Counter-Terrorism: Saddam Supporters Welcomed in Europe

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November 30, 2005: Oops, some of Saddam Hussein's henchmen have been found, hiding out from war crimes prosecution, as "war refugees" in Western Europe. Thousands of men (and a few women) who had done Saddam's dirty work, hastily fled Iraq after the American 2003 invasion. Some had developed "escape plans," while others just grabbed all the cash (American hundred dollar bills were a favorite) and portable valuables they could, jumped into the Mercedes, and headed for Syria or Jordan. With enough cash, new identification can be bought, and asylum sought in Europe. Given the European hostility to the American invasion of Iraq, these Iraqi "war refugees" were welcomed, and giving a parking spot for the Mercedes, welfare benefits and a place to live. Credentials were not closely scrutinized, at least not at first. Now some of these refugees have been revealed to be, well, rather unsavory. Sweden, which has 60,000 Iraqi refugees (most of them Kurds, from earlier rounds of repression by Saddam), has uncovered a dozen senior officials in Saddam's government, among the more recent Iraqi refugees. Two of these are cousins of Saddam, and were last employed as generals in the Iraqi army. The Swedes are investigating the situation, and whether they have allowed in anyone who was possibly involved in war crimes, or is still supporting terrorism. Some of the earlier Iraqi refugees apparently recognized some of the 2003 ones as bad people, and got the attention of the authorities. Some of the Saddam supporters who fled Iraq in 2003, have been found setting up terrorist support operations in the countries they found asylum in. Even before Saddam was driven from power, he had a network of trusted aids outside the country who acted as spies and agents for his smuggling operations (which included weapons, but mostly consisted of luxury goods for Saddam's best supporters.)

 


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