Friday, January 27, 2006

Iraq WMD Moved to Syria?

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

Ira Stoll in the New York Sun yesterday:

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Many people, including me, have theorized that Syria was the most logical place for Saddam to move his WMD and now a high-ranking government official under Saddam is confirming this to be the case.

Mr. Sada provides additional details:

Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.

"I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots," Mr. Sada said of the two pilots. He declined to disclose their names, saying they are concerned for their safety. But he said they are now employed by other airlines outside Iraq.

The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.

The flights - 56 in total, Mr. Sada said - attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.

"Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Mr. Sada said. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians."

While it would be very difficult to verify these claims without actually putting eyeballs on the weapons, Mr. Sada was certainly in a position to know. The truck convoys referred to by Sada should ring familiar considering previous speculation that has pointed to this as the means of transport into Syria.

I’m still puzzled as to why the Bush Administration and various others were so quick to concede that the intelligence was faulty and give up an active search for the weapons. Maybe to some degree it was, but it provided fodder for the anti-war crowd to claim they were never there, which most of us know is not true. There is proof the weapons were there and had been used in the past. Simple logic would suggest they didn’t disappear into thin air.

The Administration has painted themselves into a corner on this one issue by acknowledging that the weapons were not found, instead of saying we’re still looking. It is the one aspect of the war they haven’t stood firm on yet there’s never been a compelling reason to back away from it. They have set themselves up to look rather foolish if and when the weapons are found in Syria or elsewhere. It all could have been avoided by trusting the instincts and intelligence that might yet be proven to have been correct all along.

Freedom from a murderous dictator brings with it a lot of things. One of those things is information. It has always been my belief that people will start to give up information as they begin to feel safer and less threatened. The information they give up will usually be critical, because it will involve things that were once a threat to them; things they never want to face again. I think that is what we are starting to see now and so far we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.

In the end, the Iraqi people, the people who know, will lead us to the truth.

Others Blogging: Rick Moran , Mac Johnson , Bryan Preston , Mark in Mexico

Also: Check out the 2006 Weapons Cache Databank at Camp Katrina. Phil Van Treuren maintains a current list of every bomb and gun taken out of the hands of terrorists by our military. Further proof that our military does much more than kill people and break things.

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