lligence from sourcesinside the American military command as the U. S. mounted the invasion of?????? ?????picpicpicpic ????? ?????Iraq, and the Russians fed information to?????? ?????picpicpicpic ????? ?????Saddam Hussein on troop movements and plans, according to Iraqi documentscited in a?????? ?????picpicpicpic ????? ?????Pentagon report released Friday. |ADVERTISEMENT ||picpicpicpic|picpicThe Russians relayed information to Saddam during the opening days of thewar in late March and early April 2003, including a crucial time before theground assault on Baghdad, according to the documents.
The unclassified report does not assess the value of the information orprovide details beyond citing two captured Iraqi documents that say theRussians collected information from sources “inside the American CentralCommand” and that battlefield intelligence was provided to Saddam throughthe Russian ambassador in Baghdad. A classified version of the Pentagon report, titled “Iraqi PerspectivesProject,” is not being made public. In Moscow, a duty officer with Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined tocomment on the report late Friday. No one answered the phones at theDefense Ministry. A Pentagon spokesman, Lt.Order now
Col. Barry Venable, referred inquiries seekingcomment to Central Command. At Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla. ,officials did not immediately respond to a request.
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli declined to comment. In addition to citing the Iraqi documents on the matter of Russianintelligence, the report also directly asserted that an intelligence linkexisted. “Significantly, the regime was also receiving intelligence from theRussians that fed suspicions that the attack out of Kuwait was merely adiversion,” the report’s authors wrote. They cited as an example a documentthat was sent to Saddam on March 24, 2003, and captured by the U. S. military after Baghdad fell.
The report said the Iraqi document was titled, “Letter from Russianofficial to presidential secretary concerning American intentions in Iraq. “The Iraqi document said, “The information that the Russians have collectedfrom their sources inside the American Central Command in Doha is that theUnited States is convinced that occupying Iraqi cities are impossible,” andthat as a result the U. S. military would avoid urban combat.
“The strategy is to isolate Iraq from its western borders,” the documentadded. Central Command’s war-fighting headquarters is at an encampment in thedesert just outside Doha, Qatar. The lead author of the Pentagon report, Kevin Woods, told reporters at abriefing that he was surprised to learn that the Russians had passedintelligence to Saddam, and he said he had no reason to doubt theauthenticity of the Iraqi documents. “But I don’t have any other knowledge of that topic,” Woods added,referring to the Russian link. Brig.
Gen. Anthony Cucolo, who appeared with Woods and also was closelyinvolved in the project, said he believed such a link reflected a long-standing close economic relationship between Moscow and Baghdad. “I don’t see it as an aberration,” Cucolo said. “I see it as a follow-on toeconomic engagement and economic interests.
“In the end, one piece of Russian intelligence actually contributed to animportant U. S. military deception effort. By telling Saddam that the mainattack on Baghdad would not begin until the Army’s 4th Infantry Divisionarrived around April 15, the Russians reinforced an impression that U. S.
commanders were trying to catch the Iraqis by surprise. The attack on Baghdad began well before the 4th Infantry arrived, and thegovernment collapsed quickly. As originally planned by Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief whoran the war, the 4th Infantry was to attack into northern Iraq from Turkey,but the Turkish government refused to go along.
Meanwhile the 4thInfantry’s tanks and other equipment remained on ships in the easternMediterranean for weeks – a problem that Franks sought to turn into anadvantage by attacking Baghdad without them. Based on a captured Iraqi document – a memo to Saddam from his Ministry ofForeign Affairs, dated April 2 – Russian intelligence reported through itsambassador that the American forces were moving to cut off Baghdad from thesouth, east and north, with the heaviest concentration of troops in theKarbala area. It said the Americans had 12,000 troops in the area, alongwith 1,000 vehicles. Indeed, Karbala was a major step on the U. S.
invasion route along theEuphrates River to Baghdad. A key bridge over the Euphrates, near Karbala,was seized on April 2, permitting U. S. forces to approach Baghdad from thesouthwest before Iraq could move sufficient forces from the north. The Pentagon report also said the Russians told the Iraqis that theAmericans planned to concentrate on bombing in and around Baghdad, cuttingthe road to?????? ?????picpicpicpic ????? ?????Syria and Jordan and creating enough confusion to force residents to flee.
The Pentagon report, designed to help U. S. officials understand inhindsight how Saddam and his military commanders prepared for and foughtthe war, paints a picture of an Iraqi government blind to the threat itfaced, hampered by Saddam’s inept military leadership and deceived by itsown propaganda.”The largest contributing factor to the complete defeat of Iraq’s militaryforces was the continued interference by Saddam,” the report said.___