Talabani’s Kurdish Tribesmen Spotted Qusay, His Son Mustafa and Uday Hussein en Route to or from Syria
Late Sunday night, July 20 – or early Monday morning – Qusay Hussein, his 14-year old son Mustafa and his brother Uday arrived at the spacious villa estate of their father’s cousin three times removed in the northeastern al Falah district of Mosul.
Qusay habitually took his teenage son everywhere to keep him safe for the succession, in case something happened to Saddam or himself. They were on their way to or from Syria. That cousin, Marwan Zeidan of the Abu Nasser tribe, is one of Mosul’s richest and most colorful figures. He owns the biggest clay brick factory in town and the largest used car agency in the region. Unlike other Iraqi towns, where the different communities live in separate neighborhoods, Mosul is mixed; Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds and Turkemen live cheek by jowl on the same streets as neighbors.
This population admixture was the cause of the downfall of Udai and Qusai Hussein.
The Al Falah district is shared by Sunnis and Kurds. Zeidan’s villa is surrounded by Kurdish families loyal to Jalal Talabani, head of the Kurdish Patriotic Union, the PUK, and a member of the new 25-man Iraqi governing council.
These neighbors were the first to catch sight of Saddam’s sons when they arrived at the villa.
According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, a group went running to their leader’s nearest military headquarters to bring him the news in person. Talabani, who also happens to rent one of the Saddam family’s villas in Salman Pak, went straight off to US administration offices in Baghdad, where deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfovitz is presently based for his week’s stay in Iraq. The Kurdish leader and US military chiefs conferred and decided that PUK intelligence would go ahead and secretly surround the Zeidan villa and bar it to both ingress and egress, also installing sensors and eavesdropping devices. The Kurdish agents were instructed to prepare the site for the US special forces to come in by helicopter and seize the building and Saddam’s two sons.
debkafile‘s military sources report that in retrospect these careful advance arrangements were seen to be superfluous. The two brothers and the teenager were inside the villa with only a single bodyguard. The circle of people whom they trusted had apparently shrunk to almost nil. Saddam may be in the same boat. They ventured into a district which far from being out of the way is lively and crowded. This signified that they had experienced some unexpected holdup and been forced to break their journey to or from the Syrian border only 35 miles away at the home of their father’s cousin.
According to our sources, their visit was unexpected. Zeidan, his wife and 19-year old son were arrested after the US raid on their home. The American-Kurdish command decided to occupy the houses around the target villa before the main assault. A US special force of some 200 commandos landed early Tuesday, July 22, and opened fire on the villa. The three Husseins and their bodyguard went down shooting, overwhelmed by US ground fire and helicopter-fired missiles. The US commander waited two or three hours before giving the order to storm the property in case more people were hiding in cellars or outhouses or trying to escape through hidden exits. Pilot-less Predator drones were lofted to survey the property from all sides. However when the troops went in, they found no one but the charred, bullet-riddled bodies of Saddam’s two sons, his grandson and their bodyguard.
Talabani’s Kurdish followers will no doubt claim the $30 million bounty promised by the US government for the capture of the two sons of the deposed ruler.
Saddam himself still eludes capture along with his cached weapons of mass destruction. According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, President George W. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair are in the process of assembling a mass of material evidence of this arsenal to be released soon.