Skip to comments.The Troika Of Duplicity
Posted on 04/28/2003 8:02:08 AM PDT by johnqueuepublic
The Troika Of Duplicity
By William A. Mayer
Now that Saddams regime has been pounded back into the desert sand brought about by what is likely the most stunningly effective use of military power in modern history - an awesomely updated lightning war - it is becoming clear that aside from ending Iraqs participation in the Islamic terror network, the key prize that is emerging is intelligence - detailed and verifiable - on the inner workings of this nebulous, world-wide irregular army of fanatics, tacticians, planners, arms merchants and financiers.
Indeed, hard copy evidence is now becoming available, which will radically redefine the nature of our relationships with many governments previously thought to be allies.
Documents are leaking out of captured Iraqi locations faster than they can either be reported on or really comprehended. At first blush, what they show is a pattern of relationships between the governments of Russia, France, Germany and the Iraqi regime. The nature of these associations demonstrates a malignant intent far beyond the petty bellicosity demonstrated by them during the UN Security Council's debates leading up to the grande impasse.
This increasing disclosure, in small part shows why Old Europe - to use Donald Rumsfeld's evocative phrase - was so eager to prevent real inspectors - the U.S. - from probing Saddams secrets.
The behavior, which is being chronicled, is damning. The treasure-trove coming out of places like the Iraqi Intelligence Service indicates a reciprocal affiliation between these three countries and Iraq that brands them as enablers of terror rather than as allies. It conjures up parallels between them and the cold war Soviet Union.
Ethically, it may actually be worse, because throughout its existence - pre and post World War II - even the Soviets never had the audacity to claim our friendship.
When you consider the amount of national treasure - including the blood of our young - wasted in rescuing them from a fight of their own making, its a little hard to handle.
Over the years many tens of billions of dollars of aid and arms were made available by these countries to the Iraqi dictator. Given his governments limited ability to pay - in any straightforward manner - these arms were used to curry favor as much as swell national coffers.
France: Anti-war for oil
The French will always be French, just about guaranteeing that the picture will never be soothing on the eyes or sensibilities.
For starters lets dispense with all the smoke and mirrors that fall so glibly from the lips of Dominique de Villepin. Until the war, the French oil conglomerate TotalFinaElf held Iraq's largest oil lease, guaranteeing it exclusivity in developing the large Majnoon and Bin Umar, oil fields.
26 billion barrels - A figure difficult to explain away and one, which goes directly to the heart of Chirac's disingenuous breast-beating.
Richard Perle stated in February of this year that the deal was awarded solely as a result of French support for the Iraqi regime, he also gave the following review of the reasons behind France's attempts to shield Saddam - "The French interest in the propagation of contracts that will only go forward with this regime is perfectly obvious."
That Chirac's trade agreements with the deposed despot are now of dubious legality is a fitting reward for a nation who would knowingly deal with a regime that fed its enemies to hungry Dobermans. It shouldn't be surprising really, France has a history of subordinating human rights issues for mere commercial gain, witness their underwriting of the Hutu genocide against the Tutsis in Ruanda in which at least 500,000 were butchered.
The French participation in the arming of Saddam is sordid; having had a huge stake in building his war machine over the last 25 years, selling Baghdad hundreds of Mirage jets, helicopters, Super Entendard aircraft, anti-ship missiles and additional hardware.
The Iraqi's have a French telephone system - Alcatel, drive French cars -Peugeot and Renault, use French electrical equipment - Schneider Electric, use French water pumps - Hydrokit etc.
France is the largest supplier of goods to Iraq, period.
At the start of the war Iraq had at least 50 F-1 Mirage fighters and an unknown number of Gazelle attack helicopters. To keep them battle ready, the French also funneled spare parts for these two platforms - as late as January of this year - into the regime via an as yet undetermined French trading company, which then laundered the transaction through the Al Tamoor Trading Company, based in Dubai, according to a Washington Times report. US intelligence sources indicate that French armaments have made their way into Iraq - consistently - since the post Gulf War sanctions were in place.
A not insignificant consideration is that France built the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak, the same one the Israelis bombed in 1981.
Chirac claimed Hussein "was a personal friend"
Chirac, then French Prime Minister, was instrumental in seeing that Iraq received the help it needed.
Chirac [far right] hosting Saddam [second from left] at French nuclear facility
No lesser authority than Dr. Khadir Hamza - known today as Saddams bomb maker said:
"I went to France in 1974 to buy a reactor for a plutonium bomb It was a long-range project. The reactor would be inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the French would be there...Just before the Gulf War, the crash program was ongoing to make one bomb from the French fuel Speech to the Carnegie Endowment - September, 2000
Hamza fleshed out the arrangement in an October, 2001 Frontline interview:
"We made a device, actually, minus the core...we sat down and did calculations...We would have had a small, probably 2 to 4 kiloton, explosion at the time...
Iraq already owes France an estimated 4 billion for arms previously delivered.
But this is just scraping the surface - another hint at what is involved was recently outlined by William Safire [The French Connection, March 14, 2003] and involves a complicated scheme involving collusion between China, Syria and the French to provide a key missile component [in this case an advanced missile fuel - hydroxy terminated polybutadiene or HTPB] to the Iraqis while attempting to conceal its true nature, the country of origin and its eventual destination.
The French Connection angle as Safire termed it, was that the above deal was put together by a well-known Parisian broker CIS Paris - that has a long history of arms dealings with Baghdad. Officials at CIS Paris admit to "knowing of the deal" but deny any involvement, French telligence is apparently aware of the details.
Subterfuge aside, the very idea of an Iraqi missile fueled by such cutting edge technology strongly underlines Saddam's intent to project power far beyond the confines of his own country. To make such a threat believable such a weapon would of necessity have a warhead of an advanced chemical, biological or nuclear design.
At this point in history and considering their political system, maybe we shouldnt reasonably expect much from the Chinese communists, however this type of behavior coming from a European partner whose relationship with us goes back over 200 years is another matter entirely.
Russia - Masque Of The Red Death
Vladimir Putin has been hailed perhaps as the pivotal post cold war Russian leader. He has executed a skillful dog and pony show, convincing both the Bush and Blair administrations that the former Soviet Union was not only no longer a military threat to the West but was indeed now becoming a close ally.
Obviously Russia's cooperation with the French and German UN delegation's intransigence in dealing with Iraq has done much to throw cold water on this heretofore-budding union.
It's important to note that such a relationship offered hope, though ultimately unfounded, of something really new and remarkable both as to its breadth and depth - to the degree that Mr. Bush had publicly voiced that he had "looked into his [Putin's] soul" and not found it wanting.
However disappointing might Russia's UN behavior have been to the Bush team, it could not be viewed as a reason for totally repudiating the new start.
Until recently a reasonable case could be made to continue pursuing it - with perhaps less evangelical fervor - all the while being cognizant that Putin was obviously more pragmatic than had been believed and that the reality was that though Russia had come a long way, it had much further to go before being considered reliable in any global sense.
At the outbreak of the war, Iraq owed Russia at least 8 and possibly as much as 12 billion dollars for arms already supplied. As was the case with France, this credit was extended - having been bet on the come line - against much hoped for oil and other commercial considerations.
[As a side note it must be pointed out that Russia has no qualms about dealing with other regimes hostile to the US. They have provided the Chinese with a withering array of technologies. DEBKAfile has reported that the Russian state arms merchant Rosoboroneksport has provided state of the art ship-borne air defense systems for heavy cruisers and other blue water naval vessels. This system is to become the primary defensive shield for a fleet of 10,000 ton heavy cruisers and modern aircraft carriers with which it intends to have the capability to assault Taiwan, maybe as soon as 2005 or 2006.]
Russia has supplied Saddam with military technology running the gamut of its capabilities - from retro T-72 tanks and BTR troop transports, to highly sophisticated weaponry. After hostilities in Iraq had commenced they supplied such items as night vision equipment, GPS jamming devices that could cause some of the Allies' precision guided weapons systems to be rendered ineffective and anti-tank Kornet rockets considered pivotal in the disabling of at least 2 M -1 Abrams tanks the first time they have ever been destroyed in battle.
In an article written for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty by Gregory Feifer:
"Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said that, although he has seen no concrete evidence of how the Kornets got to Baghdad, Iraqi forces "would not have been able to put up any resistance" were it not for violations of United Nations sanctions on the country. "Over the past 12-plus years that the sanctions have been in place, Russia, like Ukraine and Belarus, has taken part in violating them. During all those 12-plus years, military materiel and weaponry have been sent to Iraq," Felgenhauer said."
As it proceeded to Baghdad, the Army's Third Infantry Division came upon a Republican Guard run factory set up to refurbish Russian military heavy equipment, according again to Radio Free Europe, this time by imbedded correspondent Ron Synovitz:
"The letter [detailing current Russian - Iraqi arms dealing], dated July 2001 and written in broken English, is signed by Colonel General Vladislav Achalov, who identifies himself as a representative of a Moscow-based company, FTW Systems Ltd.
At this time there are no means to ascertain whether the letter was in fact sent by Achalov. The Associated Press, citing the Interfax-Military news agency, recently reported that Achalov, a former Soviet deputy defense minister, said he had repeatedly visited Iraq just before the war and had found Iraqi defenses to be strong.
AP also cited Achalov as saying Soviet military advisers had been based in Baghdad until the early 1990s and had made a "significant contribution" to the Iraqi armed forces.
The letter apparently signed by Achalov says it is in response to an Iraqi request for the "delivery of equipment." It offers 50 new gun barrels for T-72 tanks at the price of $124,000 each -- a total of $6.2 million. It also offers 400 new engines for BTR troop carriers at $7,500 each -- an additional $3 million."
The Secret Intelligence War
Perhaps most chilling, in US and British eyes, is Russia's apparent involvement in intelligence sharing with Saddam. From a ground breaking article, "Revealed: Russia spied on Blair for Saddam" by David Harrison of the Daily Telegraph UK.
"Top secret documents obtained by The Telegraph in Baghdad show that Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders."
"Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighboring countries. The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'eda leader."
On April 6, 2003 a convoy of Russian diplomats was hit in an attack originally termed as a friendly fire incident. Allegedly the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Vladimir Titorenko, was injured in the attack, as was Ilya Morgunov a member of the party.
An Australian SAS patrol came upon the scene shortly after the shooting stopped and rendered first aid assistance. They offered to airlift the diplomats out of harms way, which seemed reasonable given the circumstances.
"We treated the ambassador of Russia and his colleagues from the embassy courteously and professionally, and after the appropriate checks ... they were allowed to go on their way," Australian Prime Minister John Howard
The Russians inexplicably refused the offer, despite the serious condition of a member of the party, and proceeded on to Syria, of all places and from there Titorenko was flown back to Moscow.
By Wednesday April 9 Titorenko was back in Baghdad, the Russian evacuation of the Baghdad embassy cancelled.
Why this madcap flight across the desert through a hail of American lead?
Speculation is pointing in the direction that the Russians were using the convoy as a cover to remove highly classified and potentially highly embarrassing Iraqi Special Services documents to a safer environment.
The Russian newspaper, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, reported on April 9th that the convoy was carrying secret Iraqi archives and that U.S. forces had fired on it as part of a CIA attempt to seize the documents. It is speculated that U.S. commandos had tried to stop the convoy without hurting its passengers, the newspaper claimed, but their attempt to seize the archives was foiled when accompanying Iraqi forces returned fire
The US denies that any attack was launched against the convoy, which may or may not be the case.
Regardless, the degree of already substantiated or strongly suspected cooperation between Russia, Belarus, other fragments of the former Soviet empire along with France and Germany in enabling Saddam's war making capacity - of times even after Operation Iraqi Freedom began - is so disturbing as to cast a severe pall on any future dealings with these governments.
He [Assad] is trying to achieve this by placing Iraqs entire chemical and biological weapons arsenal in a safe repository, also placing the scientists and officials employed on Iraqs unconventional weapons programs out of reach in hidden locations. In this clandestine operation he was almost certainly assisted by Russian and French intelligence services, which share Assads ambition to deny the United States any proof that its war on Iraq was just. - DEBKAfile
Germany - Springtime For Gerhardt
There have been rumors for years of German firms actively aiding Iraq in its quest for nuclear weaponry; there are even murky stories about secret flights to South America where German high-tech firms demonstrated small concealable nuclear processing equipment. The International Herald Tribune was reporting this as far back as November, 1990:
"...These were the machines. needed to make the centrifuges that enrich uranium. Iraq brought in engineers from Germany to install and run the centrifuge-making machines, and imported from German firms the special steel needed to make centrifuge parts. The German government has also investigated charges that the engineers supplied the centrifuge blueprints from which Iraq has been ordering parts. The German government does not dispute the widely reported fact that it licensed all of the material and equipment for export, despite the fact that it was on international control lists.
To see German-style centrifuges in action, Iraqi engineers visited a secret site in Brazil."
A yet classified but leaked UN arms report lists 80 German companies [including Siemens and Daimler-Chrysler] which have supplied arms to Iraq, much of it in the last 10 years.
The left wing Berlin newspaper, Tages Zeitung, broke the story, as recounted here by Deutsche Welle:
"The most contentious piece of news for Germany is that the report names it as the number one supplier of weapons supplies to Iraq...They have delivered technical know-how, components, basic substances and even entire technical facilities for the development of atomic, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction to Iraq right since 1975...conventional military and technical dealings between Germany and Iraq are said to date till 2001, ten years after the second Gulf war and a time when international sanctions against Saddam Hussein are still in place...the dossier contains several indications of cases, where German authorities right up to the Finance Ministry tolerated the illegal arms cooperation and also promoted to it to an extent."
Fueling speculation, the German government has turned a blind eye to the exporting of "medical devices" sold to Iraq that have set off alarms among the US national security community.
American weapons experts have recently voiced concern that the German Government has permitted Siemens to sell Baghdad at least eight medical devices which contain components that are vital for nuclear weapons. The machines, known as "lithotripters", use ultrasound to destroy kidney stones in patients. However, each machine contains an electronic switch that can be used as a detonator in an atomic bomb, according to US experts. Iraq was reported to have requested an extra 120 switches as "spare parts" during the initial transaction. Independent UK Dec 18, 2002
It's inconceivable that while Saddam was engaged in systematically starving his own population, in an attempt to convince the world that US led sanctions were actually causing the misery, that providing lithotripters, out of "humanitarian" concern, would be of any interest to him at all.
On the chemical weapon front, BND [the German Intelligence Service] director, August Hanning, put it this way:
The BND's warnings didn't stop with that report. In April 2001, Hanning told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Iraq was developing a new class of chemical weapons, reiterated his alert on Iraq's missile and nuclear programs, and said that several German companies had continued to deliver to Baghdad components needed for the production of poison gas. In March 2002, he told the New Yorker magazine that, "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years." Asia Times February 5, 2003.
One might have thought that considering Germany's history, they would be especially sensitive to the politically charged subject of poison gas and nerve agents.
So there you have it, an outline at least of the reality behind the sophistry.
Chemical, biological, nuclear and conventional weapons, precursors, components, hardware, software, manufacturing know how and technology often coordinated by freelancing intelligence agencies operating wholly beyond the bounds of civilized behavior - all brought to bear against the security of free world in general and the US in particular by three dissembling countries which should indebted to America, in perpetuity, for services already rendered at incalculable cost.
It is a rancid state of affairs to be sure and one which will only grow even more disquieting as the evidence mounts.
That a wholesale re-assessment of our relationship with this Troika will present one of the greatest challenges since these alignments were forged during World War II is a given.
Added to post 9/11 security realities, the charge falling upon the shoulders of the Bush administration becomes even more acute - fortunately the foreign policy acumen of the current team is nonpareil.
In the best of all possible worlds maybe the not-so-loyal opposition in Congress would put aside their, now even more dangerous, gamesmanship and join in a united front committed to destroying the terror network.
That prospect - considering the moral midgets running the Democrat machine - renders such hope more a pipedream than a real possibility.
© 2003 PipeLineMedia, Inc.
Maybe its just the lack of character in the three leaders thats causing it, I dont know but its hard to image three worse people guiding these countries at this point in time.
Would you care to back that up with details -- specific actions taken, dates, money amounts?