Sultan Ahmad awaits the hangman
September 10, 2007
In 1973, the U.S. offered Vietnam $3 billion in reparations for the return of U.S. prisoners of war interred in Vietnam.
Shortly after, on U.S. television, we saw U.S. prisoners of war arriving back in their home country.
After the last POW was home, Henry Kissinger changed the agreement. He said that Vietnam would get no reparations and he
made fun of the Vietnamese authorities for believing the U.S. promise.
In 1991, the U.S., through a United Nations resolution, promised to lift the embargo against Iraq once the country rid
itself of designated weaponry. By 1992, the Iraqis stated that the country was free of such weapons and asked for the cessation
of the sanctions.
We all know how that one ended. Despite Iraq having held its end of the bargain, the U.S. kept the deadly embargo in place
for another 11 years.
We can write volumes about the U.S. government reneging on promises. Just ask any Native American tribe.
At the end of the Ba’ath rule in Iraq, General Sultan Ahmad was the country’s Minister of Defense. After April
9, 2003, he, along with many Ba’ath officials, disappeared. Then came the infamous deck of 55 playing cards on which
the U.S. pictured its most-wanted Ba’ath officials. Ahmad was in the deck.
Kurdish and U.S. officials knew that Ahmad was in Mosul. They wrote to him and tried to arrange his surrender. On September
19, 2003, he turned himself in.
The events leading to Ahmad’s surrender are quite bizarre. General Petraeus, now famous for being the person who
will determine the future of U.S. activity in Iraq, wrote to Ahmad and said:
You have my word that you will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, and that you will not be physically or mentally
mistreated while under my custody.
The negotiations prior to his surrender included guarantees that Ahmad would not be detained for more than a few days and
he would not be charged with any crime.
Petraeus’ word was just as good as Kissinger’s. Currently, Ahmad has been convicted by a bogus court of genocide
during the Anfal campaign and is awaiting the hangman along with Ali al-Majid and Hussein Rashid. On September 4, 2007, an
appeals court upheld the death sentences and all must hang within 30 days of the failed appeal. There is no date set, but
the executions could occur at any time.
A few months ago, I ran an article about the signing of the 1991 cease fire between the U.S. and Iraq. General Ahmad was
the head of the Iraqi delegation for the event that became famous for the U.S. allowing Iraq to fly helicopters in its territory.
Again, the decision was not one of benevolence. Schwarzkopf thought he was outwitting Saddam Hussein because intelligence
had been forwarded to him saying that a helicopter unit would turn against the Baghdad government and begin a coup. The obese
U.S. general thought Ahmad was in on the plot, when, in reality, there was no plot. I have included a re-run of the article.
Ahmad’s days are numbered. He trusted the U.S. general who communicated with him. This lying entity is now the person
in whose hands the future of U.S. involvement in Iraq has been placed.
Wednesday-Friday, June 6-8, 2007
SADDAM OUTFOXES SCHWARZKOPF
After the Gulf War cease-fire of February 28, 1991, most U.S. war observers turned their attentions away from the hostilities.
Bush, however, was still trying to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Some very interesting actions occurred that could have come
out of a James Bond novel.
On March 3, 1991, General Schwarzkopf met with eight Iraqi officers, led by General Sultan Hashim Ahmad, to sign the cease-fire
agreement. On TV, we saw a gruff-looking Schwarzkopf staring down the Iraqi delegation. There were no socializing formalities:
he would dictate the agenda and the Iraqis would listen. His harsh look may have been attributed to the Iraqis not recognizing
him. They thought he was an enlisted man because they had never seen a general as obese as Schwarzkopf. This lack of acknowledgement
immensely upset the 16-star general.
Shortly after the signing, dual insurrections emerged in Iraq. In the north, various Kurdish factions rose up, while southern
Shi’ite hostilities began, with much help from Iranians who crossed the Iran-Iraq border during Desert Storm. At one
time, 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces were in the hands of insurgents. Then, the advantage was regained by the Iraqi government
and both uprisings ceased.
The main reason for the Iraqi government’s comeback may have been their use of helicopter gunships. Many analysts
attributed the helicopters as the force that turned the tables on the insurgent groups. Then, they elaborated by pointing
at Schwarzkopf’s decision at Safwan on May 3, 1991, to allow the Iraqis to use helicopters.
Once again, Schwarzkopf was in the public eye. In interviews, he explained that his decision held a humanitarian base.
He told the interviewers that Iraq’s road system was destroyed by U.S. bombing and that he thought it would be okay
for the Iraqis to use helicopters for transportation, but they double-crossed him by using them to put down the insurrections
in Iraq. He publicly stated, "I was suckered," making the Iraqis appear to be liars. He came out of this looking like a benevolent
victor trying to help Iraq get itself back on its feet. As with much information about Desert Storm, what you saw was not
In fact, it appears that Schwarzkopf was a willing partner in allowing the helicopter flights. He thought that Iraqi helicopter
forces were going to lead a revolt against Saddam Hussein. In a press conference, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater described
the helicopter issue as "a side, oral discussion, nothing in writing." At the time, the transcripts of the meeting were classified.
In 1992, they were declassified and showed that Schwarzkopf’s public accounts of the incident were way off. According
to the transcript:
Ahmad: This has nothing to do with the front line. This is inside Iraq.
Schwarzkopf: As long as it is not over the part we are in, that is absolutely no problem. So we will let the helicopters,
and that is a very important point, and I want to make sure that’s recorded, that military helicopters can fly over
Iraq. Not fighters, not bombers.
Ahmad: So you mean that even the helicopters … armed in the Iraqi skies, can fly. But not the fighters? Because
the helicopters are the same, they transfer somebody …
Schwarzkopf: Yeah. I will instruct our Air Force not to shoot at any helicopters that are flying over the territory
of Iraq where we are not located. If they must fly over the area we are located in, I prefer that they not be gunships, armed
helos, and I would prefer that they have an orange tag on the side, as an extra safety measure.
Schwarzkopf had been tipped off that soon after the signing of the cease-fire agreement, an attack against Saddam Hussein
would take place in Baghdad. Saudi intelligence passed the information to Washington, who, it seems, gave it to Schwarzkopf.
The way the discussion between him and Ahmad took place left little for anyone to question. However, Baghdad knew exactly
what had occurred.
Laurie Mylroie pieced the parts together in an article called "Iraq’s Real Coup: Did Saddam Snooker Schwartzkopf?"
published on June 29, 1992. She stated:
Iraqi opposition sources told me before Desert Storm began, in January 1991, that Salah Omar Takriti, a London-based Iraqi
close to the Saudi leadership, claimed to have a list of Iraqi military officers willing to plot a coup. Among them was Salah’s
cousin, Hakam Takriti, head of Iraqi Army Aviation — the helicopter squadrons, which include about 120 gunships among
the estimated 350 helicopters.
Saudi intelligence — which cooperates closely with U.S. agencies, could have passed to the Americans Salah’s
reports of a possible coup attempt. If the Americans took such reports seriously, Schwarzkopf would have been informed and
might have taken steps in the cease-fire talks to make sure that the coup plotters’ helicopters were free to assault
Baghdad. But the coup never came, and the helicopters were used crash the revolt.
The U.S. did not check the backgrounds of those supposedly plotting to overthrow Saddam. This lack of knowledge of Iraqis
continued for years, hence people like Ahmed Chalabi and his ilk became rich from U.S. dollars by lying to the U.S. government
telling the officials what they wanted to hear.
This was the case with Hakam. Knowing nothing about the man, the U.S. took the words of people who stated he would lead
a coup against Saddam. In fact, Hakam was a loyal insider in the Iraqi government. According to Mylroie, a source stated,
"If the West is depending on people like Hakam, we will have Saddam for the next 1,000 years."
The U.S. error in this case cost many people their lives and created much destruction, but not for the U.S. The Shi’ite
and Kurdish insurrections began at the behest of the Bush administration with promises for help from the American side. No
help came. Iraqis of all persuasions fought and killed each other over this U.S. promise. It is doubtful that either revolt
would have occurred had the U.S. not promised to intervene.
Norman Schwarzkopf triumphantly marched in New York City in a huge victory parade as the homecoming hero. He then wrote
his memoirs. However, the events of March 3, 1991, in which he was easily outsmarted, were never mentioned. Prior to the March
3 signing, the press asked what Schwarzkopf thought of Saddam Hussein’s knowledge of military strategy. Schwarzkopf
let out a boisterous laugh. A few days later, Saddam had the last laugh.