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
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Let's do some extrapolation. Though there is no direct mention of it I would guess that Abid Hamid was, based on timing and geography, captured along with huge sums of cash (in various denominations) and gems as well as fifty members of Saddam's immediate security and intelligence organization (his rank and direct ties to these groups would make it logical to assume that they would be in close physical proximity to him). That combination seems to indicate they were involved in some sort of clandestine activity. Were they just on the run, they would have been more dispersed and not concentrated in an area that was noted for it's loyalty to Saddam (around his hometown of Tikrit).
Some pundits are already licking their chops at the idea that this capture will get us Saddam and WMD in the next few days. I don't think so. I don't think Saddam would be this close to the action. If Abid Hamid were running an operation to organize fedayeen and other terrorists, it would be a good assumption (based on the level of communication with groups that were making physical contact with American troops) that they may be found out sooner or later. Saddam has proven in the past that he is physically courageous but, he isn't about to put himself in this type of situation. He doesn't want to be a martyr, he wants to rule again and take revenge on all those who wronged him. While Abid Hamid may have an idea of where Saddam is, I don't think that place will be very close to where he was captured. Saddam has lived a nomadic life within Iraq for years, I doubt anyone, even someone as close as Abid Hamid, knows in advance where Saddam will be tomorrow. So, no, I don't think he will be able to pinpoint Saddam for us (assuming we can get accurate info out of him). At best, I think he will be able to give us a region (and what do we do if he says Syria or Russia?).
Abid and WMD. This may be a better prospect. But again, a number of these items are, or were, presumably on the move. If Abid Hamid was busy with organizing attacks on American forces* I don't think he would also be tasked with securing WMD. Maybe he had access to small amounts that could be used if the opportunity appeared but, it would make more sense for WMD concealment (or destruction) to be tasked to one of Saddam's sons. The WMD are the most important and most contentious item. With an inner core Saddam can rebuild an army and secret service. But he needs the WMD, or at least the technology, to assure he can return to power if the Coalition leaves him alive. He may trust, and be related (I believe. Update: No, he is not. But he is a member of a clan that has important ties to Saddam's) to Abid Hamid, but the last two people he will trust (beyond himself) are his sons. Because of that, I think, any physical evidence of WMD will now be under the direct control of either Uday or Qusay. So, where does this leave us when we consider Abid Hamid and WMD? He will probably be able to fill us in on the aspects of the program, and possibly some prewar production and research locations, right up to the war. He will be able to confirm the accuracy of intelligence reports we had going into the conflict. But, the actual physical WMD themselves? I doubt it.
Abid Hamid may hold another very important piece of information. Remember, to meet Saddam one needed to go through Abid Hamid first. And Hamid would have attended almost every one of Saddam's meetings. He will be able to tell us who Saddam was meeting with and what they talked about. What terrorist organizations were coming to Baghdad to meet with Saddam. Representatives from what governments? Who was talking to Saddam during the war? What did they discuss? What sort of deals did they make?
*I think Rumsfeld's assertion yesterday, assuming I have seen them in their proper context (see Perle, Richard and the media), is inaccurate. The attacks are centrally organized. One of the most glaring examples of this is the distribution of attacks. If it were just small disorganized groups of dead-enders (a claim that falls short based on the Abid Hamid capture) why have we seen no attacks against other coalition members? Why are the British not losing an average of a soldier a day? Because those directing and supporting that attacks know that it is America that must be scared and "quagmired". If they killed enough British soldiers that Blair was forced to remove his troops, the country would still be occupied. If America is forced out, the others will have to leave to. Allowing Saddam to step back in to fill the vacuum.
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