In early summer 1995, a few months before his assassination, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin asked Jordan's King Hussein to approach Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on his behalf and arrange a joint visit by Rabin and Hussein to Baghdad, according to Nigel Ashton, author of "King Hussein: A political Life" (Yale University Press).
Ashton, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics who is close to the Hashemite royal family, was given rare access to Hussein's private archives. In his Hussein biography, Ashton writes that when handed a secret letter by a Jordanian official, "Saddam did not rule out direct contacts with Rabin," but was reluctant "to work through lower-level intermediaries." No further moves on the Israel-Iraq initiative were recorded before Rabin's murder that November....
Aston calls the Rabin request for Hussein's intervention with Saddam "a bold and remarkable secret initiative." Saddam, a bitter enemy of Israel, had launched some 40 surface-to-surface missiles at it in 1991, partly in retaliation for the 1981 bombing of the Osiraq nuclear reactor.
Rabin reasoned that opening up relations with Iraq would increase pressure on Syrian leader Hafez Assad, Saddam's enemy, to cut a peace deal with Israel. Perhaps even more importantly, Rabin saw Iran, Iraq's arch-rival, as posing a more dangerous threat to Israel, with Iran bent on a nuclear-weapons program and Iraq under an international-sanctions and monitoring regime after the 1991 war.
-British author: Rabin asked Jordan to arrange secret visit with Saddam