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Hussein, WMDs, the French, and the Russians

Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
A very interesting article was published today. I'm not looking at turning this into a debate, but the article does raise some interesting questions.
Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) refused to order a counterattack against U.S. troops when war erupted in March because he misjudged the initial ground thrust as a ruse and had been convinced earlier by Russian and French contacts that he could avoid or survive a land invasion, former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has told interrogators, according to U.S. officials.

Among the interrogators' questions: If Hussein did not have chemical or biological weapons, why did he fail to disabuse U.S. and other intelligence services of their convictions that he did? Why did he also allow U.N. inspectors to conclude that he was being deceptive?

In early weeks, said officials involved, generals and intelligence officers close to Hussein typically blamed their government's poor record-keeping for arousing suspicions in Washington and at the United Nations (news - web sites), repeating a defense used by Iraqi spokesmen during years of cat-and-mouse struggles with weapons inspectors.

More recently, however, several high-ranking detainees have said they believe that Hussein was afraid to lose face with his Arab neighbors. Hussein concluded, these prisoners explained, that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and other countries paid him deference because they feared he had weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was unwilling to reveal that his cupboard was essentially bare, these detainees said, according to accounts from officials.

In separate interviews with The Post, several former high-ranking Iraqi generals not held in detention offered similar views. Hussein "had an inferiority complex," said Maj. Gen. Walid Mohammed Taiee, 62, chief of army logistics as the war approached earlier this year. "From a military point of view, if you did have a special weapon, you should keep it secret to achieve tactical surprise. . . . But he wanted the whole region to look at him as a grand leader. And during the period when the Americans were massing troops in Kuwait, he wanted to deter the prospect of war."

Aziz's extensive interrogations -- eased by a U.S. decision to quietly remove his family from Iraq to safe exile in a country that American officials would not name -- paint Hussein on the eve of war as a distracted, distrustful despot who was confused, among other things, by his meetings with Russian and French intermediaries. Aziz said Hussein emerged from these diplomatic sessions -- some secret at the time -- convinced that he might yet avoid a war that would end his regime, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Aziz has told interrogators that French and Russian intermediaries repeatedly assured Hussein during late 2002 and early this year that they would block a U.S.-led war through delays and vetoes at the U.N. Security Council. Later, according to Aziz, Hussein concluded after private talks with French and Russian contacts that the United States would probably wage a long air war first, as it had done in previous conflicts. By hunkering down and putting up a stiff defense, he might buy enough time to win a cease-fire brokered by Paris and Moscow.

In any event, Hussein emerged from these contacts convinced that Washington would not launch an immediate invasion of Iraq, according to Aziz, as U.S. officials described his statements. Even as U.S. and British forces massed on the Kuwaiti border, Hussein was so sure of himself, Aziz reportedly said, that he refused to order an immediate military response when he heard reports that American ground forces were pouring into Iraq, concluding that the crossing was some sort of feint.
Taiee, one of the former major generals interviewed by The Post, agreed that Hussein had "not expected a war." The Iraqi president had concluded that "there would be bombardment as in '98 and the regime would continue and he would be a hero. Then, in case war did happen, these promises he had received from the French and Russians -- plus the resistance he thought the army would put up, not knowing that they would go home -- this would be enough to win a cease-fire and a settlement."

American and British interrogators have asked dozens of generals who served in high-ranking command roles in Iraqi army divisions during this year -- some imprisoned, some living freely -- why Hussein did not use chemical weapons to defend Baghdad. A number of these generals have said that they, too, believed chemical weapons would be deployed by Hussein for the capital's defense. Yet none of the officers admitted receiving such weapons himself.
"The only consistent pattern we've gotten -- 100 percent consistent -- is that each commander says, 'My unit didn't have WMD, but the one to my right or left did,' " said the senior U.S. official involved. This has led some American interrogators to theorize that Hussein may have bluffed not only neighboring governments and the United States, but his own restive generals.

The investigators' most significant new discovery over the last month, officials said, was that Hussein made a secret deal to purchase Nodong missiles from North Korea, in addition to a previously reported clandestine deal to buy North Korean missile parts between 1999 and 2002.

[ November 03, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
1. I do not read Yahoo news, so why do you post them here?
2. Couldn't you find something more interesting, ah? I mean, really.
3. You cannot post quotes, a link is more than enough.
Sorry, Jason, I am just too pissed (not at you).
--------------------
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Uncontrolled vocabularies
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Richard Hawkes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 1340
Just read the whole article:
- The West (as a whole) really needs to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis. F grade at the most.
- Saddam really was his own worst enemy. Missile envy is no joke.
- Who says the French and Russians were useless! Their alleged advice gave the coalition a relatively trouble-free ride into Iraq - the ultimate good-cop/bad-cop routine.
- Containment policies and other pressures do seem to have been effective in halting missile shipments to Iraq from N Korea. Hmmm.
- The only politically correct reasons remaining for a non-UN sanctioned occupation of Iraq are the successful removal of a psycho and (maybe, just maybe) the (bloody) birth of a democracy. However, all that money and/or firepower could have been better used. The world isn't a safer place after Gulf War 2. Of course all the bad reasons for invading Iraq still apply.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
- Who says the French and Russians were useless! Their alleged advice gave the coalition a relatively trouble-free ride into Iraq - the ultimate good-cop/bad-cop routine.
The worst part is that the whole war could have been prevented if the Russuans and French had been tougher on the Iraqis.


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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Sorry, Jason, I am just too pissed (not at you).
Don't get mad... get even!
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Don't get mad... get even!
There!

(First I tried to paint beard and moustaches, but you would only look better! )
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"This isn't a signature, I just typed in something under a dotted line." -- Pauline McNamara
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
First I tried to paint beard and moustaches, but you would only look better!

Are you saying that the more of my face is covered up the better I look?
Actually, my wife keeps saying the same thing but beards are just too itchy!
[ November 05, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I was going to be mad at Tom the whole week, but could only keep this mood for one day. On the other hand, I decided that we, Slavs, should keep together to defend each other against Americans.
The worst part is that the whole war could have been prevented if the Russuans and French had been tougher on the Iraqis.
Possible Deal Aborted?
Claim: U.S. Government Spurned Peace Talks Before the War With Iraq

Nov. 5 — A possible negotiated peace deal was laid out in a heavily guarded compound in Baghdad in the days before the war, ABCNEWS has been told, but a top former Pentagon adviser says he was ordered not to pursue the deal, ABCNEWS has learned.
Hage, an emerging political leader in Lebanon who is considered pro-United States, said the United States missed a chance to avert war. "It seemed to me there was a genuine offer that was on the table and somebody should have talked, at least talked," Hage said.

See? It's all America's fault!
[ November 05, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I was going to be mad at Tom the whole week, but could only keep this mood for one day. On the other hand, I decided that we, Slavs, should keep together to defend each other against Americans.
You mean just because I'm Czech I have to defend you against other Americans? I suppose I could handle that.
Younes Essouabni
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 13, 2002
Posts: 479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The worst part is that the whole war could have been prevented if the Russuans and French had been tougher on the Iraqis.

They would have been tougher if they had a bigger piece of the cake.
But I don't think that beeing tougher would have avoid the war. IMHO, it would have started sooner.
Now where are those WMD? Maybe those laboratory-trucks are still driving around.
I think that it is the most important point. That's how US did sell this war to the world. I'm wondering if it is possible that the US army don't find those WMD.


Younes
By constantly trying one ends up succeeding. Thus: the more one fails the more one has a chance to succeed.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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