DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources confirm that Saddam made a serious bid for an understanding with Iran to join forces against the American offensive. They reveal that his son Qusay led the initiative.
Iranian authorities have gone to much trouble to conceal the details of Qusay Hussein’s talks with senior Iranian officials. But DEBKA-Net-Weekly has uncovered the following:
Qusay’s interlocutor was Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr, acting commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the strongman of the biggest national military force after the army. He is also fiercely anti-American and a rabid supporter of terrorist attacks against the US presence in the region, especially in the Gulf and Emirates.
When they met in a small town in Kermanshah province near the Iran-Iraq border, Qusay laid down a list of requests. He asked Iran to:
— avoid using the US offensive against Iraq for its own ends.
— order all its agents inside Iraq to carry out sabotage operations against US soldiers.
— instruct religious leaders to issue a fatwa, or edict, branding the United States a heretic and a “Great Satan” to be fought to the death.
— sell Iraq 100 Shehab-3 missiles.
— return to Baghdad the warplanes Iraq stored in Iran for safekeeping in the 1991 Gulf War and which Iran has never sent back.
— sell to Iraq any and all types of ammunition and weapons needed.
— send Iraq food, medicines and equipment.
— open its borders to aid donated to Iraq by terrorist organizations and Islamic and Arab institutions around the world.
In return, Qusay promised to arrest and extradite to Iran all the leaders of the Iranian opposition Mujahideen e-Khalq, which uses Iraqi territory for launching sabotage activities inside the Islamic Republic. Teheran regards the Mujahideen e-Khalq as the most powerful and dangerous Iranian opposition group. As a gesture of goodwill, Iraq handed over to Tehran a large group of dozens of Mujahideen. They were imprisoned immediately in Teheran and Iranian TV plans to feature them soon in televised “confessions” and denunciations of their former comrades.
Iran’s response to Qusay’s requests was grudging to say the least.
The message from Tehran to Baghdad was terse:
“We will not sell you any weapons. We will treat Iraq in accordance with our Islamic interests and the changing situation in your country. We will not open our borders but, as always, will supply humanitarian assistance to the citizens of neighboring countries.”
Iran added a demand for Iraq curtail the activities of the Mujahideen e-Khalq and close its bases “without pre-conditions”.