LONDON (AFP) – Germany’s intelligence services tried to develop links with Saddam Hussein’s secret service a few months before Berlin announced its opposition to any US-led war on Iraq.
In return, Iraqi authorities offered lucrative contracts to German companies if Berlin helped to prevent a US invasion of the country, the Sunday Telegraph reported, quoting documents recovered from the bombed-out Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad.
It said a German agent, Johannes William Hoffner, met with the head of Iraq’s secret service, General Taher Jalil Haboosh, on January 29, 2002.
Haboosh told the German that Baghdad was keen to have a relationship with Germany’s intelligence agency “under diplomatic cover” through Hoffner, according to the documents seen by the newspaper.
It said the German replied: “My organisation wants to develop its relationship with your organisation.”
Haboosh suggested that Germany would be rewarded with lucrative contracts if it offered international support to Iraq, the Sunday Telegraph said.
“When the American conspiracy is finished, we will make a calculation for each state that helps Iraq in its crisis,” Haboosh said, according to the newspaper.
It also quoted a German government spokesman as saying it was “well known” that Berlin had been offered contracts by Baghdad providing it maintained an anti-Iraq war stance.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won re-election in September, 2002 by a razor-thin margin in part due to his strident opposition to any military strikes on Baghdad.