Assad to Saddam’s Rescue
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 103 reported exclusively that, In two covert operations this week, US special forces blew up the Iraqi-Syrian pipeline carrying illegal Iraq oil exports from Mosul and Kirkuk to the Syrian Mediterranean oil terminal on the Banias for sale overseas, as well as the Syrian-Iraq railroad that was Saddam’s only route for importing war supplies.
Nevertheless, US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld found it necessary to issue a grave warning to Damascus on Friday, March 28. He said shipping war material and equipment from Syria to Iraq is seen as a hostile action and that of a combatant. He also cautioned Iran not to interfere in the Iraq war.
Earlier debkafile reported that Syria was sponsoring a movement of Palestinian and other volunteers to fight with Saddam Hussein. Thursday, several hundred Lebanese Hizballah extremists traveled in convoy from Syria to Baghdad to join up with Iraqi forces. Last week, a US F-15 warplane fired a missile against a civilian bus near the Syrian-Iraqi border, killing five, whom our sources revealed were part of a group of Palestinian volunteers for Iraq. But unheeding of the missile warning, Syria continued the traffic.
Friday, Rumsfeld put both Damascus and Tehran on notice: Continued shipments of war material, equipment and combat personnel into Iraq – including the pro-Iranian Hizballah – would lay both nations open to United States counter-action. The defense secretary made no mention of the Palestinians heading for Baghdad but, according to debkafile‘s sources, an American attack on Palestinian concentrations in south and north Lebanon cannot be ruled out. Both locations are recruiting centers for Palestinian volunteers who set out armed with weapons handed out by various bodies including al Qaeda agents.
Washington has been keeping a close satellite and air surveillance watch on Syria’s all-inclusive smuggling service as President Bashar Assad’s contribution to Saddam Hussein’s war effort.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 103 added that, since the pipeline and railroad were blown up, the Syrian ruler has kept the supply routes running with the help of giant tanker trucks prepared in advance. War equipment in quantity and components for systems including night vision instruments and other vital commodities are being delivered at Syrian ports as per orders from Baghdad and pouring into Iraq aboard a fleet of trucks and other vehicles impounded by Syrian troops.
Assad to Saddam’s Rescue