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Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Russians did it?

I didn't previously make any comments on the missing explosives story on this blog(although I did make several comments on other blogs) but this information is interesting The Washington Times reports:

Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned. John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
The story also contains this little tidbit at the end:
Defense officials said the Russians can provide information on what happened to the Iraqi weapons and explosives that were transported out of the country. Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
I was somewhat puzzled in the end of 2002 and early 2003 about Russian instranigense toward supporting the Iraq war. Obviously like France, Russia had very significant oil contracts with Iraq but unlike France they do not have a national policy of containing American hyper-power. Indeed, Russia is probably more happy with American hyper-power than they would be with a bi-polar EU/America world. So given that it was obvious by the end of 2002 that America would act in regards to Iraq it seemed strange that Russia position itself so firmly in opposition. We have of course since learned that some Russian officials were bribed with the Oil-for-Food money, and it was always obvious that Russia had been a major supplier of weapons to Iraq. If Russia was also heavily implicated in Iraq's WMD pursuits then their opposition to the war is a bit more clear. Strangely though, this doesn't hold up to well with Putin's claim that he warned President Bush that Iraq was working on a terrorist strike against the U.S. So, Russia remains a murky place, and it is difficult to guess their true motives or goals. Perhaps this is their main goal.


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