Iraqi ‘Special’ Olympics

Another set of translated documents have been released by the FMSO over the last few days, and while a good deal of them contain nothing new, some enlighten us as to the twisted mindset of the Saddam Hussein regime. Document ISGZ-2004-019744 contains a list of equipment and prices for equipment requested by the Iraqi National Olympic Committee — for something called the “Special Workshop”. A covering memo requesting the funds shows to what use the equipment was needed:

The Republic of Iraq
Presidency of the Republic
Saddam’s Fedayeen
Office of secretary
Date 20 December 2002
The supervisor of the honorable Saddam’s Fedayeen
Subject: Issue of funds
Please approve the request to issue the sum of (143,670,000) One Hundred Forty-Three Million, Six Hundred Seventy Thousand Dinar to the Iraqi National Olympic committee (special workshop), the amount is to manufacture and prepare for the Fedayee effort with supplies indicated in the attached application list.
Please review the matter and advice… with appreciation.
Brigadier General of support
Muhsin ‘Abd-al-Karim Mahmud
General Secretary
20 December 2002

The memo shows an approval dated the next day, meaning that while the US demanded a green light from theUN Security Council to invade Iraq, a Brigadier General took the time to ask the supervisor of the Saddam Fedayeen — Uday Hussein — permission to buy equipment for the Olympic Committee. Could these have been pommel horses for their gymanistics squad, or perhaps new uniforms for the wrestlers? Not exactly:

Cost………………………… Subject
5,000,000 Dinar……. For the manufacturing of 2 fuel tanks. “received”
360,000 Dinar………. For the preparation of the special insignia for the Fedayeen (God-Country-Commander) [TC: Hand written note on the side of the page statingreceived]
100,000,000 Dinar .. For the manufacturing of 5 al-Razi firing systems
11,732,500 Dinar …. For special equipment (batons shaped like an “L” for riot control – leather gloves – equipment for climbing trees – climbing rope – “Nachuka” rope – deadly stars – jumping circles – seatbelt for jumping)
2,000,000 Dinar ….. For the manufacturing of 200 weapons
9,375,000 Dinar ….. For 125 fire extinguishers size 12 kg
5,460,000 Dinar ….. For 1365 Chinese made pickaxes
9,742,500 Dinar ….. For 2165 Chinese made shovels
The total amount is 143,670,000 Dinar.

Nachukas and deadly stars? Did the Olympics suddenly open up ninja competitions in 2002? Apparently the IOC has a very broadminded take on competition, as the Iraqi Olympic team needed to manufacture 200 weapons for their team. Pickaxes and shovels may have been needed for preparation in the brand-new Mass Grave Dig-off, in which the Chinese held a traditional edge.
Most interesting on this list is the 100 million dinars for 5 “al-Razi” shooting systems. The ISG report has a couple of al-Razi references. One regards the efforts at the al-Razi research center on a type of laser used in uranium enrichment, which doesn’t really fit the context of this memo. The other refers to the Zakaria al-Razi Chemical Company — which the ISG identifies as a “special weapons” contractor to the Saddam regime’s WMD programs.
In December 2002, Saddam’s army wanted to go for the gold in the war everyone knew was coming, and purchase 5 al-Razi shooting systems for his Olympic team. The Saddam regime really supported its own idea of the ‘special’ Olympics, it appears.