Washington intensifies contacts with the Iraqi opposition
Iraq-USA, Politics, 5/14/2002
The Washington Post said on Monday that high ranking American officials intensified their talks with opposition Iraqi groups including groups who were not invited before to take part in such talks.
The paper added that according to sources close to the talks, that during one of the meetings, an official from the White House, it was expected that the retired Gen. Wayne A. Downing, the White House's deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and an official from the CIA and other members had held a secret meeting in Germany in April with the two Kurdish leaders Masoud al-Barazani and Jalal Talibani.
The paper continued that the meetings aimed at defining the role to be played by the Iraqi opposition in an attempt to topple the Iraqi president as well as to strengthen relations with other opposition groups, beside the Iraqi National Congress whose headquarters is situated in London. It was the focal point of the US policy towards Iraq during the past decade.
The Washington Post continued that Downing also met since two weeks with a delegation representing exiled Iraqis and said that he had strong ties with members in the Iraqi army and the governorates situated in central Iraq, in which the Iraqi president enjoys great support.
The paper indicated that the meeting concentrated on issues including the number of army officers that can be relied on in opposing the Iraqi President and the role that can be also played by exiled officers.
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