3 Jul 2009

Saddam's motives revealed in interview documents

6:14 am on 3 July 2009

The FBI has issued documents which show Saddam Hussein let the world believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he did not want to reveal lraq's weakness to Iran.

The documents contain the transcripts of Saddam Hussein's questioning in 2004, after his arrest by US troops.

The BBC reports Saddam Hussein said he refused to allow UN weapons inspectors into Iraq to stop Iran knowing how weak it had become.

The former Iraqi leader was interviewed after his capture nine months after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

He was later tried by an Iraqi special tribunal, found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged in December 2006.

The documents recount interviews between February - June 2004 in a detention cell at Baghdad International Airport.

The BBC reports the former leader appeared to view Iran as the biggest threat to Iraq, which was why he said he kept UN inspectors out in the late 1990s, even though he had already got rid of all his weapons of mass destruction.

He said he preferred to risk American anger than to let Iran know how weak Iraq had become.

Saddam said he allowed the inspectors in later, in the hope of heading off the invasion in 2003, but by then it was too late.

He admitted it was a mistake not to have allowed the UN to document Iraq's destruction of its weapons of mass destruction, which he said had been completed by 1998.

That process, he said, left Iraq weakened, while Iran was free to develop its armaments.

Other details

Personal details contained in the accounts, include the former leader scoffing at reports that he used body doubles to confuse assassins. However, he changed his location every day.

He also revealed that the farm in northern Iraq where he was captured in December 2003, was the same place where he found refuge after taking part in a failed coup attempt in 1959.