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Dubai ruler offered Saddam Hussein asylum months before US invasion, new autobiography claims Open in fullscreen

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Dubai ruler offered Saddam Hussein asylum months before US invasion, new autobiography claims

Saddam Hussein reportedly turned down the Dubai ruler's offer of asylum [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2019

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A new autobiography of Dubai's ruler has claimed a secret meeting between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Saddam Hussein took place, months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum offered former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein asylum in the UAE's capital during a secret meeting months before the US-led invasion in 2003, a new autobiography of the UAE prime minister has revealed.

Speaking about the meeting for the first time in his book titled "My Story", Sheikh Mohammed says he offered the Iraqi strongman refuge on condition that he avoid conflict with the Americans.

The memoir describes an agitated and paranoid Saddam repeatedly changing seats during the meeting, which took place in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. According to Sheikh Mohammed, the Iraqi leader's restlessness was due to fear of being shot by a sniper.

Saddam reportedly turned down the Dubai ruler's offer during the five-hour meeting.

The autobiography also describes Sheikh Mohammed's dealings with the US in the run up to the 2003 invasion, which he says he worked to avert.

"I knew that the consequences of the war would be felt in the entire region, especially Iraq. It would be destructive. I tried to convince them [the Americans] to task Emiratis to carry out negotiations. We Arabs are alike in our traditions and understand how Saddam and his like think," he writes.

The release of Sheikh Mohammed's autobiography comes amid celebrations of the UAE prime minister and vice president's 50th year of service.

Earlier this month, Sheikh Mohammed issued a set of eight principles to ensure the "sustained progress" of Dubai.

"I call on all those in a position of responsibility in the Emirate of Dubai to abide by these principles, and direct them to devise mechanisms to ensure the implementation of these principles at all events," Sheikh Mohammed said in a government circular.

"We have summarised these principles for governing in this document to ensure the well-being of our people, the sustained progress of our nation, and the welfare of our future generations," the circular added.

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