Most of the debate around whether the Iraq war should or should not have happened centers on the International Community/UN vs. the US/Coalition, the inspections, and such.
There was very little talk at the time about Iraqs attempts to avoid war. Indeed, I was not aware until today that Iraq had even tried to broker a deal to save itself before the war started.
Today I found this:
“Definition of Failed Iraqi peace initiatives”
In December 2002, a representative of the head of Iraqi Intelligence, Gen. Tahir Jalil Habbush al Takriti, contacted former CIA counterterrorism head Vincent Cannistraro, stating that Saddam “knew there was a campaign to link him to September 11 and prove he had weapons of mass destruction.” Cannistrano further added that “the Iraqis were prepared to satisfy these concerns. I reported the conversation to senior levels of the state department and I was told to stand aside and they would handle it.” Cannistrano stated that the offers made were all “killed” by the Bush administration, citing that the fact that they all had Saddam Hussein remain in power was unacceptable.
Alright.. understandable… from the US Administration perspective
Shortly after, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s national security advisor, Osama al Baz, sent a message to the U.S. State Department that the Iraqis wanted to discuss the accusations that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda. Iraq also attempted to reach the US through the Syrian, French, German, and Russian intelligence services. Nothing came of the attempts.
In February 2003, Hage met with the chief of Iraqi intelligence’s foreign operations, Hassan al-Obeidi. Obeidi told Hage that Baghdad didn’t understand why they were being targeted, and that they had no WMDs; he then made the offer for Washington to send in 2000 FBI agents to ascertain this. He additionally offered oil concessions, but stopped short of having Hussein give up power, instead suggesting that elections could be held in two years. Later, Obeidi suggested that Hage travel to Baghdad for talks; he accepted.
Later that month, Hage met with Gen. Habbush in addition to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. He was offered top priority to US firms in oil and mining rights, UN-supervised elections, US inspections (with up to 5,000 inspectors), to have al-Qaeda agent Abdul Rahman Yassin (in Iraqi custody since 1994) handed over as a sign of good faith, and to give “full support for any US plan” in the Arab-Israeli peace process.
Remember that Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically, donated/payed thousands of dollars to Palestinian suicide bombers and their families for attacks against Israel. So this is no small change in policy.
On March 7th, [Richard] Perle met with Hage in Knightsbridge, and stated that he wanted to pursue the matter further with people in Washington (both have acknowleged the meeting). A few days later, he informed Hage that Washington refused to let him meet with Habbush to discuss the offer (Hage stated that Perle’s response was “that the consensus in Washington was it was a no-go”). Perle told the Times, “The message was ‘Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad.”
According to an Arab source of the Guardian’s, Perle sent a Saudi official the following terms for Iraq to fulfill to prevent war: “Saddam’s abdication and departure, first to a US military base for interrogation and then into supervised exile, a surrender of Iraqi troops, and the admission that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “
… Now obviously this was the Iraqi Regime trying desperately to save its’ own existance. But, if the Iraqis were going to:
a) Allow 5000 US “FBI” or “Military” agents into Iraq to do inspections to prove the lack of WMD
b) Extradite a known AQ operative responsible for the WTC bombings (not 9/11, the earlier bombings)
c) Effectively reverse its’ policy on Israel/Palestine.
Would those 3 things alone not produced a far more secure world than we have today?
I dunno… the problem with revisionist history is just that… it’s still history.