Operation Hotel California

Operation Hotel California

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Overview

The Iraq War most of us know began on March 20, 2003, with the U.S.-led invasion. In fact, it began more than eight months earlier—on July 10, 2002—when eight Americans crossed the Harburr River from Turkey into Kurdistan. Carrying side arms and assault rifles, the CIA counterterrorist team soon linked up with Kurdish peshmerga to commence their mission: strike and kill Al-Qaeda, and take down Saddam Hussein’s Baathist dictatorship.
They endured almost a year of being denied food, weapons, and ammunition by a NATO ally, Turkey, as they carried out a covert operation with profound consequences on the War on Terror, the Iraq War, and U.S. foreign policy: Operation Hotel California.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with the man who led the CIA team, Operation Hotel California tells the story of the dangerous mission that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq. In a riveting narrative, much of it in the words of the operation’s leader—publicly identified here for the first time as Charles S. “Sam” Faddis—Mike Tucker chronicles a staggering trail of corruption and incompetence by the Bush White House, from pursuing federal tax cuts rather than Al-Qaeda in spring 2001, to pandering to Turkey at the expense of America’s fight against Saddam and Islamic terrorists.
With compelling portrayals of the courageous men on Faddis’s team and first-hand accounts of how America’s finest tracked and took down the Mukhabarat assassination squads Saddam had sent to kill them, Operation Hotel California captures fully the thrills and frustrations of hunting the nation’s most fanatical enemies. And—as the most blistering indictment to date by any American counterterrorism officer of the national security blunders vis-à-vis Iraq and Al-Qaeda—it carries lessons that will reverberate in Washington and beyond for years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599213668
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/21/2008
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mike Tucker is a counterterrorism and guerrilla war specialist, poet, and Marine infantry veteran—and the author of eleven books. Among his works are Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds After Saddam (Lyons Press), a finalist for the 2005 Ben Franklin Award in History; Among Warriors in Iraq (Lyons Press); RONIN: A Marine Scout/Sniper Platoon in Iraq, named by the Salt Lake Tribune as one of the best nonfiction books since September 11; and six volumes of poetry. Formerly a visiting lecturer at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, and a visiting scholar on counterterrorism at James Madison University, he has led and witnessed counterterrorist raids in Spain, Burma, and Iraq; and has patrolled on deep reconnaissance with Karen guerrillas behind Burmese Army lines.

Read an Excerpt

Sam handpicked the counterterrorists and clandestine officers for his team in early February of 2002, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Nearly half of his team had been heavily engaged in the fight against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan after September 11th.

 

Throughout February 2002, Sam and his team got refresher training on counterterrorist raid training; all firearms training; survival training and languages training in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, and Turkish; and refresher courses on reconnaissance and surveillance, and calling in air strikes, artillery strikes, and other call-for-fire commands on field radios at war.

 

Locked and cocked and told by the White House in January 2002 that war in Iraq was imminent, Sam had his team ready to go to war in Iraq by early March of 2002, on schedule.

 

From March 2002 to July 4, 2002, the Turkish General Staff gave on-again, off-again messages to the White House, until Sam told his superiors to relay the following to the Oval Office: "This administration gets stay-out-of-jail cards for my team; no more airport hopscotch for my men.

 

Even when they were en route to Iraq in July 2002, the Turkish General Staff ordered the counterterrorists not to land at the U.S. Air Force Base in Incirlik, Turkey. They landed, nonetheless, on July 7, 2002.

 

Three days later, each American carried an assault rifle and a sidearm into Kurdistan, clips jacked in and full magazines and ammunition stacked in the rear of their jeeps as they rolled across the river to link up with Kurdish peshmerga.

 

Table of Contents


Author's Note ix Introduction: The Counterterrorists Mike Tucker xi Tracking Al-Qaeda, Saddam, and WMD: Kurdistan, July-August 2002 1 No Joy On This Frequency: Kurdistan, October-December 2002 33 Clandestine Meetings with the Shia and the Kurds, and Hunting Saddam's Secret Police: Kurdistan, January-March 2003 62
"The Kurds Were Brilliant and Did Not Fail Us": Kurdistan and Northern Iraq, March-May 2003 112 Epilogue: You Don't Win a Street Fight Throwing Jabs Mike Tucker 172 Glossary 187 Bibliography 205 Acknowledgments 209 Index 211 About the Author 217

Recipe



The Iraq War most of us know began on March 20, 2003, with the U.S.-led invasion. In fact, it began more than eight months earlier—on July 10, 2002—when eight Americans crossed the Harburr River from Turkey into Kurdistan. Carrying side arms and assault rifles, the CIA counterterrorist team soon linked up with Kurdish peshmerga to commence their mission: strike and kill Al-Qaeda, and take down Saddam Hussein’s Baathist dictatorship.

They endured almost a year of being denied food, weapons, and ammunition by a NATO ally, Turkey, as they carried out a covert operation with profound consequences on the War on Terror, the Iraq War, and U.S. foreign policy: Operation Hotel California.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with the man who led the CIA team, Operation Hotel California tells the story of the dangerous mission that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq. In a riveting narrative, much of it in the words of the operation’s leader—publicly identified here for the first time as Charles S. “Sam” Faddis—Mike Tucker chronicles a staggering trail of corruption and incompetence by the Bush White House, from pursuing federal tax cuts rather than Al-Qaeda in spring 2001, to pandering to Turkey at the expense of America’s fight against Saddam and Islamic terrorists.

With compelling portrayals of the courageous men on Faddis’s team and first-hand accounts of how America’s finest tracked and took down the Mukhabarat assassination squads Saddam had sent to kill them, Operation Hotel California captures fully the thrills and frustrations of hunting the nation’s most fanatical enemies.And—as the most blistering indictment to date by any American counterterrorism officer of the national security blunders vis-à-vis Iraq and Al-Qaeda—it carries lessons that will reverberate in Washington and beyond for years to come.

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Operation Hotel California 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard one of the authors, Sam Faddis, on NPR one day and was stunned by what he was saying. For those who would like to know what really occurred in the immediate months post 9-11 and leading up to the war in Iraq, this is a must read.

I've given this book to a few people because I consider it so timely - as the CIA is headed for an overhaul I hope. If you need a teaser, go to NPR.org and search "Operation Hotel California" and you'll find a link to listen to his interview with Diane Rehm.

On the writing side, the writer takes an unusual approach, likely because the story is best told by Faddis himself, in that he chooses to include long stretches of Faddis telling his story in his own words. Then Tucker, the author, offers additional information or explanations that the reader needs to better understand what Faddis is telling us. Once I got used to this, I could not put it down and appreciated getting to hear the CIA leader's own unvarnished account.

I think we all owe Faddis a debt of gratitude for going public with his story of how the CIA has become wrapped up in politics rather than remaining single minded in it's mission to route out terrorist and protect American citizens. My hope is that his criticisms are heard and spur fundamental change at the CIA.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago