the australian.news.com.au 04/13/03
A PROMINENT opponent of Saddam Hussein says the toppled Iraqi dictator is alive and may be north-east of Baghdad, according to a newspaper interview published today.
Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime exile who returned to Iraq just before the US-led military attack, told Turin’s La Stampa newspaper in a phone interview from Nasiriyah, Iraq, that Saddam had not been killed.
“Saddam Hussein is alive. His sons and he were seen separately. Saddam Hussein could be moving north-east of Baghdad. This is my information,” Chalabi was quoted as saying. “I don’t think he can escape. We will stop him.”
He gave no further details on the alleged location or condition of Saddam.
Chalabi has friends in the Pentagon and in Congress, but his opponents say he is completely unknown to Iraqis inside Iraq – a handicap he now seems determined to overcome.
He told La Stampa that he was not lobbying to be the first leader of a democratic Iraq. “I am not running for any position,” he was quoted as saying. “I will dedicate myself to my people as I have always done.”
Chalabi also played down fears of discord among Iraq’s various ethnic and religious groups.
“Even among all the tribal chiefs that visit me and invite me to visit them, I see a great desire for agreement, for common plans,” he is quoted as saying. “I think that the Kurds will accept a pluralistic state, that the Sunni and Shi’ite have understood that this is not the time for religious disputes but for