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Saddam plans Syria exile(7 posts)

Saddam plans Syria exileCaptain Morgan
Mar 27, 2003 7:21 AM
2003-03-27 08:30 (New York)

London (dpa) - Saddam Hussein has sent his immediate family to stay with the Iraqi ambassador to Damascus, where he too intends to flee, Britain's Daily Mail reported Thursday, quoting a former Iraqi minister of protocol now living in exile in London. Saddam's first wife, Sajida, the mother of Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay and daughters Raghad, Rana and Hala, had left for Damascus with three truckloads of goods and 60 bodyguards, the Mail said.

The intensely patriotic tabloid said its information came from Haitham Rashid Wihaib, who fled Iraq eight years ago after serving as a minister in Saddam's government.

Saddam had sold property and valuables to finance a life in exile, and had an aircraft waiting to fly him out, the Mail said. How any aircraft would get out remains a mystery, in the light of the 24-hour surveillance maintained by the U.S.

Senior members of Saddam's administration, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, had made similar preparations, it said.

The Mail said sources in Damascus reported increased security around the Damascus home of Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Rafat Al Ani.

``It is my belief that Saddam's regime will be toppled within the next two weeks,'' Wihaib told the Mail.

``He knows it is only a matter of time before he is defeated and he has made sure that everything is in place for a very comfortable exile,'' he added.

``Saddam will never be captured alive,'' he warned. ``He intends to go into exile, but if that becomes impossible, his guards have been told to shoot him.''

Initial plans to flee to Jordan, where many Iraqi live, had been abandoned, as Saddam no longer trusted the Jordanians, who have allowed U.S. and British special forces to operate from there into Iraq's western desert, the Mail said.
will we let him?DougSloan
Mar 27, 2003 7:47 AM
Will we let him go now, or would his convoy be obliterated on the way? I doubt he could sneak out. I thought I heard Bush respond to a question like this, and he said something like "he had that chance, and he didn't take it."

I don't think we'd let himCaptain Morgan
Mar 27, 2003 8:01 AM
Although it would be good short-term in ending the war, we do not need him drumming up additional anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East. Yeah, yeah, I know people will say 'we can't make the anti-U.S. sentiment worse.' However, it would impede us from improving that sentiment going forward.

Also, regarding the anti-U.S. sentiment in the ME, I recall a lot of negativity from them when we were engaged in Afghanistan, so I am not particularly concerned about the anti-U.S. sentiment currently.
Mar 27, 2003 8:11 AM
I almost think it would have to be negotiated in exchange for an immediate unconditional surrender. Otherwise, we are there to finish a job.

From the report here, he may not live long, anyway.

I don't think the issue of SH himself is going to sway the world opinion of the US one way or the other. There's no love lost for the guy himself; at best, I think the opposition still mostly dislikes or even hates him, they just don't want our meddling, war in general, the cost, or are simply anti-America/Bush. Taking out SH won't make a difference.

He is about a week lateAlpedhuez55
Mar 27, 2003 8:13 AM
I think it would be tough to let him go into exile this late. He was given a chance for it and that window is closed. THere have been dozens of US & UK lives lost in the conflict and thousands of Iraqi lives. His best chance is to surrender to the Coallition Forces and face a trial for war crimes.

Mike Y.
Agreed ...PdxMark
Mar 27, 2003 8:27 AM
that that would be his best chance for survival for the moment, but I suspect he thinks he can survive the war intact (minus his legs, possibly, it seems). It would be way out of character for him to hand himself over to us.

Besides, Syria isn't far down Wolfowitz's list of places to be fixed. If SH were to escape there, Syria might even rate a cut to the front of the line.
Mar 27, 2003 8:31 AM
This article is total fantasy. We're supposed to believe that a guy who fled Iraq eight years ago knows what Saddam's plans are?

Even if the article were somehow true, there is no way the USA will allow Saddam and his posse to go into exile in Syria. There has to be a decent buffer between Saddam and his former power base, and any of the countries next door are far too close. He has to be a lot more than a short car trip away.

Is there no sense of history here? They sent Napolean to Elba and surprise, surprise, he showed up in France with an army again. After Waterloo, they sent him down to St. Helena, an island out in the Atlantic, far from the African mainland. He only got off that island after his death. The British still own the place, so maybe Saddam can go there.