Whisper campaign against Saddam never rises to a roar

Persian Gulf media are abuzz with tales of coups and exile, of last minute deals to stave off war by packing Saddam off with the wives and kids. Don’t believe any of them.

Whoa. This report from the Cape Times in South Africa quotes three diplomats from the United Arab Emirates as saying that Saddam Hussein is headed for “African exile” provided he would not be prosecuted for war crimes by the Western powers, his family and other members of his government could come with him and the withdrawl of all U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf region. Other conditions include the end of United Nations sanctions on Iraq.
OK. I don’t present this item because I believe it, as the United States would never accept the withdrawl of its troops from the region as a condition for the removal of Saddam from power. Instead, I post this as an example of the whisper campaign that’s going on in the regional media. I predict the whispering will never rise to the level of a roar. As I wrote earlier today, the United States needs to conquer Iraq from geostrategic necessity. The White House needs Saddam gone so it can get troops in, not the troops gone so it can get Saddam out! Get it?
Granted, the diplomatic humming by regional busybodies Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia could be the sound of diplomats keen on prying the levers of power from Saddam’s grasp. And the cancellation of a trip to Cairo by Gen. “Chemical” Ali Hassan al-Majid, who gained fame for his ruthless gassing of thousands of Kurdish civilians in 1988 around Halabja, could be indicative of the announcement of a deal. But don’t bet on it. This is at best wishful thinking and grasping at last straws.
An article in Singapore’s Straights Times should let Arab governments know the United States will attack soon. It lays out American suspicions of any last minute hat tricks by Saddam. Apparently officials in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office are puzzling over the possibility that Saddam could stage a fake coup or a assassination in order to stave off an American invasion. Or, tricky guy that he is, he could go into exile and continue pulling the strings from afar.
No doubt policy-makers are giving at least some thought to these kinds of tricks on the part of Saddam. But this article from the Straits Times sounds like just the sort of justification the United States needs to go in no matter what. Saddam’s dead? Could have been a body double. Palace coup? Might be engineered by him. Exile? He’s still alive and still has friends in the government. Like the argument that just because we can’t find WMD doesn’t mean Iraq doesn’t have them, all the arguments for not going in because of internal revolution or whatever are being knocked down, one by one.
Anyone still want to bet there won’t be an American proconsul come Christmastime in Baghdad?