Adib Shaaban, the right hand of Saddam Hussein’s powerful son Uday, has defected.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports exclusively that this key member of Saddam Hussein’s administration, who was charged with his son’s most sensitive missions, traveled to Jedda at the beginning of this week, saying he needed to clinch some gold transactions ahead of the war.
From Jeddah, he flew to Beirut and… disappeared.
Our intelligence sources report that Shaaban never really went to Beirut. He made his way under cover to Damascus three days ago and was picked up by an unmarked plane for an unknown destination.
As Uday’s closest aide, he also managed a chain of official publications, including the authoritative Babel, and was in on the Saddam regime’s deepest secrets.
Uday commands the secret army known as Saddam’s Fedayeen, the leading force charged with the defense of the Iron Triangle (see article below) and the custody of the weapons of mass destruction that were not smuggled out to Lebanon.
Uday is also the chief of the ruling Baath Party’s covert service.
Shaaban must therefore be a veritable treasury of Saddam Hussein’s secrets. In American hands, Uday’s chef de bureau would be even more valuable than the proverbial smoking gun.