Many consider the survival of Saddam Hussein from the Persian Gulf War a serious miscalculation.1 With Warren Christopher and William Perry departing the Clinton Administration, it appears that Saddam Hussein is now bolder than ever, buoyed by his humiliating defeat of the CIA in northern Iraq in September. He continues to stockpile chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and Scud missiles to deliver them.2
Many believe time is on his side and that Russia's Primakov, France's Chirac and Turkey's Erbekan will shortly bring about the complete dismantling of the Iraqi sanctions regime.3
Some reports received through European diplomatic sources suggest some remarkable intrigues may be afoot.
At a secret meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on 18 September 1996, U.S. diplomat Pelletreau and Saddam Hussein's son Qusay (accompanied by his father's adviser, Abdul Hammud) discussed, for some hours, the possibilities of improving the relations between the U.S. and Iraq.4 Qusay argued that Iraq and the United States had common geopolitical interests in the region, especially regarding the threat from Iran, which Saddam Hussein has proven his readiness to face.
Qusay also cited Iraq's recent successful campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan against Tala-bani as proof of its present military capability.
He pointed to the threat from Islamic extremists sponsored by Iran and linked their growth to the anti-Iraqi policy of the U.S. He emphasized that if a settlement could be worked out, Iraq would be ready to help the U.S. against Iran.
Pelletreau told Qusay that Saddam Hussein must stop threatening neighboring Arab states, but agreed that the U.S. wants to contain and isolate Iran. He made three conditions for U.S.-Iraq cooperation:
1) Iraq must be ready to face a confrontation with Iran and stand up to Teheran's ambitions in the Gulf.
2) Iraq must allow the U.S. to establish at least two military bases on its territory.
3) Iraq must begin military cooperation with the U.S., permitting 300 U.S. officers and experts to come to Baghdad as advisers.
Pelletreau stipulated that any agreement must be kept secret and be implemented only after the U.S. elections.
Some sources have indicated that the U.S. has already withdrawn the CIA agents plotting Saddam Hussein's overthrow.5
The U.S. has also drafted a deal under which the U.S. will benefit from the oil-for-food deal rather than European companies. Several reports discuss the return of U.S. companies to Iraq to conduct secret negotiations.
European sources suggest that the U.S. is attempting to redraw the map of the entire Middle East and that the U.S.-Iraq agreement being discussed is actually a U.S.-Turkey-Iraq agreement, supplementing a U.S.-sponsored Turkey-Israel agreement.
The presence of U.S. bases in Iraq could not only blockade Iran but also Syria. As we go to press, the serious tensions between Syria and Israel continue.6
Iran continues to be emerging as the strong-man in the Middle East, and is the primary ally aligned with Russia (Magog) in Ezekiel 38.7