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Monday, 19 December 2016

Hussein's CIA interrogator: If Saddam had remained in power, rise of ISIS 'improbable'


Islamic State would not have enjoyed the success it did if Saddam Hussein had remained in power, John Nixon, the former CIA agent who grilled him, claims. Nixon says the West should deal with leaders it "abhors" to have a stable Middle East.

Nixon was the first to debrief Saddam after his capture in December 2003, 13 years ago. His book, entitled Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, is a first-hand account of what the invasion of Iraq and the execution of Saddam Hussein have entailed.

No flourishing ISIS under Hussein

"In the course of interrogations, Saddam 'turned our assumptions upside down'," Nixon wrote in one of the excerpts from the book, published by Time and the Daily Mail. In particular, ex-CIA agent asks what would have happened if Saddam had remained in power and comes to the conclusion that, among other outcomes, it would have made the rapid rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) almost impossible.

"It is improbable that a group like ISIS would have been able to enjoy the kind of success under his repressive regime that they have had under the Shia-led Baghdad government," Nixon wrote.

According to the ex-agent, Saddam was well aware of the potential risks posed by the flourishing jihadist movements and was keen to suppress any such attempts. "Saddam felt that Islamist extremist groups in Iraq posed the biggest threat to his rule and his security apparatus worked assiduously to root out such threats."

A recently published Chilcot report, conducted by British MPs on the country's involvement in the 2003 Iraq war, backs Nixon's assumption on IS.

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