Iraqi Military Intelligence Feelers on Quiet Deal with US

debkafile‘s intelligence sources in Washington have learned of a secret conciliatory messaged delivered by Iraqi military intelligence to US Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni when he visited the Jordanian capital of Amman last week. The Jordanians tried to persuade the retired Marine Corps general to meet military intelligence officials, who came especially from Baghdad to see him. He refused and met instead with a businessman from Abu Dhabi who handed over the message from Baghdad.
debkafile‘s sources reveal its high points:
1. Iraq forecasts a dangerous wave of radicalization being touched off in the Arab world by the capture of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders or the elimination of their operational capabilities. This wave could unseat Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. With this threat in store, Iraqi military intelligence advises Washington in its own interest to preserve the stability of Saddam Hussein’s regime and abandon the preparations to depose him.
2. Saddam has secretly offered Yasser Arafat a safe haven in Baghdad with the entire PLO leadership and an unlimited number of security and intelligence personnel, plus the resources for continuing his political and military activities. This gesture, Iraqi military intelligence insists, is not hostile to the United States, but an escape plan to retrieve Arafat from the corner he has painted himself into.
3. Iraqi military intelligence chiefs are making every effort to dissuade Saddam from engaging the United States in a military confrontation which Iraq has no chance of winning. They warn him a U.S. attack would destroy Iraq’s economic infrastructure and push the country 20 years back. They propose instead that they use their good offices in Moscow to discreetly arrange for international monitors to be allowed access to Iraq’s arms industry, including missiles and other weapons of mass destruction.
4. Iraqi military intelligence, with its wealth of information about terrorist networks in the Muslim world and the West, can be of enormous service to the United States in its war against global terrorism. Such assistance would be conditional on a US understanding with Saddam.
5. Saddam, the message adds, is beginning to listen to his military intelligence advisers, but faces opposition to contacts with Washington from Iraq’s Baath party, the strongest political force in the country. They are strengthened in their resistance to any dealings with Washington by the almost unlimited US support for Iraqi opposition groups.
Zinni promised to pass the message on to his superiors in Washington.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources add: The approach to envoy Zinni in Amman was not Baghdad’s only attempt to engage Washington. Several days earlier, Iraqi military intelligence officers also went to Ankara and asked Turkish intelligence chiefs to deliver a message on their behalf to the Bush administration. It said Saddam had tired of fighting with America and was asking to deal, preferring peace to war. The Turks passed the message on to Washington.
debkafile‘s sources find it noteworthy that Baghdad chose to relay its messages to the United States through two countries with a potential role in a future military campaign against Saddam.

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