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Saddam's Syrian Stash

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posted on Oct, 12 2003 @ 11:01 AM
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This is very interesting... I would say this might well be more stage setting for giving the US to be justified into walking into Syria. However, now that Russia is in the game, I wonder if this will still be persued?


Since the fall of Baghdad in April, American officials have scoured the globe in search of Saddam Hussein's legendary fortune. Now they think they have found a big chunk. According to a U.S. estimate, as much as $3 billion in Iraqi assets is sitting in Syrian government- controlled banks, a senior U.S. official tells Time, and Washington is anxious to determine that the money is not funding violence against Americans in Iraq, or being drawn down by regime officials and supporters.

For months the U.S. has quietly insisted that Damascus give up the funds. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in May and made that unpublicized demand. Top Syrian officials have been given the names of at least two suspect banks and provided with account numbers.

Syria's private response—that unspecified accounts were being frozen—was judged woefully inadequate. Publicly, Syria denies there is any Iraqi money in the country. But just over two weeks ago, the U.S. sent two American financial experts and two representatives of the Iraqi Central Bank to Syria to comb through records. U.S. officials now assert that Damascus has given them only "limited cooperation."

www.time.com...




posted on Oct, 12 2003 @ 01:08 PM
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You and the "money" angle DR.....


It goes far deeper than this....it's called Terrorism....Syria's backing of and connection to it and its continued denial of not having a chemical and biological program.....and allegations of Iraq moving some of it's WMD to Syria.....


On 01/31/2003, as reported by the times online uk:
"US satellites 'spot Iraqis hiding suspected arms'"
Link is dead.

Excerpt:
"COLIN POWELL, the US Secretary of State, will unveil fresh evidence next week linking Baghdad to al-Qaeda, and satellite pictures of panicked Iraqis hiding suspected weapons of mass destruction.

The Times has learnt details of the top-secret intelligence at General Powell’s disposal as he prepares to boost the case for war against President Saddam Hussein with a much-anticipated public briefing at the United Nations on Wednesday. The presentation is seen as vital to Washington’s efforts to persuade the international community, and the American public, that the use of force against Baghdad is justified.

One well-placed US official said that the most compelling evidence was in photographs taken from spy satellites over the past few weeks, while UN inspectors hunted for Iraq’s banned weapons on the ground.

“The real killer stuff is going to be the satellite images indicating pretty clearly that Iraq was actively moving things around while Unmovic (United Nations Monitoring, Verificiation and Inspections Commission) was visiting different sites,” the official said.

“It’s pretty clear. While the inspectors are getting into cars, the Iraqis are in full panic moving boxes, crates, bulldozers and a couple of huge vans which look like mobile labs,” he said, referring to biological weapons laboratories. “That will be in the briefing.”

US officials said that they believed the UN mission in Iraq had been compromised, and that the Iraqis knew where inspection teams were heading before they set off. Washington suspects the Iraqis have spies working at the UN or are successfully monitoring UN communications.

Richard Armitage, the US Deputy Secretary of State, told Congress that General Powell would also expose details of Iraq’s hidden biological weapons programme. He said that Iraqi germ-warfare labs were “parked” in one of a multitude of “underground facilities or someone’s garage”.

“If Saddam Hussein has destroyed them, then he ought to show any smidgen of proof, but he has refused to do so,” Mr Armitage said. General Powell’s presentation will also focus on contacts between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime, and its ties to an Islamic extremist group fighting the Kurds in northern Iraq.

Some of the evidence was gathered from a senior al- Qaeda official detained by the Americans and another suspect arrested in Syria.

“We learned that al-Qaeda contacted senior officials in Baghdad and sought co-operation on biological and chemicals weapons,” he said. “That checked out with other sources.” The contact was believed to have been made some time after September 11. It involved a request for training and development of biological and chemical weapons.

US officials are feverishly deciding what intelligence to declassify from photos, communications intercepts and interrogations in the effort to counter scepticism about the case against the Iraqi leader. But releasing the evidence is a delicate process, which could compromise the intelligence and jeopardise sources. If it is not convincing, it could even undermine the US case.

There is no attempt to link Saddam to the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda members. But Mr Armitage did accuse Iraq of being implicated in last year’s assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, whose murder was orchestrated by “an al-Qaeda member who is resident in Baghdad”.

He also touched on another theme that General Powell is expected to raise: evidence of contacts between Baghdad and a group based in northern Iraq that the US describes as an al-Qaeda affiliate. The group, Ansar al-Islam, has been fighting Saddam’s Kurdish opponents in the area of northern Iraq they control. Its members came out of Afghanistan during the US war, crossed Iran without interference and ended up in northern Iraq, the official said."



On 3-31-03, the Jerusalem Post reported:
"IDF Intelligence: Iraq may have hidden Scuds, other weapons in Syria"
Link:
www.jpost.com.../A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1049077444082
(Link is dead)

Article:
"Brig.-Gen. Yosef Kupperwasser, head of the Intelligence Corps research and assessment branch, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that Iraq might have hidden its long-range surface-to-surface missiles in Syria.

Kupperwasser added that Iraq may have done the same with some of its weapons of mass destruction
, reports Army Radio.

In December, Prime Minster Ariel Sharon referred to the possibility that Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, ordered his regime's chemical and biological weapons to be smuggled to neighboring Syria to hide them from UN weapons inspectors.

Sharon said that Israel had intelligence pointing to this possibility, however the intelligence has yet to be verified.

Kupperwasser told the committee that the chances that Iraq would attack Israel are still very low. However, said Kupperwasser, all that could change in a very short matter of time if certain events were to happen in Iraq, for example, if weapons of mass destruction were to be found in the country; if significant damage was caused to the Iraqi regime; or if the regime feels that its time is quickly running out."



On 04/12/2003, Reuters reports:
"U.S. adviser Perle warns Syria over Iraqi weapons"
Link is dead also.

Article:
"LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, a key architect of the U.S.-led drive to topple Saddam Hussein, said in remarks published on Saturday Syria would be a possible military target if it was found harbouring Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

In an interview with the International Herald Tribune newspaper, Perle said that if such weapons were found on Syrian soil "I'm quite sure we would have to respond to that.""



On April 14. 2003, as reported by Debka:
"IRAQ: Busy Baghdad Highway to Damascus"
Link:
www.debka.com...

Excerpt:
"Round about noon on Sunday, April 13, US commanders realized that, while they were preoccupied with the civic needs of Baghdad, they were missing the biggest spectacle of the war – the 2003 Exodus from Iraq. Members of Saddam’s regime in their thousands were pouring out of Baghdad and Saddam’s last strongholds of Tikrit, Samarra and al Ramadi and heading for the Syrian frontier and Damascus. DEBKAfile’s intelligence and military sources report that Syrian military intelligence teams waited on the other side of the border, sorting the fugitives into groups and moving them on. Most high officials and officers were directed to Damascus and the Mediterranean towns of Latakia or Tartous.

US special forces sped to the Syrian border exits to try and stem the outflow, a mission well nigh impossible, given the winding, porous 500-km frontier populated by Arab nomadic tribes who make their living by smuggling people, arms, oil and contraband back and forth. A few of the escapees were nabbed but most crossed to safety. Our sources quote witnesses who saw a long line of black armor-plated limousines with Iraqi number plates driving into Damascus’s Al Maze and other military airports in Syria. They could not tell if the limousines were collecting Iraqis coming in by plane or delivering top Saddam officials to special flights leaving Syria."



On 4/15/03, as reported by the Agence France-Presse:
"Former UN weapons chief backs US claims Syria concealed weapons"
Link is dead.

Article:
"SYDNEY (AFP) - Former chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler backed US claims Tuesday that Syria helped conceal Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, saying he saw evidence of it.
The former Australian diplomat said he had seen intelligence when he headed the UN team in Iraq from 1997 until 1999 which seemed to indicate Syria had helped keep Iraq's weapons of mass destruction hidden.

"I was shown some intelligence information, from overhead imagery and so on, that the Iraqis had moved some containers of stuff across the border into Syria," Butler told ABC Radio.

"We had reason to believe that those were containers of chemical weapons and perhaps some other weapons.

"I don't believe the Iraqis wanted to give them to Syria, but I think they just wanted to get them out of the territory, out of the range of our inspections. Syria was prepared to be the custodian of them.""



On 04/15/2003, as reported by the Drudge Report:
"U.S. demands Syria give up Iraq's weapons of mass destruction"
Link:
www.drudgereport.com...
The WORLD TRIBUNE reported this also....

Excerpt:
"SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM Tuesday, April 15, 2003 The United States has demanded that the regime of President Bashar Assad surrender Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. officials said the Bush administration has been examining a range of sanctions to pressure Damascus to surrender Iraqi WMD assets and scientists. They said the flight of Iraqi biological and nuclear components and scientists from Iraq could turn Syria into the next WMD threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East and southern Europe.

Officials said Bush has been urged by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to move quickly against Damascus.

Officials said the extent of the Iraqi-Syrian WMD connection was disclosed by Jaffar Jaffar, regarded as the father of Iraq's nuclear program. Last week, Jaffar fled to Syria and then made his way to an unidentified Arab country, where he surrendered to U.S. authorities, Middle East Newsline reported.

U.S. officials said Rumsfeld has advocated military strikes along the Iraqi-Syrian border to stop the flow of Arab suicide volunteers in Iraq as well as prevent the flow of Iraqi regime leaders and scientists toward Damascus. Rumsfeld, who ordered a Pentagon review of options against the Assad regime, was said to have argued that Syria's alliance with Saddam threatens to undermine the coalition victory in Iraq as well as U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Several other Iraqi weapons scientists, including the heads of Saddam's biological weapons program, were also said to have been harbored by Syria."



On 04/17/2003. as reported by UPI:
"Syria: Won't allow weapons inspections"
Link:
highmarkfunds.stockpoint.com.../107w1161.xml

Excerpt:
"CAIRO, Apr 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa said Thursday that his country won't allow international inspections of its military arsenal, which the U.S. claims include chemical weapons.

"No, Syria will not allow any inspection. We will only cooperate with countries of the Middle East to make the region free of weapons of mass destruction and deprive the U.S. of this alibi," Sharaa said after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

He said American accusations that Syria had weapons of mass destruction and gave shelter to fleeing Iraqi officials only served Israel's interests."



On 08/25/03, reported by Drudge via WORLD TRIBUNE:
"Report: U.S suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley"
Link is dead.

Excerpt:
"U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located.

Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq.

Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents, Geostrategy-Direct.com will report in tomorrow's new weekly edition.

U.S. intelligence first identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebaon in January 2003. The significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time.

U.S. intelligence sources believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads.

Mutually-lucrative Iraqi-Syrian arms transactions are nothing new. Firas Tlas, son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, has been the key to Syria's rogue alliance with Iraq. He and Assad made hundreds of millions of dollars selling weapons, oil and drugs to and from Iraq, according to the May 13, 2003 edition of Geostrategy-Direct.com.

The CIA now believes a multi-million dollar deal between Iraq and Syria provided for the hiding and safekeeping of Saddam's strategic weapons.

Not surprisingly, U.S. inquiries in Beirut and Syria are being met with little substantive response, U.S. officials said."




On 9/16/03, reported by the New York Times:
"Sr. U.S. Official to Level Weapons Charges Against Syria"

Excerpt:
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 — The Bush administration says that despite pledges, Syria has not stopped militants from crossing into Iraq to kill American soldiers.

In testimony prepared for a House hearing on Tuesday, John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control, says the administration is also concerned about what it sees as Syria's continuing support for terrorist groups like Hamas, and he reiterated accusations that Syria has an ambitious program to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons."



On 9/16/03, as reported by the Washington Times:
"U.S. probe focuses on Syria weapons By Bill Gertz"
Link:
www.washtimes.com...


On 9/17/03. as reported by the AP:
"Official: Syria Seeking Banned Weapons"
Link:
story.news.yahoo.com.../ap/20030917/ap_on_re_mi_ea/us_syria
(Link is dead)

Article:
"WASHINGTON - Syria is allowing militants to cross its border into Iraq (news - web sites) to kill U.S. soldiers and is aggressively seeking to acquire and develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, a senior Bush administration official said Tuesday.

In addition, he said Syria continues to support organizations the United States lists as terrorist groups.

John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, told a House hearing the United States was trying to change Syria's behavior through diplomatic means and urged lawmakers to let the effort run its course before passing trade restrictions and other measures.

After testifying to the House International Relations Committee's panel on the Middle East and Central Asia, Bolton left for Moscow, where he is to talk with the Russians about proliferation of nuclear technology in Iran, State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said.

White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) said on ABC's "Nightline" that "Syria is a country with which we continue to have a number of problems."

"We don't really feel they're meeting the mark, but we continue to press the Syrians," she said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said Monday in Kuwait that Syria was not cooperating with U.S. demands to end support for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, which Washington labels a terrorist organization, and to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. He warned Congress would adopt the legislation if Syrian President Bashar Assad did not act.

Syria's foreign minister, Farouk al-Shaara, rejected charges his country was not cooperating and said in Damascus that Syria was willing to meet "reasonable" demands within the framework of international legitimacy.

"What Powell said about Syria's cooperation, I ask: Who is cooperating with America as America wants?" al-Shaara said at a news conference. "America has too many demands. If they are reasonable and realistic Syria is ready to cooperate."

Bolton contended at the hearing that Syria "permitted volunteers to pass into Iraq to attack and kill our service members during the war and is still doing so."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Iraq last week that the largest numbers of figures captured in Iraq have been from Syria, then Lebanon. Defense officials said there have been about 200 foreign fighters rounded up so far in Iraq.

Rice said that the estimates of the number of foreign terrorists filtering into Iraq range from "several hundred — high hundreds — to a couple of thousands." She suggested that the majority of those individuals were among the 20,000 to 30,000 — or "possibly even a bit higher" — who passed through al-Qaida training camps.

"These are hard-core training terrorists," she said. "Are they actually being sent by al-Qaida or are they, in a sense, freelancing? I think we don't know the full picture. But these are people who were committed jihadists, who were part of the war on terror."

Bolton, who testified first in public and then in a classified session with lawmakers, said Syria offers sanctuary and political protection to groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad — all branded as terrorist by the United States.

He said while there is no information Syria has transferred weapons of mass destruction to the terrorist organizations, "Syria's ties to numerous terrorist groups underlie the reasons for our continued anxiety."

Bolton put Syria in the same category as Iran, North Korea (news - web sites) and Libya as "rogue states, those most aggressively seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction and their delivery and which are therefore threats to our national security."

He said the U.S. objective was not just to prevent the spread of these weapons but to "roll back and eliminate such weapons from the arsenals of rogue states" through peaceful and diplomatic means. However, he continued, in order to do this and protect America and its allies, "we must allow ourselves the option to use every tool in our nonproliferation toolbox."

Asked by the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., if this would include regime change in Syria, Bolton replied the administration preferred diplomacy "but I am not taking any option off the table."

In her opening remarks, the committee chairman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, detailed Syria's unconventional weapons capability, quoting from an unclassified CIA (news - web sites) report to Congress that was issued in April and covers the first six months of 2002.

The report stated that "Syria sought chemical weapons-related precursors and expertise from foreign sources, maintains a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and appears to be trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents."

She said Syria's recent agreement with Russia concerning close cooperation on nuclear power "raises grave questions regarding the Syrian regime's true objectives on the nuclear front."

Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in an interview after the hearing she would like to see the Bush administration take a stronger stand on Syria. She is co-sponsoring a bill that could lead to sanctions against Syria.

Appeasing "these terrorist regimes does no good to the United States," she said."



On 09/17/03, reported by UPI:
"U.S. looks at Syrian weapon complicity"
Link:
washingtontimes.com...

Excerpt:
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is investigating intelligence reports that Iraq sent weapons to Syria to hide them from U.N. inspectors, a report said Wednesday.

John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, also told a House International Relations subcommittee Syria is developing medium-range missiles with help from North Korea and Iran that could be fired in nerve gas attacks."



On 10/8/03, reported by the WORLD TRIBUNE:
"Kay: Saddam sent 'convoys' to Syria in months before war"
Link:
216.26.163.62...

Excerpt:
"AMMAN — The head of the U.S. team investigating Iraqi weapons of mass destruction said the Saddam regime sent convoys of Iraqi equipment to Syria in the months prior to the U.S.-led war in Iraq in March.

David Kay, the head of the U.S. team, said his inspectors have not been able to determine the contents of the convoys.

"The difficulty we have is proving what was in the convoys," Kay said in a television interview on Sunday.

Kay also said his group has learned from Iraqi nationals that the Saddam regime prepared fuel for Scud missiles during 2002. He said this activity indicated that Iraq's military retained Scud missiles banned by the United Nations.

"Scud missile fuel is only useful in Scud missiles," Kay said. "No other class of missiles that Iraq has. And yet, Iraq declared that it got rid of all its scud missiles in the early 1990s. Why would you continue to produce Scud missile fuel if you didn't have Scuds?"

As for the convoys, Kay said "the equipment that we're after and the information we have relates to things that were clearly illegal to sell to Iraq. This is illegal procurement; it's not something that could have other uses. They shouldn't have had it."

Meanwhile, Iraq and Syria have launched discussions on a security cooperation accord."


One suspected site:
"Al Safir"
Link:
www.globalsecurity.org...


This could go on, but I will cease.......
Syria has confirmed chemical and biological weapons and capabilities as well as programs for each....they are seeking nuclear capabilities as well.


Seems that "pre-emotive" strike plans for war against Syria have also been drawn up.....reasons abound but looks like the heat on Syria is just beginning....as per Israel turning it up a notch....


regards
seekerof

[Edited on 12-10-2003 by Seekerof]



posted on Oct, 12 2003 @ 02:03 PM
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Maybe Israel's latest venture into Syria to bomb that weapons cache was really a diversion to allow special forces undected entry while their airforce conducts some high tech surveillance. Sort of what I think the us did with that china spy plane issue. Hey if they're over the country why not.

Haven't had much pressure on the news about war lately. This peroid of silence has me wondering.



posted on Oct, 13 2003 @ 06:39 AM
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Seekerof, you've provided a solid argument supported by credible links.

Well done,
deep





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