Missing Iraqi General in Kuwait after CIA aided Denmark escape


Former Iraqi General Nizar al-Khazraji, touted as a possible successor to President Saddam Hussein, is now in Kuwait after escaping from Denmark last month with the help of the CIA, the Danish daily Politiken reported on Sunday

Citing a report by the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism department, a copy of which was obtained by the paper, Politiken said the US security services see Khazraji as their preferred successor for Saddam in a post-war Iraq, a view that is not shared by the Pentagon.

The ex-CIA official, who completed the confidential report on March 28, said the US intelligence services secretly extracted Khazraji and that he was currently helping US forces in the war against Baghdad, according to Politiken.

On March 22 The BT newspaper first reported that the CIA may have been behind a move to spirit Khazraji, believed to be the highest ranking officer to have defected from Iraq, to Saudi Arabia.

The ex-CIA official who wrote the report, Vincent Cannistraro, has declined to comment on the document.

Khazraji, who has been charged with war crimes for alleged chemical weapon attacks on Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, went missing from his house arrest in Denmark on March 15.

He was previously head of the Iraqi armed forces during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

He subsequently fled to Jordan in 1995 and three years later applied for political asylum in Denmark.

In February last year London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat quoted opposition sources in Syria as saying the US had chosen Khazraji to run Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam.

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