Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Saddam's former mentor lives in Australia and is working to set up a new Iraq when Saddam is gone.

ONCE he was Saddam Hussein's political mentor. Now Mohamed Al Jabiri, a former Iraqi diplomat exiled by Hussein's regime, lives in Sydney, where he is devising plans for Iraq after war.

From a tiny office in Sydney's southwest, Dr Al Jabiri is the only Australian member of the US State Department's Transitional Justice Working Group, which has been developing a framework for Iraq after Hussein is deposed.

In a week, he will be in Washington with 30 Iraqi exiles and top US planners to adopt a post-Hussein plan.

But for Dr Al Jabiri, the war is about more than liberating his homeland. It is also deeply personal.

Hussein, once a family friend, ordered the deaths of his brother and his son.

He also kept Dr Al Jabiri in solitary confinement for two years from 1980 after suspecting him of being an Israeli spy and a US stooge.

"He kept me in a room with no light for two years . . . I tried to commit suicide and they found me in a coma on the ground five days later," Dr Al Jabiri told The Australian.

Hussein and Dr Al Jabiri first met in 1959 when the dictator was 22.

Dr Al Jabiri, at that time a thirtysomething powerbroker in the Ba'ath Party, remembers him as unimpressive and uncharismatic.

"I used to meet him and give him advice," he said.

"When I went to the palace in 1969, Saddam had already become vice-president and I saw him and told him, 'You will be boycotted by the people if you go on like this'. I had noticed he was changing.

"He was my friend, but when he became the president he started to imprison everyone he knew, so everyone would be afraid of him.

"He hates educated people, that's why he hated me, because I established the party and tried to keep it clean. My father was the president of the Iraqi chamber of commerce, and Saddam was very jealous of me, because he never had a penny in his pocket.

"I never believed he would betray us."

Dr Al Jabiri's brother had been a classmate of Hussein's at law school.

"He was my youngest brother's best friend, and he used to be too shy to come to our house. He wouldn't come inside because I was older than him.

"He then killed my brother. He used to tell everyone he loved my brother, but he still killed him."

Hussein also killed Dr Al Jabiri's son in 1988 after he refused to inform on his father.

"I don't support unlitateral action, I am a man of law . . . If the US takes action themselves it will be the end of the UN . . . The French and Germans are being selfish, and they are not looking at the suffering Iraqis."

< email | 3/06/2003 02:59:00 PM | link

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