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Was Saddam actually captured on December 13?

Al Bawaba

Nearly a week after the arrest of Saddam Hussein, some serious questions regarding the ousted leader's capture have started to emerge; questions that may unfortunately remain unanswered. Analysts, journalists and Muslims all over the world are casting heavy doubts on the official U.S. version of Saddam Hussein's seizure.

The world currently has its eyes set on the pictures of bearded and tired-looking Saddam following his arrest. Speculations with regards to Saddam's actual location have also surfaced, and of course, when and where will he stand trial and who will eventually defend him. However, what was not significantly dealt with was the many uncertainties related to the capture of Saddam, especially whether he was actually arrested on the day the Americans said he was?

In the aftermath of Saddam's arrest and the media-hype which followed, many in the Arab world believe that Saddam was not in fact arrested on Saturday, December 13, but at least ten days beforehand, and arguments raised in defense of this notion are surely worth mentioning.

For one, it is not conceivable for the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] to bring someone, of the caliber of Saddam Hussein, straight in front of the media's cameras without having thoroughly interrogated him first. This was probably done over a period of several days, using the torture and sense deprivation techniques and methods that the U.S. is known for. Assuming this, there is no way that Saddam could have been caught on December 13.

Furthermore, U.S. President George W. Bush carefully timed the way he wanted the announcement to be made, so that it would have the maximum and right impact for him personally. Let us not forget how Bush sneaked his way to Baghdad during Thanksgiving, ate turkey with his soldiers as part of a Public Relations campaign he has embarked on, in view of the upcoming U.S. elections. Additionally, capturing Saddam right before Christmas can only do wonders for the U.S. leader's image…

Moreover, when the announcement came through, there were conflicting reports on where Saddam was actually captured. One report mentioned the town of Tikrit although the "spider hole" turned out not to be in Tikrit at all.
For those of you with a sharp eye, you probably noticed that the announcement of Saddam's capture came only a few days after penalties for Syria had been announced as there was widespread dissatisfaction among Americans that Bush's policy in Iraq had failed due to the high rate of U.S. soldiers being killed on a daily basis and the failure to find any "weapons of mass destruction", which prompted the U.S. army to invade Iraq in the first place. Such an announcement on Saddam's arrest could only boost the morale of U.S. troops, who have suffered many casualties, especially following the so-called official ending of combat in Iraq.

Furthermore, Bush wanted to divert the world's attention from the mounting U.S. failures in Afghanistan and from the intelligence and operational failure to put his hands on Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Instead, it was easy for Bush to exploit the capture of Saddam and play around with the manner in which it was conducted.

Just days before December 13, US officials were talking about putting Saddam Hussein on trial and were even changing the law to try former Iraqi regime members.

Interesting timing - no?

In addition, only ten days before December 13, Jihad fighters in Iraq had already announced that Saddam Hussein had been captured by the U.S. after intense fighting involving thousands of soldiers, although the Pentagon denied this at the time. In addition, the U.S. media, which pumps information from the administration, has not been accurate in its reports throughout the entire war in Iraq, so why should they be accurate now with regards to Saddam's capture?

Even Saddam's personal doctor claimed, after watching footage of his capture and treatment, that it is impossible for Hussein to remain compliant unless he had been heavily sedated for several days. His daughter, who currently resides in Jordan, also said her father seemed heavily sedated.

Another eye-raising question is why Saddam had not put up the slightest resistance, even though he was reportedly armed. Perhaps, Saddam was indeed secretly medicated not to resist before the U.S. forces raided his hiding place.

Several speculations claim Saddam Hussein was not actually in hiding but that he was a prisoner. The story says that Hussein was actually caught on November 16, and held in the dark hole in Adwar for at least three weeks, while his captors attempted to get the $25 million that the U.S. promised to anyone who found the ousted leader.

Another story circulating on the streets of Baghdad concerns a photograph of two American soldiers standing beside a date palm tree. The photo was supposedly taken on the day of Saddam's capture. However, according to the story, any Iraqi would know that this picture was a fake, because date palms are usually harvested in the summer time. In any case, un-harvested dates fall off the tree before December, and even if they don't, they are brown and dry, not yellow, as they are in the photograph.

Meanwhile, there are uncertainties about how the Americans could pull off such a fast DNA test to verify that they had the real Saddam in their hands. Under normal conditions, it can take up to a month to get a DNA study done, although if you pay more money, the process can be completed in a period of five days.

Yet, the question also remains why, for instance, did Saddam look so confused shortly after his capture? A former Republican Guard officer in the village of Al-Dour, near where Saddam was captured, claimed that some believe the hole had been struck with nerve gas. Dead birds and other apparently drugged animals were discovered around the hideout shortly after the former Iraqi president's capture.

The U.S. government, known for their habit to "preach" democracy and other such values, should perhaps realize, once and for all, that the world is sick and tired of their biased stands as well as their inaccurate approach in conveying information. Why should Arabs believe the "December 13" version of their story when such conflicting and contradicting information accompanies it? How can one believe anything the U.S. says when the world still awaits to see the location of the Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction"? Maybe it is time for the U.S. to just leave Arabs and Muslims alone, to pull out of Iraqi lands and instead, focus on their own domestic problems at home.
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