Among the captured documents of the Iraqi Intelligence Services is a memo written in Arabic that describes pre-war intel from an Iraqi source working in Syria. Dated July 13, the memo itself was written after the invasion, but it describes the movement of trucks from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasions. Document ISGQ-2005-00022470 has notations reading “DOD” that indicate the Pentagon has already reviewed the data:
MR. HOGGER (KURDISH NAME)
KINDLY REVIEW THOSE PAGES
AND PLEASE FORWARD THEM TO MRS.MONA FOR FURTHER REVIEW AFTER TRANSLATION
ESQUIRE, THE DIRECTOR OF COORDINATION AND FOLLOW UP OFFICE
Reda (name) CA11
Subject: we have information about the location of Mass Destruction Weapons
On Moharram 10th (Arabic calendar), prior to US/allied invasion to Iraq, fifty (50) Iraqi trucks entered Syria as convoys (or groups), I met some the drivers of those trucks, they got no idea about the content of their trucks.
The loads basically came from some where in Baghdad, Iraqi intelligence were escorting the loads. During their tripe, those truck drivers were stopped and asked frequently by the intelligence officers about whether or not they got any idea about the content of their loads, the divers replied “we have no idea”, then the officers would say “thank you”.
Upon their arrival to Deayr Ezoor city/ Syria, the drivers were ordered to get down, elements from Syrian intelligence got into the trucks, they took the trucks to big barracks for downloading.
After that; Iraqi drivers got their trucks back, they got $200 as a reward.
The drivers told me that it was their second time to bring such secret shipment; the first shipment was Moharram 1st.
I have a friend in Syria working in Syrian company, the man has ½ of the company, and the other ½ belongs to a Syrian businessman.
This Iraqi person, a former counselor at Iraqi embassies, has strong connections with Iraqi embassy in Syria, he knows all Iraqi intelligence men there, and he has no idea that I am working with the Iraqi opposition in Syria.
I used to visit him daily during that period to listen to the important news.
When the trucks arrived to Syria, I visited him, told him “Iraqi weapons got inside Syria”, he replied “who told you”, I said “I have my own resources”, he replied “don’t tell any one about that because actually it is inside”.
Mrs. Mona; please keep it in file CA 11 30
For those unfamiliar with the Muslim calendar, 10 Mohorram would equate to March 14th for 2003 — or a little over a week before our invasion of Iraq. The opposition source told the Kurds that the trucks arrived in Dayr az Zawr, a Syrian city on the Euphrates in the expansive eastern section of Syria. A look at a map shows Dayr az Zawr in the middle of nowhere, with plenty of space to hide stockpiles from 50 trucks.
After unloading the trucks — taking care to separate the Iraqi drivers from their vehicles while doing so — the Syrians returned the trucks to the drivers and paid each of them $200, a rather princely sum for an Iraqi in 2003. And that was the second such convoy that IIS officers conducted into Syria; the first had been on Mohorram 1, or March 5th.
While this is not quite a smoking gun, it provides yet another piece of evidence pointing to a massive operation to hide Iraq’s WMDs. Saddam Hussein must have thought that if the Coalition could not find the WMDs, they would have to withdraw and allow him to assume power once more. It would explain why he allowed so much of his army to disappear rather than fight; he expected to command them again within a few weeks. In fact, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri told Time Magazine that Saddam had made a mistake allowing the army to fight at all:
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam’s top lieutenant with a $10 million bounty on his head, struck a defiant tone in an intervew appearing on Time magazine’s Web site in which he wrote out answers to questions sent in May through intermediaries. Time said it wasn’t clear when his answers were written.
Al-Douri, the highest-ranking figure from Saddam’s regime still at large and the “king of clubs” on the most wanted list, said Saddam blundered by having his army confront the U.S.-led invasion force instead of holding it in reserve to fight a guerrilla war, but he said the old army has bounced back.
This movement of the weapons also appeased Russia, which helped Saddam build them. The Russians did not want the US to discover the weapons stores and pressed Saddam to get them somewhere else, and fast. American intel has long claimed to have seen these convoys streaming across western Iraq into Syria, and this provides a more complete picture as to what they did when they arrived.