Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saddam Was Willing To Leave Pre-Invasion Iraq

The Australian and Al-Arabiya printed a report yesterday that claims that the United States had negotiated an international agreement with Saddam Hussein for him to leave Iraq and go into exile just prior to the 1993. But Arab nations refused to cooperate:

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 today. 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 US-led war began in March 2003. But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.

"We had got the final agreement from the different parties, the main players in the world and the person concerned – Saddam Hussein – within 24 hours," Mohammed bin Zayed, deputy head of the UAE armed forces and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, told the UAE-based channel in a documentary

A quote from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak indicates that the United States had agreed to the terms under the conditions that there be a peaceful transition of power in Iraq.

Butwhy would the Arab League refuse to support such a deal? Why did they risk so much suffering for the people of Iraq to preserve a despot who was willing to leave quietly? Could it be that they believed their purposes would be best served by the instability that an Iraqi war would bring? Did they believe that the response of millitant Islam to the invasion would draw attention away from their own national corruption and weakness?

As Captain Ed puts it (and this entire post is a hat tip to him),

Does the Arab League bear ultimate responsibility for the war, and did the US almost finesse Saddam out of Baghdad? We may never know for sure, but if this report is accurate, it would show that the Bush administration was willing to accept a solution short of war that removed Saddam and his sons from Iraq.