Anniversary of Second U.S. Iraq War
March 20, 2003
From the Party Press
Inspections as Spying
As the inspection process has proceeded, once again there is reason to believe that the U.S. spares no effort to use it to spy on Iraq. On January 9, Iraqi TV quoted Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz as saying that a great deal of the work of the arms inspectors present in Iraq is not to search for weapons of mass destruction. He said that the arms inspectors are searching for information about the Iraqi conventional military capability, information about the Iraqi scientific and industrial capability in the civilian area and also espionage questions. Saddam Hussein said the inspection teams are going around looking at army units and posing questions which have nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Hussein said the inspectors are going into factories, questioning workers and asking for lists of scientists who have nothing to do with mass destruction weapons. They are indulging in lowly intelligence work, he said.
A recent article by John Donnelly in the Boston Globe openly spoke about the work which “U.S. operatives” are carrying out inside Iraq. “About 100 U.S. Special Forces members and more than 50 Central Intelligence Agency officers have been operating in small groups inside Iraq for at least four months, searching for Scud missile launchers, monitoring oil fields, marking minefield sites, and using lasers to help U.S. pilots bomb Iraqi air-defense systems,” the Globe reported. “The operations, which also have included small numbers of Jordanian, British, and Australian commandos, are considered by many analysts to be part of the opening phase of a war against Iraq, even though the Bush administration has agreed to a schedule of UN weapons inspections,” the Globe said.
“War preparations have been in full swing for months,” the Globe said. “We’re bombing practically every day as we patrol the no-fly zones, taking out air defense batteries, and there are all kinds of CIA and Special Forces operations going on. So I would call it the beginning of a war,” said Timur J. Eads, a former U.S. special operations officer for 20 years who took part in missions inside Iraq in the 1990s. “A U.S. intelligence official said that the Iraq missions are separate from the work of the UN inspectors, but that the two operations may be moving in parallel,” the Globe said.
In the northern “no-fly” zone, the “Americans are reportedly working alongside fighters belonging to Kurdish factions. They are also said to be identifying potential leaders to work with in case of an invasion. That tactic was used successfully in Afghanistan with the Northern Alliance before the war there in 2001,” the Globe said. “In another parallel to the covert operations in Afghanistan, CIA and Special Forces members also are paying thousands of dollars to those who cooperate with them, according to the official and the analysts,” the Globe adds.
Naseer H. Aruri, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, pointed out, “Certainly, the Arab world and the Islamic world would see it [U.S. spying] as being inconsistent with the weapons inspections, as well as an infringement on Iraq’s sovereignty. It makes clear that the public acceptance of the UN mission and inspection process was more of a tactic than anything else.”
Iraqi Presidential Adviser General Amer al-Saadi said he intended to raise questions about some “unjustified” actions by arms inspectors when Blix and ElBaradei were in Baghdad on January 19-20. He said that inspectors “have asked questions pertaining to, among others, the chain of command and changes that had occurred at the sites during the past few years,” AFP said. “(At) a military base, at such a time, when Iraq is threatened with (a U.S.-led) invasion, to ask these questions is a bit much,” he said. But he said these “could be individual oversights from inspectors, ignorance,” and “it should be clarified,” Saadi said.