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Possible Deal Aborted?
November 5, 2003 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Claim: U.S. Government Spurned Peace Talks Before the War With Iraq - A possible negotiated peace deal was laid out in a heavily guarded compound in Baghdad in the days before the war, ABCNews has been told, but a top former Pentagon adviser says he was ordered not to pursue the deal, ABCNews has learned.
Baghdad Scrambled to Offer Deal to U.S. as War Loomed - As American soldiers massed on the Iraqi border in March and diplomats argued about war, an influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman: Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal. Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction, and they offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct an independent search. The businessman said in an interview that the Iraqis also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who was being held in Baghdad. At one point, he said, the Iraqis pledged to hold elections.
posted by y2karl (28 comments total)

 
I don't know if this is the worst news ever. Shocking yes, but all the shock is in hindsight at this point. We had so many opportunties to avoid war and didn't. This is yet another.
posted by mathowie at 9:40 PM on November 5, 2003


Well to be fair to Bush & Co, Saddam had offered this that and the other but never really followed through, no reason why they thought this would be any different. Most probably perceived as him just trying once again to stall an invasion as opposed to a genuine offer.
posted by zeoslap at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2003


For the record I'm glad Saddam is gone (well Osama gone, not gone, gone) but wish it had been achieved differently.
posted by zeoslap at 9:44 PM on November 5, 2003


The Iraqis did hold elections. Saddam got 100% of the vote and there was a 100% turnout.

Seriously though, it looks pretty clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that probably wasn't the main purpose here anyway, so it's doubtful that any terms iraq could have offered, short of Saddam's turning over power and fleeing the country, would have been satisfactory. So, yeah, it's ugly news, but it isn't especially significant, because at that point the US was publicly stating that we would be offering the terms of any deal for iraq to accept or deny, and anything short of our terms was unacceptable.
posted by Wingy at 9:45 PM on November 5, 2003


TPM.
posted by dglynn at 9:46 PM on November 5, 2003


perceived as him just trying once again to stall an invasion as opposed to a genuine offer

yeah, that's the ticket!
posted by quonsar at 9:49 PM on November 5, 2003


I can't remember, what terms were we offering that Saddam could accept to stop a war? Was it just "leave Iraq"? It seemed like the terms kept changing. Something about getting rid of his WMDs?
posted by inksyndicate at 10:22 PM on November 5, 2003




"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." - bush

Well of course we couldn't wait, because we'd be waiting an awful long time..
posted by zeoslap at 10:42 PM on November 5, 2003




Plan C.
posted by homunculus at 11:51 PM on November 5, 2003


Er, what I mean is maybe Plan C or something like it really would have been viable.
posted by homunculus at 11:53 PM on November 5, 2003


A negotiated settlement would have missed the point: Cheney needs his oil, and he needs it bad. Of course, now that the Oil is controlled by Halliburton - oops, I mean the Iraqi people - the US Forces have to use gas imported from Kuwait at over 100% markup. Proceeds to Halliburton, of course.

A good businessman never negotiates down from a sweet deal.
posted by zaelic at 1:59 AM on November 6, 2003


The terms presented to Iraq were: surrender your weapons of mass destruction. If you don't surrender them then that's proof that you have them and we'll kick your ass. If you surrender your weapons we'll kick your ass anyway, 'cause, well, you had WMDs.
posted by substrate at 5:09 AM on November 6, 2003


Oh for ghod's sake. Hitler offered Britain a deal, too, right before WWII. And Britain accepted it. Headline: PEACE IN OUR TIME!. Neville Chaimberlain: "I have here, from herr Hitler, a piece of paper."

If you're in favor of negotiating with torturers then, as they say of the net, I consider you damage and will route around you.
posted by jfuller at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2003


Chamberlain
posted by jfuller at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2003


Strange analogy to make jfuller, because in that example the US would be Germany and Iraq would be Britain.
posted by Summer at 5:46 AM on November 6, 2003


Oh for ghod's sake. Hitler offered Britain a deal, too, right before WWII. And Britain accepted it. Headline: PEACE IN OUR TIME!. Neville Chaimberlain: "I have here, from herr Hitler, a piece of paper."

If you're in favor of negotiating with torturers then, as they say of the net, I consider you damage and will route around you


Sure, but Britain did not have 200,000 troops and the most powerful military in the world surrounding Germany at the time.

Don't equate Hitler and Saddam....he's more Like Mussolini.
posted by CrazyJub at 5:50 AM on November 6, 2003


Hey, watch it, Summer. If you're not with us, you're against us. I sort of like the Hitler/Bush comparison. I don't think history is going to look kindly upon The Shrub.
posted by GiantRobot at 5:50 AM on November 6, 2003


The smoking gun will come in the form of a completely disassembled gun that is not smoking . . .
posted by Mid at 6:34 AM on November 6, 2003


Lies, lies and damned lies. I hope Americans are keeping a list.
posted by rushmc at 7:22 AM on November 6, 2003


For the record I'm glad Saddam is gone

Don't be so sure of that. Someone is coordinating the escalating attacks in Baghdad.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2003


Heads need to roll because of this. How many soldiers are dying now? My little brother may be in the first generation to see the draft in nearly 30 years. All because bush wanted his damn war.

rushmc- i've run out of ink
posted by jmgorman at 8:30 AM on November 6, 2003


Great link Mid!
posted by VeGiTo at 8:32 AM on November 6, 2003


If this is all true, why didn't the Ba'th offer it publicly?

Instead they played a laughably bad PR game and lost it all. If an Iraqi spokes had gone on the BBC and said "We will accept US troops inspecting whatever they wish, we have no WMDs!" I suspect it would have thrown a mightly curve ball at invasion plans.
posted by Leonard at 8:41 AM on November 6, 2003


why didn't the Ba'th offer it publicly?

Interesting piece about this on NPR this morning. Apparently, this puts in relief an essential cultural difference, diplomatically speaking, between Arab nations and the West. According to the journalist, Arab nations depend more on unofficial ("honest broker") or back channel intermediaries to get deals of this kind worked out than they do going through the front door -- which is typically responsible for the saber rattling and other posturing to keep up a strong public face to the government or the state. The west, and particularly the US, has very rigid diplomatic processes and channels with regard to it conducts itself in these situations and has strong distrust for casual third party intermediaries. I'm sure this is a gross oversimplification, but an interesting theory nonetheless.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2003


Summer,

it's useless. Believe me, it is.
Let him derail the thread. You know, since facts play against him 24/7, let's leave him the chance of hurling a few slurs. OK, jfuller could not even manage to insult people without putting his foot in his mouth, but what can you do.


posted by matteo at 12:57 PM on November 6, 2003


psmealy - could the fact that Saddam's government had little experience of dealing with a free press and mass media have had something to do with it? It just didn't know how to be a player.
posted by Summer at 2:42 AM on November 7, 2003


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