Documents Reveal How Saddam Paid Off Journalists, Politicians, and Demonstrators

(New York Post) Amir Taheri - Two prominent Lebanese pan-Arabists have fled to France to avoid paying the mobs they hired for pro-Saddam demonstrations in Beirut last winter, and other pro-Saddam Ba'athists are facing unpaid bills for anti-war demonstrations they organized in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. At the time, those efforts were seen in the West as a sign that the "Arab street" was about to explode against the U.S.-led coalition. According to documents seized from the Iraqi Cultural Office in London, Saddam financed hundreds of journalists and supposedly independent politicians in virtually all Arab countries, as well as dozens of Arab publications, including weeklies and dailies based in Beirut, Paris, and London. Iraqi groups studying the documents estimate that Saddam spent more than $1 billion over 20 years to buy prominent Arabs, and finance Arab parties and politicians devoted to his personality cult. Documents also reveal that at least three French political parties received financial contributions from Saddam between 1975 and 1990.

2003-08-21 00:00:00

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