In early July, when Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert saw he had at most three months to go before corruption charges forced him to quit, decided to make US President George W. Bush a parting gift. The gift was intended to dispel some of the negativity clinging to the Iraq War in the Bush legacy.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report that Israel handed over clandestine clinchers of the weapons of mass destruction possession case against the dead Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.
The Bush administration’s inability to convince the world of this fact seriously marred its credibility in going to war in 2003. The proofs handed to the White House aimed at repairing this omission. Olmert also owned an interest in confirming the credibility of Israeli intelligence as one of the main sources of the WMD charge against Saddam – if not the only one.
Given the position taken by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in the probes against Iran and Syria, the Israeli prime minister thought it was important to point up the role he is still playing.
In January 2003, prior to the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and debkafile revealed that Israel intelligence had obtained data proving the Saddam regime was in possession of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Then, on March 17, UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei stated that the UN inspectors had found no concrete evidence indicating that “Iraq had reconstituted its WMD programs.”
Washington consequently failed to persuade a Security Council majority to endorse its decision to go to war in Iraq.
Names, ranks provided of officers, drivers who smuggled WMD to Syria
The heated international controversy over this episode did not die down until repeated searches in Iraq failed to turn up Saddam’s illicit weapons. Bush administration officials were accused of mxing America up in a war on false grounds. After failing to convince American and world opinion of their WMD allegations against Saddam, the White House fell back on the claim that US had intelligence of possession but had not turned up the physical items in question.
All along, Israeli military intelligence stood by its assertion that the WMD had existed and been spirited out of the country to neighboring Syria shortly before American forces landed in Iraq. This conviction has remaineds as firm as ever; it has been fully substantiated by the evidentiary data handed over to the White House, which is itemized exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly.
- The names of the Iraqi and Syrian intelligence, transport and engineering officers in charge of organizing the clandestine truck convoys which secreted nuclear materials from Iraq to Syira.
- The names and addresses of the Iraqi and Syrian truck drivers.
- The ranks and uniforms in which those drivers were outfitted to disguise their identities and function.
- The license plate numbers, truck models and containers used for the transfer, as well as the miitlary units and civilian factories from which the materials were collected.
- The times, dates and places of the rendezvous for the changeover of Iraqi and Syrian truck drivers. The Iraqi drivers picked the containers up from their covert locations and drove the trucks up to the Syrian border where substitutes were waiting to take over.
- The hiding places assigned in Syria for stowing away the Iraqi WMD and the dates they were unloaded.
- Some of the Iraqi nuclear materials were taken to Syrian laboraties. The Israeli data include their locations. DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveals here Israel military intellilgence has discovered that a portion of Saddam’s nuclear materials was to have been used in the Syrian plutonium reactor under construction at the northern site of El Kibar, the one demolished on Sept. 7, 2007, by Israeli raiders. They have now been transferred to the laboratories scattered around the country, which are now working on the production of radioactive bombs. (More about this in a separate article in this issue.)
The watchdog’s director stalls further investigation
This is the sensational and unexpected ending to the unfinished story of Saddam Hussein’s long-sought weapons of mass destruction.
It is part of the data which Washington and Jerusalem decided to refer to the two most senior ranks in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Dr. ElBaradei and deputy director Olli Heinonen, for further investigation of Syria’s undercover nuclear activities.
While the former stalled, the latter named the three or four sites suspected of reusing Iraqi nuclear substances as targets for UN inspectors to visit.
Dr. ElBaradei has made no response to the American or the Israeli requests for a follow-up investigation to expose not only Syria’s nuclear weapons activities but establish once and for all Saddam Hussein’s possesson of weapons of mass destruction and their concealment in Syria.