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This time the meeting was of immense importance.  Nassif expressed Syria's frustrations in trying to communicate with American officials about Iraqi attempts at cooperation.

Later in January, Hage went to the United States and contacted another Lebanese-American, Michael Maloof, who Hage had met in 2002 and developed a relationship with.  Maloof worked in the Pentagon as an intelligence analyst.  Mr. Maloof worked for Richard Perle at the Pentagon during the Reagan years.

Maloof arranged for Hage to meet with Perle, a member of the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon, and Jaymie Durnan, a top aide to deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz.  The Pentagon has confirmed the meeting took place.
In February, at the request of his influential Lebanese Muslim friend, Mr. Hage met with Hassan al-Obeidi, chief of foreign operations of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, in Hage's Beirut office.  Obeidi explained that the Iraqis wanted to cooperate with the Americans.  He also did not understand why the Americans were ignoring Iran and other countries that have long supported terrorists and were concentrating only on Iraq. 

Obeidi said that Iraq was ready to make deals to avoid war.  Hage recounted that, "He said, if this is about oil, we will talk about U.S. oil concessions.  If it is about the peace process, then we can talk.  If this is about weapons of mass destruction, let the Americans send over their people.  There are no weapons of mass destruction.  Americans can send 2,000 F.B.I. agents to look wherever they want."

Although Obeidi objected when Hage said that America was adamant that Saddam Hussein give up power, Obeidi later said Iraq could agree to hold elections within two years.  Obeidi also said that the offers of concessions came from the highest levels of the Iraqi government.

Hage related everything to Michael Maloof.  A week later, Hage went to Baghdad for further talks.  He met with Tahir Jalil Habbush, the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, one of Saddam's top leaders.  He offered to hand over Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was indicted in the U.S. in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to show Iraq's willingness to help fight terrorism.
Habbush also insisted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.  He offered to "open everything" to the Americans.  Habbush indicated to Hage that Iraq had tried talking to the Bush administration through other means.  One such meeting confirmed by American officials was in Rome between the CIA and representatives of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

On February 19th, Hage faxed a three-page report of his Baghdad trip to Maloof.  He said that Habbush and Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister, wanted to meet with American officials.  The report listed five areas of concessions that the Iraqis would make to avoid a war, including cooperation in fighting terrorism and "full support for any U.S. plan" in the Arab-Israeli peace process.  Additionally, the report said that "the U.S. will be given first priority as it relates to Iraq oil, mining rights," and that Iraq would cooperate with the U.S. strategic interests in the region.  Under the heading "Disarmament" the report said, "Direct U.S. involvement on the ground in disarming Iraq."

On February 21st, Maloof e-mailed Jaymie Durnan, Wolfowitz's aide, that Perle "is willing to meet with Hage and the Iraqis if it has clearance from the (Pentagon)."

On Friday, February 28th, Mr. Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, proved that the war drums against Iraq had never been about WMD's, terrorism, compliance with U.N. resolutions, or anything of that sort.  It had been about one thing only.  Fleischer explained that disarmament was no longer sufficient and instead talked about the goal of "regime change" in Baghdad.

Hage continued to get communications from the Iraqis for a meeting with U.S. officials which he passed on to Maloof.  In early March, Maloof wrote in a memo to other Pentagon officials, "Hage quoted Dr. Obeidi as saying this is the last window or channel through which this message has gone to the United States.  Hage characterized the tone of Dr. Obeidi as begging."

Finally, Hage, working through Maloof, arranged to meet with Perle in London in early March.  Hage related that the Iraqis wanted to meet with Perle or someone else from the administration.  When Perle contacted a CIA official he was told the CIA wasn't "interested in pursuing itI was given the impression that there had already been contacts."

Hage continued to deliver messages from the Iraqis to Maloof.  In mid-March Maloof delivered a note to Perle relaying a message from Hage that Mr. Obeidi and Mr. Habbush "were prepared to meet with you in Beirut, and as soon as possible, concerning 'unconditional terms'.  Such a meeting has Saddam Hussein's clearance."

On March 20th the invasion began.

On March 9th, this column said that it had always been about the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Next week - proof that Bush wanted war and not peace.
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Kirt Poovey, former gubernatorial candidate, firefighter, and business owner, is the author of Prophecy - 2024 - which can be purchased at http://www.prophecy2024.com. Also visit http://www.christian-patriots.us Kirt welcomes your comments at ecoh2oks@juno.com.
Previously by this author: Patriot Analysis: Is Bush a Neocon?
Disclaimer: This column appears as would a syndicated column in a newspaper. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Alex Jones.
It's Time For War!

Kirt Poovey November 10 2003

In January of 2003, Imad Hage, a Maronite Christian and Lebanese-American businessman, met with Mohammed Nassif, a senior Syrian intelligence official and a close aide to President Bashar al-Assad.  Hage had earlier been introduced to Nassif by an influential Lebanese Muslim that Hage conducted business with.