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Jewish World Review July 11, 2002 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5762

Arnaud de Borchgrave

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Before the battle of the leaks transmogrifies


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- (UPI) If President Bush doesn't have a war plan on his desk to unhorse Saddam Hussein -- maybe he doesn't allow the New York Times to touch his desk -- the Iraqi dictator most assuredly has one on his desk.

It will include everything in Iraq's arsenal, according to what Hussein told his inner circle of advisers and two sons during a five-hour meeting last month that was leaked to a Saudi newspaper. "Everything" in this instance means weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is known to possess both chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

Hussein made clear to his acolytes he would wait for the United States to throw the first punch -- and then hit back with everything he's got, both on the battlefield and "all other fronts." This presumably means the activation of "sleeper" cells in the United States

The beneficiary of the Iraqi leak was Saudi newspaper Al-Watan-Al-Arabi, which quoted sources close to the ruling family in Baghdad. Present at Hussein's war council were two new officials "who were recently assigned by (Hussein's son) Qusay to organize intelligence cells abroad." It's a safe bet that "intelligence cells" in this instance is Iraqi jargon for "sabotage of U.S. targets of convenience."

Referring to the green light Bush gave the CIA to "assassinate or arrest me," Hussein, according to the leaker, said the U.S. president "has left Iraq no room to be tolerant ... His war on us is now declared and he is publicly leaking information today that he gave orders to use all means and weapons to violate Iraq's sovereignty and international law by assassinating me in Iraq."

Hussein then told the participants he wanted to hear their views and analysis "calmly without getting emotional." That is asking the impossible of people whose culture is hyperbole. So one after another, they emoted from the same sheet, working up to a crescendo to take the war to America.

The first to speak was Ali Hasan al-Majid, a presidential cousin who is widely known as Chemical Ali and is accused of being responsible for the massacres in the south following the 1991 uprising at the end of the Gulf War, "Mr. President, the Iraqi people have tolerated the intolerable from these Americans ... has the time not come to take the fight to their own homes in America? They wanted this to be a war on all fronts, so let it be a war on all fronts and using all weapons and means."

Samples from the others:

-- "The Americans must know that the heroes of Iraq can become human bombs in the thousands, willing to blow up America in particular."

-- "With a simple sign from you, we can make America's people sleepless and frightened to go out in the streets ... I swear upon your head, sir, that if I do not turn their night into day and their day into a living hell, I will ask you to chop off my head before the brothers present."

-- "I am confident that our entire nation will be set aflame (by the Americans) and they must know that the entire region will turn into rubble with Israel at the forefront."

-- "If (Osama) bin Laden truly did carry out the September attacks as they claim, then as God is my witness, we will prove to them that what happened in September is a picnic compared to the wrath of Saddam Hussein."

After five hours of "fiery elocution," all agreed "on the need for a strong response to the now public hostile U.S. plan and the importance for Iraq not to wait or hesitate."

All except Hussein, that is. He said the United States is using "all its dominion and tyranny not just to humiliate Iraq, but ... every Arab in the land of Arabs and every Muslim in the land of Islam ... just as (Bush) rejected (Palestinian Authority President) Yasser Arafat, he will reject Saddam Hussein, and tomorrow (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad, and after that another Arab leader until U.S. dominion reaches the rights, wealth and destiny of the Arab ... Bush, his gang and his intelligence bodies should know that as soon as they start this battle or we get wind of its beginning, Iraq will turn from reaction to action ... At that moment everything will be handed over to Qusay Saddam Hussein to directly oversee the retaliation plans ... using all the weapons and fronts available."

Hussein's son Uday, according to the leaked minutes in the Saudi paper, still insisted Iraq should launch preemptive attacks against the United States. The dictator reminded him "so far the U.S. has done nothing except take a decision on paper. A number of officials know from experience that implementation will not be easy. (The Americans) have taken many decisions over the past 12 years and we have foiled them all. What's important today is to wait for the U.S. to throw the first punch and then we will not just react, but will act and take actions."

At the very least, concluded an anonymous top security official in a large Arab state -- widely rumored to be Saudi Prince Turki, the retired chief of Saudi intelligence who held the job for 25 years -- what will happen between Bush 43 and Hussein will be larger and more dangerous than what happened between Hussein and Bush 41.

Hopefully the U.S. Senate will get to debate war powers for the commander-in-chief for Gulf War II before the battle of leaks transmogrifies into an alliance between Hussein and bin Laden -- weapons of mass destruction and terrorism in the United States.

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Arnaud de Borchgrave is Editor-at-Large for UPI. Comment by clicking here.

07/02/02: al Qaida has already activated "sleeper" agents in the U.S.

© 2002, UPI