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Bodies of Saddam's Sons Broadcast

Aired July 24, 2003 - 11:33   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to continue to show these pictures, but we would like to bring on someone else to talk about this and what this all might possibly mean. Ken Pollack is a CNN analyst. He's with the Brookings Institution, and Ken was with us yesterday.
And, Ken, we talked about the possibility of these photos being released. You told me that you thought it would be a great idea, and this would be the kind of thing that would convince more and more Iraqis that the Hussein regime definitely was gone, and was never, ever going to return again.

Now that you have seen these pictures released this morning, do you think this is going to be good enough? Do you think it will be convincing enough?

KEN POLLACK, CNN ANALYST: I think the important response that we're hearing, Leon, is the one that Nic Robertson is reporting, which is that the Iraqi people generally do believe that this is Uday and Qusay and this is the kind of graphic proof they wanted and it is reassuring to them, that, yes, in fact, those two monsters are dead. There is an interesting sidebar to that, which is how is rest of the Arab world is also going to respond, and that's not near as important as how the Iraqi people are going to respond. But it is also an issue out there.

And my guess is that just how the Iraqi people do believe this is Uday and Qusay, and generally will accept the validity of the photographs, my suspicions is that most Arabs are going to doubt the veracity of the photographs, that they're going to look at them and say, it doesn't look anything like it. The Americans set it up, and so I think you may see once again a real split. We have seen this repeatedly over the last several years, a real split on the Iraq issue between what the Iraqi people believe and what many other Arabs believe.

HARRIS: How important is that? And is that a split or a rift that is important enough to address somehow, some way?

POLLACK: Well, it's something the United States can address. There are other things the United States can do to further demonstrate the veracity not only of the photographs, but just of their claim that Uday and Qusay are dead. But by the same token, as I said, this is not critical. What the Arabs believe about this is not anywhere near as important as what the Iraqi people believe about it. They are really the prime audience. HARRIS: That is true, and that may be the fact here. However, if the Arab audience is the most skeptical, if it appeared, to me at least, that if you did convince them, that means there's no question, you've got everyone there convinced, what more proof would the U.S. need to provide? Is there any other step the U.S. should be taking then that would go so far as to take to convince that skeptical Arab audience?

POLLACK: Oh, sure. I think DNA evidence would be helpful. In particular, if it were DNA from some kind of an international lab, from not a U.S. lab. If you could bring in outside experts to verify it. Another thing to do is to have Iraqi dignitaries, both members of the formal regime, perhaps members of the new governing council. Other prominent Iraqis who know Uday and Qusay who can also observe the bodies and further confirm the identities. That's the other kind of thing that they can do, and There are others as well beyond it.

HARRIS: Ken Pollack, thank you very much. I'm not sure how far you should go from that seat, because I'm sure we're going to call upon you again in just a few minutes here.

But we want to bring in Joe Braude, who is author of "The New Iraq," as I understand it, Mr. Browdy is an author who has traveled extensively through Iraq and has just returned from there.

Are you there, Mr. Braude?

JOSEPH BRAUDE, AUTHOR, "THE NEW IRAQ": Yes, Leon. How are you?

HARRIS: I'm fine, thank you. I'd just like your impressions of what you have been seeing here playing out on television screens and your estimation of how this is being received in Iraq?

BRAUDE: Well, I thin a lot of Ken just said is spot on.

Let me add that Iraq is a place that still does not have its own radio and television. There are 150 independent newspapers operating, and they are reporting this story quite aggressively right now. There is a range of theories about whether or not this might be Uday and Qusay within Iraq, although I agree with Pollack that most Iraqis are probably looking at it and saying, these are the guys.

HARRIS: However, the question will be, though, and perhaps most importantly of those who are not convinced, are they the ones with the guns? Are they the ones with the rocket-propelled grenades?

BRAUDE: I think the more significant question is whether Uday and Qusay had a significant operational goal in steering the guerrilla operation we have seen recently, or whether they are, in fact, decentralized and not yet organized under a particular leadership. That is something that's premature to judge, I think, at this point.

HARRIS: Have you seen or heard any evidence that would indicate what may be the case as far as that control goes?

BRAUDE: Well, the indications are that there are increasing central control over the guerrilla activities, and that is something that is disturbing to the coalition forces, and that's why they're moving more aggressively into those central regions to crackdown, and I think that we're going to see, as the grip closes on that so-called Sunni Arab Triangle, and places like Ramadia (ph) that that leadership will erode in the weeks to come. I believe to also follow up on your last question that the killing of these two boys is a serious morale strike to anyone who thought or hoped to see the coalition forces replaced by some reconstituting the Baath system. And I'm hopeful that Saddam will be apprehended (UNINTELLIGIBLE). A lot of Iraqis would like to see him hauled away in handcuffs and tried before an Iraqi tribunal. It's clear that coalition forces tried to do the same thing, and they resisted. It's not going to be easy to apprehend Saddam in the same way, unless (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

HARRIS: It will be curious to see how that all plays out in the end. I just want to advise people who have been watching us, if you notice the difference in the photographs that we had up a little while ago, that we have been talking about this morning about just how these graphic photos that have been released were rather dark and hard to identify, and it's seems as though some of them have actually been cleaned up a little bit and are a little easier to see and to make out. We'll try to get those back on, and we want to show those as much as possible, since those are clearly much more identifiable. I'm not sure how much work is under way technically with the actual graphics and all to clean them up and make these pictures much more identifiable, but something is obviously Being done in that regard.

Joe Braude, if you're still with us, I want you to address another point that Ken Pollack made here moments ago about there being a split between the Arab world and the wider Arab audience and how they're going to be perceiving the release of these pictures, like the one you see here, this more cleaned-up picture here, what we believe is Uday Hussein, and versus what the Iraqi people are going to be taking away from all of this.

Do you see it the same way, that there's a split there?

BRAUDE: Yes, let me give you a little example. I was watching Al Jazeera yesterday on satellite TV, and the minute the news broke, the first talking head they put on was someone from, believe it or not, an Arab rights organization, who was bitterly complaining about the fact that these two boys were killed and had not essentially been read their Miranda rights. I think that was the allegation. It goes to show that, you know, in the context these two butchers put on international television, their voices in the Arab world, only begin to talk about the human rights (UNINTELLIGIBLE), loss of human rights, and shows that there's a kind of politicized nature between these two boys and their father who were a symbol resistance to an American project, and it's that symbolism that they're mourning, certainly not the fatalities themself.

Whereas in Iraq, they had to live under the darkness of reality of this government, the tragedies, genocide, this government has perpetrated in the country, and their reacting in a very different way. I'll give you an example of that. I got several polls from Baghdad the minute this broke, people who generally can't afford to make phone calls on the satellite, but they were so excited, it's just such a rush, psychological closure for them. They had to tell as many people the stories as they possibly could.

HARRIS: That's very interesting to hear, surprising.

Let me ask you, Joe Bryant, since you and I have not had a chance to talk, and I talked to so many different people about these two. Has there been anything about any part of their stories that have not been told up to this point? So much has been said about how violent, how unstable, and just downright evil these two men have been in their own ways. One being more outwardly, and perhaps just out of control, and the other one being more sort of reserved, but quietly sinister. Is there anything about these two men that has not been discussed that you will talk about?

BRAUDE: Well, I think that the descriptions of these men that have come out in the public are pretty accurate. It is Qusay who inspired in the most feasible way to take over his father's post at the helm, had that government had survived, whereas Uday was more of an unpredictable character in his own way. His main contribution to government, besides running the Fedayeen Saddam, was control over many Iraqi newspapers, a great deal of organs of propaganda throughout the state. I mean, I have friends who have met (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at soccer games and different types of business activities, and a lot of people were simply afraid of having any type of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at all.

I mean, there were examples of Iraqi businessmen who were doing different types of trade deals to the oil-for-food program, and had the opportunity to enrich themselves by partnering with Uday, who largely controlled this industry, but they resisted because they feared the unpredictable nature of what might happen if that partnership went sour. Another thing I would say is that, you know, a great deal has been talked about, the artifacts, the looting of the Iraqi museum after the war. The fact is that an underground syndicate smuggling artifacts has been going on in Iraq for quite some time, and Uday is among those who is involved in it.

I had a friend in Jordan back in 1994 working for the Custom's Authority, intercepted a crate containing a Sumerian statue that had been smuggled out by Uday and his partners en route a private lecture in Geneva, going on in a crate of kitchen utensils. So they were really -- they had their fingers in a lot of pots in addition to being very brutal.

HARRIS: Finally, Joe, before we move on here, I would love to ask you one question about this area called the so-called the Sunni Triangle, this part of the country in which we've seen the most support for the regime actually coming from in terms of attacks on U.S. troops and other things there, other evidence there. Do you have any sense at all from the people you've talked to that anything had changed within that Sunni triangle?

BRAUDE: Well, I think that there's a growing sense that the U.S. plans it down. They don't want to allow (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or an enclave within that region to emerge, an enclave where guerrillas can operate and train with impunity. They want to erode that possibility, break up that region (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and make it possible for these disparate guerrilla groups to unite to a kind of a serious (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and I think we're seeing that now, with the U.S. very aggressive, they want very much to be able to deploy international aide personnel, workers, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and they can't do that in large numbers until more people are satisfied about the security situation, and that's why over the next few weeks, we'll see a great deal more of these type of crackdowns that hopefully will yield successful results.

HARRIS: All right, very interesting.

Joseph Braude, Joe, Thank you very much for letting us talk to you this morning. Fascinating insight, and it's very interesting to hear from you that you've been able to hear from people immediately after this release of these incredible photos that are showing now the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein.


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