Tuesday, April 22, 2003

While it's common knowledge that Saddam Hussein was involved with U.S. intelligence agencies during the 1980s, this exclusive UPI story reports that Saddam and the CIA go back to 1959, when "when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim."

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said.
Read the whole thing. There's lot's more, but the slice-of-life details, such as Saddam's favorite cafes in Cairo, are especially good:
One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Café at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana [Saddam's favorite] was your basic dive."


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