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Jewish World Review March 28, 2003 / 24 Adar II, 5763

Michael Ledeen

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The post-war terror threat | Even as the second battle in the war against the terror masters moves rapidly ahead, information mounts daily about the intimate and lethal relationships between Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran.

The latest story was reported on the front page of my favorite Italian newspaper, il Foglio, published in Milan. According to this account, Saddam decided two months ago to secure some of his most dangerous technologies, along with some of his most skilled scientists.

To that end, Iraq and Syria signed a joint agreement on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Damascus on Jan. 17. As a sign of good will, Saddam sent Bashar Assad some samples: three CDs with mathematical formulae dealing with nuclear explosions; three test tubes loaded with anthrax and botulinum spores, and detailed analyses of tests carried out with these poisons on human subjects in Iraqi prisons.

The secret agreement provided for the transfer of Iraqi scientists and technicians to Syria, so that, along with the technology, crucial know-how would be preserved for the ongoing jihad against Israel and the United States. Three microbiologists and a small group of technicians, along with their families, entered Syria in the second half of February, and a top nuclear physicist and members of his team sneaked across the border early in March.

In addition, much of Saddam's supply of weapons of mass destruction was moved to Syria for hiding and safekeeping over the past few months, both to evade detection and to create a murderous legacy for the Iraqi dictator. According to other sources, Saddam has agreed to "be disappeared" into Syria, as Osama bin Laden vanished into Iran in the first days of the Afghanistan campaign.

The same sort of program was carried out with Iran. Chemical and biological supplies were shipped to Tehran (some in the hundreds of coffins that were said to contain the remains of Iranian "martyrs" from the Iran-Iraq War), and Iranian military and intelligence officers have worked closely with Saddam to prepare hundreds of suicide bombers, and even to train kamikaze pilots who are supposed to fly Iraqi MIGs (some loaded with chemical/biological "cocktails") at American targets once the war is under way.

Both Syria and Iran have organized the infiltration of thousands of terrorists and suicide bombers into Iraq for attacks against American and British forces. They do not expect to defeat the allied coalition, but they do believe that if they can deprive us of a clear-cut success, time will work in their favor. They remember the 1980s, when years of terrorist bombings, assassinations and hostage seizures eventually led the United States to withdraw from Lebanon, and they believe that a similar success was achieved against Israel in the 1990s.

To that end, the Iranians have dispatched three of their most lethal terrorist groups to the border with northern Iraq, armed with all manner of weapons, and instructed to inflict maximum damage on our troops.

If this information is correct, our moment of greatest peril will come after the formal military operation. Innumerable accounts point to a vast demoralization of Iraqi armed forces, and it may be that we will be faced with a significant logistical problem in handling massive numbers of defectors and POWs.

But the Iranian and Syrian-sponsored terrorists are a different matter. They will not have to face an armed invasion, and their territory will not be at risk. They can pick and choose their targets, use hit-and-run tactics to carry out their attacks, and sneak across the borders to safe havens under the protection of the mullahs and the Assads.

Time will soon tell if these accounts are accurate, and if the Syrians and the Iranians, faced with the terrifying prospect of the imminent fall of their ally in Baghdad, and seeing the massive power of Operation Shock and Awe, follow through with their plans for a desperate throw of the terrorist dice.

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.


03/26/03: All Fronts: Military war, political war, psychological war
03/24/03: More Bad News for Daschle: Taking out terror of all nationalities
03/21/03: The Killer Pneu: Virus terror from China
03/13/03: Iran: Nuclear suicide bombers?
03/11/03: A Theory: What if there's method to the Franco-German madness?
03/05/03: The Iranian-Election Revolt: The people speak. The West won't listen
02/19/03: The willful blindness of those who will not see
02/12/03: The Europeans Know More Than They Now Pretend? They choose to dawdle and obstruct
02/03/03: Monumental failure: Nelson Mandela had promise
01/30/03: Elevation: The president knows what it's all about
01/29/03: No Leader: France's Chirac is all about personal interest
01/28/03: The Axis of Evil Redux: Same place, a year later
01/27/03: The Return of the Ayatollah: Washington could afford a little more attention on Iran
01/13/03: How we could lose
01/09/03: Fish are Better than Women: Gauging U.S. priorities
01/07/03: The Shape of Things to Come: The terror masters are now waiting for us
12/20/02: A Prophecy for the New Year --- Faster, please!
12/16/02: Scud Surrender: The "W" factor
12/13/02: The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible
12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen