Jewish World Review April 20, 2004 / 30 Nissan, 5764

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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And if the WMD are found ... Connecting the dots | For most Democrats and journalists, the question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a closed, because it is politically embarrassing for President Bush if none are found. But if Saddam's arsenal exists, and our enemies have access to it, we could suffer something far worse than embarrassment if we pretend that it does not exist. Here are some dots crying out for connection:

  • Explosives and poison gas that could have killed as many as 20,000 people and decapitated his government came from Syria, Jordan's King Abdullah told the San Francisco Chronicle last Saturday. An al Qaida cell associated with Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian national thought to be masterminding al Qaida operations in Iraq, smuggled three cars containing 17.5 tons of explosives and a deadly chemical agent of an undisclosed type into Jordan early in April. Targets for the attack were Jordan's military intelligence headquarters, the prime minister's office, and the U.S. embassy, which are located close to each other in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

  • Former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay told Congress last fall that U.S. satellite reconnaissance showed substantial truck traffic between Iraq and Syria in the weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom began last March 19.

  • A Syrian journalist who defected to Europe told a Dutch newspaper Jan. 5 that chemical and biological weapons developed by Saddam Hussein's regime were being stored in tunnels dug under the town of al-Baida near the city of Hama in northern Syria; in the village of Tal Snan, near a big Syrian air force base, and on the Lebanese border south of the city of Homs. Nizar Najoef told the Dutch Telegraaf that the WMD transfer was organized by the commanders of Saddam's Special Republican Guard with the help of a cousin of Syrian strong man Bashir Assad. Najoef's remarks strengthen the view of some in U.S. and Israeli intelligence that many of Saddam's most deadly weapons were moved to Syria just before the war began. "People below the Saddam-Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse," James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (since renamed the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency), told the New York Times last October.

  • On April 12, the official Iranian news agency "reported" that U.S. forces were secretly hiding weapons of mass destruction in southern and western Iraq. This is, of course, a lie. But the telling of it suggests the Iranians think U.S. forces might soon be discovering some hidden caches of WMD. The Iranians were especially alarmed that the U.S. was interviewing scientists connected with Saddam's weapons programs. "A professor of physics at Baghdad University told the MNA correspondent that a group of his colleagues who are highly specialized in military, chemical and biological fields have been either bribed or threatened during the last weeks to provide written information on what they know about various programs and research centers and the possible storage of WMD equipment," the Iranian news agency said. Charles Duelfer, who has replaced Kay as chief weapons inspector, told Congress March 29 that few Iraqi scientists have been willing to talk to Americans. "Many perceive a grave risk in speaking with us," Duelfer said. "On the one hand, there is the fear of prosecution or arrest. On the other, there is fear former regime supporters will exact retribution."

  • Mohammed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported April 11 that large amounts of nuclear-related equipment, some of it contaminated, and a small number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in European scrapyards. UN satellite photos have detected "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites subject to UN monitoring, El Baradei said in a letter to Security Council members, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Post.

    El Baradei said it wasn't clear whether this was merely looting, or part of a systematic effort to destroy evidence. "In any event, these activities may have a significant impact on (IAEA's) continuity of knowledge of Iraq's remaining nuclear-related capabilities and raise concern with regards to the proliferation risk associated with dual use material and equipment disappearing to unknown destinations."

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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