The Soviet Plan to Hide Iraq’s WMD
The world was well aware of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles. Politicians from both parties admitted that Saddam would not disarm voluntarily, and that military force was the only solution. Intelligence sources estimate that Iraq had 100 million tons of munitions, which is an astonishing 60 percent of our own arsenal. According to the House Armed Service Committee, Saddam himself admitted to possessing thousands of tons of WMD. Since we have not found the “smoking gun” proof of a WMD arsenal, they must have gone somewhere else.
Prior to our liberation of Iraq, it was clear we would not receive any support from Russia. In February of 2003, Russian President Vladmir Putin traveled to Germany and France to align the nations against U.S. military aggression, calling instead for further inspections – the same inspections process that yielded nothing in twelve years. WMD was in the hands of a regime that has already used them in war and even against their own country. What would keep Saddam from selling these weapons to terrorist organizations, putting millions of people worldwide at risk? That should have been enough to put Russia, Germany, and France on our side, but something was apparently going on under the radar. Putin called the attack “unwarranted” and “unjustifiable.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov proclaimed that the United States would fabricate findings of WMD stockpiles.
The truth is the Soviet Union supplied Iraq with WMD, in addition to many other countries that were not quite on friendly terms with the West. Since the Soviets supplied these countries with their WMD, they had plans to cover up their tracks if something went wrong. It would not bode well for the USSR if the world knew what it was doing behind the scenes. To combat this, the Soviets would orchestrate an effective Information Operations (IO) campaign. They would deny the West the propaganda victory of finding any weapons stockpiles. Chemical weapons production facilities are disguised as civilian manufacturing plants, making detection difficult. The Soviets even use Western left-wing organizations, such as the World Peace Council, to spread their anti-Western propaganda. The distraction these groups create during an anti-Western protest would draw the world’s attention away from Soviet-sponsored foul play.
Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence officer to defect to the West. He served as chief of the Romanian foreign intelligence agency. He says Romania had a plan to sanitize its Soviet WMD called Operation Sarindar, or Emergency Exit. Pacepa actually carried out this plan for Muammar Qaddhafi in Libya. The only evidence left behind of the Soviet involvement was technical documents stored on microfiche and buried. Once recovered, these documents would show how to quickly rebuild the weapons arsenal.
Pacepa states that Iraq had its own version of Sarindar. In the late 1970’s, General Yevgeny Primakov ran Saddam’s weapons programs. Primakov was friends with Saddam, and made frequent trips to Iraq following 1991. According to Pacepa, Primakov hates Israel and has always championed Arab radicalism. In fact, Primakov (promoted to Prime Minister in 1998) was in Baghdad in December of 2002 until a couple of days before the invasion. Accompanying him were two retired Russian generals: Vladislav Achalov, a former deputy defense minister, and Igor Maltsev, a former air defense chief of staff. Iraq’s remaining military arsenal was no match for the American firepower. Therefore, they would not have been in Iraq as military advisors. Instead, they were implementing Iraq’s version of “Sarindar.”
Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John Shaw was responsible for tracking Saddam’s stockpiles both before and after the liberation of Iraq. Shaw received intelligence from British sources on the Iraqi/Syrian border of truck convoys driving into Syria and returning empty in February and March of 2003. American Shaw also learned that steel drums with painted warnings were being transferred to a basement of a Beirut hospital. Shaw believes that WMD that had been stored in flooded bunkers was put on ships at the port of Umm Qasr set sail where the cargo was sunk in the Indian Ocean.
Russian GRU, military, and civilian personnel carried out the mission under the command of the two retired generals Achalov and Maltsev. Over the past five or six years, the generals visited Baghdad no fewer than 20 times. The generals were even photographed in Baghdad receiving medals from Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed. Shaw revealed that U.S. intelligence sources knew “the identity and strength of the various Spetsnaz units, their dates of entry and exit in Iraq, and the fact that the effort (to clean up Iraq’s WMD stockpiles) with a planning conference in Baku from which they flew to Baghdad.” The Russian Minister of Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu held a conference in Baku where he detailed the plans for the operation. After his speech, Shoigu headed for Baghdad to help lead the clean up.
Demetrius Perricos is the acting chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). He announced that his team has tracked shipments of WMD materials worldwide. UNMOVIC estimated in 2004 that Iraqis were exporting 1,000 tons of scrap metal daily. Inspectors have found dozens of the banned al-Samoud (SA-2) missile engines in Jordan, Turkey, and the Netherlands, all shipped out as scrap metal.
Inspectors have also located “dual use” technology such as fermenters, freeze-driers, missile parts, distillation columns, and a reactor vessel. For example, a fermenter can be used to manufacture many kinds of medicine, but it can also breed anthrax. There are innocent uses to dual use technology, but inspectors noted that many of the dual use sites they visited previously have been taken apart. If Saddam’s claims of the technology being used for innocent purposes were true, the equipment would most likely still be in operation.
In Rotterdam, a Dutch scrap company discovered five pounds of yellowcake uranium ore from Jordan. Jordanian officials stated the substance originated in Iraq. I wonder what Ambassador Joe Wilson thinks about that!
Jordan, a U.S. ally, seized 20 tons of chemical weapons in a foiled al-Qaeda attack meant to kill 80,000 Jordanians. Seventy different chemicals, including Sarin and VX gas, were confiscated. Jordan claims these weapons came from Syria, who only has a limited capability to manufacture WMD on their own, certainly not the 20 tons that al-Qaeda possessed. Since they couldn’t make it themselves, it had to come from somewhere else. In 2004, American troops were actually attacked by insurgents using Sarin and mustard gas chemical weapons.
A Syrian journalist defected to Paris in January of 2004. He said a friend of his in intelligence informed him that the son of a Syrian defense minister was paid 50 million dollars to bring WMD across the border into Syria and bury them. The defector named three burial sites in Syria, and Israeli intelligence confirmed the information. John Shaw also names the three sites in Syria, in addition to one in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon.
Former Iraqi General Georges Sada confirms that trucks moved WMD into Syria prior to the invasion. Sada says that Iraq had a specific committee for hiding WMD. The committee met until a dam collapsed in northwestern Syria. Saddam used the disaster as a chance to move WMD to Syria by plane, disguising the cargo as humanitarian aid. Sada was shocked out of silence by the foiled Jordanian terror plot. He saw that the weapons were in the hands of the terrorists.
The Soviet strategy carries on, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. Now Iraq’s WMD are in the hands of Syria and Lebanon. The U.S. military conducted a campaign that was nothing short of brilliant. We brought Saddam to justice, and we are helping rebuild a peaceful and democratic Iraq. America has been denied the trivial propaganda victory of finding the “smoking gun.” But at what cost?
Chris Carter is the host of “Unto the Breach with Crushing Chris Carter.”
COPYRIGHT 2007 CHRIS CARTER
In: National Security · Tagged with: Ion Mihai Pacepa, Iraq, Russia, Saddam Hussein, Soviet Union, USSR, WMD