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According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the U.S. invasion:
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."
You get two guesses where the Russians shipped the goods. According to Mr. Shaw:
Most of Saddam's most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to Syria and Lebanon, and possibly to Iran, he said.
Mr. Gertz further reports that the Iraqis didn't just abandon the site after these shipments. The Al-Qaqaa facility was defended by Fedayeen Saddam, Special Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units until the US forces defeated them on or about 3 April.
The Russians weren't just acting as UPS drivers, either.
A second defense official said documents on the Russian support to Iraq reveal that Saddam's government paid the Kremlin for the special forces to provide security for Iraq's Russian arms and to conduct counterintelligence activities designed to prevent U.S. and Western intelligence services from learning about the arms pipeline through Syria.
The Russian arms-removal program was initiated after Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian intelligence chief, could not persuade Saddam to give in to U.S. and Western demands, this official said.
The Russians didn't just spirit away some weapons haphazardly.
Documents reviewed by the official included itineraries of military units involved in the truck shipments to Syria. The materials outlined in the documents included missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said.
Mr. Gertz concludes:
Defense officials said the Russians can provide information on what happened to the Iraqi weapons and explosives that were transported out of the country. Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
Right. Sure they will explain. I'll just wait here and report back . . . .
ADDITIONAL REMARKS: This story makes the whole missing/partially non-existent explosive story and the Kerry instant talking points (take shoddy reporting and add water) look rather silly. While waiting for the Russians to 'fess up, I'll also be waiting for the MSM to turn its attention to this bombshell. Maybe I should order a pizza . . . might be awhile . . . like 3 November.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on October 28, 2004 11:14 AM
Tracked on October 28, 2004 11:15 AM
» Jump from Conclusions... from My Sandmen
Whiskey continues, however, to analyze the Time's story, noting a deliberate intent to the Russian involvement in the evacuation... The last bit of that [excerpt] is one that I find to be most notable: chemicals used to make chemical weapons. [Read More]
Tracked on October 29, 2004 2:14 PM
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