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UAE offered Saddam Hussein asylum to avoid Iraq war


Dubai: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates' vice president and ruler of Dubai, has revealed in a memoir to be published on Tuesday that he offered Saddam Hussein asylum in Dubai before the US invasion in 2003 as a means of preventing the war, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Despite telling Saddam that Dubai was his "second city", the Iraqi president turned down the offer.

The book written by Sheikh Mohammed deals with 50 years of his life, work and duties, and recalls memories, experiences and attitudes during those years.

In it, Sheikh Mohammed talks about undeclared contacts with Saddam Hussein and the repercussions of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, saying it was "a turning point that changed the entire region".

He also wrote that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asked for his help in order to turn Tripoli into a "second Dubai",  but said that "Gaddafi did not desire change, he only wished it".

Of his relationship with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, he wrote that after the crisis started in Syria, Assad lived "in another world, watching his country sinking into blood and destruction".

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