Sunday, October 30, 2005

UAE Says Saddam Agreed To Exile Before Invasion

 UAE Says Saddam Agreed To Exile Before Invasion   

Big News     
Sunday 30th October, 2005    
Saddam Hussein agreed to go into exile long before the Iraq invasion, UAE officials have confirmed.

A proposal by the United Arab Emirates late president, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at an emergency Arab summit held in Egypt in February 2003 that Saddam agree to go into exile, and that elections be held in Iraq within six months, was agreed to by Hussein.

The news became public when Al-Arabiya television aired a documentary this week quoting the son of the late UAE president, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The program was broadcast to con-incide with the first anniversary of the late president's death.

Another unidentified high-ranking official in the UAE government confirmed the arrangement on Saturday. He said Saddam agreed to the proposal to avoid the invasion. He also agreed to elections within a six month period.

"We had the final acceptance of the various parties, the main players in the world and the concerned person, Saddam Hussein," the late UAE president's son, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said during the Al-Arabiya TV program.

The proposal included safe passage for the Iraqi dictator and his family, and indemnity from prosecution, while Hussein agreed to UN and Arab League control in advance of elections within six months.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was quoted in the Al-Arabiya program as saying the U.S. was aware of the proposal.

"To avoid a war, I would be personally, would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told ABC's This Week in mid-January 2003.

Earlier, on October 1 2002, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, was dodging questions on a similar subject:

Question: If I could follow on that, would the White House like to see Saddam Hussein dead?

Fleischer: The policy is regime change. And that remains -- and that remains the American position. Clearly, in the event that there is any type of military operation, command and control would, of course, be issues that would come up.

Question: Is the hope, though, that he ends up dead in all this?

Fleischer: Regime change is the policy, in whatever form it takes.

Question: I just want to re-ask again then, the question I've been asking for several weeks. Is the administration about to rescind the executive order prohibiting assassination of foreign leaders, and claim that he's an international terrorist, and in fact, put out a hit on him?

Fleischer: No. The policy remains in place, per the law.

Question: Why is there no consideration to rescinding that executive order?

Fleischer: It's just -- because it's not come up as matter that I've heard discussed, Connie. And so I can't tell you why something doesn't get discussed.

Question: Could you ask?

Fleischer: I don't really think it's an issue. The policy remains regime change, as expressed by the Congress.

Om March 17 2003, in an address to the Amereican people, President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing."

Two days later the president announced the start of a "shock and awe" bombing campaign which commenced the biggest bombardment since World War II, and which led to the death of more than 2,000 U.S. troops, 8,000 Iraqi soldiers, several hundred coalition soldiers, UN, Red Cross, and other NGO personnel; and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Damage to the country has been estimated at more than one hundred billion dollars.

Saddam Hussein, who accepted the offer of exile, remains in prison in Iraq awaiting continuation of his trial.

It is not known why the offer to Saddam did not proceed. The Arab League, where Sheik Zayed initiated the offer, refused to comment on the matter. An independent source says the League scuttled the proposal.


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