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[casi] Was Saddam betrayed?

This is an article which repeats a story circulating
in the Arab world that Saddam was betrayed by his
closest commanders of the Republican Guard. It is
worth reading.


Sawt al-`Urouba
Lebanon. 14 April 2003

The Deal

Walid Rabbah, exclusive.

ONE day after the start of the war against Iraq
American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appeared
on American television screens to say something that
the press interpreted as some sort of American
propaganda. In reality, though, it was the basis for
what was later to take place.

Rumsfeld said that there had been communications
between the Americans and leaders in the Republican
Guard in Iraq. He said that the details could not be
disclosed now, but urged listeners to wait for coming

Three days later the American media played an audio
tape on which recorded voices could be heard speaking
in Arabic guiding American forces to important bombing
targets. The voices were translated immediately in the
headquarters of the American forces so that orders
could be issued accordingly.

In fact, Rumsfeld was not just talking at random.
There had been communications that took place in total
secrecy between the leaders of the Republican Guard
and the Commanders of Saddam's Fedayeen, unbeknownst
to the Iraqi leader and his son who was in charge of a
huge military organization that could have made life
hell for the American forces had they joined the

The communications grew in intensity after the
Republican Guard entered its first battle against the
American forces in the environs of Baghdad, and after
much of its equipment was destroyed. The Americans
could see that they were facing a force with high
military preparedness, one that was well trained and
could inflict tremendous losses on the American forces
whenever they tried to enter Baghdad.

The offer proposed by the American command in Iraq to
the Republican Guard and Saddam's Fedayeen was
generous. The offers were run past Secretary of
Defense Rumsfeld, who okayed them immediately. The
provided for:

 1. In return for not opposing American forces and for
laying down their weapons, the United States will give
the following:

* Transportation for the Republican Guards top echelon
to secure locations outside of Iraq,

* Transportation of the Republican Guards leaders of
the second echelon to "liberated" places of which the
Anglo-American forces had control inside Iraq,

* Granting to the top echelon of the Republican Guards
large sums of money, with lesser sums going to the
second echelon,

* Granting some of the leaders of the top echelon of
the Republican Guard, and to those who had not
committed "war crimes" official roles in "liberated"
Iraq after the end of the war,

* Granting American citizenship and residency in the
United States to some of the first echelon commanders
and their families, depending on their wishes,

* Establishing a balance between the Iraqi Opposition
that will have a limited role in the administration of
Iraq on the one hand, and Republican Guard commanders
who did not fight the American forces, on the other.

 2. As a guarantee of this (which the commanders of
the Republican Guard did not completely trust), the
United States disclosed some of its agents whom it had
planted among the "human shields" who were guiding the
American military to positions to be bombed and where
President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership
could be found. A brief meeting was held between one
of the agents serving as a "human shield" and some
members of the Republican Guard during which the
latter were handed official written documents
addressed to the first echelon of the Republican
Guard. These reassured the Republican Guard commanders
that the assurances were reliable. The documents
provided for:

* After the occupation of Saddam International
Airport, Republican Guards of the top echelon should
arrive at the airport so that they could be
transported away. If that proved impossible, a place
should be agreed upon where an Apache helicopter or
two could land somewhere near Baghdad in order to
transport them away.

* Some commanders of the second echelon should secure
themselves within the Iraqi Republican Palace adjacent
to the Airport. American forces would fire some shells
at it in order to announce that they had taken it,
then American forces would transfer them to the

* Orders should be issued to the commanders of the
Second Echelon of the Republican Guard not to resist
and to lay down their weapons, together with promises
of their safety, and that of their families, and they
would be transported to secure locations. In turn they
were to issue orders to those of lower rank in their
commands not to put up resistance. The Republican
Guard's first echelon used a deception to get lower
ranks to accept such an order by telling them that the
resistance would be carried on secretly in accordance
with a plan prepared by the Iraqi leadership to
protract the war and catch the American forces in a
trap that had been laid for them. This trick was used
on the lower ranking commanders of the Republican

* First and Second echelon commanders of the
Republican Guard would be given sums of money in
dollars as a down payment to guarantee the
implementation of the agreement.

Human Shields

>From the beginning, the heads of the American Central
Intelligence Agency followed a plan to use the work of
agents posing as "human shields." The CIA chiefs used
peace activists in America carefully and
systematically. They sent three groups of peace
activists to the region, and in particular into
Baghdad on the basis that that would be the place
where the decisive battle would be fought.

The deception worked with the Iraqi leaders who placed
different groups of human shields in important places
such as: factories and manufactories that had great
importance for the population. Storehouses of weapons
belonging to the Republican Guard were located inside
those factories and manufactories, and this fact was
openly acknowledged. But inside, hidden under ground,
there were huge stockpiles of weapons sufficient for
waging a resistance struggle for years. These were
ostensibly civilian installations but on the inside
were military. These included centers where rockets
were gathered for destruction under the UN supervised
program, while some of them were stored in underground
military storehouses.

The Iraqi measures, whereby they distributed the human
shields to vital locations, was in fact a trap set for
the Iraqis, for the human shields carried
difficult-to-detect delicate communication devices for
communicating with the American forces during the
bombing. It later became clear that these devices
played an outstanding role in pinpointing the
positions of Saddam and his leaders, as well as places
where weapons were being stored.

Occupation of the Airport

The occupation of Saddam International Airport was a
turning point inasmuch as it enabled the American
forces to carry out their entire plan as it had been
detailed in the documents that they had been given and
as they had been promised. The commanders of the
Republican Guard were reassured, in particular those
of the first echelon, that what the American forces
had promised them was the truth. The Republican Guard
commanders then provided complete information about
the various military positions around the airport and
inside of it. They also gave complete information
about the tunnels that extended from the Republican
Palace to inside the airport, tunnels that had been
built especially so that the Iraqi president could use
them should he ever be in danger. American forces
occupied these tunnels, unknown to any but the first
echelon of the Republican Guard.

On the second day after the occupation of the airport
Muhammad Sa`id as-Sahhaf assured the world that Saddam
International Airport was still in the hands of the
Iraqi forces. He based his assurances on a promise of
an "innovative and unusual" sort of response, as he
put it, when Iraqi fighters and Republican Guards
would sweep from the palace through the tunnels and on
towards the airport in a surprise attack on the
American forces occupying the airport. He did not know
even as he spoke that American forces had discovered
the location of those secure tunnels and that they
would confront the small numbers of Iraqis who were
sent there, under the leadership of third echelon
commanders of the Republican Guard, and who would find
the Americans waiting for them.

Time at that difficult juncture was golden. The
American forces saw that the road had opened up to
Baghdad, so they carried out two essential operations

The first operation: to introduce tanks to the
approaches of Baghdad from where they would penetrate
to the area of the Palestine Hotel, on condition that
they would not cross the bridge to the opposite bank.
This occurred after they were sure that orders had
been issued to the Republican Guard to disappear in
accordance with the "secret plan" to which the first
echelon commanders had already alerted their junior

The second operation: to prepare a military transport
plane of at least 200 seats to transport the first
echelon commanders of the Republican Guard and some
members of the second echelon to secure locations.

The orders given to the American soldiers who advanced
to secure a bridgehead for the rest of their forces
were as follows:

 First: attempt to silence the media that were
transmitting pictures of the places where the
breakthrough was occurring (this is what took place
when the offices of al-Jazeera TV, and the Abu Dhabi
TV station, were shelled) and to try to herd the
journalists into a place from which they could not
move, except by order of the coalition forces, or, to
be precise, the US Marines.

 Second: To cut communications and electricity off
from the area and to attempt to shell the little
electricity generators in the area in order to
completely knock out any means for transmission once
and for all.

 Third: To shell the satellite dishes on the roof of
the Palestine Hotel. It was here where the al-Jazeera
journalist Tariq Ayyoub was martyred.

 Fourth: To deal with the limited resistance in the
area of the bridge with small arms rather than with
artillery bombardment because some of the second
echelon the Republican Guard were too late to reach
the appointed meeting places in time and might
possibly have to reach the coalition forces by
crossing the Sanak Bridge.

Military Aircraft

Many first-echelon commanders of the Republican Guard
gathered at Saddam International Airport. They had to
wait eight more hours before the rest of the
commanders showed up. The American command found to
their surprise that the first echelon commanders of
Republican Guard forces had brought along with them
the top commander of Saddam's Fedayeen, a man who took
his orders directly from Saddam Hussein's son. This
convinced the American forces that they had put
Saddam's Fedayeen out of action along with the
Republican Guard. After that commander informed them
that had been attracted by the agreement reached with
the Republican Guard, and requested that he be
accorded the same terms that had been granted to the
Republican Guard, consent was granted immediately.

The American military aircraft took off from Saddam
International airport at 8:00 p.m. on the third day of
the occupation of the airport. Some sources in the
American command maintain that the plane flew directly
to the United States, via Germany. Others say that it
took them by way of Kuwait. What is certain, however,
is the fact that they left for the United States. At
the same time two helicopters were whisking the second
echelon commanders of the Republican Guard to Basra
where they were met by British forces.

The Fate of Saddam Hussein

Some American political sources maintain that those
secret communications between Republican Guard
commanders and the Americans took place according to
American instructions that were issued to the
Republican Guard leaders so as to prevent their being
detected. The most modern technology was used,
including tiny transmitter-receiver devices that had
been given to the Republican Guard Commanders in their
first meeting with the Human Shields. This is the
secret of how they kept Saddam Hussein in the dark
about their contacts.

The final task of the Republican Guard Commanders
gathered at the airport was to give the important
information about the location of the Iraqi president
and his leadership in what was to be their last
meeting in al-Mansour. This information enabled the
American forces to aim at the place where the meeting
was being held and strike it with guided missiles.
Most probably the Iraqi President and his leadership,
including his two sons, were killed in the
bombardment. None of the leadership was saved from
that attack except Muhammad Sa`id as-Sahhaf, the
Information Minister, whose whereabouts are still
unknown. He alone among the members of the leadership
was out of the area at the time of the attack, which
came shortly after he delivered a press statement in
front of the Palestine Hotel that day.

Saddam's Family

The American Authorities have kept quiet about the
whereabouts of Saddam's family, in particular the
women and children among them, although they know
where they are, and whether they are living or dead.
There are some reports that they are in Syria. Others
have said that they slipped away to Tikrit. In fact,
however, the American forces bombed the location where
the family was staying and were able to catch the
whole family together after they slipped away to the
place where the President's half-brother Barzan
at-Tikriti was staying. When his house near Baghdad
was bombed the family was wiped out.

A Final Word: This information was leaked by American
sources. Nevertheless, it should be more than 75
percent true because it originated with political and
not military personnel.

One question remains: Where did those mountains of
weapons go? Where did the forces who "melted away"
into the angry Iraqi population go?

The Marines did discover vast storehouses of weapons
that could have been used by the Republican Guard --
though they were in fact never used -- heavy weapons,
light weapons in a huge store room in Baghdad.
American forces are keeping that quiet -- which is a
further indication of the proof of what we have said.

But one major question remains open. If they did not
find the bodies of Saddam, his leaders and his two
sons, the matter remains a source of embarrassment.
Coming weeks will no doubt provide us much more

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