When a military man – especially a patriot like Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney – states Saddam Hussein shipped his WMD stockpiles to Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom, the media castigate him for overweening fealty to his commander-in-chief. One wonders how they will react when the man making that statement is a former high-ranking official in the Iraqi military, personally called out of retirement by Saddam Hussein.
That man is Gen. Georges Sada, and his reception has consisted of silence.
Sada, the author of Saddam’s Secrets, was the number two man in Saddam Hussein’s air force. Sada’s story confirms the testimony of Lt. Gen. McInerney – from the inside.
Sada recently spoke at the Wednesday Morning Club. This author was privileged to get to interview Sada on the national radio program “Hey, Wake Up America” on February 15 – at the invitation of regular co-hosts Dave Marshall and Scott Crofut.
Sada confounded the conventional wisdom in its every detail: he said Saddam did possess stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, which were transported across the Syrian border by truck and plane in late 2002.
Before the war, Sada says Saddam invested great planning in hiding his weapons stash. “He had a committee specifically to hide [WMDs],” Sada told me. The committee met “until a natural disaster happened in Syria in 2002,” when Saddam saw his chance.
Sada says Saddam used the dam collapse in northwestern Syria as cover, sending out jets filled with WMDs – which the world would believe was humanitarian aid to Iraq’s fellow Ba’athist neighbor and longtime ally. He tells of WMDs being smuggled out of Iraq in “two ways – over the ground and air,” in “747s and 18-wheelers.” Although he was uncertain where in Syria the truck convoy was headed, he said he knew two 747s full of WMDs – “chemical and biological” – were taken to “Damascus directly by air.”
He believes the Iraqis made the transfer between September and November 2002. Though he discounts speculation about the exact date, he stated, “It [was] for sure, after the natural disaster happened in Syria.”
He told this author the foiled al-Qaeda plot to strike Amman Jordan in April 2004 shocked him out of silence. Not only did it prove the weapons still existed, but that they had the potential to kill tens of thousands of people. “These weapons have already fallen into the hands of the terrorists,” Sada said. “20,000 people were supposed to be killed in this attack. But thank the Jordanians that their intelligence managed to stop this.” When he heard of this, “I said, ‘Oh my God, these weapons have fallen into the hands of the terrorists...and then they can use them anywhere in the West, in America, so I decided to make this known, that this is the story: that the weapons have gone to Syria by air and by ground, and something must be done to stop [the rest of] these weapons [from falling] into the hands of the terrorists.”
When Scott Crofut asked, Sada said he doubted Basher Assad’s Ba’athist government would use these weapons in a future Middle Eastern conflict. “To use these weapons would be a disaster,” he said, noting the strong deterrent effect of Israel’s nuclear program. “I don’t think the Syrians are thinking of using it, but God knows how they think.” Syria remains one of a handful of nations never to have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.
If Sada’s story is true, it would lend credence to the testimony of others in the intelligence community that Saddam’s WMDs were shipped to Syria, dating essentially from the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
* As far back as 2003, Lt. Gen. James Clapper stated WMDs have been trucked to Syria.
* In April 2004, Jordan’s King Abdallah claimed the 20 tons of chemical weapons seized in Amman and belonging to al-Qaeda agents were manufactured in Iraq.
* WMD inspector David Kay and others said Syria acted as a depository for Saddam’s WMDs.
* Former Justice Department official John Loftus made a strong argument that significant deposits of WMDs are buried in Syria.
* Israeli Lieutenant General Moshe Yaalon made similar statements in April 2004 and December 2005.
* Last month, FrontPageMag.com columnist Ken Timmerman detailed a briefing given by former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw confirming Russian involvement. Russian General Yevgeni Primakov oversaw an operation known as “Sarandar” (“Emergency Exit”), in which Spetsnaz and other Russian assets convoyed Saddam’s weapons across the Syrian border.
Sada also testified to a Russian role in the WMD evacuation. “There is no doubt to me that the Russians were helpful,” he told me. And the aid went beyond menial labor; Sada quoted recently released transcripts of conversations in which Saddam and Tariq Aziz discussed tying up United Nations efforts through the diplomatic pressure of their business partners. “There was a lot of interference by the Russians and French” in the UN, General Sada said.
In addition being an internal Iraqi eyewitness, Gen. Sada adds his personal integrity to the charges made by distinguished intelligence authorities.
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