Thursday, October 28, 2004

Possible "Bombshell" on the Missing Explosives

Thursday's Washington Times has a potentially huge story on the missing Iraqi explosives from the al-Qaqaa facility:

Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.

John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.



The article also explains why it is unlikely that this material was taken after US forces arrived at the complex:

The Pentagon disclosed yesterday that the Al-Qaqaa facility was defended by Fedayeen Saddam, Special Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units during the conflict. U.S. forces defeated the defenders around April 3 and found the gates to the facility open, the Pentagon said in a statement yesterday.

A military unit in charge of searching for weapons, the Army's 75th Exploitation Task Force, then inspected Al-Qaqaa on May 8, May 11 and May 27, 2003, and found no high explosives that had been monitored in the past by the IAEA.

The Pentagon said there was no evidence of large-scale movement of explosives from the facility after April 6.

"The movement of 377 tons of heavy ordnance would have required dozens of heavy trucks and equipment moving along the same roadways as U.S. combat divisions occupied continually for weeks prior to and subsequent to the 3rd Infantry Division's arrival at the facility," the statement said.



The article concludes with this tantalizing bit:

Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.

Read the article for yourself here:

Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms


If this story pans out, the implications are massive. The Russians must be held to account for actively participating in Saddam's violation of UN sanctions. Even if the Russian angle can't be verified, it is becoming increasingly clear that the effort to spring the al-Qaqaa story as an anti-Bush "October Surprise" has failed badly. The Kerry campaign's continuing efforts to push al-Qaqaa as an example of administration "incompetence" fly in the face of the strong evidence that the explosives were gone before our forces arrived, and are grossly irresponsible.

Update: Tom Maguire at Just One Minute has some additional background and analysis.

Further Update: ABC News is reporting that not only might the quantity of missing explosives be vastly overstated, but that in some cases, it could have been removed without breaking the seals placed by UN weapons inspectors.

5 Comments:

Blogger Simon W. Moon ksc said...

Round and round she goes. ...nobody knows.


More breaking news about explosives found in Iraq ... videotape shot by Reporter Dean Staley and Photographer Joe Caffrey at or near the Al Qaqaa munitions facility.Video Suggests Explosives Disappeared After U.S. Took ControlBarrels inside the Al-Qaqaa facility appear on videotape shot by ABC television affiliate KSTP ... which had a crew embedded with the 101st Airborne Division when it passed through Al-Qaqaa on April 18, 2003 ...
Experts who have studied the images say the barrels on the tape contain the high explosive HMX, and the U.N. markings on the barrels are clear.
If these're what they are purported to be, then it renders the Russia story somewhat moot (at least re this specific instance). However, it'd make this comment all the more interesting:

U.S. Military Checks Satellite Images for Clues About Missing Explosives"Senior sources told FOX News that Shaw actually works in a defense building away from the Pentagon, and it isn't clear how this person has the authority or the knowledge to speak on such a matter.Mr. Shaw works in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), he is responsible for reforming and improving the export control process so as to measurably improve the security of critical American technologies and manufacturing abilities.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Simon W. Moon ksc said...

everything looks so much better on preview

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you have not become too dizzy from your "Spin".
Please just see the video that just adds to the obvious fact that we did not send enough troops to do the job safely and effectively. The truth is not an "October Suprise" An example of an "October Suprise" would be the Friday before the 2000 election release of the Bush drunk driving record which was from his younger years or another would be if George Bush were to rachet us up to terror level Orange to try to put the voters in a state of fear on election day.
The video shows that the weapons were indeed there and yes the implications are indeed massive.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Simon W. Moon ksc said...

Just a Wrap Up for Those Playing Along at HomeFate of Missing Iraq Weapons UnresolvedJohn J. Lumpkin | Posted on Fri, Oct. 29, 2004
© Associated Press
... by military estimates, a minimum of 250,000 more tons remain unaccounted for.
Maj. Austin Pearson said his team removed the 250 tons of plastic explosives and other munitions on April 13, 2003 ...
... those munitions were not located under the seal of the [IAEA]- as the missing high-grade explosives had been. ... Di Rita could not ... say ... they were part of the missing 377 tons.
... March 15, 2003 - five days before the war started - and closes in late May, when a U.S. weapons inspection team declared the depot stripped and looted.
... April 13, Pearson's ordnance-disposal team arrived and took 250 tons of munitions out and later destroyed them.
... April 18 ... television crew ... shot a videotape ... which shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels and bearing the markings of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


(hopefully with more competent coding this time- looks just fine in preview)

11:16 PM  
Blogger Simon W. Moon ksc said...

nope, no better coding.

11:17 PM  

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