Skip to comments.In Search of Saddam Hussein’s WMD: Russian Intelligence, Belarus & Highway 11 Part 3 of 5
Posted on 04/05/2006 6:25:51 AM PDT by Blackrain4xmas
The 1990-2003 War Against Saddam has millions of untold stories. Perhaps one of the most important happened at the onset of the invasion. On the evening of March 22 there are several reports that Russians were witness to an American airborne assault near the Syrian/Jordanian/Iraq border, on or near Highway 11, and in the vicinity of Akashat. Allegedly American airborne troops and/or Special Forces were trying to seize some of Saddams WMD on its way into Syria. They were detected by Iraqi forces, surrounded, and as many as 30 were killed or captured. Forces from Jordan were sent to provide air support and rescue for the survivors.
There are no reports of this incident in the mainstream media, but Russian intelligence reports that were remarkably published on the internet during the invasion were generally close to the mark in accuracy (albeit embellished with a distinct political slant), and the Department of Defense has affirmed that the reports do seem credible and accurate-particularly the ones that reference radio intercepts. This report of the border incident stems from such radio intercepts. It's also echoed in Yossef Bodansky's book, The Secret History of the Iraq War, and he cites several Russian eyewitnesses as well.
That the casualties are not listed in the DoD's casualty list is not unusual since the words "Ranger" and "Green Beret" are missing from that list entirely. It seems Special Forces casualties are not generally reported in the same manner as conventional forces. If true, the presence of American forces captured and taken into Syria perhaps might be one of the reasons why more pressure hasn't been exerted on the Assad Regime.
In any event, on March 24th President Bush called Russian President Vladamir Putin and there can be no doubt that the issue of Russian support for Saddam's regime was discussed. That the phone call (widely reported by the press at the time) came immediately in the wake of the border incident is interesting and poignant.
On March 29 and 30, Saddam contacted Belarus. The former Soviet Republic had been one of many that offered Saddam exile in the days just prior to the war. Instead of accepting the offer, Saddam had a Belarusian IL-76 transport plane flown to Baghdad, allegedly loaded with "sensitive cargo" and immediately flown back to Belarus. In December, Yevgeny Primakov's plane had been reloaded with "sensitive cargo" (ie cargo the Americans would want-like WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people), and flown to Belarus. All flights in and out of Saddam International were monitored closely by the USAF, British Intelligence, and a list of other foreign intelligence services.
Many of the Russian-made weapons procured through Syria's front companies-like SES International-had come from Belarus. After the fall of Saddam's regime, it was found that many of the senior leaders who had fled went to Syria and Belarus (sometimes in that order). If one asks, "What happened to all that WMD?" Then a finger can be pointed towards the former Soviet Republic at the very least for enabling the former leaders of Saddam's regime to escape and orchestrate an insurgency, clearly for removal of "sensitive items" from Saddam's regime, and very likely for accepting Saddam's WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people.
On April 5th, CENTCOM reported spotting a large column of Iraqi vehicles, and braced for a possible counterattack. Rather than race south to certain defeat and death, the column slipped into Syria. Russian intelligence reports reiterate this event as do Lebanese sources. Mainstream media reports only confirm the convoy's sighting, but they do not follow up the report, and they do not report on what happened to it. Allegedly the convoy included Russian-made mobile rocket launchers some with chemical weapons.
The exodus from Iraq to Syria by Saddam's allies and the highest ranking members of Saddam's regime didn't end on April 9th, but it was fully brought to the attention of the world when American Special Forces intercepted a Russian convoy headed into Syria. The Russians said that the convoy was on a diplomatic mission following a convoy that carried Primakov himself. To this day no one knows for sure. Some reports claim that Primakov's convoy carried Russian WMD people, documents, and equipment that could not be left to fall into the hands of the Coalition. That Russian convoys as well as convoys from Saddams regime were assembled and rushing out of Iraq/into Syria during those last few days has been well-reported by the mainstream media, and summarily ignored then forgotten.
The contents of the convoy that American commandos attacked remain classified, but former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology and security, John A Shaw, reports that American intelligence has documents confirming that Saddam's Regime paid Russia to provide security forces for Iraq's Russian-made arms and paid Russia to conduct counterintelligence activities that would prevent the Coalition from discovering the illegal arms supply line from Russia through Syria. This is consistent with the other aid Russia is known to have provided Saddams regime in its last days.
"An Arabic-language report obtained by U.S. intelligence disclosed the extent of Russian armaments. The 26-page report was written by Abdul Tawab Mullah al Huwaysh, Saddam's minister of military industrialization, who was captured by U.S. forces May 2, 2003." Other intelligence officials confirm the possession of these documents and more. "The materials outlined in the documents included [illegal] missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said."
Recently declassified documents from Saddams Iraqi Intelligence Services headquartes as well as the Iraqi Perspectives Project report released two weeks ago both serve as new sources detailing how Russian intelligence was working hand in hand with the IIS-even going so far as to provide the Iraqis with the American invasion plans for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sec State Rice has even brought up the matter of Russian aid to Saddams dying regime as recently as last week.
One wonders how differently the war in Iraq would look if American commandos had been able to seize elusive WMD in those first few hours of the war, and what it would have been like if they could have presented it to the world? As more and more captured documents are being released every day, why not present the documents detailing the list of illegal Russian armaments provided to Saddam, or the other evidence of illegal Russian support as well?
That answer will come later. Sam Pender is the author of several books on the Global War on Terror and the Iraq Wars in particular. His works include: Iraq's Smoking Gun, How Did It Come to This?, The Ignored War, America's War With Saddam, and Saddam's Ties to Al Queda.
And nothing is being done to spring these Green Berets and Rangers that Assad might be holding after three years??
shrug the MSM will never help get this story out... its too positive for the president and republicans in an election year.
Can't even confirm the incident. All we know is that Russian intel reported it, as well as a few nonMSM sources. For all we know it might not have happened, or they might have been sprung in exchange for not pursuing into Syria. That said, the report is similar to other incidents near the same location, in the same conditions just weeks later, and reported by MSM.
Nothing new here. Just move along, alright?
Good article Blacktrain.
I fully expect that Saddam's "goodies" were dispersed to several other nations. OTOH, I simply can't believe that our extensive "overhead assets" failed to record and track any of that activity.
That's just it...the movements from wmd sites to Syria were recorded and widely reported as such.
Putin has clearly returned to cold-war aggression, but this time around is different. Vietnam hurt us, but Afghanistan killed the Russian economy.
We have a foot on their necks and can hold them down as long as we want, simply by refusing aid. The emphasis on lighter forces for Iraq now comes clear, we can sustain the effort there indefinately. Russia's not exactly bluffing with a ten high hand, but we definitely hold the winning cards.
This will be even more true in post-Mullah Iran.
My guess is that we have precision UTM coordinates (GPS markers) on a significant number of those hiding places. IMO, a few well-placed explosions that leave widespread contaminated areas in the Bekaa Valley would definitely be worthwhile..
........."as well as the Iraqi Perspectives Project report released two weeks ago"
is anyone familiar with this?
Release/Translation of Classified PreWar Docs ping. If you want to be added or removed to the ping list, please Freepmail me.
Please add the keyword prewardocs to any articles pertaining to this subject.
Makes me wonder where the source of info came that allowed the Russians to tip them off re the above attempt to capture movement of the weapons. How many moles and how far up they go?
Probably moles thruout the pentagon, CIA and state dept. The political elites prefer to be politically correct and let our spec ops guys get "whacked" rather than ethnically cleanse the agencies.
I just wish the "New Media Journal" story had a few footnotes and links to confirmatory information. Without those it's kinda like reading a NewsMax story.
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