Stalking Horse – Story behind the story

When news of the start of the First Gulf War broke on the BBC World Service, I was in a remote, forward special forces’ camp in the bush in Mozambique. I was researching This Angry Land. That camp was surrounded by murderous Renamo guerrillas, hiding in the hills. If we had come under attack, at least I had an AK47 beside my cot. Unfortunately it didn’t have an ammunition magazine to go with it. More fortunately, that attack never came while I was there.

What, I was to wonder then and later, was the reason why Saddam Hussein never did launch any form of terror attack on the West after his initial seizure of Kuwait? Why did he just sit there and wait for the eventual and inevitable counter-assault of American, British and allied forces? Such an attack by Saddam using gas, poisin or deadly chemicals was widely anticipated and feared.

STALKING HORSE looks at the possible reasons why that never happened – very possibly a dangerous and daring intelligence operation by the West.

Just imagine that a genuine terrorist from an international organisation was able to offerscan0068 to do the job for Saddam Hussein. Suppose that terrorist was, in fact, a double-agent working for the West…The history of that period starts to make a lot more sense.

Interestingly, the story calls for an exciting HI-HO (high level, high opening) parachute insert into Iraq and entry into an Iraqi bunker. Another immensely famous writer – who shall remain nameless – had a similar Saddam bunker entry through a broom cupboard! I found that a couple of calls to an architectural magazine and to a real firm of bunker-builders in Northern Ireland, who had actually made them, revealed how you can do it for real! If you’d like to know the secret…

Research took me to Athens and to Crete, where I inadvertently uncovered the story about the cocaine cartels and the Provisional IRA that would eventually lead to the writing of the thriller White Viper.