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Friday, October 28, 2005

Did Saddam offer a deal? 

This explosive story raises a lot of interesting questions:
Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had secretly accepted a last-minute plan to go into exile to avert the 2003 Iraq war, but Arab leaders shot the proposal down, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.

UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit just weeks before the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.

Not only did the Arab League pass up a chance to prevent the war, but Hosni Mubarak apparently claims that the United States was receptive to the proposal.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak says in the documentary that the United States had signaled its support for the proposal.

Suppose, for a moment, that this story is true, or substantially so. Why would the Arab League turn down an exile deal that might have averted war?

Unanswered in Reuters' account of the exile story is -- say it ain't so -- the plan for governing Iraq after the removal of its totalitarian head. Perhaps the Arab League decided that if it had to suffer an Iraq without Saddam at its head, it would prefer that the United States be there to cope with the mess. Perhaps the leaders of the Arab world judged that it was more likely that post-Saddam Iraq would implode without American intervention than as a result of it.

Or, perhaps they wanted Saddam gone even more than George W. Bush did, even if there was no possibility of admitting as much to the Arab "street."

Mubarak's testimony is also interesting for what it suggests about the United States. It is hard to imagine why Mubarak would lie about such a thing, so if the account of his interview is true it shatters at least one canard of the anti-war faction: that the Bush administration was hell bent on war, one way or the other.

This story redefines the war. It will be interesting to see whether the American press investigates it with the zeal that it covers, say, any random car bomb in Haditha.

6 Comments:

By Anonymous Adam Graham, at Sat Oct 29, 12:15:00 PM:

Wait a second, hold on. The Bush Administration was rushing to war. Don't confuse the liberals with the facts.  

By Blogger John B. Chilton, at Sun Oct 30, 06:12:00 AM:

WAM, a news organ of the UAE government, quotes approvingly from an editorial in today's Gulf News which takes the view that the Arab League has a second chance with Syria.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 30, 07:17:00 AM:

No they're not going to pick it up. In the nearly same story the next day the line was changed from the US approved of the proposal to the US was aware of the proposal... the first apparently didn't fit the conventional wisdom.

" The documentary also included an interview from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, who said the United States was aware of the proposal. "

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051029/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_saddam_exile;_ylt=AtSLIjRCvUwQJvIzi.kqfVSs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ  

By Blogger Screwy Hoolie, at Mon Oct 31, 12:00:00 AM:

It's charming that some still hold on to the idea that Bush and the neocons, who had planned the fall of Iraq since well before Bush became President, would have desperately loved to avert an American controlled, American staffed, American managed invasion.

Let's say that the Arab League sabotaged any effort to move Saddam into exile. Who else might have had an interest in seeing a defiant mustachioed enemy waving a rifle from the palace steps? The same cabal who have been planning to transform the middle east since the heady days of Reagan. There was too too much at stake to remove American fingerprints from this project.

You bet that Mubarak said the U.S. was aware of the proposal, but there's no reason to believe that the U.S. wanted him exiled. That would have left those who had waited their whole lives for this moment standing with their PNACs in their hands, as another strongman moved into Iraq's leadership. Not that Ahmed Chalabi is any better, but at least he's our kind of thug.

More confirmation and some back story before we let your wishes be facts.  

By Blogger Seixon, at Mon Oct 31, 12:47:00 PM:

I don't care who had a proposal for what, that doesn't matter. What matters is: did Saddam Hussein want to go along with this proposal?

If he didn't, or if he was never told of it, why are we even talking about it?

I think it is fairly obvious to everyone that Saddam wasn't going to go into exile, no matter who was offering it to him.

The way I am reading this, it sounds like the UAE's president came up with the proposal, put it to the Arab League, they shot it down, and that was that.

Have any of the captured Iraqi officials corroborated that Saddam had accepted this deal?

I just don't understand how the Arab League could have proposed something to Saddam before they even voted over it, no less, rejected it.

Feel free to change my mind!  

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