Friday, March 24, 2006

Did Russian Ambassador Give Saddam the U.S. War Plan?

ABC News: Did Russian Ambassador Give Saddam the U.S. War Plan?

ABC News is reporting on newly released documents from Saddam Hussein's former Iraqi government. The documents discuss Iraq's involvement with Osama bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction, and curiously - the Russian ambassador to Iraq in 2003, Vladimir Titorenko.

You might remember that Vladimir Titorenko accused US soldiers of deliberately firing on his cars in April of 2003. As it turns out, he had good reason to suspect this - he had apparently been giving Russian intelligence information about the US coalition forces to the Iraqi government.
Two Iraqi documents from March 2003 — on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion — and addressed to the secretary of Saddam Hussein, describe details of a U.S. plan for war. According to the documents, the plan was disclosed to the Iraqis by the Russian ambassador.

Document written sometime before March 5, 2003
The first document (CMPC-2003-001950) is a handwritten account of a meeting with the Russian ambassador that details his description of the composition, size, location and type of U.S. military forces arrayed in the Gulf and Jordan. The document includes the exact numbers of tanks, armored vehicles, different types of aircraft, missiles, helicopters, aircraft carriers, and other forces, and also includes their exact locations. The ambassador also described the positions of two Special Forces units.

Document dated March 25, 2003
The second document (CMPC-2004-001117) is a typed account, signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hammam Abdel Khaleq, that states that the Russian ambassador has told the Iraqis that the United States was planning to deploy its force into Iraq from Basra in the South and up the Euphrates, and would avoid entering major cities on the way to Baghdad, which is, in fact what happened. The documents also state "Americans are also planning on taking control of the oil fields in Kirkuk." The information was obtained by the Russians from "sources at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar," according to the document.

This document also includes an account of an amusing incident in which several Iraqi Army officers (presumably seeking further elaboration of the U.S. war plans) contacted the Russian Embassy in Baghdad and stated that the ambassador was their source. Needless to say, this caused great embarrassment to the ambassador, and the officers were instructed "not to mention the ambassador again in that context."
It is also noted that Vladimir Titorenko appears in documents released by the Volker Commision investigation of the Oil for Food scandal. In that document, Mr. Titorenko was cited as receiving allocations of 3 million barrels of oil — worth roughly $1.5 million at that time.

This all plays out rather interestingly in light of recent US calls for a policy of "selective cooperation" with the Russian government. At the time, I suggested this was already US-Russian government policies towards one another. This released document just reveals that to be a true statement. Combined with reported German intelligence cooperation with the US, regarding Iraqi war plans - it reveals how Cold War era divisions have not been completely redrawn.

More details can be found at these links:
Bloomberg: Russia Told Iraq of U.S. Troop Movements During War, Study Says
AP Military: Russia Gave Saddam U.S. Intel

No comments: