A few years ago, the death of Algerian Foreign Minister Mohammed Seddiq Benyahia, whose plane was downed in a Kurdish area between Iraq, Iran and Turkey 36 years ago was brought up.
It was revealed that it was a deliberate accident and that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was the culprit. The source of this information was Salah Goudjil, the former Algerian Minister of Transportation, and more importantly the man who headed the Algerian commission investigating Benyahia’s death.
The biggest shock however was when Khaled Nezzar, the former Minister of Defense and the army’s strong man for a long period of time, confirmed this information few days ago.
It’s been three decades and a half since that accident and many relevant parties are no longer in the scene as they have passed away; therefore, there is no reason to doubt the new story.
Retired general Nezzar does not only implicate Saddam but also accuses then-Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid that he ordered everyone to keep silent and conceal the dangerous information that indicates the involvement of the Iraqi authorities.
The military did not like President Bendjedid as they saw him responsible for failure and chaos. He was forced out of office in the beginning of the 1990s when he permitted extremist Islamists' political activity, and which was accompanied with the rise of jihadists like Belhadj.
Benyahia’s plane was also transporting 14 others who also died after the jet was targeted a while after departing Iraqi borders. According to the head of the Algerian investigation commission, they found the remains of the missile which blew up the plane in the debris.
The missile is manufactured by Russia and its serial number was tracked to Iraqi forces’ purchases. The available information was enough to state that someone in Iraq launched the missile and downed the plane.
Why would Saddam kill the mediator, whose mediation he accepted, to end the war between Iraq and Iran in 1982?Abdulrahman al-Rashed