Payback Time

The Americans are sitting tight on the extremely valuable Iraqi intelligence archives they have turned up at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad and at other secret installations of branches of Saddam’s clandestine machine never before known to exist. All that has been released are some leaks to the British media calculated to help prime minister Tony Blair stand up to the hostility he is encountering in parts of continental Europe.

It is evident that US military intelligence-DIA, the CIA, the intelligence branch of the American war command under General Tommy Franks and the Pentagon itself all meshed perfectly in handling this treasure trove. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources, the documents were rapidly sorted and transferred to safe places while the buildings were still in the process of being captured. America’s war allies have mostly received the materials relevant to their national security. The bulk will soon be moved to Washington where the sorting, checking and appraisals will continue.

No final decision has been taken regarding the documentation attesting to the clandestine ties of collaboration maintained with the Saddam regime by a whole range of foreign government and public office-holders, academics, media figures, financiers and industrialists the world over. There is definite reluctance at the moment to make use of or publish it. It is preferred to hold the materials back and not release them unless some situation develops in the future that would justify exposure.

Two notable exceptions have been made, our Washington sources reveal, in the cases of the French president Jacques Chirac and the head of the atomic energy commission in Vienna, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradai, who led the nuclear weapons inspection in Iraq before the war.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly has been reliably informed that the nature of the relationships the French president and members of his family wove with Saddam Hussein and members of his regime is due to be revealed quite soon, drawing on the materials in the secret Iraqi files. Some sources say that the ties linking the two families were deep and ramified. Their exposure is likely to raise a storm.

As for Dr. ElBaradai, our sources report that, even before the Iraqi archives were examined, Washington had compiled a dossier on the chief nuclear inspector based on discoveries made in the course of crises over the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran. In fact, Washington has already set in train the steps for his removal.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports exclusively that Washington’s candidate to succeed ElBaradai in Vienna is Prince Hassan of Jordan, brother and former crown prince of King Hussein and uncle of King Abdullah. We have learned that senior representatives of the Bush administration have interviewed the prince in London and Amman and obtained his consent to the appointment, which has also been endorsed by the king.

Among Prince Hassan’s assets for the job are his relations of trust and friendship with the heads of the Iraqi National Congress and its leader Ahmad Chalabi. His appointment will undeoubtedly enhance Washington’s control over the commission, an international body whose importance will grow as the issue of nuclear proliferation gains weight in Bush administration policy.

Placing the Jordanian prince in this key international post is also a reward for the kingdom’s unreserved participation in the American war against the Saddam regime in Iraq.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email