U.S. wooing Iraqi leaders, generals to defect

Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul Qassab receives a telephone call each day in Baghdad. His daughter says an anonymous voice tells him, ”Give yourself up. You cannot win. You will be saved if you defect.”

He has gotten the same message — defect now — from a relative in Jordan, from an Iraqi opposition member in London and in a letter that was hand-delivered to his house by someone claiming to be a family friend, according to Milad Qassab, 23, who was interviewed by telephone Sunday. Dozens of other Iraqi generals and other officials have received similar messages and, to avoid retribution, reported them to their superiors, she added. Her father ”is not listening,” Milad Qassab said from her family home in Baghdad. ”My father is ready to fight. He is not going to give in to the CIA.” U.S. intelligence officials have been contacting Iraq’s generals and leaders of Saddam Hussein’s ruling Baath Party with promises of safety, asylum and a role in Iraq’s new government if they defect, mount a coup or agree not to use biological or chemical weapons. Full Story

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