A former political adviser to Saddam Hussein's son is claiming that Saddam was willing to surrender to all American demands before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but that the Bush administration refused his offers.
The disclosure has been made by Hossam Shaltout, a Canadian aerospace engineer and former American pilot, and founder of the peace organisation Rights and Freedom International. He claims that war could have been averted, but Bush aides blocked his efforts to announce Saddam's decision.
"Saddam was willing to yield to all American demands, announced and unannounced, to reach peaceful resolution, but the Bush administration, including Elizabeth Cheney, undersecretary of State, David Welch, the U.S. ambassador in Egypt, and Gene Cretz, his political attache, did not respond to his offers."
Shaltout claimed that he was planning to fly from Amman to Baghdad to announce Saddam's decision, but the Royal Jordanian Airlines officials claimed that the US ordered the flight to leave five hours earlier causing him to miss the flight, preventing him from announcing on CNN that Saddam would bow to the Bush ultimatum.
Shaltout said he traveled by road to Baghdad, delaying him almost one day, but raced to get the communique approved from Saddam to broadcast over international TV stations broadcasting from Baghdad.
Two hours before the expiration of the Bush ultimatum, Saddam ordered Colonel Amer, his strongman, to facilitate Shaltout's broadcast of the communique. Colonel Amer ordered Allaa Mecky, the head of the Iraqi Channel 2 television, to accompany Shaltout and help him broadcast the communique."
It was very late at night and CNN in Baghdad was closed. So they went to al-Jazeera, and Shaltout told al-Jazeera Washington correspondent Hafez Almirazy on the air that he had the Iraqi government's official reply to the Bush ultimatum. Moments after Mirazy asked him for a brief, the plug was pulled on the transmission. Shaltout has a copy of that interrupted broadcast.
Shaltout said that when the Americans arrived in Baghdad, he offered his assistance to U.S. military officials. Instead he was arrested by Marines who went to his hotel suite taking his documents. Shaltout has the videotape of his arrest, and several supporting documents.
If this claim is true then the Bush Administration should be held to account, in the same manner as Saddam, for the thousands of lives lost during this criminally negligent fiasco.