Saddam Reaches into West Bank

Since early this year, Saddam Hussein is estimated by debkafile‘s intelligence sources to have planted some 30 agents on the West Bank. They operate through the system for distributing Iraqi largesse to the bereaved families of Intifada victims, independently of the Palestinian Authority. Recruitment to the ranks is brisk, especially in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem. Large placards of the Iraqi ruler’s visage and Iraqi flags are seen with increasing frequency in Palestinian demonstrations there.
The West Bank cells belong to the pro-Baghdad Arab Liberation Front, headed by the notorious hijacker of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985,Mahmud Abbas, known as Abul Abbas, who is the Iraqi ruler’s liaison man with the Palestinians.
AFL West Bank members are all trained operatives of Iraqi intelligence.
Since the second half of July, the Iraqi ruler is building up for trouble – and not only by the incursion of Iraqi troops in Jordan. His agents are receiving a full hosting service from Abbas’s compatriot and school-mate from the village of Tirah near Ramallah – Tawfiq Tirawi, chief of Palestinian General Intelligence on the West Bank and Yasser Afafat’s most trusted minion. During the PLO’s period of exile in Tunisup until 1994, Tirawi handled Arafat’s relations with Baghdad.
As of August 6, debkafile‘s exclusive disclosure of the presence of Iraqi forces in Jordan and Saddam’s increasing involvement in the Intifada, is finding echoes in Baghdad, Amman and Tel Aviv.
“Babel”, the newspaper owned by Saddam’s youngest son, Uday, published an article on Monday calling on Iraq to transfer arms and mortars to the Palestinians. The day before, Abul Abbas, who is rarely seen on Baghdad television, hinted in an interview that the time had come for his men to join the Palestinian battle.
In another oblique reference to the Iraqi incursion of last month, a senior Jordanian political analyst was quoted as saying to the Agence France Presse on Monday that the Jordanian government had recently toughened its regulations against Palestinian immigration, as well cracking down on border infiltrations aimed at turning the kingdom into a base for anti-Israeli attacks.
In Israel, a senior official source who asked not to be identified revealed in an army radio interview the same day that Jordan, having raised its security alert and intensified its operational measures along its borders, had recently foiled several intrusions.
According to debkafile‘s Middle East sources, Saddam Hussein is operating on two wavelengths – the Palestinian-Israeli and the anti-US, building up his provocations against the West and the Gulf, day by day. Today, Iraqi forces fired surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns at US and coalition aircraft. The US responded by attacking Iraqi defense systems around the twon of Mosul in the northern no-fly zone. Yesterday, Iraqi fighters trespassed in the southern no-fly zone and approached unmanned US drones. Last month, the Pentagon spokesman warned that Iraq was on a collision course from the start of the year.
Saddam believes the war between Israel and the Palestinians has tied Washington’s hands, effectively paralyzing the United States, and the more he escalates the situation, the more he can profit.

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