The Syria/Iraq WMD connection

Posted by: ST on February 6, 2006 at 12:41 pm

Jack Kelly, in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, wrote an opinion piece this weekend discussing the speculation on the connection between Syria and Iraq – specifically zeroing in on the possibility that Iraq, in an agreement with Syria, moved some of its WMDS to Syria prior to the war in Iraq. He mentions deputy chief of Saddam Hussein’s air force Georges Sadas recent claims, which I blogged about here, as well as some other interesting claims that are worth mentioning and discussing:

– Last month Moshe Yaalon, who was Israel’s top general at the time, said Iraq transported WMD to Syria six weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

– Last March, John A. Shaw, a former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said Russian Spetsnaz units moved WMD to Syria and Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

“While in Iraq I received information from several sources naming the exact Russian units, what they took and where they took both WMD materials and conventional explosives,” Mr. Shaw told NewsMax reporter Charles Smith.

– Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong was deputy commander of Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2004, he told WABC radio that “I do know for a fact that some of those weapons went into Syria, Lebanon and Iran.”

– In January 2004, David Kay, the first head of the Iraq Survey Group which conducted the search for Saddam’s WMD, told a British newspaper there was evidence unspecified materials had been moved to Syria from Iraq shortly before the war.

“We know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam’s WMD program,” Mr. Kay told the Sunday Telegraph.

– Also that month, Nizar Nayuf, a Syrian journalist who defected to an undisclosed European country, told a Dutch newspaper he knew of three sites where Iraq’s WMD was being kept. They were the town of al Baida near the city of Hama in northern Syria; the Syrian air force base near the village of Tal Snan, and the city of Sjinsar on the border with Lebanon.

– In an addendum to his final report last April, Charles Duelfer, who succeeded David Kay as head of the Iraq Survey Group, said he couldn’t rule out a transfer of WMD from Iraq to Syria.

“There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation,” Mr. Duelfer said.

– In a briefing for reporters in October 2003, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper Jr., who was head of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency when the Iraq war began, said satellite imagery showed a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasion.

“I think the people below Saddam Hussein and his sons’ level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse,” Lt. Gen. Clapper said.

Former UNCSOM inspector Bill Tierney has speculated they were moved to Syria as well.

All this speculation brings me back to Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s visit to Syria in January 2002 – a visit where he admitted (unashamedly) that he alerted the Syrian head of state that in his view he thought the President had made up his mind to invade Iraq. That quote again in full (emphasis added):

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I’ll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.

I firmly believe the WMDs were moved. When all the dust settles over the debate as to whether or not Iraq really did possess WMDs (and we know they did, even if the Democrats want to revise history otherwise), I hope Sen. Rockefeller is called to testify as to why he was alerting heads of state in Middle Eastern countries – one of which is an ally of Iraq – why he chose to give them advance warning of what he thought was going to be our course of action in Iraq after 9-11.

Read more commentary via Wizbang Bomb Squad and Villainous Company

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    Comments

    1. Baklava says:

      Former UNCSOM [sp] inspector Bill Tierney has speculated they were moved to Syria as well.

      But ST !! There have been liberals on this very site saying that UNSCOM said there was NO WMD’s. While I’ve never seen that stated and it’s a made up statement by liberals I just wanted to point out that it is contradictory.

    2. PCD says:

      I think this should be investigated. If the WMD went to Syria, then Jay Rockefeller should be hung from the nearest tree and his fortune disbursed to the service mambers injured or killed in Iraq.

    3. CavalierX says:

      I just got Georges Sada’s book, Saddam’s Secrets. Can’t wait to dig into it. I’ve been convinced of the Syria connection since a couple of months after the fall of Saddam.

    4. Lorica says:

      I just bristle when I see or hear Rockefeller on TV. He is just such a liar, caught so many times he stopped showing up on FNS. =))

      Here is yet another illegal activity helping our enemy, by our allies. I think it is time we get some new allies. Thank you Russia for helping our enemy using your special forces. Ohhh and Russia, let’s not forget our thanks for replacing the Iraqi air force. Thank you France for your illegal hi-tech component sales. Thank you China for some reason we will determine later. That leaves Germany, and I tend to think they were just going along with France. We shall see. – Lorica

    5. andrew says:

      “But ST !! There have been liberals on this very site saying that UNSCOM said there was NO WMD’s.”

      If they were moved to syria, that means they weren’t in Iraq.

      Of course, if they were moved to Syria, does that those who said Iraq had no WMD’s were right, in that Iraq did get rid of them?

      If UNSCOM had said “they’re in syria,” would we have stopped the invasion?

      I doubt it. But now it is useful ot entertain the notion that syria has them.

    6. CavalierX says:

      >If UNSCOM had said “they’re in syria”
      >would we have stopped the invasion?

      I certainly hope not. How many times do you have to be told that this isn’t a mater of law enforcement, of just making sure the bad guys don’t break the rules where we can see? Saddam was ordered to turn everything remotely related to chemical, biological and nuclear processes over to the UN for evaluation and destruction, or prove that he destroyed it. Not to hide it, not to move it, not to lie about it. And refusing to live up to his promises about WMD was only one of the many reasons for removing Saddam from power.

    7. PCD says:

      andrew, why are you excusing Saddam for moving his WMD to Syria? What kind of mind can think it is perfectly ok to transfer WMD from one rogue regime to another and then say, “Well, Saddam doesn’t have it, so we better leave him alone.”?

    8. PCD says:

      Also, andrew, why do you think Saddam was perfectly OK killing thousands of people as long as it was within Iraq’s borders?

      Don’t BS us with a moral equivalence argument with the death penalty.

    9. andrew says:

      “andrew, why are you excusing Saddam for moving his WMD to Syria?”

      I don’t think he did. Just kind of saying that if he did, that would mean that those that said saddam was a threat are wrong: syria is a threat.

      “Also, andrew, why do you think Saddam was perfectly OK killing thousands of people as long as it was within Iraq’s borders?”

      Ask the Reagan administration. They didn’t want to cut agricultural credits to Iraq. They must have had a reason. Me? I was just a teenager.

    10. Doss says:

      It has slipped down the collective memory hole, but WMD’s have been found in Iraq. Stockpiles of WMD’s have not been found, but sarin and mustard gas have both been found.

      I too believe that the stockpiles are in the Bekaa Valley.
      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120137,00.html

    11. PCD says:

      andrew, obviously you are inured to mass graves in Iraq. They were from Reagan’s time, but from Clinton’s. I guess you sleep well when you can blame everything on a Republican rather than on one of your Icons like Carter or Clinton.

      You would have loved to have supported Neville Chamberlain.

    12. Enrique says:

      “those that said saddam was a threat are wrong: syria is a threat.”

      WOW! if thats not the most simple thought ive ever seen! :)>-

      If that were the case, murderers in any city USA would simply stop being dangerous to society as long as they found a good hiding place for their guns accross the street in the shrubs.

      Syria holding the weapons doesn’t “transfer” danger/threat, it SHARES it.

      If ANY regimes would share ownership of WMDs do you think simply targeting one of the other would solve the problem?

      To think that just because Saddam hid his dirty laundry at a friendly neighbor’s place makes him clean is foolish.
      The WMDs would still belong to him and that leaves us where we started – a threat worth dealing with.

    13. Baklava says:

      Andrew laughingly wrote, “I don’t think he did. Just kind of saying that if he did, that would mean that those that said saddam was a threat are wrong: syria is a threat.

      It don’t matter that you don’t think he did. A person with more expertise believes he did. =))

      those that said saddam was a threat are wrong: syria is a threat“??????? No. That means saddam and syria are a threat in collusion. How about “you are wrong”. =)) It’s like a teacher talking to a boy who had his had stolen and one bully (who originally took the hat) says to the teacher “I don’t have the hat teach, the other bully Chet over there has it”. What should the teacher do? Punish only the bully who has the hat now?

    14. Baklava says:

      Andrew in teenager type thinking wrote, “Ask the Reagan administration.

      Are you charging that the Reagan administration knew that Iraq had killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds? Iraq was a closed society, and it was difficult enough getting intelligence for all of the world intelligence agencies and the intelligence that Colin Powell presented to the U.N. was found to be in error (as presented from the intelligence agency to Bush admin and Congress) and you are making the IRRESPONSIBLE case that we should ask the Reagan administration [those heartless evil cowards] about things we know now due to defectors out of Iraq….

      Geez. Did you have too much marijuana also?

    15. Baklava says:

      Enrique, Your analogy was so much better !!

    16. andrew says:

      “They were from Reagan’s time, but from Clinton’s. I guess you sleep well when you can blame everything on a Republican rather than on one of your Icons like Carter or Clinton.”

      Oh. Don’t confuse my citation of reagan with thinking that clinton had a good iraq policy.

      “The WMDs would still belong to him and that leaves us where we started – a threat worth dealing with.”

      This is the lunacy of this theory.

      “Are you charging that the Reagan administration knew that Iraq had killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds?”

      Of course they did. Halabja and things were publicized. A public effort was made to cut agricultural credits. And it was shot down.

    17. Baklava says:

      Andrew wrote, “Oh. Don’t confuse my citation of reagan with thinking that clinton had a good iraq policy.

      Don’t worry. We see your comments as shifting the blame from Saddam to others… Why do you want to do that????

      Andrew wrote, “Of course they did.
      Link PLEASE?

    18. andrew says:

      “Andrew wrote, “Of course they did.
      Link PLEASE?”

      Link to what? The media at the time reported on Halabja. We have pictures now that were published then. We also know he used gas during the Iran Iraq war. There were attempts at censure of Saddam in the UN.

      In 1988 A bipartisan group of Senators introduced the “Prevention against Genocide Act”. It references the Genocide against the Kurdish people.

    19. CavalierX says:

      Back to Andrew’s “peek-a-boo” theory of innocence. This is great news for crime syndicates and terrorists alike! All they have to do is not have anything illegal on them when the law comes calling, and they are miraculously proclaimed innocent! All the evidence that led the law to the suspect’s door doesn’t mean a thing, if the actual illegal materials can be hidden at a neighbor’s place! Because in Andrew’s world, Justice must be stupid as well as blind.

    20. “They must have had a reason. Me? I was just a teenager.”

      – Aparently, at least in metal development and independent thinking, you still are….

      – Bang **==

    21. ….Mental….not metal….If you had any metal you’d tell the Liberal robots that run you goodbye…

      – Bang **==

    22. andrew says:

      “All they have to do is not have anything illegal on them when the law comes calling, and they are miraculously proclaimed innocent!”

      I’d hate to see the war on terror follow the criminal metaphor.

    23. Dana says:

      Sis, it doesn’t matter how many stories you find like this, you’ve got to realize one thing: until we actually capture those weapons, until we can put our hands on them and publish the pictures and data for everyone in the world, this story will not be believed!

      It doesn’t even matter if the stories are true; at this point they have to be proven beyond any possible doubt, by capture and possession, before they will be believed.

    24. blogagog says:

      I’ll go one step further. It doesn’t even matter if we do find them. No one will believe it anyway.

    25. benning says:

      And … until Jay Rockefeller stands trial for treason, nobody will take the WOT seriously. Treason is real, and it needs to be dealt with. For a change, let’s be serious about it and start from the top, not at the bottom.

      Charge Rockefeller!

    26. – We don’t really enforce treason laws until they get to the level of the Rosenbergs. The left and all the other gaggle of minority hate-America firsters know this and count on it. Notice though, no matter what they do or say against their own country, they do it here in the safety of their terrible home. Funny how that works…..

      – Bang **==

    27. – I just watched a moderate Islamic spokesman say “We can’t accept the cartoons on any level, so of course we reacted. If you in the West want the moderate Muslims on your side in the WOT, then you should be respectful to our core religion.”

      – All together now everyone: “BS”

      – No your archholiness. You should be in the front of the WOT. Its your religion thats being hijacked, not mine. Where is all the embassy burning, and “reaction” when innocent women and children get bombed? Where is the outrage when people get their heads cut off? When was the last time your Islamic leaders issued a Fatwa against the Jihadist killers that are running around commiting every manner of war crimes against the whole of Western society in the Name of Allah?

      What expletive deleted, unadulterated arrogance. “You post a cartoon Christian/Jew pig and you should be murdered”. A Muslim does any act of terror its to be condoned and dissmissed. Again “BS”

      – No I’m not going to pander to the moderate Muslims rears so they’ll be on our side. If the cartoons did nothing else they have framed, for once and for all, the total one sided nature of this whole pile of Theocratic/Fascist dung. No wonder the foil-hats love them so much.

      – Bang **==

    28. Mickey says:

      Calling Jay Rockefeller a “traitor” because he told the heads of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that the US was going to invade Iraq is silly. It was common knowledge that the US was going to invade Iraq; even the clueless US Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill knew it. It was just a matter of when the US would invade Iraq. So Rockefeller told Assad what Assad already knew…. And do you think that President Bush would not warn Assad that he was planning to invade the country that happens to share a border with Syria?

    29. Mickey says:

      And since when was Jay Rockefeller telling the heads of state of Jordan Syria and Saudi Arabia US secrets? Was the material classified? If Rockefeller was not revealing classified material, why do you call him a traitor? What is your definition of treachery?

    30. andrew says:

      “And since when was Jay Rockefeller telling the heads of state of Jordan Syria and Saudi Arabia US secrets?”

      How can it be a secret if its just his opinion? How can it be a secret unless its also true.

    31. blogagog says:

      So you would be ok with Rockerfeller heading over to Iran to tell them that we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities in late April? It would just be his opinion, so you’d be ok with that?

    32. andrew says:

      “So you would be ok with Rockerfeller heading over to Iran to tell them that we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities in late April? It would just be his opinion, so you’d be ok with that?”

      Right. Just like we can here opine on what the president is going to do.

    33. Um, Andrew, the problem with that argument is that we’re not US Senators who are sitting on intelligence committees who are ‘in the know’. Your logic is warped beyond all reason, as always.8-}

    34. andrew says:

      “Um, Andrew, the problem with that argument is that we’re not US Senators who are sitting on intelligence committees who are ‘in the know’.”

      If he’s telling classified info, that’s a problem. If he’s not, its not a problem. Just being ‘in the know’ doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. that you can’t share. He could write an Op-ed piece that says ‘i think bush wants war.’ He can also say it to whoever wants to hear it.

      Interestingly, his opinion was wrong. He said he thought Bush was determined for war but Bush has said that he did not have his mind set on war. So either he’s wrong or bush is lying.

    35. blogagog says:

      I’m having trouble understanding your answer andrew. Did you say it would be ok for Rockefeller to tell the Iranians?

    36. andrew says:

      “I’m having trouble understanding your answer andrew. Did you say it would be ok for Rockefeller to tell the Iranians?”

      He can say what he wants so long as he’s not giving out secrets.

    37. sanity says:

      Personally I think it was bad ethics on his aprt if eanything and should be referred to an ethics committee an censured at very least.

    38. blogagog says:

      Ah, then I oppose your position Andy. It is not the job of a member of the branch of legislation to share information with other countries, even public knowledge. In fact, it is illegal. That right lies solely in the executive branch, as it should, since it allows for a unified position.

      I would not call Rockerfeller’s past trangressions of the law treasonous, but I would make clear to him the law, in case he has another chance to help the enemy.

    39. Mickey says:

      Blogagog says, “It is not the job of a member of the branch of legislation to share information with other countries, even public knowledge. In fact, it is illegal. That right lies solely in the executive branch, as it should, since it allows for a unified position.

      I would not call Rockerfeller’s past trangressions of the law treasonous, but I would make clear to him the law, in case he has another chance to help the enemy.”

      Are you suggesting that it is the law that a member of the legislature is not allowed to express his opinion to foreign heads of states?

      I note that Rockefeller was not speaking for Bush, but was giving his own opinion on what Bush was likely to do.

      What would breaking such a law be described as? If not treason, then what?

      As I say, Rockefeller discussed the possible invasion of Iraq in 2002. It was common knowledge. Rockefeller obviously was not speaking for the administration. Must senators from the opposing party hew to the administration line when abroad?

      As I see it, the worst that Rockefeller can be accused of by sane people is questionable taste in whom he decides to share his opinions with.

    40. blogagog says:

      Are you suggesting that it is the law that a member of the legislature is not allowed to express his opinion to foreign heads of states?

      Yes.

    41. Mickey says:

      Sanity says, “Personally I think it was bad ethics on his part if anything and should be referred to an ethics committee an censured at very least.”

      I don’t understand what ethical rule Rockefeller here is accused of breaking. Seems to me that he might be saying to the Iranians something like, “You guys better clean up your act. In my opinion, the President is serious…. he will bomb you.”

      If the Iranians decide to clean up their act because of these words, it is very likely that Jay Rockefeller will have saved the United States a lot of money that would go to replacing the bombs that were dropped on Iraq, at least.

      Or does Bush just want to bomb them whether they straighten out their act or not?

    42. Mickey says:

      What law are you accusing Rockefeller of breaking? (I don’t believe such a law exists.)

    43. blogagog says:

      Separation of powers act, circa long time ago. Wiki has something about it. It’s a good read, and quite accurate. Check it out here.

    44. sanity says:

      Is rockefeller an abassador and represents the intreset of the US?

      So does he have the legal authority to go to foriegn nations that are allies of a possible US target and discuss plans of the US with them? What business is it of his to do so? What was his purpose? These are questions I think he needs ot answer.

      Did he inform the president that he was doing this?

      If I go behind my bosses back and discuss things with a customer or competitor for business, you can damn well be sure I would have repercussions against me and very well could be fired from my job. If it dealt with security information, I could very well lose my security clearances instantly and be under investigation.

    45. Mickey says:

      Sanity starts out this way: “If I go behind my bosses back and discuss things with a customer or competitor for business…”
      Unfortunately, the President is not Rockefeller’s boss. (The United States has not gotten to that point yet.)

    46. Mickey says:

      I just checked (thanks to Blogagog) the Separation of Powers act. I read enough of it to discover nothing about a member of the legislature going to a foreign country and expressing his opinion as being contrary to the act.

      Do you have something more precise in mind?

    47. Mickey says:

      Just checked the Supreme Court cases (also found in the same Wikipedia article that Blogalog referred to.) I started from 1930 to the present, and the only thing that remotely looked like a discussion of separation of powers was under Nixon, and the particular decision rendered (executive privilege) had nothing to do with what Jay Rockefeller said to the King of Jordan. Are you SURE Rockefeller broke a law? What law?

    48. “Are you SURE Rockefeller broke a law? What law?”

      Perhaps this one:

      § 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments:

      Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

      What Rockefeller did was also dangerously close to treason, IMO, which involves giving aid to the enemy.

      This thread is a classic example about how low the Democratic party has sunk in terms of what they will let their party leaders get away with. It’s ok to go on foreign soil and discuss possible war plans with they ally of the country we were sworn enemies with at the time but it’s not ok to use warrantless wiretaps beyond a 72 hour timeframe during a time of war ??

      Boggles the mind.:-?

    49. sanity says:

      Interesting read.

      Congressional Record: November 7, 2003 (Senate) Page S14254-S14261

      POLITICIZING THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
      Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I want to spend the next several minutes commenting on a matter that I regard, as majority leader of this body, to be one that is very serious. As is the case with a number of my colleagues, in fact, most of the U.S. Senators, we have been given the opportunity to reflect on the publication of a very disturbing internal memorandum, a memorandum that lays out a blatant, partisan strategy to use the Senate Intelligence Committee to politically wound the President of the United States.

      That is unacceptable. There is really no other way to read this memo. I am deeply disappointed that anyone–that anyone–would have a plan to so politicize the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. Senate, to render it incapable of meeting its responsibilities to this institution, to the U.S. Senate, and, indeed, to the American people.

      Moreover–I had hesitated to come to the floor to address this directly, but now is the time to do that–the response by those behind this memo has been miserably inadequate, has been disappointing, and has been disturbing. We are at a time of peril in our Nation’s history. As our intelligence agencies and our Armed Forces in the Middle East are at war against our mortal enemies, those responsible for this memo appear to be–and anybody can read this memo. It is available now. The copy I have here is actually on the FOXNews Web site. But if you read it, those responsible for this memo appear to be more focused on winning the White House for their party than on winning the war against terror. Those priorities are wrong. They are dead wrong.

      As majority leader of the U.S. Senate, as one responsible for preserving the integrity of this institution and the direction of this institution, it is incumbent upon me to make sure we address this matter properly, appropriately, and adequately.

      In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, the failure thus far to find deployed weapons of mass destruction is a legitimate matter for inquiry by this body, this institution, for our colleagues. After all, for nearly 10 years–throughout the 8-year tenure of President Clinton and the first 2 years of President Bush–the U.S. Congress and the White House were given a steady flow of information by the intelligence community that suggested such weapons did exist.

      In fact, it was this information that precipitated, in 1998, the U.S. military attack Operation Desert Fox, ordered by President Clinton at that time, and, in part, Operation Iraqi Freedom, ordered by President Bush in 2003.

      Thus, if there is incomplete or imprecise information that had been provided to President Clinton or President Bush and the U.S. Congress over a 10-year period, the intelligence community should be asked to explain. That is what the Intelligence Committee is expected to do; it is really charged by this body to do; and that is exactly–that is exactly–what Senator Roberts, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, set out to do.

      Last spring, Senator Roberts, as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, made a commitment, jointly with Senator Rockefeller, to conduct a thorough review of U.S. intelligence on the existence of and the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.

      The review was also intended to cover Iraq’s ties to terrorist groups, Saddam Hussein’s threat to stability and security in the region, and his violations of human rights, including the demonstrated actual use of weapons of mass destruction; namely, chemical weapons against his own people.

      The review was intended to examine the quantity of information, the quality of U.S. intelligence, the objectivity, the independence, the accuracy of the judgments reached by the intelligence community, whether or not those judgments were properly disseminated to policymakers in the executive branch, as well as to this body and the Congress, and whether any influence was brought to bear on anyone to shape the analysis to support policy objectives.

      Thus, that was the initial charge and what, in fact, has occurred over the past 5 months. The Intelligence Committee staff has reviewed thousands of documents. It has interviewed over 100 individuals, including private citizens and analysts and senior officials with the Central Intelligence Agency, with the National Security Council, with the Defense Intelligence Agency, with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and even the United Nations.

    50. Mickey says:

      Sister Toldjah makes this comment:
      “What Rockefeller did was also dangerously close to treason, IMO, which involves giving aid to the enemy.”

      And who, pray, did Rockefeller aid? King Hussein of Jordan? The King of Saudi Arabia? Assad of Syria? Since when have we classified them as enemies? If Saudi Arabia is our enemy, who is not our enemy? (Let us not forget… before you answer “Syria!” that at least one of our “extraordinary renditions” of a certain Canadian was to our ally, Syria.

    51. He aided Iraq.

      Let me spell it out: Syria is an ally of Iraq.

      We’ve tolerated Syria to a certain extent because we needed their assistance in the war on terror. Toleration of another country does not equate to friendship nor does it give a sitting US Senator on the Senate Intelligence Committee the right to visit an ally of a sworn enemy and tell them he thinks we’re going to invade Iraq.

      Why on earth is that so hard for the left to understand?

    52. sanity says:

      Sharing Secrets With Lawmakers
      Congress as a User of Intelligence
      LINK

      A good read on the NYT and possible violation of the Espionage Act

      WHICH SIDE WILL AMERICANS CHOOSE TO BE ON?

      Using the definition of treason prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, the following event seems to provide a precise example.

      Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on the November 14, 2005 edition of “Fox Sunday” divulged

      “I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq–that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.”

      Senator Rockefeller was at the time of his trip, less than four months after 9/11, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which means he was entrusted with “sensitive secured information” as relates existing intelligence regarding Iraq WMD, ongoing intelligence operations looking into Iraq’s WMD program and America’s national security plans concerning the ongoing threat.

      Syria was then and remains today on the State Departments list of terror regimes, clearly defined for some years as an enemy to America itself. But Syria was also a close ally to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the very subject of the information Senator Rockefeller chose to share with Hussein’s allies in Syria.

      In the weeks that followed Senator Rockefellers’ friendly visit with Syria, CIA operatives began reporting Iraqi convoys traveling across the Syrian border; – a suspected “outsourcing” of Iraq’s WMD, which became the centerpiece of Colin Powell’s case against Iraq before the UN. Those same WMD that would later go missing by the time America entered Iraq 12 months later. (See the entire time-line of events here in Rockefeller’s Treachery by writer Joan Swirsky.)

      What were Senator Rockefeller’s “intentions” in his visit with three Arab Middle Eastern states four months after 9/11, carrying with him and divulging “national security information” concerning America’s intelligence and related policy towards Iraq? Was his trip an “overt act”, and did his trip include a “violation of trust or allegiance” to the United States? Did the information he carried to known U.S. enemies, known allies of the Hussein regime, provide “aid or comfort” to America’s enemies?

      According to the definition of treason spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, and Senator Rockefeller’s own account, there has not been a more clear-cut case of treason in modern history. Yet the so-called American press has been completely silent on the subject, which is of course, a form of “aiding and abetting” in and of itself.

      How far was Senator Jay Rockefeller willing to go?

    53. andrew says:

      Good luck proving the intent element in that statute. Also, how do you know he didn’t have authority to talk to them?

      “What Rockefeller did was also dangerously close to treason, IMO, which involves giving aid to the enemy.”

      Whats the aid? He could have stood up in congress and said it. It would have been in the congressional record. He could have said it on CNN, or skynews, or Al-jazeera, or an op-ed piece in the wall street journal. Good luck with the adherence element too.

      “It’s ok to go on foreign soil and discuss possible war plans with they ally of the country we were sworn enemies with at the time but it’s not ok to use warrantless wiretaps beyond a 72 hour timeframe during a time of war ?”

      Can someone post on their blog that they think the US is determined to go to war with syria? Even if that is not true? Even if they know people from the syrian government read their blog?

    54. blogagog says:

      As I said, I would not call it treasonous, just illegal, mikey. It is the job of the executive branch to make the deal with foreign powers, and the legislature’s job is to ratify or not ratify that agreement.

      This is not my opinion, it is the law.

    55. Mickey says:

      Thank you, Sister Toldjah, for drawing my attention to that law. I would point out two things:
      1. That law has NOTHING to do with separation of powers. It says clearly “any citizen of the United States…” which is not the same as “any legislator” or “any Justice of the Peace….”
      2. That law has not, in my experience, been enforced by either Democrat or Republican, despite provocation. I will mention two cases so that you will understand what I mean.
      A. Some 15 years ago or so, Jesse Jackson went to Lebanon to negotiate for the release of some kidnap victims. He was clearly not going at the behest of President Reagan.
      B. Clinton was just about to invade Haiti… when ex-President Carter arrived and negotiated an exit of the military guy who had ruled Haiti. Clinton was not happy…. but Carter did not, as far as i know, spend much time in jail.

      Now if neither Democrats nor Republicans will enforce this law, why bother bringing it up?

      There are various reasons for this law to exist. Consider how dangerous was Jackson’s dealings with the Lebanese… and consider all of the American ships off shore in Haiti…. and now consider Rockefeller going to Syria and saying, “It is my opinion that the sun is going to rise tomorrow morning.”

    56. Mickey says:

      I agree with Blogagog, that a law exists, and that what Rockefeller did was POSSIBLY illegal, and CERTAINLY questionable.

    57. Mickey says:

      Syria and Iraq are not allies. During the previous war, when the US drove Iraq out of Kuwait, the only country in the world that was neutral was Jordan. (The Palestinians supported Saddam). Assad’s father was opposed to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

      As a matter of fact, these countries are only “united” in that both of them are opposed to the existence of Israel. By this logic, the US should also consider Malaysia an enemy.

      The only thing more absurd than supposing that Syria and Iraq are allies is supposing that Iran and Iraq are allies. It has been a long time, but Iran and Iraq had a war that lasted ten years and cost more than a million lives. Do you really think that Iran would be glad to hold onto Saddam’s WMD briefly…. until he could just regain the presidency of his country?

    58. Mickey says:

      For those who believe in a Syria /Iraq alliance, check this… and then check the URL.

      Iraq’s most bitter foreign relationship was with the rival Baath government in Syria. Although there were periods of amity between the two governments–such as the one immediately after the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the one in October 1978, when Iraq and Syria both opposed Egypt’s plans for a separate peace with Israel–the governments generally were hostile to one another. Relations began to deteriorate once again at the end of 1980 following the outbreak of the war with Iran. Syria criticized Iraq for diverting Arab attention from the real enemy (Israel) and for attacking a regime (Iran) supportive of the Arab cause. Relations worsened throughout 1981 as each country accused the other of assisting antiregime political groups. In April 1982, Syria closed its borders with Iraq and cut off the flow of Iraqi oil through the pipeline that traversed Syrian territory to ports on the Mediterranean Sea. The cessation of Iraqi oil exports via this pipeline was a severe economic blow; Iraq interpreted the move as a confirmation of Syria’s de facto alliance with Iran in the war.

      The hostility between Iraq and Syria has been a source of concern to the other Arab states. King Hussein of Jordan, in particular, tried to reconcile the Iraqi and Syrian leaders. Although his efforts to mediate a meeting between Saddam Husayn and Syrian president Hafiz al Assad were finally realized in early 1987, these private discussions did not lead to substantive progress in resolving the issues that divided the two countries. Intense diplomatic efforts by Jordan and by Saudi Arabia also resulted in the attendance of both presidents, Saddam and Assad, at the Arab League summit in Amman in November 1987. The Iraqis were irritated, however, that Syria used its influence to prevent the conference from adopting sanctions against Iran. The animosities that have divided the rival Iraqi and Syrian factions of the Baath appeared to be as firmly rooted as ever in early 1988.

      Iraq Table of Contents

      Source: U.S. Library of Congress

    59. *SIGH* Yeah, Syria and Iraq aren’t allies – that’s why so many of Saddam’s regime (and family?) were welcomed there with open arms after the fall of Baghdad:

      WASHINGTON — At least one and perhaps more senior officials of Saddam Hussein’s toppled regime have fled into Syria, U.S. officials charged Monday, prompting the Bush administration to threaten economic sanctions against Iraq’s most friendly neighbor.

      U.S. officials wouldn’t identify the Iraqi leaders who have fled to Syria, but a Defense official said that among the fugitives is Sajida Khairallah, mother of Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay. Other administration officials could not confirm that.

      Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad not to provide haven to senior Iraqi officials sought by allied forces. One, Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half brother of Saddam, was caught Sunday en route to Syria, officials said.

      See also this for info on Iraq/Syria relations:

      First, Syria chose to place itself at the head of the Arab camp opposing the war and was prominent in its sharp, even belligerent, criticism of Washington’s decision to go to war. Moreover, Syria not only supported Iraq rhetorically, but also when the war actually broke out, Syria continued to turn a blind eye to the smuggling of weapons into Iraq via Syria and allowed Arab (mainly Syrian) volunteers to cross the Syrian border into Iraq.

      […]

      Alongside these foci of disagreement, the increasingly close relations between Damascus and Baghdad were a major issue for Washington. Indeed, since Bashar rose to power, there were perceptible efforts to turn over a new leaf in his relations with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. However, it should be mentioned that the trend toward improved relations between Syria and Iraq had begun in 1997, under Hafiz al-Asad. These relations had been on a downward course since the beginning of the 1980s because of Syria’s support for Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, as well as the personal, political and ideological differences that arose between the fellow Ba’th regimes, Syrian and Iraqi.(16)

      However, in 1997, Asad sensed that Saddam Hussein no longer posed a real threat to Syria and he apparently wanted to use closer relations between the two states as a bargaining chip against the United States and Israel. The Syrians were horrified by the election of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel and by the possibility of the exacerbation of Syrian-Turkish relations to the point of armed conflict. In any event, while Hafiz al-Asad did renew relations between Syria and Iraq, he acted cautiously, refraining from introducing anything of substance to these relations, certainly not turning them into any kind of a strategic or intimate alliance.(17)

      So far, in anything that has had to do with his relations with Iraq, Bashar has been revealed in all his inexperienced youth. He has demonstrated extreme daring, certainly in comparison with his father’s cautious policies. His government did not hesitate to express explicit and unequivocal support of Iraq, even to the point of attempting to establish a unified pan-Arab front against the American intention of attacking that country. Damascus also became the focal point of pilgrimages by senior Iraqi officials, led by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ‘Aziz, and Vice Presidents ‘Izat Ibrahim al-Duri and Tariq Yasin Ramadan, who were cordially welcomed in the Syrian capital.(18)

      In addition, Syria’s relations with the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein cooled, and the Syrians put limits on their activities. For example, a radio station run by the Iraqi opposition operating in Syria was shut down in early 2001 and the publication of anti-Iraq newspapers in Damascus was outlawed.(19) However, the Syrians continued their contacts with Kurdish movements, a move designed to ensure a certain amount of Syrian influence in Iraq in the event of an American attack and even more so in the event of the Iraqi state’s political breakdown. The Syrians feared the possibility of the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, which could have implications for the Kurdish population in Northeastern Syria.

      Moreover, in the autumn of 2000, the Iraqis began exporting oil via Syria. The Iraqi oil flowed through Syria via the Kirkuk-Banyas pipeline in amounts between 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). This oil was transferred to Syria for local use, allowing Syria to increase exports of its own oil. Washington was quick to protest to the Syrians for their crass violation of the boycott of Iraq. However, in response to that protest, Bashar explained to Secretary of State Powell and later to President Bush that the flow of oil had been part of a technical examination of the pipeline, which had been idle for almost two decades, and that with the completion of the examination, the flow of oil would be stopped.(20)

      At the end of 2000, it was reported that shortly after the Palestinian intifada broke out, Saddam Hussein moved Iraqi forces to the Syrian border perhaps as a warning signal to Israel but clearly in order to exploit the situation to improve his regional standing.(21) In the summer of 2002, reports were published that Syria had turned a blind eye to the smuggling of weapons from Eastern Europe to Iraq via Syria involving Firas Talas, son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Talas and a well-known businessman in Damascus. This time, the Syrians were quick to deny these reports.(22) Finally, in late 2002, it was reported that the Syrians had allowed Iraq to hide some of its weapons of mass destruction in their territory and even assisted in the transfer of Iraqi weapons to Hizballah. These reports were also denied by the Syrians.(23)

      After Bashar rose to power, Syria continued to refrain from any kind of strategic alliance with Iraq or even from renewing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Apparently, it was the Old Guard surrounding Bashar that prevented the development of closer relations between Syria and Iraq. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ‘Aziz proposed, during a visit to Damascus, that Syria should ratify the “National Action Treaty” that the two countries had signed in the late 1970s when relations between the two countries were good, but that Saddam Hussein canceled when he rose to power in 1979. Syrian Defense Minister Talas reacted with derision, stating that “Hafiz al-Asad died without ever learning why Saddam cancelled the Treaty, or why he was so quick to accuse Syria of plotting a coup against him.”(24) It is possible that the Syrians’ fear of Iranian and the Gulf States’ reactions prevented Asad from getting too close to Iraq. After all, it was Bashar al-Asad who called Saddam Hussein “a beast of a man” during a visit to Kuwait even before he succeeded his father.(25)

      Ties between Syria and Iraq, both during Hafiz al-Asad’s rule and that of his son Bashar, were first and foremost of economic significance. Iraq became a milk cow for Syria because of the dramatic increase in trade between the two countries, which reached at least $3 billion by the end of 2002.(26) The increase in trade between the two countries—both direct and for goods transported through Syria to bypass UN sanctions–was accompanied by a series of economic agreements, including the establishment of a Syria-Iraq free trade zone and one on joint investments in the two countries. An airline route between Baghdad and Damascus was inaugurated in blatant violation of the sanctions and, in July 2001, a railroad line was opened between Mosul and Aleppo. The resumption of the flow of oil between Kirkuk and Baniyas amounted to about one-third of Syria’s own production. The Iraqi oil was sold to Syria at a reduced price and Syria used it for the domestic market, letting it increase its own oil exports and realize a nice profit.(27)

      Nice try though, Mickey.

      Let me add this: whether or not any of the countries Rockefeller went to was an ally of Iraq, Rockefeller had no business going to the Middle East and discussing with any of them the possibility that we might go to war with a Middle Eastern country. In some circles, Rockefeller’s word could have been construed as an act of war – and hypothetically speaking, if we didn’t have plans eventually to deal with Iraq, that would have been a diplomatic mess of epic proportions.

      The bottom line is when it comes to matters of foreign policy, it’s up to the President and his cabinet to set up alliances with countries deemed friendly to US interests. It is NOT up to sitting US Senators to tell any country what he thinks our war policy will be towards ANY country – PERIOD. Jay Rockefeller is a seasoned veteran in the Senate and knew better. The shame is on him and anyone who thinks it was no big deal for him to undermine US policy by going there and whispering in their ears.

    60. andrew says:

      “*SIGH* Yeah, Syria and Iraq aren’t allies – that’s why so many of Saddam’s regime (and family?) were welcomed there with open arms after the fall of Baghdad:”

      And why do we send them al-qaeda suspects? Maybe the world isn’t so black and white?

    61. CavalierX says:

      >And why do we send them al-qaeda
      >suspects?

      I think you mean Jordan.

    62. Learn to read, andrew – my post from earlier:

      We’ve tolerated Syria to a certain extent because we needed their assistance in the war on terror. Toleration of another country does not equate to friendship nor does it give a sitting US Senator on the Senate Intelligence Committee the right to visit an ally of a sworn enemy and tell them he thinks we’re going to invade Iraq.

    63. blogagog says:

      We send al-quaeda suspects to Syria, Andrew? Are you sure? Do you have proof? If so, why do we do that? We have allies that still torture, so it can’t be just to torture info out of them.

      Are you pretty sure?

    64. andrew says:

      “We send al-quaeda suspects to Syria, Andrew? Are you sure? Do you have proof? If so, why do we do that? We have allies that still torture, so it can’t be just to torture info out of them.”

      Look up the case of Maher Arar.

    65. Mickey says:

      For those who haven’t been reading the news for the last few years, Maher Arar is a Canadian of Syrian descent who visited his wife’s former home in North Africa, and was arrested and sent on an “extraordinary rendition” mission back to his ancestral home, where he was tortured in Syria… at our (i.e. the US) request. After 6 months, the Syrians let him go…. of course, without charges.

      Mickey

    66. Mickey says:

      Is it possible that Syria is helping us in the war on terrorism? If so, we usually call people who are on our side in a war “allies.” Let us not forget that some of Saddam’s people have been arrested in Syria, trying to escape Iraq. And Saddam’s family is now living…. in Jordan, not Syria.

    67. Mickey says:

      But to be perfectly fair, I will grant that Syria’s actions do run hot and cold. I grant it is possible that Saddam might have left some of his WMD in Syria, I’ll grant…. but please please please do not suggest that Saddam was allied with Iran. That is just too absurd.

    68. Mickey says:

      Consider: Why did Saddam have those WMD in the first place? Saddam used them against Iran. Now do you suppose that the Iranians are going to let their good friend Saddam store his WMD somewhere in Iran until he can just break out of jail and become “President” again?

      The Iranians have their own agenda…. and it isn’t too hard to figure what it is. Have you noticed that something like 60% of Iraq is Shia? Now the Shia (in South Iraq) always liked the Iranians…. Moqtada al Sadr (no friend of Saddam) spent time in Iran. So did Sistani. The Brits in South Iran have had few casualties (for one reason) because they have not interfered with the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi militia. When the Brits leave…. do you suppose that the Shia in south Iraq would have anything preventing them from joining up (de facto) with the Iranians?

      And what does Saddam’s WMD have to do with any of this? I suppose that you will tell me that the Shia in Iraq and Saddam were good buddies.

      I will say this: if the US really does decide to bomb Iran, and if Saddam really did hide his WMD in Iran…..