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Saddam's WMDs: The Russian-Syrian Connection By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 20, 2006

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.


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.


How much integrity? Ask Col. David Eberly (USAF, Ret.), the highest-ranking POW of the first Gulf War. Brought out of retirement, Sada – who is an Assyrian Christian and member of the Presbyterian Church – was charged by Saddam Hussein with overseeing captured U.S. servicemen. Saddam Hussein’s son, Qusai, ordered Sada to declare all American POWs war criminals and have them executed; he refused but says he changed Iraqi policy when he convinced Qusai his own family would be targeted in retaliation for violating the Geneva Convention.


According to Saddam’s Secrets, it was not the first time Sada had prevailed upon the Hussein family. In November 1990, he had a “one-hour, 41-minute discussion” with Saddam Hussein, in which the dictator plotted to unleash a chemical and biological attack on Israel at the outset of the Gulf War. Sada says Hussein planned to send his Migs and Mirage aircraft through Syrian and Jordanian airspace “without telling Jordan and the Syrians.” Sada said he convinced the despot against the move by telling him Iraq’s jets would be caught on radar and shot down, inflicting damage on his ally nations. Further, “Israel will have now to retaliate and use their nuclear weapons against Iraq.” This, he said, convinced Saddam to reconsider.


Saddam, he said, was a master at hiding his intentions and his weapons. When asked whether U.S. air strikes had decimated Saddam’s weapons program – as President Clinton suggested several months ago – he replied, “A lot of this was also destroyed by American air attacks.” However, he added, “many [WMDs] were hid.”


“To the best of my knowledge, there are still two big bunkers of concrete” in Iraq containing WMDs, although “Saddam flooded them.” Although he says he has revealed the location to American military officials, he fears they may yet fall into the hands of Saddam loyalists or foreign jihadists if the United States withdraws prematurely.


Now, he says he is again trying to prevent another unannounced WMD attack – fighting, not Saddam or Qusai Hussein, but the media blackout, the partisan stonewall, and politically motivated members of the American intelligence community. He acknowledges it is a David and Goliath fight, but he has faith – like our president – that right will ultimately prevail. “I am very weak, but I am strong in Jesus.”


General Georges Sada’s book, Saddam’s Secrets, is available from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore for $16.49.


This author is especially grateful to Dave and Scott at “Hey, Wake Up America” for their kind invitation to interview Gen. Sada.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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