Iraqi Author: Saddam Planned to Invade Saudi After Kuwait
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Saddam Hussein was planning to invade Saudi Arabia soon after his army took over Kuwait in August 1990, a former Iraqi official said Monday.
Saad al-Bazzaz made the disclosure in a new book, ``The Generals Are the Last to Know,″ excerpts of which were published Monday in the London-based daily Al-Hayat.
The book will be released next week in several Arab countries and later will be translated into English.
Saddam decided to invade Saudi after King Fahd took sides against Iraq, al-Bazzaz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday from Jordan, where he is in exile.
Al-Bazzaz is an ex-aide to Saddam and former editor of the government daily Al-Joumhouriya.
Saddam has always denied the allegations, also made by the United States and Saudi Arabia shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. He maintains that the U.S. falsely accused him of an invasion plan to scare the Saudis into accepting the U.S. and other allied forces which later liberated Kuwait.
According to the excerpts published Monday, Saddam ordered his forces to ready an assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich eastern provinces.
Al-Bazzaz said the Iraqi leader ordered the elite Republican Guard to be ready to launch an offensive on Aug. 11, 1990, nine days after the invasion of Kuwait.
The invasion plans called for four divisions, or 120,000 troops, to thrust into the desert to capture oil fields more than 180 miles away, al-Bazzaz contends.
The plans worked out by the commander of the guards at the time, Lt. Gen. Iyad Feteyeh al-Rawi, called for a three-pronged attack that would have soldiers reach the oil fields in 10 hours, al-Bazzaz said.
``Every thing was set (for the Saudi invasion) awaiting an H-hour to be decided″ by Saddam, al-Bazzaz said.
Al-Bazzaz, then head of Iraqi state radio and television, said that a few days after the Kuwaiti invasion, Saddam ordered him to orchestrate fake broadcasts from Saudi opposition groups calling for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy.
Later, al-Bazzaz said, Saddam canceled the Saudi invasion plans and ordered troops to concentrate instead on fortifying their positions in Kuwait.
``No one can determine what forced him to change his mind,″ he said. ``This is a secret which only Saddam knows.″
Saddam again planned an invasion during the war when Iraqi troops captured the Saudi border town of Khafji, al-Bazzaz said.
He said Saddam ordered his commanders to try to capture thousands of American troops and tie them to Iraqi tanks that would advance into the Saudi oil fields. But U.S.-led allied forces soon drove the Iraqis out of Khafji.
Al-Bazzaz said he checked his information with Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid, Iraq’s most senior commander in Kuwait during the invasion, and al-Majid confirmed the report.
Al-Majid defected to Jordan last year but went back to Iraq in February after promises from Saddam to pardon him for his defection to Jordan. He was killed two days later.