Is Saddam in Syria?

mg class=”picture” src=”/dynmedia/pictures/Dcote2.jpg” align=”left” border=”0″>debkafile‘s Exclusive Middle East sources have tracked down the top Iraqi leadership’s bolt-hole. It is a large 1,600-room luxury resort with 600 meters of private sandy beach in the Mediterranean coastal town of Latakiya called Cote d’Azur De Cham Resort, prepaid and chartered in toto by Baghdad.
The group may include Saddam Hussein or his sons, but this is not confirmed.
The hotel is located close to the Assad family villa.
Top Iraqi officials are reported hiding there since March 23, four days after the US-led coalition invaded Iraq. They are guarded by a Syrian commando unit armed with anti-air missiles while Syrian naval missile boats secure the port.
debkafile‘s military sources also report: The Iraqi troops sent to reinforce Baghdad’s international airport are members of the Iraqi 26th Brigade’s special commando unit, whose sole task is to defend lives of Saddam Hussein and close family. These commandos take orders from no one but Iraqi ruler and sons, who are unlikely to have stripped themselves of this protection if they were still present in the capital. This outward movement from Baghdad is further indication of drastic changes in the Iraqi government’s top level
Saddam Departs Baghdad
mg class=”picture” src=”/dynmedia/pictures/SADSM.jpg” align=”right” border=”0″>On the exact 14th day of the Iraq War, Wednesday, April 2, the Saddam regime looked as though it had breathed its last. Its primary military props, the Special Republic Guards divisions, Saddam’s Fedayeen suicides and Iraqi intelligence’s special commando units, were clearly losing their grip as a functioning command in control of a coherent force of resistance. Iraqi elite units were letting key positions drop into the hands of the coalition forces already dangerously close to Baghdad, without lifting a finger. The SRG Baghdad Division did nothing to stop allied forces crossing the Tigris bridges from west to east although it was their job to blow them up and prevent the allied advance. Commanders were rumored to have been summarily fired; others disappeared.
During the day, debkafile‘s military sources describe a procession on Iraqi television of division and brigade commanders who assured the troops that all was well and the battle was going on. They looked tense and harassed. This unusual demonstration looked as though it was intended to betoken its participants’ loyalty to whoever is in charge in Baghdad, possibly a new ruling clique, or an attempt to draw attention to the men with whom the United States must discuss capitulation terms or deal with as the future leaders of the New Iraq.
In a move that smacked of panic, Iraqi intelligence agents went round the capital impounding cell phones to cut off contact with the outside world as wild rumors swirled around the fate of Saddam Hussein, his sons and his regime.
The little hard information reaching debkafile‘s most reliable intelligence sources is that Saddam and his sons departed Baghdad some days ago. They do not know where he went, or in what state of health, whether he traveled abroad for medical treatment or the family headed for a safe berth prepared in advance, or even if they arrived safely at their destination.
But it is safe to say that Saddam and the senior members of his family are no longer at the helm of government. Iraq is undoubtedly in the process of regime change, the main objective of the Iraq War. Anything beyond that is hazy. Other members of the Saddam regime may have seized power after the ruler himself departed. The new ruling caste may be divided between a faction negotiating terms of surrender with the Americans and a second, which is determined to fight on. The whole truth of the day’s events on April 2 may never be fully discovered. The war may come to an abrupt end, but not the Iraq crisis which promises more upheaval ahead.
Earlier, debkafile reported:
US-led Forces Commandeer Iraqi Highways, Trisect Country
Tuesday, April 1 – Day 13 of Iraq War – American-led forces directly commandeered or placed under their guns the three main highways leading out of Baghdad: the southward and eastern routes and the highway connecting Iraq to Syria.
This exercise effectively carved Iraq into three segments:
The South – which is falling under US-British control;
The Center – still under Iraqi control;
The Northwest – under American control.
It also tightened the noose encircling Baghdad.
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This was achieved on Tuesday and early Wednesday, April 1-2, debkafile‘s military and intelligence sources report, by means of a two-headed American thrust eastward from a point east of Karbala. The two heads swarmed across the Euphrates-Tigris plain north of al Kut and took the Iraqi towns of An Numaniyah, Az Zubaydiyah and Al Iskandariyah. This maneuver netted the coalition forces three tactical gains:
1. The severance of the Baghdad-Najef and Baghdad-Karbalah Highways 9 and 10 through the capture of Al Iskandariyah
2. Placing Expressway No. 8 that runs south from Baghdad along the eastern bank of the Tigris within US tank cannon and artillery range. The Iraqi 4th Corps positioned between Al Amarah and al Kut has been left high and dry with no access to Baghdad or a northward escape route. Concurrently, the Americans intensified their bombardment of the Iraqi 10th Armored Division, the fighting backbone of the 4th Corps, leaving this Iraqi force the option of battling its way out of the American box by retaking the three towns or surrendering.
According to our sources, the American forces will not engage 4th Corps units, leaving them to dry out without supplies or communications routes to Baghdad.
3. The bridges of the three captured towns have become available for the American crossing of the Tigris from west to east saving them having to pass through the strategic al Kut bridge.
The American plan for the capture of Baghdad thus dovetails with every other past blueprint for this goal. Two forces will follow the course of the Tigris into the heart of the city from south to north, marching along parallel routes along its western and eastern banks.
US 101st Airborne
With little fanfare, units of the US 101st Airborne Division are responsible for the third consecutive day of explosions and artillery fire heard in Baghdad from the west. debkafile‘s military sources report that this division has plugging away since last Thursday to cut Al Ramadi off from Falluja and seize control of Expressway No. 1 leading out of the capital to the western region. Units of the 101st are also making progress towards securing the giant air base at Habaniyah between the two towns. This facility is close enough to Baghdad – 90 km – to enable US bombers and helicopters to double or treble their round-the-clock strike rate against the capital.
Northern Front
Tuesday afternoon, April 1, debkafile‘s military sources report that the US forces arrested their military momentum in northern Iraq, including aerial bombardments of Iraqi forces in the Mosul and Kirkuk regions in order to draw a line against the progress of Kurdish militias towards the oil cities. Until now, the Kurds fought their way forward under American air and artillery cover. However, Washington decided that letting the Kurds approach the oil fields was not the best way to advance the mission of US secretary of state Colin Powell. He arrived in Ankara Tuesday night for a degree of fence-mending that would allow US military reinforcements access to northern Iraq through Turkey. At the moment, the Americans have no more than 5,000 troops deployed in northern Iraq and no armored units.
Preventing Iraq missiles reaching Israel
debkafile‘s military sources reveal that, in a further attempt to prevent Iraqi missiles secreted in eastern Syria from reaching western Iraqi for launching against Israel, American special forces took control of the highway connecting Al Qaim in western Iraq to Abu Kamal in southeast Syria. At the same time, the main highway from Mosul to Syria via Sinjar was left open to traffic – possibly as a hint to Saddam Hussein and his sons that they still have the option of escaping to Syria and thus bring the war to an end.

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