Does Syria have Saddam's WMD?
As the regime of Bashar Assad disintegrates, the security of his chemical arsenal is in jeopardy. The No. 2 general in Saddam Hussein's air force says they were the WMDs we didn't find in Iraq.Under UN resolutions Iraq was supposed to account for its WMD. It never could and that is why the war took place. After Saddam's defeat the US could not account for the WMD either. Perhaps we are getting closer to that accounting as Syria crumbles. Hopefully we can capture those weapons before they are used by the regime or by terrorist who will use them.
King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan warned that a disintegrating Syria on the verge of civil war puts Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons at risk of falling into the hands of al-Qaida.
"One of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands," he said.
The irony here is that the chemical weapons stockpile of Syrian thug Assad may in large part be the legacy of weapons moved from Hussein's Iraq into Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom.
If so, this may be the reason not much was found in the way of WMD by victorious U.S. forces in 2003.
In 2006, former Iraqi general Georges Sada, second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book, "Saddam's Secrets."
It details how the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein's WMD threat.
As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.
There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.
There were also truck convoys into Syria. Sada's comments came more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."
Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.
According to Shaw, ex-Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with long-standing ties to Saddam, went to Iraq in December 2002 and stayed until just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.