Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The plots thicken
In an earlier posting during the Iraq war (and in this Daily Star commentary), I had written about the various conspiracy theories circulating in the Arab world on the collapse of Baghdad, including reports of a prior deal between U.S. forces and the Iraqi Republican Guard. Now Fred Kaplan has written an article in Slate, based on another article in Defense News, suggesting that "before Gulf War II began, U.S. special forces had gone in and bribed Iraqi generals not to fight."

Kaplan writes: One official is quoted as saying that, in the scheme of the whole military operation, the bribery "was just icing on the cake." But another says that it "was as important as the shooting part, maybe more important. We knew that some units would fight out of a sense of duty and patriotism, and they did. But it didn't change the outcome because we knew how many of these [Iraqi generals] were going to call in sick."

In this article cited by Kaplan from, one Phil Brennan argues: "The unprecedented collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, quashed with dizzying speed and negligible casualties, was not the result of good luck or overwhelming force of arms. It was largely due to cell phones manned by CIA psy-ops agents conducting a telemarketing campaign selling surrender to the enemy’s top commanders."

In the article Brennan cites an "exclusive report" in a Lebanese newspaper Sawt al-Ourouba to make the case for what is known as The Deal--i.e. the payoffs to Iraqi generals. Only problem is I personally never heard of such a newspaper, and therefore would caution anyone about believing too much of what was said in it (even if I believe there is more truth than falsehood in the theory of a negotiated surrender.)

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