Testimony by Rai journalist Duilio Giammaria to Radio Radicale

Rome, 21.10.2010


Duilio Giammaria:  During those years, as the Iraqi situation unfolded, we obviously paid frequent visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which proved to be a real discovery since we found a world revolutionizing itself and of tremendous economic development. Those who know the region, know there are seven Emirates. Usually we would fly aboard military aircraft, leaving from Abu Dhabi, about 150 km north of Dubai. Travel time on these 150 km is about one hour by car on a huge highway consisting of eight lanes. Exactly in the middle of this route between Abu Dhabi and Dubai , one finds a particular place, strongly defined by a long, endless and very orderly line of fences. I asked what this place was, in the midst of the endless route between Abu Dhabi and Dubai we were travelling up and down from.


“It’s interesting, try and figure it out,” I was told half-heartedly. I happened to be lucky enough to meet someone very close to the Emirates’ Royal family. He was a close friend of one of the Emir’s sons. 


Marco Pannella: Also because there were several sons.


Duilio Giammaria:  Exactly, he had several sons. So he was close to the Emir’s sons, and he gave me this news which I found extremely interesting at the time, although I have to confess not  to have elaborated on it sufficiently for the exact same reasons Alberto Negri just gave.

“It is a field, a special field belonging to the Emir’s family, containing many houses”, they told me. Coming from Abu Dhabi, it is on the right-hand side, towards the desert.


“Mot of them are inhabited by Iraqi officials.”


“Iraqi oficials?’, I said.


“Yes, those people have been living there since 2003, and it was meant to harbor all of Saddam Hussein’s nomenclature that was supposed to be exiled with him.”


If an agreement had been secured, obviously Saddam Hussein wouldn’t have left on his own. Let’s say he would have taken his top aides and closest staff with him, since a head of state clearly doesn’t leave his country thinking that everything remains the same.


But the most amazing feat –this took place in 2004- is that this happened before one of Sheikh Maktum’s sons explicitly told Al Arabyia that the agreement negotiations had in fact been brought up to the final stage. The UAE believed up until the end that this agreement was possible. So in 2005, when this news feat became known, Al Arabyia suddenly published the declaration by one of the sons, stating the word about a hidden field in the desert of the Arab Emirates, prepared to receive Saddam Hussein’s nomenclature, was completely true. This is in 2005. Also at this point however, we didn’t elaborate on it enough, because obviously there was enough to work on, exactly as there is enough to work on today.