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IRAQ: Exile for Saddam Hussein?

My reading of the Middle East coffee dregs was that the Bush plan was to confront Saddam Hussein with overwhelming force and persuade him to resign and go into exile. In this way, Bush could claim a great victory with no loss of life. There would be a victory parade down Fifth Avenue, like that at the end of Desert Storm. Unfortunately, a Reuters dispatch (1/21/03) suggests that Saddam Hussein may not oblige. It begins thus: "Tantalizingly, US and British officials say exile and amnesty for Iraqi leaders, including President Saddam Hussein, might avert war. But Iraqi officials scorn the idea and few Arabs believe Saddam would bite, even if the formidable practical and legal hurdles to such a deal could be overcome. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday a proposal by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to give Iraqi leaders a safe haven to avert war was a "sensible suggestion". "Although of course it would be unpalatable to see any degree of immunity being offered to the Saddam Hussein regime, as Donald Rumsfeld said, if the alternative is a war I think most people would swallow hard and accept that it was in his words 'a fair trade'," Straw said. Rumsfeld said he would be "delighted" if Hussein chose exile as an alternative to military conflict with Iraq". Ths CIA must have psychologists studying Saddam Hussein's mind, which is unscrutable, and the CIA wisely is not talking.

Ronald Hilton - 1/21/03