Sources: Russia might have helped top Iraqi officials get out of Iraq
Al Bawaba has learnt from various sources that Russia might have helped top Iraqi officials get out of Iraq as part of a Russian diplomatic convoy that left Baghdad Sunday. Russian ambassador Vladimir Titorenko had left Baghdad and arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, claiming that US forces had fired on his diplomatic convoy as it left the Iraqi capital.
Surprisingly, the Russian diplomat returned to the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, officially to bring out an embassy driver wounded in the incident and a diplomat who stayed to look after the hospitalized victim.
However, well-informed sources have told Al Bawaba that the real goal of the Russian convoy journey to Syria was to provide a safe haven for senior Iraqi officials who feared to be prosecuted by the American forces.
It should be noted that earlier this week a leading British newspaper reported that Syria is the Pentagon's next likely target for "regime change". American officials were convinced that Syrian President, Bashar Assad had actively collaborated with the ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and agreed to take weapons, including Scud missiles, from him so they would not be discovered in Iraq by U.N. inspectors.
"Significant equipment, assets and perhaps even expertise was transferred, the first signs of which appeared in August or September 2002," a Bush administration official told The Telegraph. "It is quite possible that Iraqi nuclear scientists went to Syria and that Saddam's regime may retain part of its army there."
Meanwhile, reports in Russian newspapers suggested Wednesday that the secret archives of Saddam could already be in Moscow, despite the CIA's attempt to block them near Baghdad on Sunday.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that the US rangers' attack on the Russian Ambassador's convoy near Baghdad was a clash between SVR, Russian's Foreign Intelligence Service, and the CIA.
Russia had asked for a safe passage for its Ambassador's convoy to move from Baghdad to Syria, but a "Predator" drone had been hovering over the convoy all along the way, according to the Russian daily. The report also denied any case of mistaken identity involved in the attack on the convoy.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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