- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
Inside the Ring: Syria, Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
The U.S.-Russia agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons is reigniting a controversy over the 2003 covert operation by Russian special operations forces to remove Iraqi weapons — including chemical arms — and move them to Syria and Lebanon prior to the Iraq War.
John A. Shaw, a former Pentagon official who first disclosed the Iraqi-Russian collaboration to The Washington Times, said the agreement brokered by Moscow could resolve unanswered questions about the arms transfers.
“The Russians were the principal — if not the sole — supplier of chemical weapons to both Iraq and Syria,” said Mr. Shaw, a former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security who tracked Iraqi weapons for the Pentagon.
Mr. Shaw noted that U.N. inspectors who surveyed the site of the Aug. 21 Syrian chemical weapons attack near Damascus found an intact rocket motor inscribed with Cyrillic writing, indicating the delivery system was Russian in origin.
“My people on the ground definitively tracked the Russian movement of Iraqi [chemical weapons] and high explosives to three locations in Syria and two in Lebanon in 2003,” Mr. Shaw told Inside the Ring.
Russian convoys of trucks that carried the arms were photographed by satellites and confirmed by the chief of Ukraine’s intelligence service, who provided the Pentagon with specifics on the special operations units involved and the material they removed, he said.
“Now we have the Russians ostensibly about to certify quantities of weaponry that until a few weeks ago no one admitted existed in Syria, much less that part of it had been moved from Iraq, or that all of it is Russian,” Mr. Shaw said.
“Do we have some more Russian speznaz troops in civilian garb moving them back, or do we have the even more interesting spectacle of Syrian troops ferrying nerve gas over the border into Iraq?” Mr. Shaw asked.
“But the real question is who [the weapons] are going to and their real destination,” he said. “We have made the poacher into the gamekeeper, so expect the usual avalanche of denials, distractions and dissimulation from the Russians.”
A senior Russian government official, presidential aide Sergei Ivanov, told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday that the Soviet Union “never supplied warheads with sarin either to Syria or any other country of the world.”
I believe Russian special forces successfully moved poison gas shells out of Iraq, so what confidence should anyone have that the Russians can now be honest brokers in helping collect poison gas shells being used in Syria,” he said.
Mr. Shaw went public in 2004 with dramatic disclosures that Russian special forces moved Saddam Hussein’s high explosives and special weapons out of Iraq in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights amid escalating tensions
- Inside the Ring: Tensions high during Joe Biden's Beijing visit
- Inside the Ring: U.S. funds China's nuclear security
- Inside the Ring: Danger of China conflict grows
- Inside the Ring: North Korean missiles deemed a serious threat to U.S.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow