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Iraqi Weapons in Syria


DC09

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On Dec. 24, 2002, nearly three months before fighting in Iraq began, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused Saddam Hussein's regime of transferring key materials for his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs to Syria in convoys of 18-wheel trucks to hide them from U.N. weapons inspectors. "There is information we are verifying, but we are certain that Iraq has recently moved chemical or biological weapons into Syria," Sharon told Channel Two television in Israel.

Before talking about this on Israeli television, Sharon gave detailed information to the Bush White House on what Israel knew and what it suspected. Insight has learned, however, that once the information was handed over to the U.S. intelligence community, officials at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) swept it aside as lacking credibility.

In May 2003, just as major combat operations in Iraq were winding down, new reports surfaced in Israel, this time alleging that convoys of Iraqi water tankers carrying WMD components crossed the border into Syria repeatedly between Jan. 10 and March 10. The tankers reportedly were met by Syrian special forces and escorted to the heroin poppy fields of a Syrian-controlled area in Lebanon's Bekáa Valley, where their contents were dumped into specially prepared pits and buried. Again, INR discounted the reports, U.S. officials tell Insight.

Reports of Iraqi WMD winding up in Syria were not just coming from the Israelis. In October 2003, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, revealed that vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to Saddam's forbidden WMD programs had been shipped to Syria before the war. It was no surprise that the United States and its allies had not found stockpiles of forbidden weapons in Iraq, Clapper told a breakfast briefing given to reporters in Washington. "Those below the senior leadership saw what was coming, and I think they went to extraordinary lengths to dispose of the evidence," he said.

"We have had six or seven credible reports of Iraqi weapons being moved into Syria before the war," a senior administration official tells Insight. "In every case, the U.S. intelligence community sought to discount or discredit those reports."

This January, after he returned to Washington from Iraq, where for six months he had served as the CIA's top gun with the Iraq Survey Group hunting for Saddam's banned weapons, David Kay said he had uncovered evidence that weapons material had been moved to Syria shortly before the war. "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he told the Sunday Telegraph in London. "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."

Another piece of this puzzle was provided by a Syrian intelligence officer in letters smuggled to an antiregime activist living in Paris named Nizar Nayouf. In one letter the source identified three locations in Syria where WMD materials had been buried under an agreement between the Syrian and Iraqi leadership. Two of the sites were specially dug underground bunkers and tunnels. The third site was a factory operated by the Syrian air force in the village of Tal Sinan, located between the cities of Hama and Salimiyyah. In a follow-up letter dated Jan. 7, Nayouf's source provided more details on these locations, along with a map, and alleged that some of the weapons had been moved out of Iraq in ambulances.

So are Saddam's WMD stockpiles in Syria? When Insight asked the CIA if it was investigating these and other reports, a spokesman acknowledged there was "some evidence that way" and that the United States was "looking at all types of possibilities," but vigorously discouraged further inquiries. Administration officials tell Insight that the refusal to report on Syria's complicity with Saddam's regime stems from a "pro-Syria bias in the State Department and some elements of the intelligence community, whose threshold for evidence on Syria is suspiciously high."

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While interesting, I don't see any motive for the US wanting to protect Syria.

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That is absoutley not true because the UN insepectors looked in Iraq for years and didn't find anything and please Syria wouldn't do it for many reasons and one of them is that it's not a Country that wants those kind of weapons and trouble in the country. The Israel Leader is a jackass and he just want to cause more troubles in the world that no one wants to start.

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That is absoutley not true because the UN insepectors looked in Iraq for years and didn't find anything and please Syria wouldn't do it for many reasons and one of them is that it's not a Country that wants those kind of weapons and trouble in the country. The Israel Leader is a jackass and he just want to cause more troubles in the world that no one wants to start.

LOL yeah right mate.

All these lovely arab states would never do anything wrong like horde chemical weapons.

Whats that i hear Libya? Nah the nice col. Gaddafi is admitting to all that tomfoolery now, he's really such a nice chap.

Oh an syria are another country who are just as shady.

Ive argued with people who hole the opposite views as you enough times already.

Clearly you have a completley bigoted approach to Israel and are unwilling to accept that maybe just maybe these arab states arent compltley innocent in all this.

Come your attempting to defend states that activley subdue their civilian populations with extremem brutality and openly rejoice at our civilian casualties from terrorist attacks.

I dont think the way we went about a war with IRaq was right, i think we were misled abou it. However if tony blair said "ive had enough of that evil b****** saddam we;re gonna get him" id be pretty pleased right now.

These countries DO hate us, theres no doubt about it. Defending them over us is unforgivable. I may criticise us about the Iraq war but i NEVER defend the likes of saddam or his cronies in that part of the world as they are 10 TIMES as bad as our worst!!!

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If the WMDs were moved to Syria, why did we invade Iraq looking for them?

Or is this a nice little prelude to another invasion?

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Man Saddam is a different story. I am talking about Attacking the Arab states and doing what Israel wants to be done to the Arab States and that is destroyed. Believe me man, what US and Uk have done now to Iraq is the 2 Step into making the Israel Dream become true. The First Step was Palistine which the WHOLE WORLD IGNORES and let's Israel Kill and Murder Palistines without saying or doing anything to them, now where is the freedom or free well in that and you call that not Terrisom?

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lol i take you hold the arabs completly inncoent in all this.

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lol i like it how he doesn't mention how Palestinians kill and murder Israelies, its a vicious bloody cycle, resolution occurs only when both sides can compromise, which looking at the way things are isnt going to happen any time soon.

Syria wouldn't do it for many reasons and one of them is that it's not a Country that wants those kind of weapons and trouble in the country.

next you'll be trying to deny libya's weapons programs:)

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