Along the Tracks

Monday, March 31, 2003

Dead or alive?

Saddam Hussein’s top bodyguard was positioned behind the Iraqi Defense Minister during a press conference late last week - for the first time ever outside of Saddam’s personal presence. The National Review’s James Robbins has an interesting run-through of what this signals today.

What seems certain is this appearance signals something.

Personally, I think Saddam and his sons are dead. The Defense Minister is now in charge (Sultan Hashim Ahmed), but he, in an effort to avoid a mass revolt among the Iraqi people, is maintaining the useful fiction of Saddam’s continued control. Also, there’s no guarantee the Saddam Fedayeen would fight if their namesake is experiencing rigor mortis. Nevertheless, senior Iraqi leaders who cannot be contacted by direct communication (talk on your cell phone and you’re dead!) are informed by the bodyguard’s appearance of the new sheriff in town. That’s my take.

Strategically and operationally, this may have little relevance until the Special Republican Guard is defeated and we roll into Baghdad - then we can challenge the remnants of the Ba’ath Party to produce Saddam or his sons, in a propaganda coup (assuming they can’t). Even so, as Robbins says, it is interesting to speculate on the situation.

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