The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Today's USA Today (largest circulation national daily in the U.S.) leads with this story of an effort to force Saddam into exile. === http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-09-25-iraq-qatar_x.htm Saddam resists a push into exile By John Diamond, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — The United States and some of its Arab allies have begun a quiet effort to defuse the Iraq crisis by persuading Saddam Hussein to yield power and go into exile. An initial overture came in August, when Qatar's foreign minister suggested to Saddam that he consider stepping down to avoid a devastating war with the United States. Saddam angrily told the Qatari diplomat to leave, according to three Arab diplomats. The feeler was part of a strategy to see whether Saddam, faced with defeat and possible death in a U.S. invasion, would follow other dictators who have fled crisis and gone into exile. It is unclear whether the United States or Arab states initiated the Qatari overture. Administration officials made clear this week that they could accept such an outcome as an alternative to war, but the administration does not want to appear to be the originator of the idea, for fear that it would kill any chance Saddam would accept. A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that although continued freedom for Saddam is contrary to official U.S. policy, "it's a scenario we have to come to terms with." He said the Unites States still would have to deal with elements of Saddam's regime that might remain in Iraq. The White House has said it wants Saddam ousted and tried for war crimes, such as using chemical weapons on his own people. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said earlier this month that "the world would be a better place if (Saddam) decided it was in his best interests to take his family and leave." Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad al-Thani met with Saddam in late August. The minister told reporters afterward that the purpose of the meeting was to avoid "catastrophe," meaning a U.S. attack on Iraq. Three Arab diplomats familiar with the meeting said that in oblique language, al-Thani discussed ways to avoid conflict with the United States. He urged Saddam to abide by United Nations sanctions, warned of the buildup of U.S. forces in Qatar and raised the idea of a decision by Saddam to yield power as a way out. A spokesman for Qatar's embassy in Washington said al-Thani would have no comment on these accounts. A European diplomat said Arab states are quietly discussing how to press the issue with Saddam and are exploring possible havens for his exile. Floating the exile idea is attractive to Washington because it might reduce Saddam's sense of desperation, a concern among Pentagon officials worried that he would unleash a chemical or biological attack if he believed his regime faced imminent destruction by U.S. forces. It could also avoid a bloody and politically costly war. Arab allies are drawn to the exile scenario because it is a way for them to avoid supporting U.S. war efforts against another Muslim country. Iraq expert Judith Yaphe, a former CIA analyst now doing research at the National Defense University, said it would be "totally out of character" for Saddam to accept exile. The Iraqi leader regards survival and his continued hold on power as inextricably linked, she said. Moreover, Saddam could not be sure that he would last long in exile given his long list of enemies. --- Some diplomats are hoping Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will relinquish power voluntarily. Other dictators who have gone into exile: Idi Amin, 77 (Uganda): Reportedly responsible for 300,000 political killings, Amin fled to Saudi Arabia in 1979, where he has lived extravagantly on the Red Sea in Jiddah. His family has been campaigning for his return to Uganda. Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, 51 (Haiti): Accused of an estimated 60,000 political killings, Duvalier departed in 1986 for France, which agreed to take him to aid democracy in Haiti. Living in Paris on handouts, he is a largely forgotten figure. Hissene Habre, 60 (Chad): Accused of killing 40,000 and torturing 200,000 more during his eight-year rule, he fled to Senegal in 1990, where he has maintained a low profile, living outside the capital of Dakar. Senegal has offered to extradite him to a third country to face charges if a fair trial can be assured. Mengistu Haile Mariam, 65 (Ethiopia): Accused of killing 200,000 while millions more died from starvation and civil war during his 17-year rule, he fled in 1991 to Zimbabwe. He lives in Harare, but a 1995 assassination attempt has curtailed his public life. Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, 89 (Paraguay): Stroessner overthrew the government in 1954 and was elected president without opposition. He fled to Brazil in 1989 after a coup ended his 35-year dictatorship. He now lives quietly in a mansion outside the capital of Brasilia and is rarely seen. Source: USA TODAY research _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk