This Month in History: Cuban Delegation Briefed Saddam Hussein on Forthcoming US Invasion 1

In early November 1990, Havana sent a carefully-assembled team to Iraq to brief Saddam Hussein on the forthcoming US invasion. Key delegation members included Colonel Jaime Salas, the head of Army Intelligence; Deputy Foreign Minister Alcibiades Hidalgo, Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, the Cuban doctor who had become Hussein’s personal physician, and Jose Ramon Fernandez Alvarez, Vice President of the Council of Ministers. Havana’s goal was to preserve Cuba’s strategic interests in the Middle East, save its ally from being defeated by the US, and deny the US a strategic military and political advantage in the region.

Havana had assembled an impressive intelligence presentation. Russian and Cuban Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), fused with Cuban Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and analysis, provided a highly detailed review of the US forces assembled for Operation Desert Shield. Colonel Salas identified estimated troop strengths and locations, readiness levels, and anticipated operations.  He also briefed Hussein on both the latest developments in US amphibious and desert warfare operations and the US military’s unequaled dominance in high-tech weaponry. Grossly overconfident in his abilities and those of his regime, Hussein thanked the delegation members and told them the US and coalition forces would be crushed. Their mission a failure, the Cubans returned to Havana after which Granma announced the delegation’s return.


One comment

  1. This is a classical example that Cuban espionage activities against the US are not only aimed at preventing terror attacks by Cuban exiles, as the Havana government has been claiming ever since Red Avispa was dismantled in 1998.

    One of the HUMINT sources that provided the Cuban Dirección de Inteligencia with first rate information on US military was undoubtedly Ana Belén Montés who, according to Scott W Carmichael, author of the book True Believer, had joined the DIA in 1985 and by 1990 could have risen to a position that enabled her to gain access to the relevant US plans of military operations against Saddam Hussein.

    This HUMINT source as well as the use made by the Dirección de Inteligencia Militar of the Bejucal electronic espionage base also proves a more recent disclosure that information gathered by Cuban spy agencies is supplied, at a cost, to the enemies of the US, such as North Korea, and so on.

    And the Cuban aim is clearly stated in the above article: “to deny the US a strategic and political advantage in the region”. Therefore, the Havana leaders are actively engaging in a confrontation with the US and should stop complaining that they are victims of US aggression and blockade. Alcibíades Hidalgo who is in the US can confirm this hard line taken by the Castro regime ever since it came to power.

    Sergio Klein
    Nov, 6, 2012

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