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WMD pipeline from Iraq to Syria?

Georges Hormuz Sada, a former high-ranking official in Saddam Hussein's Iraqi air force, claims that "Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed," reported the January 26 New York Sun.

Sada doesn't claim to be an eyewitness, insisting that he was told of the transfer by Iraqi airline pilots who supposedly flew 56 missions to deliver chemical weapons to Syria. "I know them well," Sada told the paper. "They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots." The anonymous pilots purportedly claimed that two Iraqi Airways Boeing jets were "converted to cargo planes by removing the seats," after which special Republican Guard brigades loaded what were described as "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." Of course, the only way to validate or falsify Sada's claim would be to invade and occupy Syria.

Gen. Sada, whose book Saddam's Secrets was published on December 27, has been described by USAF Lt. Col. David Eberly (a former Gulf War POW) as "an honest and honorable man." While this may be true, Sada has a bad habit of turning up in odious company.

Sada has long served as a "personal adviser" to former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who worked for many years as an assassin for the Ba'ath Party before having a falling-out with Saddam. Former CIA officer Vincent Cannistraro told The New Yorker that Allawi "has blood on his hands.... He was a paid Mukhabarat [secret police] agent for the Iraqis, and he was involved in dirty stuff."

Allawi has been accused of involvement in a 1970s-era "hit team" that assassinated Ba'ath Party opponents in Europe. After Allawi left the Mukhabarat's employ in 1975, his contract was picked up by British Intelligence. In 1992, he was hired by the CIA, which sluiced millions of dollars into his Iraqi National Accord (INA). The London Spectator reports that the INA was involved in what could "only be termed terrorism against civilians. In 1994 and 1995 a series of bombings at cinemas, mosques and other public places in Baghdad claimed up to 100 civilian lives."

The plausibility of Sada's account, such as it is, rests on his credentials as a judge of character. His willingness to act as a press spokesman for an "ex"-Ba'ath Party assassin and terrorist would seem to impeach his credibility as a character witness.

Sada's "revelations" led to a State Department-organized meeting of the "Syrian National Council," a motley assortment of what the Sun described as "communists, Baathists, and members of the [terrorist] Islamist Muslim Brotherhood," among others opposed to the current Syrian regime.
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Title Annotation:weapons of mass destruction transferred to Syria from Iraq according to Georges Hormuz Sada
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Mar 6, 2006
Words:451
Previous Article:TIA, the undead.
Next Article:Administration to prosecute whistle-blowers.
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