Russia: Documents Allege Envoy Gave Baghdad Information On U.S. Plans
By Daniel Kimmage
On March 23, the American television company ABC News reported that the U.S. military recently released two documents that it says are "unverified" but which suggest that in 2003, during the lead-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Russia's ambassador to Iraq allegedly provided Iraqi officials with information about the U.S. military presence and plans in the Gulf.
The documents are publicly available online with the disclaimer that the U.S. government "has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity, or factual accuracy of the information contained therein."
Below are both documents translated in full. The first details a March 24, 2003, meeting between Iraqi officials and Russian Ambassador Vladimir Titorenko (identified by ABC News as "Vladimir Teterenko"). An undated second document recounts a meeting between Titorenko and Iraqi officials that apparently took place in early March 2003.
Document No. 1
Secret and Urgent
Keep your enemy before your eyes, act before he does, and do not let him behind your back.
-- President Saddam Hussein (God keep and preserve him)
Date: March 25, 2003
To: The Office of the President, Mr. Secretary
Subject: American Aggression against Iraq
First: The Russian ambassador informed us on the evening of March 24, 2003 of the following:
Point 1: In relation to the position paper that we delivered to them on March 23, 2003 (the subject of our report 459 dated March 23, 2003), he noted that the Russian foreign minister is in agreement. The time has come to raise the subject of American aggression against Iraq in the [UN] Security Council. For this reason, he has directed the Russian envoy to the UN to meet with his counterparts from China, France, Syria, and Germany to discuss elements of the Iraqi position paper and to prepare a draft resolution to present to the [Security] Council. The Russian foreign minister feels that the resolution's chances of success in the Security Council are nil because the Anglo-Saxons have a veto. But Russia considers talks in the Security Council important to convey that the American-British military effort consists of aggression and the unilateral use of force in violation of international law, the UN Charter, and Security Council resolutions. If the Security Council fails to adopt the resolution, the matter will be transferred to the UN General Assembly. The Russian foreign minister proposes that Iraq coordinate with Arab countries and the non-aligned movement to demand the holding of a session of the Council.
Point 2: As concerns the proposals by Kofi Annan to introduce changes to the Oil for Food program, the Russian foreign minister has directed Russia's permanent representative to the UN to freeze any discussion of Kofi Annan's proposals. There will be a meeting in Paris on March 27 at the level of departments within the foreign ministries of Russia, France, China, and Germany, to agree on proposals about the program that these countries will present.
Point 3: Information Russia has obtained from its sources in the U.S. Central Command in Doha [Qatar] indicates that the Americans have concluded that the occupation of Iraqi cities is impossible. They have changed their approach and now intend to spread out along the Euphrates River from Al-Basrah in the south to Al-Qa'im in the north, avoiding entering cities. The goal is to cut Iraq off from its Western border. The Americans also plan to occupy oil wells in Kirkuk.
Point 4: Information received indicates that Jordan has agreed to accept the American 4th Mechanized [Infantry] Division. It had been decided that this division would enter Turkey, but after the Turkish parliament's refusal to permit it entry, it changed direction and it is crossing the Suez Canal at present and is expected to arrive in Aqaba.
Point 5: The Russian ambassador noted that two days ago he gave us [information] on American special forces units Delta and Papa [sic] based on information from Russian intelligence (the subject of our report 446 dated March 20, 2003). He did not have instructions to convey to us the above-mentioned information. Yesterday, Iraqi intelligence officers contacted their counterparts at the Russian embassy and inquired about the matter, noting that the Russian ambassador in Baghdad was the one who gave them this information. This caused him embarrassment. He would like us not to mention in discussions with other Russian agencies the source of the information that he is giving us.
Second: Pursuant to the resolution of the Arab Foreign Ministers' Conference dated March 24, 2003, the Arab group in the UN held a meeting on the evening of March 24, 2003 and decided to send a letter to the chairman of the Security Council demanding an immediate emergency session of the Security Council [to ensure] a halt to the American-British aggression against Iraq; the immediate withdrawal of hostile forces beyond the borders of the Republic of Iraq; respect for Iraq's sovereignty, political independence, and territorial unity; and a ban on [other] countries' interference in its internal affairs. Kuwait objected to sending the letter.
The Arab group also discussed the issue of presenting a draft resolution to the Security Council and considered it appropriate to consult with the non-aligned movement to present a draft resolution that has the support of at least nine members of the Council so that it does not have a negative effect and so the Americans cannot use it to lend legitimacy to the aggression if the draft resolution fails in the Council without a veto.
Elsewhere, our permanent representative to the UN met with the Malaysian representative. It was agreed that Malaysia, acting in the name of the non-aligned movement, will present a demand for an emergency session of the Security Council on the American aggression against Iraq.
For your information. With respect,
Acting Foreign Minister
Document No. 2
To: Office of the President, Mr. Secretary
Re: Meeting with the Russian Ambassador
Our warmest greetings!
We would like to inform you that the Russian ambassador met this evening with the general director for external economic relations and the general director for grain trade and he informed us of the following:
1. The provision of facilities for the departure of Russian specialists working on projects belonging to our ministry without delay for the period March 5-8, with the last plane departing on March 9, as he conveyed. He explained that the request for the evacuation of Russian citizens came at the order of the Russian president.
2. He explained that Russia has been working with France and Germany, and it is expected that they will be joined by Syria and China, to prepare a draft Security Council resolution in response to the U.S.-British resolution that has been presented to the [UN] Security Council. Voting will take place on the two resolutions on March 9. He indicated that it is expected that a number of countries on the Security Council will abstain, including Pakistan, Chile, and Kenya.
3. During this meeting the ambassador presented the following information about the American military presence in the Gulf and the region as of March 2:
- Number of forces: 206,500, including 98,000 marines and 36,500 infantry. Ninety percent of these forces are in Kuwait and on American military vessels.
- American forces have also reached Bubiyan Island
- Number of tanks: 480
- Number of armored vehicles: 1,132
- Number of artillery pieces: 296
- Helicopters (Apache): 735
- Fighter planes: 871
- Units of the American fleet: 106, including 68 in the Gulf and the remainder in Oman, Aden, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean
- Number of aircraft carriers: 5, including one nuclear-powered [carrier]; three of them are in the Gulf, one in the Mediterranean, and the other in [unclear, ed.]
- Number of cruise missiles: 583, belonging to the American navy, distributed among 22 naval vessels
- Number of aircraft-borne cruise missiles: 64
- Number of heavy planes (B-52H) in the Indian Ocean: 10
- Number of B-1B at the American base in Oman (Thumrait): 8
4. The ambassador indicated that what concerns us is the increase in the number of planes in Jordan. He explained that the number of these planes at Al-Salt base is now as follows:
- 24 F-16s
- 10 Tornadoes
- 11 Carriers [F-18s]
He also indicated that there are five A-10 tank killers at the King Faisal base in Jordan.
5. The ambassador also indicated that a number of individuals from the 82nd [Airborne] Division have begun arriving Kuwait. This division was located in Afghanistan, and the number of individuals who have arrived is 750.
Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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