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Surprisingly, this beat has not yet been picked up in the mainstream press. Whether or not it’s true, this could serve to further indict Syria in the eyes of the world and provide justification for the toppling of the government there by the US-led Coalition.

My suspicions are that Syria is in fact supporting the Saddam regime and are allowing them to transit SCUDs and other weapons systems safely across the border into Syria. Further, I suspect that the US knows this, and the additional 200,000 troops on their way to the Persian Gulf from the US and Britain are indeed on their way to invade Syria. One they’re in position I’d expect to see Rumsfeld throttling up the rhetoric denouncing Syria.

In fact, Rumsfeld has already intimated that Syria may be harbouring what little remains of Saddam’s chemical and/or plutonium weapons making capability (my editorial, not his). This is probable, and I suspect that unless the US Military hires Mark Fuhrman, that there won’t be much evidence of actual Weapons of Mass Destruction when the smoke clears in Baghdad.

Debka itself is an interesting source for information on the Middle East, I highly recommend checking it frequently.



Is Saddam in Syria?

From DEBKAfile War Diary – Day 15, April 3, 2003

April 5, 2003, 1:58 PM (GMT+02:00)

DEBKAfile’s Exclusive Middle East sources have tracked down the top Iraqi leadership’s bolt-hole. It is a large 1,600-room luxury resort with 600 meters of private sandy beach in the Mediterranean coastal town of Latakiya called Cote d’Azur De Cham Resort, prepaid and chartered in toto by Baghdad.

The group may include Saddam Hussein or his sons, but this is not confirmed.

The hotel is located close to the Assad family villa.

Top Iraqi officials are reported hiding there since March 23, four days after the US-led coalition invaded Iraq. They are guarded by a Syrian commando unit armed with anti-air missiles while Syrian naval missile boats secure the port.

DEBKAfile’s military sources also report: The Iraqi troops sent to reinforce Baghdad’s international airport are members of the Iraqi 26th Brigade’s special commando unit, whose sole task is to defend lives of Saddam Hussein and close family. These commandos take orders from no one but Iraqi ruler and sons, who are unlikely to have stripped themselves of this protection if they were still present in the capital. This outward movement from Baghdad is further indication of drastic changes in the Iraqi government’s top level

Saddam Departs Baghdad

On the exact 14th day of the Iraq War, Wednesday, April 2, the Saddam regime looked as though it had breathed its last. Its primary military props, the Special Republic Guards divisions, Saddam’s Fedayeen suicides and Iraqi intelligence’s special commando units, were clearly losing their grip as a functioning command in control of a coherent force of resistance. Iraqi elite units were letting key positions drop into the hands of the coalition forces already dangerously close to Baghdad, without lifting a finger. The SRG Baghdad Division did nothing to stop allied forces crossing the Tigris bridges from west to east although it was their job to blow them up and prevent the allied advance. Commanders were rumored to have been summarily fired; others disappeared.

During the day, DEBKAfile’s military sources describe a procession on Iraqi television of division and brigade commanders who assured the troops that all was well and the battle was going on. They looked tense and harassed. This unusual demonstration looked as though it was intended to betoken its participants’ loyalty to whoever is in charge in Baghdad, possibly a new ruling clique, or an attempt to draw attention to the men with whom the United States must discuss capitulation terms or deal with as the future leaders of the New Iraq.

In a move that smacked of panic, Iraqi intelligence agents went round the capital impounding cell phones to cut off contact with the outside world as wild rumors swirled around the fate of Saddam Hussein, his sons and his regime.

The little hard information reaching DEBKAfile’s most reliable intelligence sources is that Saddam and his sons departed Baghdad some days ago. They do not know where he went, or in what state of health, whether he traveled abroad for medical treatment or the family headed for a safe berth prepared in advance, or even if they arrived safely at their destination.

But it is safe to say that Saddam and the senior members of his family are no longer at the helm of government. Iraq is undoubtedly in the process of regime change, the main objective of the Iraq War. Anything beyond that is hazy. Other members of the Saddam regime may have seized power after the ruler himself departed. The new ruling caste may be divided between a faction negotiating terms of surrender with the Americans and a second, which is determined to fight on. The whole truth of the day’s events on April 2 may never be fully discovered. The war may come to an abrupt end, but not the Iraq crisis which promises more upheaval ahead.