December 30, 2003


Banned Arms Flowed Into Iraq Through Syrian Firm: Files found in Baghdad describe deals violating U.N. sanctions and offer a glimpse into the murky world of weapons smuggling and the ties between 'rogue states.' (Bob Drogin and Jeffrey Fleishman, December 30, 2003, LA Times)

A Syrian trading company with close ties to the ruling regime smuggled weapons and military hardware to Saddam Hussein between 2000 and 2003, helping Syria become the main channel for illicit arms transfers to Iraq despite a stringent U.N. embargo, documents recovered in Iraq show.

The private company, called SES International Corp., is headed by a cousin of Syria's autocratic leader, Bashar Assad, and is controlled by other members of Assad's Baath Party and Alawite clan. Syria's government assisted SES in importing at least one shipment destined for Iraq's military, the Iraqi documents indicate, and Western intelligence reports allege that senior Syrian officials were involved in other illicit transfers.

Iraqi records show that SES signed more than 50 contracts to supply tens of millions of dollars' worth of arms and equipment to Iraq's military shortly before the U.S.-led invasion in March. They reveal Iraq's increasingly desperate search in at least a dozen countries for ballistic missiles, antiaircraft missiles, artillery, spare parts for MIG fighter jets and battle tanks, gunpowder, radar systems, nerve agent antidotes and more.

Pretty much all the dwarves are on record as saying sanctions should have been given more time to "work".

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2003 11:13 AM
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