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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


December 30, 2003

Compile of News Links re: Kurdish Capture of Saddam Hussein

Who captured Saddam Hussein? (12/21/03 - Correspondences.Org)

Who captured Saddam Hussein?

Well, the cat is out of the bag so to speak. Saddam Hussein was captured by Kurds, not US forces. Here is the story as best I can determine by looking through a number of articles (see full list at end of this post).

Hussein was betrayed to the Kurds by a member of the al-Jabour tribe because Hussein's son Uday had raped a daughter of the tribe. Saddam had previously paid 7 million pounds in blood money to the tribe with the warning that he would wipe out the entire tribe if it ever came out. (Sify report)

He was then handed over to the Kurdish Patriotic Front who negotiated a deal with US forces for political power before drugging and abandoning Hussein for pickup. Ultimately he ended up in the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani (Aljazeera)

Hussein could not escape the hole in which he was recovered because the entrance had been sealed.

The following is extracted from the article by Paul McGeogh from the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) We got him: Kurds say they caught Saddam.

Washington's claims that brilliant US intelligence work led to the capture of Saddam Hussein are being challenged by reports sourced in Iraq's Kurdish media claiming that its militia set the circumstances in which the US merely had to go to a farm identified by the Kurds to bag the fugitive former president.

The first media account of the December 13 arrest was aired by a Tehran-based news agency.

American forces took Saddam into custody around 8.30pm local time, but sat on the news until 3pm the next day.

However, in the early hours of Sunday, a Kurdish language wire service reported explicitly: "Saddam Hussein was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace.

"Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!"

The head of the PUK, Jalal Talabani, was in the Iranian capital en route to Europe.

The Western media in Baghdad were electrified by the Iranian agency's revelation, but as reports of the arrest built, they relied almost exclusively on accounts from US military and intelligence organisations, starting with the words of the US-appointed administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer: "Ladies and gentlemen: we got 'im".

US officials said that they had extracted the vital piece of information on Saddam's whereabouts from one of the 20 suspects around 5.30pm on December 13 and had immediately assembled a 600-strong force to surround the farm on which he was captured at al-Dwar, south of Tikrit.

Little attention was paid to a line in Pentagon briefings that some of the Kurdish militia might have been in on what was described as a "joint operation"; or to a statement by Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraq National Congress, which said that Qusrat and his PUK forces had provided vital information and more.

What is truly interesting is not just the US claim of capturing Saddam Hussein, but the claiming of an elaborate operation that ended successfully (much like the scripting of the rescue of Jessica Lynch). Not only did that elaborate operation not work (if it existed at all), but the Kurds had him trapped in a hole while the US got the media apparatus together for the "dramatic" events.

What is also worrisome, but not unexpected, is the virtual silence of the US and British press. ABC News Online was the only US-based news I found, and it was a copy of the Agence French Press report.

News Sources Reporting the Story
I have put an * beside those reports offering the most detail.

[Read the source...]


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