More Iraq intelligence papers
: Secret documents found in Baghdad show that Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Western leaders.
Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available, and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries. The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden.
The revealing documents were obtained from the bombed headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad
Mr Blair is referred to in a report dated March 5, 2002, and marked. In the letter, an Iraqi intelligence official explains that a Russian colleague had passed him details of a conversation between Mr Blair and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at a meeting in Rome. The two had met for an annual summit on February 15, 2002
The list of assassins is referred to in a paper dated November 27, 2000. In it, an agent signing himself SAB says the Russians have passed him a detailed list of killers.
Another document, dated March 12, 2002, appears to confirm that Saddam Hussein had developed, or was developing, nuclear weapons. The Russians warn Baghdad that if it refused to comply with the UN it would give the United States "a cause to destroy any nuclear weapons". 12:05:34 PM
MidEast + Elections
: "In words that may come back to haunt them, officials in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan insisted this week that the Iraqi people must be free to choose who will lead them, making the point that the United States should bow out of Iraq as soon as possible. But it only underscored that almost every Arab country has a head of state who cannot be turned out of office through elections. .. Many Egyptians did not miss the irony of President Hosni Mubarak's call for Iraqis to choose their own government. ..The shock of watching the Iraqi regime sacrifice Baghdad without a fight also showed the emptiness of the rhetoric that had so enthralled much of the Arab street."
The governments of Egypt and Syria won most recent reelections by 93.7% and 97.3%. 12:04:18 PM