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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


December 23, 2003

Sunday Express: Saddam Hussein Captured by Kurdish PUK, Not US

Blood-Feud Rebels Seized and Drugged Dictator, Then Left Him For Americans; Saddam Betrayed Over Uday's Rape (12/21/03 - Sunday Express [UK])

The Agence France-Presse wire service has been disseminating a summary of a Dec. 21 story published in the London Sunday Express quoting unnamed British and former Iraqi intelligence officials as saying Saddam Hussein had actually been captured by Kurdish forces, then drugged and left for US troops to "discover."

The Sunday Express does not maintain a web archive of its stories. And according to Google searches at this writing, the Express story has not been posted anywhere online except in a re-edited version on the Sify News web site in India.

Subliminal News has obtained a copy of the original article, and is posting it here in its entirety in the interests of public awareness and debate.

Sunday Express [London] - Sunday, December 21, 2003

Blood-Feud Rebels Seized and Drugged Dictator, Then Left Him For Americans

Saddam Betrayed Over Uday's Rape

From Yvonne Ridley in Qatar

The betrayal of Saddam Hussein may have been prompted by a blood feud which erupted after a tribal chief's daughter was raped by the tyrant's psychopathic eldest son Uday.

The full story of the fallen dictator's capture last Saturday in a "spider hole" near his birthplace of Tikrit exposes the version peddled by Americans as incomplete.

Saddam had already been handed over to Kurdish forces, who then brokered a deal with US commanders.

He was drugged and abandoned, ready for the American troops to recover him.

The Sunday Express can also reveal that secret talks are under way to fix a deal in which Saddam will be detained for life in a Qatari prison after his showcase trial.

Intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, brokered by Britain, will see the former dictator jailed in the tiny Gulf state -- if the Iraqi court does not push for his execution. Qatar is host to several US military bases.

Saddam was betrayed to the Kurds by a member of the al-Jabour tribe whose daughter was "defiled" by Uday, said a senior British military intelligence officer.

The Sunday Express was told: "There was no question of the tribe claiming the GBP 16 million reward from the US.

"Apparently it was a question of honour. The Kurdish Patriotic Front [sic: actually the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK] held him while they thrashed out their own deal. It didn't just involve the reward but it involved gaining some sort of political advantage in the region."

There had been bad blood between the dictator and the al-Jabour tribe since the raped woman's husband tried to take revenge and was shot by Uday's bodyguard.

The tribe threatened to take revenge. As soon as he heard the news, Saddam visited the family of the dead man and paid them GBP 7 million in blood money with the chilling warning:

"If you try to take revenge you will force me to wipe out the al-Jabour tribe."

The news that Saddam was a prisoner and not in hiding would explain his dishevelled state when he was found by Kurdish special forces from the patriotic front and US soldiers.

He was unable to climb out of the hole on his own because the lid that covered it was also sealed down with a carpet and some rubble.

A former Iraqi intelligence officer now living in Qatar said he believed Saddam was betrayed shortly after his last audio message was released to the world via Arab television on November 16.

"He was dumped in that hole in Ad Dawr after being handed over to the patriotic front by his own tribesmen and held prisoner until Jalal Talabani made his own negotiations," said the Iraqi.

Talabani is a leader of the Patriotic Front [sic: PUK], one of two main Kurdish parties in northern Iraq who fought alongside US forces during the war.

One report said Saddam's cook spiked his food before he was delivered to the front.

A western intelligence source stationed in the Middle East said:

"Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time.

"The net really began to close when his family fled to Jordan and Uday and Qusay were killed in Mosul. A GBP 20 million reward went to the informant who gave information on their hiding place. However, I doubt if the reward for Saddam will be paid to those directly responsible for his capture. They will consider the family honour has been avenged... in Iraqi tribal society it would be frowned upon to accept money."

Immediately after the raid in which Saddam was captured jubilant Kurdish officials leaked the news to an Iranian news agency hours before the US had a chance to make an official announcement to the assembled media in Baghdad.

Reuters news agency, which communicated the news to President Bush on Saturday, quoted as its source patriotic front spokesman, Nazem Dabag. The Iranian news agency IRNA which first broke the story quoted Jalal Talabani.

British officials have also voiced doubts about the American version that Saddam emerged from the hole to announce in English: "I am Saddam Hussein. I am president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

One said: "It has a touch of the Jessica Lynch about it." Lynch was the US prisoner whose rescue was overdramatised by US spin doctors.

[Read the source...]


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