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March 23, 2006
More Evidence Of Connections

ABC may not be covering Saddam Hussein's trial very well, but it has provided excellent coverage of the newly-released Iraqi Intelligence Service documents captured by coalition forces after the dictator's fall from power. Earlier today it added two more significant documents to those it had already translated, and the new material shows more evidence of Iraqi cooperation with al-Qaeda:

Two Iraqi documents dated in March 2003 -- on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion -- and addressed to the secretary of Saddam Hussein, describe details of a U.S. plan for war. According to the documents, the plan was disclosed to the Iraqis by the Russian ambassador.

The first document (CMPC-2003-001950) is a handwritten account of a meeting with the Russian ambassador that details his description of the composition, size, location and type of U.S. military forces arrayed in the Gulf and Jordan. The document includes the exact numbers of tanks, armored vehicles, different types of aircraft, missiles, helicopters, aircraft carriers, and other forces, and also includes their exact locations. The ambassador also described the positions of two Special Forces units.

The second document (CMPC-2004-001117) is a typed account, signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hammam Abdel Khaleq, that states that the Russian ambassador has told the Iraqis that the United States was planning to deploy its force into Iraq from Basra in the South and up the Euphrates, and would avoid entering major cities on the way to Baghdad, which is, in fact what happened. The documents also state "Americans are also planning on taking control of the oil fields in Kirkuk." The information was obtained by the Russians from "sources at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar," according to the document.

This indicates that Centcom had a major mole working in Qatar, hopefully one that has since been discovered. The Russians had somehow penetrated far enough into the command center that it knew the basic war plan weeks before its implementation. Even with that knowledge, the Iraqis proved hopelessly inept in exploiting the information to their advantage -- which also highlights the skill and determination of our armed forces to prevail.

ABC provides excellent context on these articles. In this case, the network points out that the Russian ambassador was Vladimir Teterenko -- the same Teterenko that figured in the Oil-For-Food scandal. Documents uncovered by the Volcker Commission shows that Teterenko received over a million dollars in oil allocations from Saddam Hussein. Now we know how Teterenko earned his cash; he sold out the US after gaining access to our invasion plans.

This shines an entirely new light on the OFF scandal. Not only was the UN complicit in helping to support and sustain Saddam Hussein's grip on power, but it also enabled Saddam to buy enough intelligence from a permanent member of the UN Security Council ... the same one that now wants to block action against Iran.

How many barrels of oil has the Russian ambassador to Teheran received?

The translation of the second document shows that Iraq eagerly sought out contact with al-Qaeda in 1995, attempting to select projects where Iraq and AQ could act in concert against their common enemies. AQ suggested attacking the "foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia: the American armed forces enforcing the sanctions and the 1991 cease-fire. The recap of the translation is interesting, but not as much as the ABC explanation:

Editor's Note: This document is handwritten and has no official seal. Although contacts between bin Laden and the Iraqis have been reported in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere (e.g., the 9/11 report states "Bin Ladn himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995) this document indicates the contacts were approved personally by Saddam Hussein.

It also indicates the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.

The document does not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia, it is worth noting that eight months after the meeting -- on November 13, 1995 -- terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisers. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden.

Those connections keep getting stronger and stronger, and with them the inevitable conclusion that the war to depose Saddam Hussein was no distraction from the war on terror but a vital part of it. It also shows that his continued survival would bring continued corruption of global politics, directly putting American lives at risk thanks to our so-called partners in Moscow.

UPDATE: Iran, not Iraq (h/t CanForce101)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 23, 2006 8:32 PM

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