Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Baghdad plots
This morning Al-Jazeera quoted a Le Monde article which supposedly claimed that the fall of Baghdad was a result of a deal between the U.S. and the Republican Guard, and it repeated a story similar to what Beirut's Al-Mustaqbal published Monday (discussed in yesterday's posting), namely that Gen. Maher Sufyan (who was called Gen. Sufyan Jghayb by Al-Mustaqbal--perhaps Maher Sufyan Jgheib) had "reached an agreement with American forces in which he ordered his forces to surrender in exchange for his transfer via an American Apache helicopter to an undisclosed safe haven."

I checked out Le Monde's website and was unable to find such a piece, however. I have no explanation for this.

Another theory circulating has been advanced by the commercial intelligence company Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasts. Stratfor cited German intelligence sources as speculating that senior Iraqi officers and intelligence chiefs essentially handed over much of Iraq norht of Nasiriyya to the U.S., including Baghdad. They suggest that Saddam and his son Qusay were killed in the initial American “decapitation attack” that opened the war--thanks to inside information provided by some military officials on their whereabouts. Two officials, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Tareq Aziz, then allegedly led resistance efforts, but were later killed by the military chiefs who were paid off by the U.S. and allowed to flee.

These stories are fascinating, all the more so as there might be some truth in them. Then again, there might not. If readers are interested I have a column on the subject in tomorrow's Daily Star.

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