Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's ability to survive two wars convinced him that "he is
uniquely lucky and that his fortune will never forsake him," according to a new report by the Brookings Institution.
Therefore, despite the offer of safe haven and immunity from war
crimes prosecution from Arab and European Union states, he is unlikely to abdicate and enter exile.
The report said Saddam
does not regard the relinquishing of power as an option. Saddam would rather
demonstrate greater cooperation with the United Nations search for Iraqi
missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
[On Tuesday, the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily reported that U.S.
special forces have entered Baghdad and carried out a series of sabotage
operations against government installations in the Iraqi capital. The
newspaper said the explosions were not major, but prompted numerous arrests
in Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported.]
"Saddam Hussein always believes that things are going to turn out in his
favor, no matter how bad they might look to others," the report, authored by
Amatzia Baram, an Israeli professor who has served as a consultant to the
United States on Iraq, said. "Saddam's insurmountable optimism rests on his
life of achievements in the face of overwhelming odds."
The report said Saddam's "incurable optimism" has led him to
underestimate his adversaries and jeopardize his rule. Baram cited the Iraqi
invasion of Iran in 1980 and his invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
The report said
the Iraqi president continues to hope that anti-war sentiments in Europe
will stop any U.S. attack on Baghdad.
The report said the Arab and European offers of asylum for Saddam, his
family and aides have only bolstered the belief of the Iraqi president that
his regime will survive. So far, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have
discussed an offer of save haven for the Iraqi leadership.
"Indeed, the offers of asylum from foreign leaders and the stream of
anti-war activists to Baghdad in recent weeks almost certainly have further
convinced Saddam that Americans do not want to go to war and are desperately
looking for a way out," the report said.
Baram said Saddam would consider abdication only when he and his aides
are certain that the United States is about to launch a war for the
destruction of his regime. But the report cited Saddam's rejection of a 1982
Iranian offer for him to resign as a way to end the Iranian offensive that
"If and when he ever decides to adopt such painful decisions, though,
this may be too late," the report said, "because the degree of certainty he
would be needed to persuade him might only be achieved when the bombs start
to fall on Baghdad, and maybe not even then."