MESOP : NOW ACTIVATING OLD FELLOWS (US) – US Seeks Help From Former Saddam Minister

23.08.2014 –  Nuwar Faqie – BasNews, Baghdad – In order to end the complaints and satisfy the demands in Sunni populated areas of Iraq, the US is seeking help from the former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim and Hussein Rashid, the General Commander of Iraqi Forces under Saddam Hussein.  On Saturday former Deputy PM of Iraq, Salih Mutlag, claimed that Baghdad has promised to free Hashim. A source told a BasNews correspondent that recently a US military delegation held a meeting with Hashim and Hussein Rashid in jail.

The sources say this meeting is an attempt to resolve complaints in Sunni areas. Both Sunni officers were active during Saddam’s time in power and are well known in Mosul and Tikrit.“The US wants to give these two officers a chance to help the current Iraqi Army to dismiss Islamic State (IS) insurgents from Iraq. Also, because they have influence with Sunni people and tribal groups, the US wants to make a political statement by releasing these two officers in the hope that it will foster greater stability in Iraq,” said the source.

Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Thai was born in 1944 in Mosul and graduated from Military College. He participated in the Iran – Iraq War from 1980-1988 as well as during the Kuwait annexation in 1991. In 1994, he became the governor of Mosul and his last post was during the US led to liberation of Iraq in 2003 when he served as Defence Minister. Hussein Rashid Mohammed Tikriti was born in 1940 in Tikrit. In 1962, he joined the army, achieving a high rank. He established Iraq’s Republic Guard, infamous for its brutality during the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. During US attacks on Iraq he was the General Commander of Iraqi Forces. Hashim and Rashid were both accused of helping the US Army during their attack on Iraq in 2003. They were arrested and the court sentenced them to death. The court’s decision was not implemented due to pressure from politicians and Sunni tribal leaders. Recently, in an interview with the Sharq al-Awsat newspaper based in London, Mutlag revealed that the federal government of Iraq has promised to free Hashim and a number of Saddam’s military and political leaders without mentioning the reasons.