“Baghdad did not fall — it was handed over”


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 13:47:56 -0300
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Baghdad did not fall -- it was handed over
From:   "Michael Jones" <•••@••.•••>
To:     "mikelist" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Wheels within wheels
Date:   Wed, 16 Apr 2003 11:05:15 -0230
. . . . . . .


    Baghdad did not fall -- it was handed over
    The Arabic media is rife with speculation that the
    Saudi regime brokered a secret deal between the White
    House and Iraq's ruling party.
    By Jalal Ghazi

April 14, 2003 -- Arabic media are speculating that a
"safqua" -- Arabic for a secret deal -- was arranged
between the United States and Iraq's Baath regime to
hand over Baghdad. Although nobody can pinpoint the
exact terms, there are three clear outcomes. First, the
lives of many American and British forces as well as
most senior Baath officials were spared. Second,
Baghdad itself did not turn into the blood bath widely
anticipated by military experts. Third, the war was
shortened dramatically, saving the region -- especially
Saudi Arabia -- from catastrophic consequences.

The following clues, gleaned from Arabic and U.S.
media, suggest why the fall of Baghdad was

  1. None of the seven rescued POWs was hurt. On the
    contrary, all seven were found in good condition. All
    were found dressed in pajamas rather than the standard
    uniforms for prisoners of war, indicating that they
    were being treated as guests rather than as POWs.
    Usually, Arabs give pajamas to guests who sleep over in
    their houses. Arab reports point out that POW Jessica
    Lynch was similarly treated; she was kept in the
    cleanest room in an Iraqi hospital until she was
    rescued on April 2. In both cases, American forces were
    tipped off about the location of the POWs by unknown
    Iraqi citizens. Kuwaiti prisoners, by contrast, who
    were captured during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait more
    than 12 years ago, are only now being discovered.
    To date, none of the seven war prisoners has spoken
    directly to American TV reporters, unlike U.S. soldiers
    injured in the fighting, who became instant media
    sources. We are told the seven POWs were taken to
    Kuwait for medical treatment and intelligence
  2. American tanks rolled into Baghdad with very little
    resistance while Basra, nowhere near as heavily
    fortified as Baghdad, sustained almost three weeks of
    fierce resistance. The fall of Baghdad was so sudden
    that it left many of the Arab and Muslim volunteers who
    went to Iraq to fight the coalition forces in total
    disarray. Initially given weapons and uniforms,
    thousands of these volunteers -- who came from Yemen,
    Egypt, Syria, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere --
    wound up having no one to tell them what to do.
    Al-Jazeera reports that some are now still fighting
    U.S. forces while others are actually attacking Iraqi
  3. Baath forces refrained from destroying a single
    bridge in Baghdad, which could have blocked U.S. tanks
    access to the city, at least temporarily. Moreover,
    only a handful of Iraq's oil fields were set on fire,
    leaving the vast majority intact almost in accordance
    with Bush's demands.
  4. None of the senior Baath officials has surrendered
    to date, with the exception of two high-level
    scientists. Instead, tens of thousands of Baath
    operatives managed to disappear without a sign of
    internal divisions. This strongly suggests that the
    departure of the Baath regime was ordered from the most
    senior levels and was highly organized. It also
    explains why most of the Iraqi forces, including the
    Republican Guards, were nowhere to be found when U.S.
    forces entered Baghdad.
  5. Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad
    Al-Douri, a high-level Baath functionary, was quoted in
    both American and Arabic media as saying, "The game is
    over," and that he had not been in contact with Saddam
    Husssein for weeks. When asked why he used the word
    "game," the ambassador replied, "The war is over."
    Meanwhile, al-Jazeera reported that Al-Douri has been
    allowed to travel to Syria and that he may be asked to
    represent the new Iraqi government at the United

While Arabs all over the Middle East now routinely talk
of the deal that saved Baghdad, they also speculate
that the same deal may have saved Saddam. Unlike the
hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, which
preoccupied U.S. forces for months, the hunt for the
dictator no longer appears to be the top priority for
U.S. forces in the wake of Baghdad's fall.

Where could Saddam be if he is still alive? Some Arab
media experts speculate he may have sought refuge in
Mecca, the most sacred Islamic place in the world. No
non-Muslims ever lived in and very few have even set
foot in this holiest of Muslim cities.

If it turns out that Saddam is indeed in Mecca, it
would be one further clue that the architect of the
"safqua" or deal between the Baath and the United
States was Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah -- a trusted
intermediary of the Bush family and the only Arab
leader invited to President Bush's Crawford ranch.

For the Saudis, as well as for many other Arab leaders,
the deal offers the one hope of sparing the Middle East
the consequences of a bloody and prolonged war of
resistance in Iraq. For the Americans, the deal offers
a chance of stabilizing postwar Iraq and its neighbors,
leaving the door open for what Bush calls the road map
to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
© 2003 Pacific News Service
Pacific News Service associate Jalal Ghazi monitors and
translates Arab media for New California Media, a
project of PNS and WorldLink TV.

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