Saddam Hussein from beyond the grave

The Washington Post reports on an interview of Saddam Hussein conducted by an FBI agent shortly before Saddam was hanged. The former dictator of Iraq said that he allowed the world to believe he had wapons of mass destruction because he did not want to appear weak to Iran. Going further, Saddam claimed that he felt so vulnerable to the threat from Iran that he would have been prepared to seek a “security agreement” with the U.S.

It is plausible that Saddam presented the false appearance of having a potent stock of WMD in order to look strong to his adversaries, including Iran. It is much less plausible that he was prepared to seek an agreement with the U.S. To my knowledge, there is no evidence that he ever attempted to do so, and such a move would have undercut the image of a strong Arab leader he worked so hard to project.

The former tyrant also told the FBI that he had no dealings with al Qaeda. The Post’s Glenn Kessler interprets this as contradicting suggestions that “Iraq had significant links to al Qaeda.” But the words Kessler reports — that Saddam never met Osama bin Laden and that the two did not have the same beliefs or vision — do not mean that al Qaeda and Iraq were not talking and/or working together.

The Post, in short, is spinning.

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