The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Saddam did not believe US would topple him

Today's New York Times reports that a survey of intelligence about the last few weeks of Saddam Hussein's regime shows that the Iraqis did not believe the US would really go through with a full-scale invasion.

The study, a rough-draft history of the war from the perspective of Iraqi leaders, offers a scathing history of a Stalinist, paranoid leadership circle in Baghdad that guaranteed its own destruction. The interrogations yielded a portrait of a government disconnected from reality in peace and in war, where members of Mr. Hussein's inner circle routinely lied to him and each other about Iraqi military capacities.

Sounds like an extreme version of the usual phenomenon of denial that is found in other guises across the Arab world -- although what people are lying about is usually economic figures.