.

Good point! When Jordan, Syria and Lebanon made Arafat a house guest, it cost them tens of thousands of lives each time. The Boy-King did not study history I guess. Two years from now, who will be the rulers of Syria, the Baath party or the Boy King? Any bets?

26 posted on 04/10/2003 5:22:51 AM PDT by American in Israel (Right beats wrong)
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To: kattracks
Rumsfeld, the Sultan of SWAT!
27 posted on 04/10/2003 8:43:41 AM PDT by Darksheare (Nox aeternus en pax.)
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