Skip to comments.Syria's Role in Destabilizing Iraq (old, but good)
Posted on 11/21/2005 6:26:08 PM PST by pookie18
On January 23, 2004 Jane's Intelligence Report had Donald Rumsfeld quoted as saying that the United States was considering a multi-faceted attack on Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, to wipe out terrorists there including Hezbollah. Limited action in Somalia was also mentioned.  The increased pressure on Syria certainly shows an escalating series of events that could culminate in such limited strikes. People in the Bekaa Valley have reported that a US military attaché to our embassy in Beirut has been seen visiting the area with military escort.  Coupled with an increased US military presence on the border and continuing violations of Syrian air space and territorial rights, it appears the US military is preparing for such a possibility. Such strikes in Lebanon would have a serious impact on the rule of Bashar Assad in Syria. If all other options are exhausted, it is likely that this would be the best military option in Syria's case, as action in Lebanon could eliminate the need for action inside Syria, or to pressure Assad into dramatic change.
Human rights issues are also coming into play in Syria. The country has one of the worst human rights records, and is governed by Ba'athists, the ideological comrades of the people who ruled Iraq. The situation isn't getting better either. Syrian human rights groups recorded a dramatic increase in human rights violations over 2003 , and little or no improvements since then.
Regime change in Syria currently might prove risky. We are still stuck in Iraq, and have Iran becoming a nuclear power. A US study showed that in case of regime change, the only credible opposition to replace Assad would be the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, which is linked to Al-Qaeda.  However, WorldThreats.com bets that if the US Administration plays its cards right, then in the near future the Reform Party of Syria could become a credible force to replace Assad.
This report analyzes what kind of threats Syria poses, especially in regard to the stability in Iraq.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Possibly the first noticeable person to warn that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could go to Syria was former UN inspector Richard Butler. He warned that when he worked in Iraq between 1997 and 1999, he saw intelligence indicating that suspicious containers were routinely moved in and out of Iraq from Syria, and that there was evidence they contained banned materials. Few realized what an impact Syria's role would play later in the future.
Intelligence gathering, including defector testimony, indicated that even in August 2002, before Saddam let UN inspectors back in, indicated that Iraq was still receiving WMD components and materials through Syria.  Around this same time, Iraqi officials who defected to Europe in 2002 claimed that Iraq had ordered three shipments of Scud missiles from the Czech Republic, using Syria. Thinking the missiles and components were going to Syria, the Czechs had no problem supplying. The defectors say the Czechs were tricked, and that the first shipment of missiles had already arrived in 2002 in Iraq. 
On January 17th, according to Italian sources, Saddam Hussein signed a secret agreement with Syria. Iraq would send three CDs of formulas and technical information about weapons including nuclear explosions; 3 test-tubes full of anthrax and botulinum spores; and detailed analysis of tests carried out with these weapons on people to Syria, in exchange for Syria harboring Iraqi scientists, technicians and their information. By the end of February, three Iraqi microbiologists and a small group of technicians would be at safety in Syria, and a top nuclear physicist and his team soon arrived in early March. 
Former head of the Iraq Survey Group, David Kay, has confirmed that Saddam Hussein sent convoys to Syria full of "Iraqi equipment" that could not be identified, and that they could possibly have had weapons of mass destruction. He confirmed that senior Iraqi scientific and military officials who would have access to technical documentation and knowledge of the programs fled to Syria immediately before and during the war.  According to intelligence gathering, the major transfer of WMD goods from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon occurred between January and March of 2003. However, the first shipments occurred even before then. In December of 2002, Israel claimed that Syria was hiding Iraqi mobile biological weapons labs, chemical and biological components and munitions.  The shipments were reportedly negotiated between Bashar Assad's younger brother, Maher, and Saddam Hussein. Following their meeting, Syria agreed to harbor WMDs and officials should inspections begin again. 
Israeli intelligence says that between January 10th and March 10th, the transfer of Iraqi chemical (and possibly biological) weapons to Syria and Lebanon's Bekaa Valley was completed. They were placed in giant tankers and taken to Syria, and then to the Bekaa Valley under the protection of Syrian special forces and air-force intelligence units. Syrian army engineers then took over supervising the tankers at the poppy fields and used special drilling equipment to dig holes approximately 20-26 feet across and 82-115 feet deep. The weapons were buried under the poppy fields grown for heroin and under the rows of cotton plants in two of the most fertile regions of Lebanon. This is done because the local population is farmers (less dense population) and the poppy and cotton fields will grow over the holes extremely quickly. This is at the valley stretching between Jabal Akroum, the town of al-Qbayyat and the Syrian border. Weapons were also hidden at the land between the towns of al-Hirmil and al-Labwah between the Orontes River and the Syrian border. Israeli satellite photos showed it occurred at night and the crews wore protective suits. The local farmers were reportedly bribed into not saying anything, but we can also not rule out threats. Intelligence sources indicate that satellite photos prove the whole transfer here took place. 
In mid-February 2003, Saddam's cousin (who also had a role in chemical weapons production) Ali Hassan al-Majid ("Chemical Ali") went to Damascus to help oversee plans for the transfer of high-ranking Iraqi leadership figures and weapons. He oversaw the transfer of Iraqi military technicians into Syria, disguised as Syrian soldiers, to watch over the weapons. Syria and Iraq reinforced their agreement to hide, among other things, medium-range al-Hussein missiles in Lebanon and Syria in holes dug by Syrian intelligence and engineering corps.  The missile claim seems to be backed up by more information. In early April, the US spotted an Iraqi Scud-transporter erector launcher driven by a truck near the Syrian border. It seemed to have come in from Syria, then operated its radar overnight, and then returned to Syria. The launcher appeared to be for an al-Hussein medium-range missile. 
Defector testimony has also backed up what the intelligence services are reporting. A Syrian opposition figure in exile in France, named Nazzar Diof has also claimed that Iraqi chemical and biological weapons were placed in Syria before the war began.  Iraqi defectors also claim that Syria had a role in creating the weapons in the first place. An Iraqi specialist named Adnan al-Haideri defected in December 2001, who claimed to have worked on secret WMD sites in Iraq in private homes and mini-labs. He described the concealment effort, and mentioned that whatever Iraq couldn't legally purchase that was needed, Syria would buy for them.  But these defections weren't the only ones that would reveal much about Syria's role in the disappearance of Iraqi weapons.
Not long after the war began, an Iraqi scientist confirmed that unconventional weapons and technology was sent to Syria beginning in the mid-1990s.  He also mentioned that some chemical precursors and sensitive material that wasn't destroyed just prior to war beginning, was sent to Syria.
By the end of May, the United States began sincerely considering that WMDs had moved to Syria, as Israel had claimed. US intelligence indicated that over the past year, Iraqi expertise and components for biological weapons had made their way to Syria, and that at the present time, at least a dozen Iraqi WMD scientists were in Syria. Syria now possessed a wide range of WMD components and advanced conventional weapons from Iraq. Chemical/biological weapons munitions and warheads from Iraq, according to US intelligence sources, were now at Syrian military bases north of Damascus. Senior officials in Assad's regime, including Bashar Assad's brother-in-law Assaf Chawkat were pointed as complicit in the transfers. 
As intelligence was gathered, by late June, Israeli Air Force commander Halutz was confident enough to predict that Iraq's WMD would be found, probably in Syria. The West identified Mustafa Tlas, the Syrian defense minister, as the man in charge of the secret WMD transfers to Lebanon and Syria from Baghdad, Tikrit and al-Qaim. The intelligence indicated some weapons were destroyed, some left in Iraq underground, and others sent to other countries. Much of it was buried under an army base in northern Syria and in huge pits made by Syrian engineers in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.  The respected Jane's Foreign Report around the same time confirmed the assessment that Syria was hiding Iraq's weapons among its own stockpiles. Jane's also reported that Syria appeared to be using Iraqi expertise in its chemical weapons tests. 
As time went on, more and more credible sources began reporting that the Israelis were giving the West intelligence on how Syria was using its territory and the territory of Lebanon to hide banned weapons. Towards the end of summer 2003, Israel identified the placement of Iraqi WMD goods in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. Israeli spy satellites had captured on film several tractor-trailers filled with Iraqi weapons (they assessed them to be WMD later) in the Bekaa Valley. The weapons were then connected to strange shipments that occurred between January and the first week of March 2003. Additional information indicated that Saddam Hussein paid Bashar Assad, Syria's president, approximately $35 million to hide the supplies.  The United States concurred that there was evidence that the weapons were in the Bekaa Valley, near cells of Iraqi intelligence agents, Hezbollah strongholds, and presences of Syrian and Iranian intelligence cells. The trailers that brought the weapons there came through Syria in January 2003, and among the weapons, so says the report, are believed to be extended-range Scud missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads. 
In December 2003, Israeli intelligence made"breakthrough" in tracking down Iraq's weapons in Syria. The weapons supposedly in Lebanon were already located, but what about in Syria? According to Mossad, the search had been narrowed down to Syria's al-Jazirah province, specifically an area around Dayr Az-Zawr on the Euphrates in Eastern Syria.  Syrian defectors are also confirming that Assad is hiding the weapons. Nizar Najoef [Nayuf], a respected Syrian journalist who has received awards for his integrity, has defected to Western Europe and told the Dutch press that Syria is holding Saddam's weapons in at least 3 secret sites.
Tunnels under al-Baida, near Hama in northern Syria in a site that is part of an underground facility, built by the North Koreans to produce Scud missiles. Iraq's banned missiles are here. Talsnan, north of Salamija [Salamiyah], at a secret air force base. Sjinsjar, on the border of Lebanon south of Hums [Homs]. 
It appears that this volume of evidence is making a strong case against Syria. Recently General James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency confirmed that satellite pictures indicated that WMD may have gone to Syria. Of course, because they were inside vehicles, satellites couldn't see the weapons themselves. Clapper did record a huge increase in the number of Iraqi trucks traveling to Syria before and during the war, particularly between February and March, 2003. Even the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts, recently voiced some concern that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction went to Syria. 
Perhaps the most deadly aspect of Syria's alliance with Iraq was the transfer of WMD expertise and technology. We will discuss how Syria harbored Iraqi government officials during the war in Iraq, only to later give in to US pressure. However, the fact that many Iraqi WMD scientists temporarily or permanently went to Syria has been overlooked by the major media. In April 2003, Dr. Nissar Nindawi, a leading figure in the Iraqi biological program from 1986 to 1989 and sporadically in the mid-1990s, says that students he taught provided him with current information on the weapons of mass destruction programs. They told him that Rihab Taha, or "Dr. Germ", and the head of the biological program, Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, or "Dr. Anthrax", were in Syria. He said other senior scientists, Baath party regional commanders, military officers and Baath Party members were in Syria with them. 
Further reporting indicated that a handful of WMD scientists alongside Huda Ammash and Rihab Taha were hiding in the Iraqi embassy in Damascus along with a wide variety of other fugitives.  Soon after this report broke, the two female scientists were captured in western Iraq on their way out of Syria. This is not surprising, as Lebanese opposition sources say that the Syrian president, Bashar Assad ordered Iraqi officials on April 27th to leave as soon as possible due to growing US pressure. The pressure was due to Western intelligence concluding that hundreds of aides and family members were in Syria by April 15th, and Syria had only handed over three officials demanded by the US. Additionally, the only ones being handed over were ones with no information could compromise Syrian or Iranian secrets, or had information that the two countries would see as valuable. Upon being captured, they also gave incorrect, pre-written lies and stories given to them either in Iraq or Syria.  Donald Rumsfeld has hinted that Iraqi expertise has assisted Syria's programs. On April 14th, Rumsfeld told the world that Syria had done a series of chemical weapons tests over the past few months, and later mentioned Syria sought to use Iraqi expertise on weaponizing agents. Syria's use of Iraqi expertise would allow it to have a second or third generation chemical weapons capability. 
Finally, the greatest piece of proof we can offer that Syria is holding some of Saddam's weapons is the testimony of the former head of the Iraq Survey Group, David Kay. Kay writes in an interview in the British press: "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons. But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
The possibility that Iraqi banned weapons are now in Syria greatly expand the threat that the country poses. Syria, even minus the Iraqi weapons, was a major producer of weapons of mass destruction. Using North Korean assistance, Syria has finished installing chemical warheads containing sarin onto its arsenal of Scud-B, Scud-C and Scud-D ballistic missiles, while working on VX and other biological weapons.  Aleppo, Syria is believed to be the site of where Syria played a role in Iraq's program to extract uranium from raw phosphate ore. This is essential to create nuclear weapons. Syria is also developing multi-warhead capabilities for its ballistic missiles, allowing the country to thwart advanced anti-ballistic missile systems.  Syria is already believed to possess 100 long-range ballistic missiles, as well as anthrax, botulinum, ricin, and mustard.  Now these missiles, containing these deadly agents, are going to be much harder to destroy. And they are getting deadlier. Syria is suspected of, with North Korean assistance, working on a version of the No-Dong missile, which has a range of 620 miles. 
By August 2002, Syria already deployed extended-range Scud missiles with an Iraqi warhead. In summer 2003, Syria's WMD programs greatly accelerated. Purchases of components for chemical warheads and medium-range missiles were increased. The use of legally-purchased duel-use items greatly assisted the covert nature of the program.  The nuclear program was also accelerated, using several dozen of the Iraqi scientists now harbored. China sold Syria a 27-kilowatt nuclear reactor, and Russia is negotiating with Syria to sell a 24-megawatt nuclear research facility. Several agreements on nuclear cooperation between Russia and Syria have been made. 
In an attempt to shed itself of the obvious, Syria has introduced to the UN Security Council a plan to make a WMD-free Middle East. Not surprisingly, the plan focused mostly on Israel's disarmament, as Syria claims not to possess such weapons.  However, Assad nearly admitted to having weapons of mass destruction by saying in an interview that if Syria did have such weapons, it would be justified because Israel has nukes. 
Assisting Iraqi Ba'athists Syria may still be hiding Iraqi government officials. We know that Syria did this in the past, only to give into US pressure (threatening military action) around April 2003 but some may still be hidden. Even before the war began, in October 2002, "Chemical Ali" finalized an agreement with Syria to let him temporarily escape there once war began.  Such contact between Syria and Iraq in regards to the upcoming war with the Coalition, and expanded to include Iran. Two weeks before the war began, Syria and Iran came up with a joint plan on how to undermine the creation of a democratic government in Iraq which could prove fatal to both their regimes. Infiltration of intelligence agents, assisting the Iraqi resistance, and harboring some Iraqi officials were planned.  The great exodus to Syria occurred around the last week of March and during the first two weeks of April.
In fact, the bombing that was launched to try to kill Saddam Hussein on April 7th, 2003 came as the result of "chatter" indicating that the leadership was meeting to decide how to escape, if possible, to Syria.  According to Israeli intelligence, the first Iraqi officials to be kept safe arrived in Syria on March 23rd, and stayed at a hotel resort called Côte d'Azur de Cham at Latakiya, Syria, which is near the home of Assad's family.  Officials were also allowed to use Syrian communications equipment to speak with the resistance inside Iraq. Without a doubt, there is outstanding evidence of an Iraqi exodus to Syria. Not only have hundreds of terrorists and foreign volunteers been given Syrian passports and free movement through the border to fight Coalition forces, but high-ranking officials' paths of escape show a common understanding that Syria is where they will meet. This certainly was the case for Saddam's half-brother who was captured in Mosul on the way to Syria.  During the first ten days of April, many Iraqi leaders were believed to have fled to Syria. According to the Kuwaiti paper, Al-Rai Al-Aam, US intelligence in early April saw a convoy of 70 Mercedes sedans, the preferred vehicle of the Baath Party officials, leaving Mosul for Syria during that time period. 
Even Abu Abbas, the Palestinian terrorist sponsored by Iraq, and mastermind of the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, was captured in Baghdad on his way to Syria.  The Australian forces on the border have also reported capturing a total nearing 60 of senior Iraqi officials trying to escape into Syria with around $600,000 in cash.  Indeed much of the critical leaders who found refuge in Syria, particularly in Latakiya, Aleppo, Damascus and Tartous, left their shelter soon after April 3rd, often leaving their families behind in Syria. This is because, according to Israeli intelligence, the US delivered an ultimatum to Syria.  It is already well-known that the US claimed that the officials were captured "on their way back" from Syria. It is highly probable this was the result of US threats.
According to Debkafile, the USA during the height of pressure on Syria around April 20th demanded that they hand over all Iraqi leaders. The US even gave them a list of who we knew to be there. The list reportedly included:
Vice President Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri Bureau Chief Abd Hamoud Baath Party leader Aziz Salah Special Security Service Chief Hanni Tefelah Republican Guards Secretary Kemal Mustafa Tikriti Republican Guards Commander Seif a-Din Suleih Intelligence Commander Taher Jaloul Special Republican Guards Commander Barzan Suleiman Tikriti
The list reportedly included dozens more. Not surprisingly, soon after the ultimatum was given, these leaders gradually started falling into Coalition forces' hands on their way out of Syria.  The New York Post around the same time confirmed that at least 7 senior Iraqi officials were in Syria, including Kamal Mustafa Tikriti; Farouk Hijazi, the ambassador to Tunisia and liaison with Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden; and Saddam's first wife, Sajadeh Kairallah Telfah.  The Associated Press then reported that Saddam's half-brother, Ibrahim Hassan, was being harbored in Damascus. 
Around the second week of May, Fatiq al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's nephew arrived in Damascus and was granted Syria's protection. Around the same time, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, an Iraqi vice president, was also found to be in a Damascus military base confirming earlier reports. Intelligence sources concluded that their stay was probably temporary, as Syria was used mainly as a transit route.  On a final note, there are still indications that Saddam Hussein went to Syria in the last two weeks of March (as Israeli intelligence reported) but was quickly asked to leave, and that is why he was captured in Iraq. Releasing such information could cause a war with Syria, which at the time of Saddam's capture, the Administration did not need. Some things are better left unsaid. But WorldThreats.com feels it is appropriate to report on that possibility, but also to warn that it is just a possibility, and it cannot be confirmed to any degree.
Syria's assistance to the former Ba'athist regime of Iraq has cost us lives. Likely hundreds. After the war began, it is well known Syria allowed hundreds, probably thousands of terrorists and mercenaries to use Syrian territory to attack Coalition forces. Even before then, we are aware that Syria violated UN rules just to help Saddam Hussein. On December 30th, a company called SES, owned by Assad's cousin, was accused of smuggling sophisticated arms to Iraq from 2000 to 2003 in violation of UN embargo. At least fifty contracts were signed to supply arms to Iraq in the moments before war, and senior Syrian officials were involved in the deals.  The Syrian foreign minister is also helping out enemy propaganda efforts, by calling on the Iraqi people to reject the new constitution. 
State Sponsor of Terrorism Bashar Assad's regime remains a state sponsor of terrorism. Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and many others remain deadly due to Syria's help. Syria is allowing terrorists of all kinds, including from Al-Qaeda, to infiltrate into Iraq, and Syrian authorities have done nothing to end the gigantic arms smuggling market that is keeping the terror campaign in Iraq alive. In fact, Syria has stood by as its most senior mufti has called for suicide attacks on US forces in Iraq. Syria's trumpeted assistance in fighting Al-Qaeda, which helped thwart a plot against US interests in Bahrain, is highly overestimated. Al-Qaeda continues to have access to the Syrian organized crime market, and have access to Iraq through Syria. Soon after it was praised for its cooperation, Syria's assistance in the War on Terror dramatically declined.  In early May, in the words of one senior official, "They have allowed al-Qaeda personnel to come in and virtually settle in Syria with their knowledge and their support."  This was at the same time as when Assad promised to Colin Powell to shut down Palestinian terrorist offices in Damascus, but despite his pledge, US intelligence concludes this never happened.  In fact, over the summer, Syria sent Hamas forces into Iraq to establish bases.  There can only be one reason for this, and this is to assist attacks against American forces.
In the early part of 2003, we also saw foiled WMD attacks in Europe led by Al-Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was in Iraq until around the time the war began. Soon after the failed attacks, it was proven that Zarqawi used Syria as a "logistical hub" for his operations. Zarqawi is also well-known to manage Al-Qaeda ties to Hezbollah, sponsored by Syria and Iran. Al-Qaeda logistics managers were safe in Syria directing the shipment of funds and weapons from Europe to the Middle East.  One of these fugitives in Syria is a terrorist that goes by the name "Abderrazak", who is suspected of being tied to the November 12th 2002 attack on an Israeli tourism site in Kenya and to the Hamburg cell involved in 9-11. The high numbers of Syrians involved in terrorist attacks in the Middle East, in the resistance in Iraq, and even in terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda prints a picture that virtually proves that Syria isn't cooperating in the War on Terror. In a totalitarian society like Syria, there is no way the government could not know about such huge undertakings by terrorists supposedly hostile to the regime. That is why Syria can also be blamed for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, as the terror attacks were prepared in Damascus.  Syria can also be blamed for the attacks that radical Kurdish terrorists launch on Turkey, as when the PKK fled northern Iraq during the war, they fled to Syria. By late May, 400 terrorists were sitting at the Syrian border. 
We also know that Syria uses state-sponsored terrorists to carry out its will and often to repress opposition. The chief editor of Al-Siyyisah, a staunch critic of Syria, was almost killed by a mail bomb after he ran a series of articles criticizing the country. The bomb was traced to have been sent from Lebanon.  Syria is a staunch supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which have Al-Qaeda links. Much of Al-Qaeda's efforts in the Middle East rely upon their assistance. Al-Qaeda branches, which go by different names, are also being helped by Syria. We know that Turkey has warned that the primary suspect in the Istanbul bombings is alive hiding in Syria, along with other terrorists in his network.  We know Al-Qaeda terrorists are reaching Iraq via Syria, and that there's evidence that one of the leading members of Al-Qaeda, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is in hiding in Damascus. Syria's state media is also taking the lead in distributing propaganda against our ally, Jordan.  Our ally, Jordan, is also at risk from Syria as Fatah, Hezbollah (sponsored by Syria) and Iranian intelligence have renewed using Jordan as a base to distribute funds to terrorists in the Palestinian areas.  In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's presence has permitted the placement of dozens of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, and it is highly likely this problem will be repeated in Jordan.
Assad can be blamed for the dozens or hundreds of attacks on Coalition forces that his country has assisted or even led. What is not actually assisted is allowed. Mercenaries of various nationalities have had no trouble to travel to Iraq via Syria. In fact, Syrian intelligence is even assisting them at times, for example providing travel documents.  The explosives for the Al-Qaeda-linked attack on the Baghdad embassy in August were assembled in Syria, and then brought in.  Over 1,000 Arabs have been allowed to infiltrate via Syria. Damascus International Airport has been named as a major logistical hub and distribution point for Al-Qaeda. Throughout Syria and Lebanon, Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists like Hamas, PFLP-GC, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah earn money by training or harboring people linked to Al-Qaeda (or its affiliates) on their way to Iraq or other Middle Eastern destinations.  In fact, Syria is so safe for terrorists that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and his two Syrian associates (that are believed to be the #7 and #8 leaders of Al-Qaeda) have considered refuge there, have visited there safely, and may even be there this moment. 
Syria and Iran, are so determined to sponsor terrorism that they even used Iran's earthquake in Bam as a cover. Several Syrian transport planes used to deliver humanitarian aid were afterwards used to load up supplies to deliver to Hezbollah.  It is possible that this has allowed Hezbollah to resume its activities, which recently killed an Israeli soldier. Colin Powell and Israel both blamed Syria for the incident.  The liberation of Lebanon will free a long repressed people, and rid terrorists of a major base of operations. Virtually all terrorist groups have substantial bases here. Additionally, Lebanon is a source of Syrian-sponsored drug trafficking and organized crime groups. Much of the illegal activity that keeps Assad in power comes through Lebanon. For this reason, we should pressure a withdrawal from Lebanon as a primary goal, before considering any military assault on Syria.
Hiding Iraqi Assets Syria is also responsible for hiding Iraqi government assets which would be later used to fund the attacks on Coalition forces in Iraq. Funding that could have been used to assist the people in Iraq, and to fund reconstruction, was instead used by Syria for anti-democratic means. Syria, who controls Lebanon like a puppet, is using that territory for its robberies. The Lebanese opposition says that billions of dollars from Saddam and his family were used to buy land in Lebanon as part of a money-laundering effort ever since 2000. A critical part of this effort involved a bank owned by Lebanon's prime minister, to help facilitate the purchase of large sections of territory in northern Lebanon; a hotel along the Mediterranean coast; and a construction effort of a huge hotel at Naher al-Kalb owned by Uday Hussein. Over $3 billion altogether was laundered in real estate and assets, and Syria received $150 million for helping with the efforts. Uday Hussein sent representatives prior to the war to Lebanon and Syria to confirm permission for safe haven in the purchased territories as well as movement of assets.  The evidence of an Iraqi effort to shift hidden assets has been proven, as the US has launched a search for at least $1 billion belonging to the Hussein family that is hidden in Syria, Lebanon and possibly France.  It is known that Qusay Hussein took $900 million in American bills and $100 million worth of euros in three tractor trailers from the central bank on March 18th at 4:00 AM. Colonel Ted Seel, an Army special operations officer, says he can verify the event and that there was intelligence hours later indicating tractor trailers crossing into Syria. 
On May 23rd, the American forces in Iraq captured $500 million worth of gold bars in a truck traveling west of Baghdad, entering Qaim which is on the Syrian border. The two drivers said they were unaware of what was in the truck, and that they were simply paid to pick it up in Baghdad, drive it to Qaim and turn it over to an individual that would approach them.  Today, altogether the US believes at least $1 billion in Iraqi assets are being hidden in Lebanon and Syria. 
In January 2004, Europe lined up with the United States for a campaign to pressure Syria into following Libya's lead on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. It is not surprising that soon after this, Syria appeared suddenly open to peace talks with Israel and agreed to hand over $200 million in Iraqi assets to the new Iraq.  However, keep in mind, that it is believed that Saddam deposited up to $1 billion in Syrian and Lebanese banks prior to the war. The Iraqi financial controller has also accused Syria of illegally using some of the $500 million of Saddam's assets in Syrian banks to pay off Syrian merchants.  Probably in an attempt to let Syria know we knew of their deception, it was leaked to the Washington Times (likely on purpose) a Syrian army intelligence letter confirming that Lebanon's Medina bank and Syria's Central Bank have at least $2 billion worth of Iraqi money including gold and platinum. 
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Ryan Mauro is the youngest hired geopolitical analyst in the US (17 years old) and is owner of the website: http://www.WorldThreats.com .
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Nizar Najoef [Nayuf], a respected Syrian journalist who has received awards for his integrity, has defected to Western Europe and told the Dutch press that Syria is holding Saddam's weapons in at least 3 secret sites.
Tunnels under al-Baida, near Hama in northern Syria in a site that is part of an underground facility, built by the North Koreans to produce Scud missiles. Iraq's banned missiles are here. Talsnan, north of Salamija [Salamiyah], at a secret air force base. Sjinsjar, on the border of Lebanon south of Hums [Homs]. 
Some of my most informative articles and education have come from The Eurasian Politician. I forget which.. maybe AOL(?), couple years back, Placed a ban on a specific article authored in The Eurasian Politician. It had to do with the subject of 'race' in Europe and Mid-east. And history. If memory serves it was AOL. AOL email rejected all emails (to and from) containing reference to the article, or the name of the publishing site, and or by author. I don't know if that "ban" has been lifted. It wasn't a racy or racist article. It was brilliant.
Strategically, moving Iraq's WMDs to Syria makes perfect sense, to me: They all want Israel's land and beachfronts. (I think Syria, because it thinks it will be a part of the New World Order; plus it's tired of being used by the other axis of weasel countries.) Early on in WOT (and pre-invasion), yes, I did read credible reports about the "caravans" out of Iraq and into Syria. A flash, and then the stories went quiet. Thank you for staying on top of these.
And then there's this dated 12-13-99.
The New Yorker, The Talk of the Town, December 13, 1999, p. 44. The fuel, unfortunately, is getting easier to find. United States officials report that on May 29th Bulgaria seized approximately a third of an ounce of weapons-grade uranium at its border. The hot cargo, accompanied by documents in Russian, was concealed in a lead container in a pump stowed in a car. A third of an ounce is not enough for a bomb (Iraq's design, for example, needs thirty-five pounds), but this seizure and others like it show that weapons-grade fuel is beginning to circulate in the black market. Unless the U.N. Security Council can agree on a plan to reinstate meaningful inspections, Saddam may be able to complete his nuclear shopping sooner rather than later.
Not familiar was FOS, but know of some members of FDD (have seen them on TV).
In re Defense of Democracies; Dems have their own "org". Both started around the same time.