Monday, January 05, 2004

Saddam's capture: Was a deal brokered behind the scenes?: "Then along came that story: the one about the Kurds beating the US Army in the race to find Saddam first, and details of Operation Red Dawn suddenly began to evaporate. US Army spokesmen - so effusive in the immediate wake of Saddam's capture - no longer seemed willing to comment, or simply went to ground. But rumours of the crucial Kurdish role persisted, even though it now seems their previously euphoric spokesmen have now, similarly, been afflicted by an inexplicable bout of reticence. It was two weeks ago that the Sunday Herald revealed how a Kurdish special forces unit belonging to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) had spearheaded and tracked down Saddam, sealing off the al-Dwar farmhouse long 'before the arrival of the US forces'."

"PUK leader Jalal Talabani had chosen to leak the news and details of the operation's commander, Qusrut Rasul Ali, to the Iranian media long before Saddam's capture was reported by the mainstream Western press or confirmed by the US military... According to one Israeli source who was in the company of Kurds at a meeting in Athens early on December 14, one of the Kurdish representatives burst into the conference room in tears and demanded an immediate halt to the discussions. "Saddam Hussein has been captured," he said, adding that he had received word from Kurdistan - before any television reports."

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