#12 - JRL 7140
AL-JAZEERA REPORTS US DEAL ON SADDAM'S DEPARTURE IN RETURN FOR END TO FIGHTING
Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 0909 gmt 9 Apr 03
The US is negotiating a deal to secure Iraqi President Saddam Husayn's departure from Baghdad in return for an end to the resistance, Al-Jazeera TV reported on 9 April.
The station's Moscow correspondent, Akram Khuzam, said he had learnt about the possible deal from a Russian intelligence chief: "This general, who spoke via telephone with me, based his statement on the fact that Saddam Husayn and a group of Iraqi officials, in one way or another, cooperated with the United States in the war against Iran. "This general explains himself by saying that Saddam Husayn's close aides no longer appear on television screens and that their voices are absent. This is in addition to the absence of the Republican Guard's forces in particular.
"The report about the deal is based on the absence of any organized resistance in Iraq, particularly following more Iraqi officials' statements to the effect that the bodies of US troops will be stained with blood in the streets of Baghdad.
"Such comments were not made by this general alone, but all the Russian television channels yesterday held debates on what is currently taking place in Baghdad, particularly following the resistance that took place in Umm Qasr and Basra, and the easy battle in Baghdad and the entry of US troops into the city have led to this analysis."
Regarding television pictures showing looting from government buildings, Khuzam said that the Russians believed that they were being "managed and approved" by the US forces in order to show that "there is no serious resistance and that these people have grown tired of Saddam Husayn's regime".