Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Duelfer Report: IRAQ, WMD, OIL & the War

.... in case you missed it.
Duelfer report: Hussein planned on postwar insurgency
Classified version of same report says US oil companies and individuals
benefited from UN oil-for-food program.
posted October 12, 2004, updated 10:30 a.m.

Last week's report by the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group – now commonly called the Duelfer Report after chief weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer – has been generating headlines since its release. One key finding highlighted by the media was the acknowledgement that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction, and what programs it did have to create such weapons had been in decline since 1991. Then came the stories about the UN's oil-for-food program and how Saddam Hussein "gamed" the system in order to secretly raise billions of dollars in allegedly corrupt oil deals.

Now the Boston Globe is surfacing more information from the Duelfer report that shows that the United States with its 'shock and awe" campaign may have played into Mr. Hussein's plans for a prolonged insurgency after the country was captured by US troops. The report based its findings on interviews with former top Iraqi generals, along with other sources.

"Saddam believed that the Iraqi people would not stand to be occupied or conquered by the United States and would resist – leading to an insurgency," said the 1,000-page report by chief weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer. "Saddam said he expected the war to evolve from traditional warfare to insurgency."

The Age, of Melbourne, Australia, says the Duelfer reports says that from August 2002 to January of 2003 Hussein ordered his military commanders to bury weapons around the country. And the report also says that in the months before the US invasion Hussein and his generals read books by Vietnamese communists on how to conduct guerilla warfare.

The Duelfer report, according to the Globe, also says that the CIA "warned in several secret reports before the war that the invasion would likely be followed by a guerrilla campaign." Other top US military commanders, such as retired Army General George Joulwan, the former NATO commander who led the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, say there were many other signs that the Iraqis were planning to fight an insurgency rather than a traditional war.

"The US was meeting organized resistance of a different kind, not Republican Guards but this different sort of fighting. It was an early warning." Even by telegraphing that the US-led onslaught would be a "shock and awe" campaign, the United States unnecessarily played into the Iraqis' hands, according to Joulwan, because from an enemy standpoint it provided additional reason not to confront the United States directly. "There were strong indications this was part of their strategy," Joulwan said.

The Daily Telegraph of London reported on Sunday that a "powerful 'old guard'" at the CIA has launched an "unprecedented campaign" to undermine the Bush administration with a series of negative leaks and briefings about Iraq. The Telegraph reports that there is "anger in the CIA" for being blamed for all of the problems with the prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Bill Harlow, the former CIA spokesman who left with the former director George Tenet in July, acknowledged that there had been leaks from within the agency. "The intelligence community has been made the scapegoat for all the failings over Iraq," he said. "It deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. People are chafing at that, and that's the background to these leaks."

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Monday that several prominent US firms and individuals had received vouchers from Hussein's government that allowed them to buy Iraqi oil under the UN oil-for-food program, and were among the largest purchasers of Iraqi oil right up until the start of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

When the ISG released its report last week, it listed only foreign companies and individuals that had benefitted from the UN plan. US names were withheld for privacy reasons, an explanation that made foreign countries named in the report furious. But the American names were included in classified copies of the reports given to Congress and the White House and these copies were shown to the Times.

The report said US companies Chevron, Mobil, Texaco and Bay Oil, as well as three US individuals, including oil baron Oscar Wyatt, were together allotted 111 million barrels of oil ... Spokesmen for the companies and for Mr Wyatt said the transactions were legal, but confirmed they had received subpoenas from a grand jury investigating the transactions.

Finally, Jack Kinsella of the Omega Letter, a Christian news website, comments on the fact that it was Saddam Hussein who fooled his generals about the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and not the other way around. Until the Iraq Survey Group report appeared, security experts had speculated on the possibility that Iraqi generals had kept Hussein in the dark about the real condition of his WMD programs, in order to protect their lives. But the ISG report, comments Mr. Kinsella, showed that Hussein was "micromanaging" his weapons programs and policies so that he could fool his two biggest enemies – the United States and Iran – into thinking he was still a power with which to be reckoned.

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