First Defection from Top Rank of Saddam Regime
14 February 2003
Adib Shaaban, the right hand of Saddam Husseins powerful son Uday, has defected.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports exclusively that this key member of Saddam Husseins administration, who was charged with his sons most sensitive missions, traveled to Jeddah at the beginning of this week, saying he needed to put through some gold transactions ahead of the war.
From Jeddah, he flew to Beirut and disappeared.
US intelligence sources report that Shaaban never really went to Beirut. He made his way under cover to Damascus Monday and was picked up by an unmarked plane for an unknown destination.
As Udays closest aide, he also managed a chain of official publications, including the authoritative Babel, and was in on the Saddam regimes deepest secrets.
Uday commands the secret army known as Saddams Fedayeen, the backbone of Baghdads defenses and custodian of the weapons of mass destruction that were not smuggled out to Lebanon.
Uday is also the chief of the ruling Baath Partys covert service.
Shaaban must therefore be a veritable treasury of Saddam Husseins secrets.
In American hands, Udays chef de bureau would be even more valuable than
the proverbial smoking gun.