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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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    Masoud Barzani reveals undisclosed details about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime amid the I

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    Masoud Barzani reveals undisclosed details about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime amid the I Empty Masoud Barzani reveals undisclosed details about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime amid the I

    Post by Rocky Sun Mar 19, 2023 10:24 pm

    Masoud Barzani reveals undisclosed details about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime amid the Iranian-Turkish moves



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    2023-03-19 00:06
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    Ghassan Charbel / Middle East



    Whenever I visit Masoud Barzani, the meeting turns into a tripartite one. Saddam Hussein's shadow insists on being present, opening the door to memories. The profession wanted me to follow the story of the two men, which is exciting and painful. Two men with an iron will on a hot tin called Iraq. Saddam believed that the spirit of the nation had entrusted him with the task of restoring Iraq's glory and glory. Masoud believes that he chose what fate offered him, which is the role of the guardian of the Kurdish dream. Saddam was the most daring Iraqi leader in dealing with the demands of the Kurds. Then the harshest was to inflict an exceptional catastrophe on their towns and villages. Masoud was stubborn in preserving the direction of the compass set by the historical leader of the Kurds, his father, Mullah Mustafa Barzani. Neither of the two men could write off the other, and the long relationship witnessed difficult handshakes and painful blows. Two decades ago, fate settled the dispute. More correctly, the American empire intervened and invaded Iraq. Saddam made his way to the gallows and Masoud Barzani sat under two flags, the federal flag of Iraq and the flag of the Kurdistan Region. Barzani succeeded in achieving what the Kurds of Turkey, Iran and Syria could not achieve. He succeeded when Yasser Arafat's dream faltered, and there was affection between the two men that was permeated with exciting details.
    The current century in Iraq began with a scene that suggests a long continuation. In the north, the Kurds continue to benefit from the "no-fly zone". In Baghdad, Saddam Hussein's nail clipper regime resides, manipulating international inspectors, and circumventing the terms of "oil for food." However, the horrors of his success in suppressing the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings after he was forced to withdraw from Kuwait remained visible.

    The opposition kept its old dream of overthrowing the regime, but it seemed far-fetched. It cannot by its own forces defeat Saddam's military machine. The American air power is not for rent in order to provide the Iraqi factions with air cover to advance according to their internal and regional programmes. An earthquake was necessary to change the calculations and equations, and it will not take long to arrive.

    Planes and towers


    September 11th is a resonance in the memory of the Kurds. On this day in the year 1961, Mullah Mustafa Barzani launched the Kurdish uprising, whose embers will remain lit until extinguished in 1970, according to an agreement with the "Baath" party, which regained power two years ago. And at that moment of release, his sons, including Masoud, were at the side of Mulla Mustafa. We are now on September 11, 2001. Masoud was in the city of Dohuk, and his son, Masrour, was beside him. On the screen, a plane crashed into a tall tower. At first glance, he thought that the channel was broadcasting a movie. Then he saw a second plane swoop down on another tower. When breaking news came, he told those around him that something big and dangerous was happening in America. It was completely unlikely to assume that a country with a well-known title would dare attack the only superpower in its heartland and target the symbols of its prestige and success. America is a superpower and possesses a formidable military machine that is capable of reaching the furthest point of the earth. Even when it was revealed that Al-Qaeda was behind the attack, it was difficult to expect Saddam's regime to pay the heavy price. It was difficult to assume the existence of a relationship between Saddam's regime and "al-Qaeda", as each of them scoops from a dictionary that contradicts the other, even if they are similar in their hatred of America or making statements against it. Moreover, the leader of "Al-Qaeda" Osama bin Laden considered the "Baath" regime an "infidel" regime. The leader of the "Kurdistan Democratic Party" felt that a new phase had begun, even if the dimensions of its dangers were not yet clear. He decided to restore relations with the "Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" led by Jalal Talabani, and sent envoys to Turkey, Syria and Iran to explore these countries' reading of the possible repercussions of the "attacks in New York and Washington." The three countries were wondering and trying to understand the possible American response, but they did not have answers. Moreover, the leader of "Al-Qaeda" Osama bin Laden considered the "Baath" regime an "infidel" regime. The leader of the "Kurdistan Democratic Party" felt that a new phase had begun, even if the dimensions of its dangers were not yet clear. He decided to restore relations with the "Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" led by Jalal Talabani, and sent envoys to Turkey, Syria and Iran to explore these countries' reading of the possible repercussions of the "attacks in New York and Washington." The three countries were wondering and trying to understand the possible American response, but they did not have answers. Moreover, the leader of "Al-Qaeda" Osama bin Laden considered the "Baath" regime an "infidel" regime. The leader of the "Kurdistan Democratic Party" felt that a new phase had begun, even if the dimensions of its dangers were not yet clear. He decided to restore relations with the "Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" led by Jalal Talabani, and sent envoys to Turkey, Syria and Iran to explore these countries' reading of the possible repercussions of the "attacks in New York and Washington." The three countries were wondering and trying to understand the possible American response, but they did not have answers.
    Iran asked for another delegation, so he went to it. In the "Istiqlal" (Hilton) Hotel, Tehran hosted the Kurdish delegation, but it deliberately hosted in the same place and at the same time a delegation from Saddam's regime headed by Intelligence Director Taher Jalil Habush. The hotel lobby witnessed a handshake between the members of the two delegations. Baghdad was anxious and confused, trying in turn to understand the new phase and avoid its dangers. She sent to Masoud expressing her willingness to do "anything he desires." But the Kurdish leader saw that it was too late to come “after the destruction of Iraq, not just Basra,” and that any agreement with the regime would not last and would turn “a great burden on the people of Kurdistan.” America was hurt and boiling. The world was speculating about the next theaters for her wrath. The year 2002 will bear successive signs, which Masoud counted as signs that help understanding. On January 30, President George Bush lashed out at the Iraqi regime and included it in an "axis of evil" that included it with Iran and North Korea. The following month, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke of the need to change the Iraqi regime and that America might undertake the task alone if necessary. British Prime Minister Tony Blair did not delay in joining the orchestra. Massoud Barzani continues to interrogate his memory burdened with events and headlines, dealing generously with Asharq Al-Awsat's desire for details.

    A crucial secret meeting


    On February 17, 2002, Massoud received a delegation from the CIA. The delegation used remarkable phrases such as that "America decided to remove Saddam's regime" and that "the attack will be from several axes" and that "the region's role is of great importance in our calculations, and you are invited to visit Washington." Masoud replied that the Kurds would support “any process aimed at the establishment of a democratic, federal, pluralistic Iraq” and that they demand a guarantee from America “that the future of our people is protected and safeguarded,” and that Washington can inform neighboring countries “that we do not and will not pose any threat to any person or party.” He affirmed his approval. On the first of April, Massoud received, in the presence of leaders from his party, a delegation from the US State Department headed by Assistant Secretary Ryan Crocker. The delegation renewed America's position on Saddam's regime and suggested that Massoud visit Washington on the 14th of the same month, coinciding with a visit by Jalal Talabani.
    The signs were clear. However, Barzani, who was engulfed in the fire of the positions of the major and regional powers, was waiting to hear clearer words from the highest decision-making centers.
    On April 15, Masoud Barzani boarded a private plane that was waiting at Frankfurt Airport, accompanied by his son Masrour and party leader Hoshyar Zebari, later foreign minister. The Kurdish delegation to America will be reunited with the presence of Jalal Talabani, his son Pavel, and the leader of his party, Barham Salih, later President of the Iraqi Republic. In a guest house chosen by the American services in Virginia, this crucial meeting will take place. On the American side, Mac Loughlin, Vice President of the CIA, General Wayne Downing from National Security, and Ryan Crocker from the State Department attended. This means that the meeting was with the participation and coordination of the White House, intelligence and foreign affairs.

    The American side spoke in a tone stating that a decision to overthrow Saddam had been taken and there was no turning back from it. They used explicit phrases such as “America has decided that Saddam must be removed from power,” and that the Kurds “must obtain their full rights,” and “America agrees to adopting the federal system in Iraq,” and that “America will not allow any external interference,” and that "America has great hope for the role of the Kurds in gathering and preparing the Iraqi opposition."

    The tone of the American side was clear and unequivocal. The Kurdish response came from the same cloth. As long as America has made its final decision to topple Saddam's regime, we will do everything in our power to help achieve that. As long as the alternative to the Iraqi regime will be a democratic alternative and federalism for Kurdistan will be adopted, we will do everything we can and pledge to move to unite the opposition.

    That night, Masoud recalled painful stations in dealing with the major powers and some countries in the region. He does not lose sight of the role that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played in persuading Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi to sign the Algiers Agreement in 1975 with “Mr. Representative” Saddam Hussein. Under the agreement, Iran stopped all support for the Kurdish revolution, which suffered a terrible collapse. He also does not forget that the Soviet Union, which was providing modest assistance to the Iraqi Kurds, turned away from them after Baghdad signed in 1972 the “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” with Moscow. As for the neighboring countries, they sometimes show understanding for the Kurds of other maps, but they do not tolerate their own Kurds at all. It deals with the Kurds as a matter of moving the “Kurdish card” and fears that they will obtain their rights in other maps.
    On April 18, the private plane returned the Kurdish delegation to Frankfurt. In that city, “Mam Jalal and I agreed that we would exert all our endeavors and efforts and take all the necessary preparations to adapt and harmonize with the expected developments and changes.” From Frankfurt, Masoud and his accompanying delegation headed to Paris. The French officials were convinced that America had taken a final decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. That is why their questions focused on the alternative. Massoud reiterated that the alternative would be reached in consultation with the Iraqi opposition factions, and that the next regime should be democratic and federal, guaranteeing the rights of the various components. After Paris, the delegation headed to Damascus. Masoud believed that the existing relationship with Syria since the days of President Hafez al-Assad obliges the Kurds to consult with President Bashar al-Assad and the pillars of his rule. “After talking about the general situation in the region, we asked about the possibility of removing the Iraqi regime. I informed them that the final decision had already been taken, and I felt that this greatly pleased and delighted them. Regarding the future of Iraq, I assured them that there is no plan to divide Iraq and that no external interference will be allowed. Regarding the date of implementation of the decision to remove the Iraqi regime, I told them that only the Americans know that. The Syrian vice president was fully convinced that America would not intervene militarily in Iraq, and he was ready to bet on that.

    Washington criticizes "Turkish blackmail"


    At the beginning of the summer, there were signs that America might have reneged on its decision to overthrow the regime, or slackened in preparing for it. This coincided with extensive discussions conducted by Hoshyar Zebari and Nechirvan Barzani in America. On July 21, a delegation of American specialists and experts arrived in Erbil, headed by Charles Fettis, known as "Sam". Deliberations with this team revealed that Turkey feared that change in Iraq would lead to the establishment of a Kurdish state. The US official said, “Turkey frequently blackmails America and asks for a lot of money. We came to assess the situation, and Turkey will not be allowed in any way to interfere in the affairs of the region.” The emergence of the Turkish complex will increase with the approaching date of the US military intervention. In July, the US State and Defense ministries called a number of opposition leaders for a meeting. Jalal Talabani suggested maneuvering to raise the level of meetings with the American side. Massoud did not participate in the meeting because Syria did not agree to receive a private plane sent by America to transport him from Qamishlo. Hoshyar Zebari represented Masoud in the meeting, which was also attended by Jalal Talabani, Iyad Allawi, Ahmed Chalabi, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein. The delegation met US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Chief of Staff Myers. Rumsfeld was categorical, as he said, “The policy of containing Iraq is not a successful policy. The attack on Iraq must be launched from the south and the north at the same time.
    Iran was watching the harbingers of the American storm threatening to blow on Saddam's regime. Between her and the ruler of Iraq years of war and a sea of ​​hatred. It was difficult for her to confirm publicly that she supports the American invasion, the implications and limits of which are difficult for her to predict. At the same time, she felt that the uprooting of Saddam's regime removed a wall in front of her that impeded her movement in Iraq and the region. The best expression of Iran's facilitation of the American mission was the participation of the Iraqi factions supporting it in the opposition deliberations that preceded the war, and aimed at providing an Iraqi ground for the uprooting of the regime at the hands of the Americans. Subsequent developments showed that Iran, which took a decision to facilitate the overthrow of Saddam's regime, took at the same time a parallel decision whose essence was to destabilize the US military presence in Iraq and prevent the establishment of a stable and pro-Western Iraqi regime in Baghdad. It also appeared that Damascus, in agreement with Iran, had taken a similar decision. General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, will be tasked with arranging the process of draining the US army, which is linked to Iran's Afghan and Iraqi sides. Accusations of the Ba'athist regime of establishing relations with "Al-Qaeda" led by Osama bin Laden, and accusations of keeping weapons of mass destruction. There was talk of mobile biological laboratories. Masoud Barzani asserts that his party did not contribute, from near or far, to providing such pretexts that were used in the media, as well as in the Security Council itself.

    Turkish knot


    War approached and Turkey's fears escalated. Someone came to inform Barzani of the content of a meeting between Turkish officials and US General Tommy Frank, commander of the Central Command. The Turkish delegation presented four demands at the meeting: - No Kurdish state should be established or formed. - The Kurds should not be allowed to control the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. - Turkey should have a say in the new Iraqi regime. - The Kurds should not participate in the process Overthrowing the current Iraqi regime. The US President's representative to the opposition, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, informed the Kurds that Turkey's participation in the coalition that will overthrow Saddam is important and necessary. It was clear in recent weeks that the American plan entailed closing in on Saddam's regime from the south and north. This means starting from Turkish territory and advancing through the Zakho border crossing. The position of the Kurds was clear and requires the rejection of any regional military participation, whether Iranian or Turkish. The discussions were tumultuous, especially after it became clear that Turkey required sending units of its forces to Mosul and Kirkuk to participate in overthrowing Saddam and allow the US forces to use its lands. During one of the meetings, a paper was inserted into Masoud containing a statement by the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament saying that the Turkish forces will enter northern Iraq and disarm the Peshmerga. Masoud's response was categorical and violent, and he addressed the American side, saying: “We will fight them (the Turkish soldiers) whether they come with you or on their own. In the first case, we will be accused of terrorism, and in the second, the confrontation will be bilateral and in another framework. He said that he knows that Turkey is a state and has a strong army, but the Peshmerga prefer to pass over their dead bodies rather than hand over their weapons. He went further by saying that I will fight them even if I remain alone, and I will wait for them at Zakho.” The confrontation with Turkey did not take place. The American side did not accept its terms, and the Turkish Parliament did not allow the American forces to pass through the territory of his country, so the American forces stationed in the ships off the Turkish coast were forced to change their destination. The war is coming, but the American administration did not inform its allies of the date of the first strike. On the night of 19 to 20 March 2003, the war broke out, changing the face of Iraq, and with it the balances of the region.


    An American wound... and an international vacuum


    The September 11 attacks left a deep wound in the soul of the "sole superpower". Some hawks in George W. Bush's administration believed the attacks were an opportunity to show that the United States deserved the title it won the day the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Soviet Union committed suicide. Among them were those who believed that the "world that breeds extremism and terrorism" could be treated with military surgeries that would lead to planting the seeds of democracy in its body. There was no international front of sufficient weight to discourage America from undertaking its adventure. President Vladimir Putin was preoccupied with re-preserving the Russian Federation itself after the winds of disintegration that struck the Soviet Union were almost blown during the reign of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. He also needed to restore the capabilities and spirit of the Russian army and stop the plundering of the country at the hands of some of its sons. It was too early for the president who came from the corridors of the KGB to reveal that he was carrying a big project for revenge against the West and its model. China at the beginning of the century was not interested in presenting itself in the form of a great boxer who would challenge America's influence in the world. It needed more time to become the second largest economy in the world, achieve more achievements in combating poverty, and engage in the technological race. Massoud Barzani was watching the international scene. The major objection was made by French President Jacques Chirac. On the sidelines of a NATO summit held in Prague, Chirac told Bush that “the outbreak of a war will strike stability in the region, and one of its consequences will be bringing the Iranian loyalists to power in Baghdad, and strengthening Tehran’s influence in Damascus as well as in Lebanon through (Hezbollah), and then this The war will not be legitimate. The Bush administration did not dwell for long on the position of some of the "old continent" parties, especially that British Prime Minister Tony Blair chose to participate in the American trip. War is coming. It was necessary to pay attention to the countries bordering Iraq, especially Iran. And many people were preoccupied with a complex question:

    Iranian anticipation of the "great victory"


    In light of what the Kurdish delegation heard during its secret visit to America in April 2002, the Iraqi opposition conference was held in London in the last month of the year. Absent from the conference were the Dawa Party and the Communist Party, as well as the pro-Syrian Baathists. Masoud was interested in clarifying the reality of the Iranian position, especially since Tehran has a decisive ability to influence some Iraqi forces. Masoud says: “The contradictions that emerged during the opposition conference in London prompted me to visit Tehran. There I met the (then former) President Hashemi Rafsanjani. I was interested in knowing their position not only on the issue of the American war, but also on the formula that was agreed upon for the establishment of a federal Iraq, which means a constitutional formula for the Kurdistan Region. Rafsanjani was flexible as usual and spoke realistically, taking into account the balance of power and the interests of his country. He said that they would regard the overthrow of Saddam as a great victory, but that they could not issue public support for the process that would lead to his ouster. Rafsanjani also supported the establishment of a federal Iraq, and this part of the dialogue was very important to us.” He added, “I also met during the trip, General Qassem Soleimani. He was not known at that stage, as happened in the subsequent years, but he was responsible for the Iraq file. Masoud also met with Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and asked him to advise the delegation of the Shiite "Supreme Council" to be "more realistic in discussions related to the post-regime phase." Later, when the Iraqi opposition conference was held in Salah al-Din in Iraqi Kurdistan, it became clear that Tehran had given its allies the green light to participate in the process of overthrowing the regime. Iran chose to facilitate the overthrow of Saddam. At the same time, General Soleimani was entrusted with preparing to destabilize the US military presence in Iraq and prevent the establishment of a stable pro-Western regime. I asked Massoud if Iran was the first party to drain the US military presence in Iraq, and he replied in the affirmative. I asked him if the Americans considered Iran a possible second target after Iraq, and he said: “At that time, there were stories saying that Iraq was the first episode of an American program for the region that would later include military action against Iran and Syria. The truth is that during my meetings with American officials, whether civilian or military, I have never heard of an approach of this kind. The Americans did not make any hint in this direction. Perhaps such talk was merely an analysis or was launched by other parties to create more tension in the region. The Americans complained to me about Iran's role. They later complained about the role Soleimani plays in supporting groups that target them, but they never talked about targeting Iran itself or Syria, which they accused of opening its borders to infiltrate militants and extremists to fight US forces in Iraq. The truth is that during my meetings with American officials, whether civilian or military, I have never heard of an approach of this kind. The Americans did not make any hint in this direction. Perhaps such talk was merely an analysis or was launched by other parties to create more tension in the region. The Americans complained to me about Iran's role. They later complained about the role Soleimani plays in supporting groups that target them, but they never talked about targeting Iran itself or Syria, which they accused of opening its borders to infiltrate militants and extremists to fight US forces in Iraq. The truth is that during my meetings with American officials, whether civilian or military, I have never heard of an approach of this kind. The Americans did not make any hint in this direction. Perhaps such talk was merely an analysis or was launched by other parties to create more tension in the region. The Americans complained to me about Iran's role. They later complained about the role Soleimani plays in supporting groups that target them, but they never talked about targeting Iran itself or Syria, which they accused of opening its borders to infiltrate militants and extremists to fight US forces in Iraq.

    Ahmadinejad visits occupied Iraq


    Later, Tehran will send more messages. When the US Governing Council was formed, the poles of the pro-Iranian opposition were distributed in its seats, like others. Another message came in 2007. A plane carrying an unusual visitor landed at Baghdad airport. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to occupied Iraq, as if he wanted to remind that Iran is part of the geographical destiny of Iraq and that it will remain its neighbor after the Americans get tired and decide to withdraw. Ahmadinejad saw with his own eyes the massive US military deployment, which was estimated at 170,000 soldiers. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a relative of Massoud and a member of the leadership in his party, was the head of the delegation of honor accompanying Ahmadinejad. Contacts were made that persuaded the American checkpoints not to stop the convoy. But one point contradicted what was agreed upon, and it turned out that its members were hoping to take a picture with the visiting president. The Iranian president did not mind, but the accompanying mission advised him not to get out of his car.

    He refused to gloat at Saddam


    The dream of overthrowing Saddam accompanied Masoud Barzani for decades, despite the truces and agreements. In order to engage in any plan against the master of Baghdad, the alternative must be democratic and federal. Massoud did not attempt to visit Saddam in prison. He did not go to his court sessions. He summarizes his position by saying: "Schadenfreude is not the norm for men." Despite what happened to the Kurds at the hands of Saddam, Masoud admits to the man that he was the boldest in the beginning in approaching the Kurds' right to self-rule.

    The world followed the fall of Saddam's statue and considered it the end of a stage. And he was. Massoud Barzani was comfortable with the fall of his enemy, but he was afraid that Iraq would drown in settling bloody scores, which are many. He was afraid of the vacuum that would be left by removing Saddam from the equation, after he had been for decades the backbone of the regime. He feared a clash between Shiites and Sunnis, and between Arabs and Kurds. And for the regional powers to advance to dedicate Iraq as an arena for their old and new dreams. Time has shown that Masoud's fears were justified, as blood spilled abundantly in and outside Baghdad before Iraq could catch its breath. The American military machine applied to Iraq, and the result was known in advance. The Iraqi army, which emerged exhausted from the bitter war with Iran and from the aftermath of the invasion of Kuwait, also suffered from the restrictions of the blockade. There is a wide gap between the two opposing armies in terms of readiness, technology and capabilities. Moreover, the mentality of Saddam himself is the mentality of a warrior from the time of World War II. During the war with Iran, he came to a meeting of senior military personnel, bringing with him a pamphlet of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. Masoud feared that the Iraqi soldiers in the Kurdish areas would be subjected to retaliation for the Anfal operations and the destruction of thousands of villages. He issued his strict orders and achieved their purposes. About 15,000 officers and soldiers surrendered, so they were gathered in camps and provided with food and care for them before they left to return to their areas. The regions of Iraqi Kurdistan did not witness combat operations, and the army was not able to confront the American air raids. When Saddam’s regime fell, Masoud says, “I remembered the noble verse: Say, O God, Owner of the King, You give the kingdom to whom You will and take away the kingdom from whom You will. You honor whom You will and humiliate whom You will with Your hand.” Goodness, you are capable of everything. He also recalled the day he went as a boy to Al-Rehab Palace after the massacre he witnessed in 1958 and read in a place there a phrase confirming that “injustice does not last.” Massoud feared that the Iraqi military in the Kurdish areas would be exposed to acts of retaliation in response to the Anfal operations and the destruction of thousands of villages. He issued his strict orders and achieved their purposes. About 15,000 officers and soldiers surrendered, so they were gathered in camps and provided with food and care for them before they left to return to their areas. The regions of Iraqi Kurdistan did not witness combat operations, and the army was not able to confront the American air raids. When Saddam’s regime fell, Masoud says, “I remembered the noble verse: Say, O God, Owner of the King, You give the kingdom to whom You will and take away the kingdom from whom You will. You honor whom You will and humiliate whom You will with Your hand.” Goodness, you are capable of everything. He also recalled the day he went as a boy to Al-Rehab Palace after the massacre he witnessed in 1958 and read in a place there a phrase confirming that “injustice does not last.” Massoud feared that the Iraqi military in the Kurdish areas would be exposed to acts of retaliation in response to the Anfal operations and the destruction of thousands of villages. He issued his strict orders and achieved their purposes. About 15,000 officers and soldiers surrendered, so they were gathered in camps and provided with food and care for them before they left to return to their areas. The regions of Iraqi Kurdistan did not witness combat operations, and the army was not able to confront the American air raids. When Saddam’s regime fell, Masoud says, “I remembered the noble verse: Say, O God, Owner of the King, You give the kingdom to whom You will and take away the kingdom from whom You will. You honor whom You will and humiliate whom You will with Your hand.” Goodness, you are capable of everything. He also recalled the day he went as a boy to Al-Rehab Palace after the massacre he witnessed in 1958 and read in a place there a phrase confirming that “injustice does not last.” About 15,000 officers and soldiers surrendered, so they were gathered in camps and provided with food and care for them before they left to return to their areas. The regions of Iraqi Kurdistan did not witness combat operations, and the army was not able to confront the American air raids. When Saddam's regime fell, Masoud says, “I remembered the noble verse: Say, O God, Owner of the King, You give the kingdom to whom You will and take away the kingdom from whom You will. You exalt whom You will and humiliate whom You will with Your hand Goodness, you are capable of everything. He also remembered the day he went as a boy to Al-Rehab Palace after the massacre he witnessed in 1958 and read in a place there a phrase confirming that “injustice does not last.” About 15,000 officers and soldiers surrendered, so they were gathered in camps and provided with food and care for them before they left to return to their areas. The regions of Iraqi Kurdistan did not witness combat operations, and the army was not able to confront the American air raids. When Saddam's regime fell, Masoud says, “I remembered the noble verse: Say, O God, Owner of the King, You give the kingdom to whom You will and take away the kingdom from whom You will. You exalt whom You will and humiliate whom You will with Your hand Goodness, you are capable of everything. He also remembered the day he went as a boy to Al-Rehab Palace after the massacre he witnessed in 1958 and read in a place there a phrase confirming that “injustice does not last.”

    Dazed and lost in Baghdad


    A state of astonishment and loss prevailed in Baghdad. The successive regimes after the 1958 revolution did not train the Iraqi forces to gather around a table and reach common denominators, so how about when it comes to the way the country is governed? The parties opposed to Saddam did not have headquarters in Baghdad. I went to the capital in a hurry, and Masoud and his team stayed at the “Burj Al Hayat” hotel, which turned into a place for deliberations and meetings. The forces that returned to Baghdad were not ready for an agreement and missed an opportunity. Massoud says that America sent General Jay Garner as interim governor of Iraq and asked the Iraqi forces to agree to form an interim government to transfer powers to it. The existing powers were not accustomed to the idea of ​​settlement and exchanging concessions, and most of them acted as if they had a historic opportunity to extract the largest amount of gains. For weeks, the Iraqis were unable to agree on a government formula that could have spared Iraq more pain. Ahmed Chalabi was “alert to the necessity of forming a government.” He was insisting on the need for an agreement, saying that we have to accomplish this before we are surprised by a decision that shuffles the cards and complicates the issue. He stressed several times the necessity of resolving the issue, but we did not succeed. After each meeting we would go back to square one. This bag is for so-and-so party and that for another party. The deliberations revealed many differences, and what Chalabi expected was correct. General Garner will not stay long, and Paul Bremer will come after him, and a major development will occur, which is the transformation of the United States, with its desire, into an occupying power.

    "Dead man sentenced to death"


    Massoud likens Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army to "issuing a death sentence on a dead person." He explains, “The American attack led to the disintegration and decomposition of the Iraqi army. There are no more camps, formations, leadership or ranks. The decision to dissolve was not justified. It would have been more useful to take a quick decision to reconfigure the army on sound national and democratic foundations.” He denied knowing that there was a plan at that time, according to which Iraqi officers and soldiers would play a role in maintaining security in the cities, in order to avoid friction between the US army and the people. He also denied that his party had previously played a role in expelling the former Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Nizar Al-Khazraji, from Baghdad, stressing that the CIA "was the one who expelled him and we allowed him to pass through our regions." He notes that "the injustice inflicted by the regime on the Iraqi people with its various components made many in the north and south receive the US army with flowers on the days of its entry."

    The gallows does not balcony history


    It is most likely that Saddam did not expect to leave the palace until the date. And to sit on the balcony next to Saladin and Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, who built Baghdad. But Iraq is a poisoned feast for its rulers. He did not expect to pay the price for what Osama bin Laden did in New York and Washington. There is no thread between the two men other than mutual hatred. He also did not expect that an American armored vehicle would uproot his statue from Paradise Square. And the screens broadcast the scene of his removal from a hole. and be pushed behind bars. And to wrap the rope around his neck as he did to many. And that his body be thrown into the “Green Zone” near the house of the one who signed the decision to execute him. I remembered what an Arab leader told me. “The scene of a clash between the hands of the American soldiers was difficult. A harsh message, regardless of his mistakes. But in the end, he is considered lucky, because if he had fallen into the hands of the militias that came from across the border, they would have dragged him through the streets of Baghdad, just like Nuri al-Saeed. In any case, he denied his jailers the opportunity to humiliate him and their testimony.” Two Arab rulers were deeply disturbed by seeing Saddam in the hands of American soldiers, and then by seeing him executed amidst cries of jubilation and at a time that was criticized by several Iraqi parties. The first is Muammar Gaddafi, and the other is Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the two did not hesitate to express their concerns. The truth is that Gaddafi had been afflicted with fear of the Americans since American planes attacked his residence in the Bab al-Azizia barracks in 1986. That night Barzani was in Tripoli at the insistence of the colonel, and chance intervened to save him. The ruler of Iraq prefers to receive death without bowing. One day, the nervous officer, Abdul-Ghani Al-Rawi, told me how he ordered the shooting of the leader, Abdul-Karim Qasim, in the broadcasting house. Qasim did not bow down and refused to put a blindfold on his eyes, despite his bitterness towards his arch-comrade, Abdul Salam Aref. It is not customary for the ruler of Iraq to receive death quietly in his bed.
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