Saddam Hussein was so confident that he would win a war with Britain and the US that he rejected a top-secret deal to step down as Iraq’s president in return for safe asylum.
The former dictator believed his armed forces were powerful enough to match the coalition and refused an offer of lifelong exile in Dubai in exchange for his resignation.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a key British ally in the Middle East, attempted to broker the peace treaty in person just weeks before the Allied invasion.
He hoped his 11th-hour proposal would protect Iraqi and Coalition troops from “needless bloodshed” and prevent the inevitable rise of religious extremist groups like ISIS who would go on to “terrorise the entire world” in the ensuing vacuum.
But their five-hour, clandestine meeting, held at one of Hussein’s safe houses, fell apart when it became clear that war was inevitable.
Hussein “grossly miscalculated” his military’s true capabilities and had no realistic chance of victory, failing to see that “it was obvious that he could not win.”
The revelation comes from the pages of Sheikh Mohammed’s newly-published memoir, My Story: 50 Memories from Fifty Years of Service, released through Explorer Group Ltd.
The news story was reported in the Daily Record, which is Scotland’s best-selling newspaper, at the weekend.
My Story is packed with many never-before-published anecdotes from Sheikh Mohammed’s 50 years of public service. Other highlights include his frank reflections on the Gulf War and his dealings with Colonel Gaddafi.