Secret Arafat-Saddam Deal to Transfer Palestinian Leaders to Baghdad at Peak of Fighting
Exclusive debkafile Palestinian and Arab sources reveal the existence of an amazing secret deal. The Palestinians propose stepping up their confrontation with Israel and at its climax, Yasser Arafat and his fellow Palestinian Authority members, including security service chiefs and the Gazan and Ramallah ruling elites will remove themselves, lock, stock and barrel, to Baghdad. The arrangements were drawn up when a high-ranking Palestinian delegation went to the Iraqi capital on Jan. 20. Its members, Farouk Kaddumi and Ahmed al-Azzam, finalized the details with Saddam Hussein. From a comfortable distance, Arafat proposes to continue managing the Palestinian “struggle”, as he did after being expelled from Jordan in the 70s, from Beirut, and from Tunis, after he was expelled from Lebanon in 1982.
The detailed Palestinian discussions with the Iraqi leader cover Arafat’s fee for Iraqi hospitality and the freedom to reorganize his governing institutions in Baghdad. The agreed sum is reliably reported to have run into billions of dollars, for transfer to Saddam’s private accounts in Europe.
Young Palestinians impatient to take over the reins of government may be looking forward to Arafat’s disappearance, like some Israelis. But they will be disappointed; the Palestinian leader will retain a firm grip on the reins of government from its new seat, according to this scenario:
1. As Ariel Sharon steps into office, the Palestinians will feign a peace overture, abort the negotiating process and then unleash a spate of vicious violence including acts of multiple terror.
2. Sharon will order the army to execute surgical reprisals against Palestinian bases, terrorist chiefs and the various Palestinian security service headquarters. The Palestinians will scale their responses up to the level termed by Israel generals “strategic terrorism”. They will also wield the heavy weapons smuggled wholesale at present into Gaza by sea from Egypt, Lebanon and Cyprus and from Jordan across the river.
3. Israel tanks proceed to wipe out the bases of Palestinian security, the Tanzim militia, the Fatah and Jihad Islami.
4. Saddam Hussein makes good on his threat to missile-attack Israelicities. He has warned he can keep the blitz up daily for six months. That would add up to between 180 and 200 missiles, a quantity his arsenal is believed to hold after receiving deliveries from Russia and North Korea. The Iran-backed Shiite Hizballah will join the fray, shelling and rocketing Israel’s northern towns and villages from Lebanon.
5. Saddam asks Jordanian King Abdullah and Syrian president Assad for permission to send his armored divisions through their countries towards the Israeli frontier.
6. Israeli armored columns recapture Palestinian West Bank towns to provide rear support for the Israeli forces advancing into Jordan and possible Lebanon to meet the Iraqi divisions.
7. At this juncture, the entire Palestinian leadership removes itself to Baghdad. Clearly, the Iraqi-Palestinian strategic and intelligence partnership will form a direct threat to the stability of most of the other Arab regimes, and the Americans are unlikely to sit still and watch the Middle East being torn apart from Baghdad.