Wait? Wut? Iraqi WMDs?

The Telegraph has a bit of a bombshell (no pun intended) headline.

Isis storms Saddam-era chemical weapons complex in Iraq

Facility containing disused stores of sarin and mustard gas overrun by jihadist group

That kinda flies in the face of the usual narrative regarding chemical weapons in Iraq.

Having said that, the article does leave me with some questions. Such as, when were the bunkers containing the putative chemicals sealed? Were these stockpiles post-1991?  Why, in the discussion of the Iraqi WMD program over the years, hasn’t this stockpile been mentioned more often?

45 thoughts on “Wait? Wut? Iraqi WMDs?”

  1. Anybody paying attention to some of the active duty (junior enlisted) bloggers in the 2003-2004 time period knew about some CW stockpiles and some of the production facilities. I distinctly remember reading about finding some of these facilities; I won’t say who it was then but as far as I know he’s still on active duty and moving up through the enlisted ranks. This should not be a surprise.

  2. As any good progressive will tell you: chemical weapons don’t count. I think its because they’ve only been used, until recently in Syria, by dictators against groups which have not been approved by western leftist orthodoxy as being truly in the victim class (like the Kurds).

  3. A cache of about 500 old mustard gas and sarin munitions were found in 2004. These were badly corroded and unusable militarily although the contents were probably still dangerous. They apparently dated from before the first Gulf War of 1991. From time to time small amounts of chemical weapons are found in Iraq. Considering the enormous amount of these weapons manufactured in the 1980s for the war with Iran and the chaos during and after the 1991 war, it is not surprising that small amounts turn up here and there. I recall an incident in Vietnam where we found some mysterious old 105mm rounds in the ammo dump. Turned out they were propaganda rounds designed to expel loads of pamphlets urging surrender…in Korean!

    1. Huh. I thought there were no WMD in Iraq. Either there were or there were not. How many of these warehouses were emptied in the days leading up to the US invasion? How many remain? How much GB and GF and VX does a terrorist need for his purposes? What difference does “militarily useful” make if the terrorists had no intention of firing them from howitzers or rocket launchers?

    2. There was an article in 2012 about Brits helping clean up a chemical weapons facility http://news.yahoo.com/uk-experts-help-iraq-destroy-chemical-residues-144204378.html

      Of course, we know that no such facilities or weapons existed, nor do these recently captured chemical weapons.

      When your people will blow themselves up to reach paradise, does anyone really think they won’t willingly handle dangerous chemical weapons if it might allow them to kill more of their enemies? Dying while doing it would earn them their 99 virgins, so what do they care?

    3. You know that pun was intended, it was just hangin’ there, I could not have resisted. I don’t remember these facilities being mentioned at all and I was still in uniform. Should have gotten that TS/NATO/CRYPTO clearance back when (like in the way back machine “back when”).

    4. The reason for invading Iraq in the first place was that Saddam supposedly had effective military WMD capability or was actively building such capability. This assumption turned out to be incorrect and even questionable at the time. This is according to commissions appointed by President Bush and whose conclusions were agreed to by President Bush.

      As I have commented in another thread and as I was roundly criticized for saying back in 2002/2003, Iraq was not the priority at the time. Al-Qaeda was. If the effort that went into Iraq had been focused on Afghanistan instead (15 times the troops in Iraq as in Afghanistan!) we might not have such a well-organized and capable Al-Qaeda linked organization taking over the Mid-East.

      As I also said at the time, and again was roundly criticized, Iraq after Saddam would be like Yugoslavia after Tito, a horror story of sectarian based violence. If there were WMDs in Iraq they would become the property of terrorists in the inevitable breakdown. And if there were no WMDs why were we there? As it is, there are still some leftovers from the 1980s that are liable to kill anyone who tries to move them and contaminate the location so no one else can try either. If there is anything actually useable and accessible by terrorists, whose fault is that? Bush for going in without a viable follow-up plan that seriously addresses the underlying problem of internecine hatred and its likely consequences? Or Obama for getting out without a viable follow-up plan that seriously addresses the underlying problem of internecine hatred and its likely consequences? Both, for doing what they did for political gain.

      Anyone remember when Clinton tried to kill bin Laden? This three days after the al-Qaeda bombings of two US Embassies in Africa. Bin Laden has issued a declaration of war against the US earlier that year. The cruise missiles missed bin Laden and a number of other leaders by a few hours. Clinton did not try again because (a) his own Democratic Party was horrified that anyone should actually use military force and (b) instead of supporting him, as they would have if he had been one of their own, the Republican Party was too busy chanting “Monica Lewinsky”.

      It is all about Us versus Them. God help anyone who does not adhere exclusively to the Left or to the Right. Don’t just salute your favorite color flag when it goes up the flagpole. Think for yourselves, for God’s sake!

    1. The discovery of small amounts of chemical weapons in Iraq, mostly unusable due to age, began to be reported to the public by Congress in 2006. As I have said elsewhere, considering the huge quantities made in the 1980s for use against Iran, it is not surprising that the UN inspectors in the early 1990s might have missed small amounts. Of course when Iraq was attacking our enemy Iran, he was a good guy and a little WMD (actually a LOT) was forgivable. And that is the way Us versus Them works.

    2. I offered a source that is required to cite its sources and is subject to criticism and correction. That sounds like a really good way to offer up information. The old standby answer from those unable to criticize the arguments provided is to say “You used Wiki???”

    3. Craig

      Concerning a primary source…

      Here are the key points of the information that was declassified and presented to Congress on June 21, 2006. The link below is the letter from the Director of National Intelligence.

      “Key Points:

      — Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons
      munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.

      — Despite many efforts to locate and destroy lraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical
      munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to
      still exist.

      — Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside lraq cannot be ruled out.

      — The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.

      — The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors,
      including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental
      storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.

      -~ It has been reported in open press that insurgents and lraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.”


      The letter refers to degraded and pre-Gulf War munitions. It also mentions the potential for terrorists and insurgents to find and use such munitions, which remain possibly dangerous even if degraded by time. We may note that this opportunity for terrorists and insurgents to search for and find these munitions is the result of the post-invasion chaos. If the UN Inspectors had been given more time to search as they had requested, might they have found some of these munitions? And finding them, might they have been given even more time to continue searching? It is not possible to answer these questions at this late date, but even the opportunity to avoid the chance for terrorists to obtain these munitions was lost.

      You asked me to document with a primary source my contention that the 500 items found were not of recent manufacture. I have done so. If you do not wish to accept this, I see only two other possibilities: One, that there were in fact no WMDs found, which I doubt you want to say, or Two, that the munitions found were of recent manufacture. In either case I ask you to provide a primary source for your claim.

    4. Craig

      I fail to see why you think that a link to information supplied to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence, the actual letter itself, does not qualify as a primary source.

      On the other hand, the link you provided…


      …not only is not a primary source but a summary of information claimed to be from Wikileaks. If Wikipedia, with its requirements for citations to primary sources and inherent ability to be challenged, is not an acceptable source, then your link to Wired, with no links to anything but itself and no opportunity for challenge, ought not to count at all.

      However I see no reason to challenge Wired since what it says is entirely compatible with what I said – that there are some pre-Gulf War munitions turning up and that this has been known for some time, but that no evidence of post-1991 manufacture of WMDs has been found. It does note that there seem to have been recent attempts by unknown parties (Terrorists? Insurgents?) to get hold of these old munitions. This is exactly the danger I raised in 2002 and still abide by, that ending the efforts of the UN inspectors and introducing a chaotic environment could lead to any WMDs (old or new) getting into new and even more dangerous hands.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that you and some other posters possess an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. If one does not adhere strictly and in all details to some specific party line, then one necessarily is guilty of adhering strictly and in all details to an opposing party line. My point, expressed here a number of times, is that this Us versus Them attitude allows the ‘party line adherents’ to be manipulated by power seekers. Moreover, the strict adherence to official doctrine regardless of facts makes the ‘party members’ into fanatical caricatures, fueling the similar radicalization of the opposing camp. This is the road to dictatorship.

  4. SOG, from the UNSCOM report:

    “UNSCOM has concluded that VX was produced on an industrial scale. Precursor and agent storage and stabilization problems were solved. Furthermore, one of Iraq’s documents on this subject, dated 1989, proposes “the creation of strategic storage of the substance (VX – hydrochloride, one step from conversion into VX) so it can be used at any time if needed”. [S/1995/864] Iraq procured a total of 750 tons of precursor chemicals for the production of VX and domestically produced a further 55 tons. According to Iraq, 460 tons of these VX precursors were destroyed through aerial bombardment. It also claims that 212 tons were unilaterally destroyed without international supervision. UNSCOM has been able to verify the destruction of only some 155 tons of these latter 212 tons of precursor chemicals. A further 36 tons were destroyed under supervision by the Commission. The remainder, according to Iraq, was consumed in pre-Gulf War VX production attempts.[S/1997/774] UNSCOM has documented that Iraq actually had precursors sufficient for the production of 200 tons of VX agent.[UNSCOM June 98] Iraq admitted in September 1995 the production in 1990 of 65 ton of choline, a chemical used exclusively for the production of VX. This amount would be sufficient for the production of approximately 90 ton of VX. Furthermore, Iraq had over 200 tons each of the precursors phosphorous pentasulphide and di-isopropylamine. These quantities would be sufficient to produce more than 400 ton of VX. As of 1995 there was no conclusive evidence to support Iraq’s claims concerning the complete disposal of these two precursors and the choline.”

    “Through sampling, however, UNSCOM said it has found traces of a VX stabilizer, indicating that in all probability the VX produced by Iraq was more stable than they have thus far admitted. ”

    “The existence of VX degradation products conflicts with Iraq’s declarations that the unilaterally destroyed special warheads had never been filled with any CW agents ”

    They were lying. We know they were lying. They were caught lying. Yet, you believe them? How quaint.

    1. In addition, the SIPRI report regarding UNSCOM efforts stated this:

      The following items remain unaccounted for:
      • Scud missile components, warheads and propellant
      • 17 tonnes of growth media for the production of BW agents
      • Aerial bombs (of which 3 contained VX)
      • Aerial spray dispensers
      • Items of CW production equipment
      • 4 000 tonnes of CW precursors
      • 750 tonnes of VX precursors
      • 100 al-Hussein missiles
      • 31 000 CW munitions
      • 20 R-17 Scud-B-type missiles
      • 40–70 CBW-capable missile warheads
      • Significant quantities of biological warfare agents
      • Significant quantities of 155-mm ammunition

      Hans Blix in 2003 found virtually NONE of the above items. Oh, and the SIPRI analysis has this statement included:

      “Although the international community has been reluctant, and for good reason, to endorse any policy of bringing about a change of regime, it may be time for the world to confront the limitations of an anachronistic interpretation of Article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter. The principle of non-intervention should not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter.

      The costs of such multilateral intervention may be high, but the costs of not intervening may be higher.”

    2. URR

      In the DHS thread you said: “Why were Iraqi attempts to manufacture VX unsuccessful until 1998? Why were they successful after that?” I asked for documentation. The implication I had gotten from your statement above was that Iraq was successfully producing VX beginning in 1998, which is not what your quotes from UNSCOM say. The report says that large scale production of VX by Iraq was definitely known by 1995. When was this VX produced? That is the part that you left out of your quotes.

      “Based on the new findings, it is now clear that the VX programme began at least as early as May 1985 and continued without interruption until December 1990.”

      This was the sentence you omitted from the beginning of the first (1995) quote you provided.

      In other words, loads of WMDs were made prior to the 1991 war, EXACTLY AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING! Some of those may be left over, EXACTLY AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING! And who was it who discovered these things you point out? UN inspectors. Who was it who wanted to continue searching Iraq in 2003? UN inspectors. And who was it that told those UN inspectors to get out of Iraq or be in the middle of a war? Hmmm?

      If the UN inspectors had been allowed to continue, they might have turned up those leftover WMDs in a non-chaotic environment. As it is, whatever may not have been found is up for grabs by whoever may find (found?) them. And it appears that whatever may be left around is going to fall into the hands of a large and well-organized force linked with al-Qaeda. If the resources that went into Iraq had instead gone into Afghanistan, there might not be an al-Qaeda.

      Who said I believed Iraq? Where did this come from? It appears that once again you are assuming that any opinion other than your own must necessarily be that of the extreme left in every detail. I get the feeling you are not even reading what I am writing, much less trying to answer it.

    3. If the UN inspectors had been allowed to continue, they would have found what, exactly? We know good and well that the Iraqis were stonewalling Blix, and in some cases kept him waiting at the front door while literally moving out CW material from the back. I have a number of friends who were among the listeners to those conversations. Which is consistent with satellite imagery and interviews with Iraqis in Anbar Province.

      My point was, how did the Iraqis suddenly produce the shelf-stable VX that they had tried and failed previously to do? And why did they not admit such?

      Who is MAKSIM, again? And why would he be sent to “assist” Saddam in 2002-3?

    4. URR

      What exactly were these ‘conversations’? Who said what to whom when in what circumstances? And prove it please with credible primary sources.. Elsewhere I recounted an incident I saw in Vietnam that if only the immediate conversations by the witnesses were considered, it would have ‘proved’ that tactical nukes were actually used in Vietnam.

      How come the alleged satellite imagery was not presented to the President’s staff when it might have been not just useful but welcome? How come it did not get mentioned until there was no immediate finding of any WMDs? How come no one else in the administration ever took it seriously enough to ever mention it?

      And the VX capabilities were known in 1995. The VX stabilization issue was apparently solved in 1989 according to what you yourself have quoted. Gee, maybe they solved it because they were working on it since 1985?

      So tell us about MAKSIM. Credible primary sources please.

  5. OldGuy, So…what we have here is simple. Either the person formerly known as Bradley Manning leaked highly sensitive information which included, among other things, information which could not be disclosed to Congress (and thus invalidates your secondary source reporting as you provided)… OR Bradley Manning didn’t leak sensitive information and is being held for crimes he didn’t commit.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not at a point to which Chelsea is put on the same level as the A-Team.

    URR has just given you another load of information which completely refutes what you’ve been throwing out here. I’ll go one step further… as alluded to in the spot reports FROM THE GROUND, the Iraqi Army was engaged in guarding, concealing and maintaining nerve agent stockpiles right up to the fall of Baghdad. Regardless if that was “old stuff” or “new stuff” (which I would doubt myself) – point is the intent to use the “stuff” was apparent. Queue up the scene from “A Bridge too Far” where the intell officer shows the Tiger tanks in Holland. “Routine procedure” is not a valid explanation here.

    1. Craig

      URR has refuted nothing I said as I have shown above. Once the missing portion of the quote is restored, it actually supports what I have been saying.

      A letter from the Director of National Intelligence to the House Intelligence Committee is as PRIMARY as a source can get. Your insistence that this is a secondary source is – let’s face it – just dishonest. On the other hand, the source you provided is not only secondary but even worse than Wikipedia for the reasons I pointed out. Yet you claim that this is somehow primary.

      And what is your reference to Manning supposed to mean? He said that some WMDs have been found in Iraq. As I already noted in reference to your Wired link, Congress was told that back in 2006.

      Concerning your claim that “the Iraqi Army was engaged in guarding, concealing and maintaining nerve agent stockpiles right up to the fall of Baghdad”, please provide a credible primary source for this. And while you are at it please explain why, since the location of these nerve agent stockpiles would therefore have been known, they were not secured as soon as possible or even now over a decade later. If the locations were not known, how would anyone know that anything was being guarded much less what it was?

    1. You do realize that you offered a Duffle Blog article as ‘proof’, right?

    2. I offered a letter from the Director of National Security to the House Intelligence Committee. It does not get any more primary than that.

      And you offered Duffle Blog. You do realize that Duffel Blog is not real, right? It is satire. The things it says are not true. And that is the best you can do?

      Let’s face it, you were Googling far and wide trying to find something, anything to support an opinion you had formed in the absence of data. And you found Duffel Blog and accepted it uncritically. And you think you have won. How sad.

    3. Craig

      I see you are not interested in honest discussion. No point in talking to you anymore. Other readers can form their opinion of you.

      1. I am VERY interested in serious conversation. You are apparently not. Our host had already scolded me for stating the obvious about your responses.

        You offer supporting info like Wiki to support salacious claims. Yet you ignore hard evidence. At the same time, you don’t recognize key components of the subject such as MAKSIM.

        I don’t hide behind a fake name as you do. I’m up front so everyone knows who they are conversing with. Perhaps I could link some of the actual field reports… But as that is leaked, classified information, by way of Manning, it would get our host and I in hot water. Likewise, I’d like to tell you what I have seen, observed, and read while in Iraq… But again, that would only cause trouble. Not the least of which, you’d simply rerun your allegation that I’m lying.


  6. @SOG,
    Anyone who is a serious student of the issue of Iraq’s (or Syria’s) CW programs knows who MAKSIM is.

    The “conversations” were eavesdropping on Iraqi CW sites communicating with Baghdad, until of course the Democratic Congresswoman let slip that we were listening to cell phone conversations. Which dried up immediately. But the information we already had was of Blix being stonewalled, and IRQ troops moving material out of the back gates of these sites, and once confirmed clear, THEN letting Blix and his inspectors in. Over and over again. My source? Intelligence Officers known personally to me. Marines, Army, Air Force. THOSE conversations. THAT is why the “inspections” were halted. You are never going to find something you aren’t looking for, and have no interest in finding. Blix was not randomly chosen. Khofi Annan and others (including his son) got filthy rich from Oil for Food money before and while this was all playing out.

    Then there were interviews with Iraqis in Anbar Province with Iraqis who were eyewitnesses to convoys of trucks loaded with barrels, drivers in CW suits, moving across the Syrian border. A number of witnesses. From widely disparate locations. My source? My eyes and ears. Marines who were Arabic speakers talked of very similar interviews in 2003, in other towns along the “smuggle route” into Syria.

    Much more to this than the US news media would allow to be told. Some of these things made the news, ever so briefly, and were quickly buried. Some did not see the light of day at all. Some, instances not mentioned here, but of similar ilk, remain classified, either due to collection method or source.

    So, when you tell me how there was “no evidence”, it rings quite hollow.

  7. URR

    You still have not told us about MAKSIM. Once more, please explain MAKSIM and the relevancy to the discussion and back it up with credible primary sources. None of this ‘you ought to know’ nonsense.

    Concerning these alleged conversations: Please explain why information potentially available to the Bush administration, which they would have welcomed with open arms, was either not provided to them or was ignored by them. Credible primary sources attesting to the existence of these conversations other than your decade plus old recollection of secondhand hearsay would be nice.

    Also, there seems to be a discrepancy between your version and Craig’s version of the alleged conversations. Craig has the Iraqi army safeguarding WMDs up until the fall of Baghdad that you have already shipped out before the war. Both of you claim special knowledge of what ‘really’ happened. Who am I to believe? Why am I to believe either of you considering the questions raised by the lack of use of this information by the administration at the time, as well as the apparent lack of knowledge of these things when Bush later admitted that there was a failure of intelligence. (I have already linked to primary sources for that, I am not going to annoy xbradtc yet again.)

    1. Again, if you were a serious student you would know who MAKSIM is. Yevgeny Primakov. Sent by Putin to Iraq to assist Saddam Hussein. He was not a diplomat, but a KGB officer who was responsible for assisting Syria and Iraq develop their chemical weapons arsenal during the 1980s and 90s. He was and is no diplomat, and was accused by the Clinton Administration of providing Iraq with a more effective stabilizer for VX. Which is why I asked those questions. THAT is public record, but conveniently ignored in the “Bush lied, people died!” screeds.

      As I said, some of what Craig and I talked about made the news, but was quickly buried, or was shouted down by “news personalities” and others with the Bush-hater” agenda. Indeed, some was completely ignored. I did discuss such. And what Craig and I describe are in no way incompatible. In fact, they are in perfect harmony. Saddam moved as much as he could, and there was CW that did not, or could not, be moved. Hence, some of it is now in the hands of ISIS. CW that you and others have been insistent were not there.

      Yesterday it was announced that ALL chemical weapons have been removed from Syria. Rings very familiar. Do you really think that is even remotely true? From this discussion, you seem gullible enough to believe such. If so, I have this bridge I would like to sell you, it is a great bargain.

  8. I still contend that when the proper history of the Iraq war is written, there will be a lot of revealing conclusions. A lot of assumptions that the general public made, based on information passed out by the media at the time will, at minimum, receive a shake. A lot of what we “know” right now is incomplete. Won’t be until 2020 or later before that improves.

    Just the way things are. The generation that lives an event is in many ways the least prepared to write the history. The classic case of that is with our Civil War, where the confabulations of many senior officers left a legacy of part myth and part fact… and only 150 years later are we really able to address some of the “knowns” in proper context (the complete “reset” of interpretation at Antietam is a prime example). Ditto for World War II. Watch some of the documentaries that rolled out in the 1950s and 60s. Then compare with the more recent work by Atkinson and others. The “history” of World War II will get sharper the further we are, in time, from the events. (Benefiting from, in a large way, the surge of efforts to record veterans experiences – that while laudable, is still incomplete.)

    All I can say to folks who contend there were no WMDs in Iraq, is there’s a lot that has not been taken into consideration. If we table the discussion until 2050, I’m sure as we discuss this same topic over a cold drink, the conversation will be different.

  9. URR

    If you had said Yevgeny Primakov in the first place I would have known all about him. MAKSIM is the name of an Iraqi wholesale firm I believe. I fail to see the connection with Primakov but I do not really care. Yes, Primakov (a professional politician) went to Iraq in early 2003, ostensibly to propose a deal to Saddam to avoid a war. He sounds like a very odd choice for arranging covert operations especially since it was publicly known that he went there.

    Here is the Russian viewpoint about Primakov going to Iraq. I do not insist on its accuracy. It just shows what Primakov was supposedly doing.

    Whether anything was ever ‘shouted down’ (and a lot was) in the media is irrelevant. The Bush administration, who did not care at all about the media concerning Iraq, was clearly unaware of anything like this at the time since Bush was still talking about large amounts of WMDs in Iraq at Saddam’s disposal up to the day the military action started. The Bush administration was clearly unaware of it afterwards as well since Bush was expressing regret as late as 2008 over having faulty intelligence. (Primary source already referenced) If Bush did not take it seriously, I see no reason going to take it seriously either.

    Craig’s claim that large amounts of VX were being guarded by the Iraqi army even during the invasion implies that the locations were known. Why were these locations not immediately searched? Why has nothing of the sort been found since?

    If you had been paying attention you would know that I was the one who pointed out (DNI letter) that some militarily useless WMDs were found as early as 2004 and this was made public in 2006. Since this was NOT used by the Bush administration as justification for the invasion – and don’t forget that even Leno was making jokes about missing WMDs – shows that it was not what Bush expected to find. Neither were any of the other minor finds subsequent to that. But this blows away the idea of the sudden ‘discovery’ of this old news being justification for having invaded Iraq. It seems this is why I have been attacked.

    In any case, even if all of the allegations made were actually true, it would simply show that my warnings made in 2002 were correct. If there were in fact significant amounts of WMDs in Iraq, they would be scattered to the winds into the hands of bad guys. But my belief was that there were no significant stockpiles of WMDs. Better to avoid the chaos of war, find what might be left over from the 1980s and prevent Saddam from reviving WMD efforts. In other words the ongoing presence of inspectors. This would have allowed military forces to concentrate on Afghanistan, home base of a force that actually had attacked us several times and wanted to do more.

    1. No more discussion with you. Primakov, whose code name was MAKSIM, was a KGB General, not a politician. They may claim that he is a politician now, but he was certainly not one then, nor for the vast bulk of his career. And not when the CIA in the Clinton Administration protested to the Russians that he was providing CW resources and expertise to Iraq post-DS. You seem to have no interest in knowing much more than Wikipedia and Chris Matthews chooses to tell you. I would suggest that, before you engage in serious discussions in these matters, you do some serious research. Because whatever opinions you hold seem to be woefully short of meaningful intellectual rigor.

    2. URR

      Here is a summary of Yevgeny Primakov’s career from the Encyclopedia Britannica. You will note that after being a journalist for Pravda until 1970 his career was one political position after another. There is no mention of any military service at all or title of general. The KGB was a military-like organization and its operatives and long standing officials usually held military ranks. Primakov’s KGB position was first deputy to the director and his brief career in the KGB consisted mainly of helping to preside over its breakup right after his appointment. Instead Primakov headed the newly formed Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), which inherited that function of the KGB.

      Aside: Here is an interesting discussion of military ranks in the KGB.

      The real Russian espionage service, which was not broken up like the KGB, is the Military Intelligence organization (GRU). This is the organization that controls the special forces (Spetsnaz).

      Why would a former head of the SRV publicly go to Iraq to coordinate what would have to be a super-secret special forces GRU operation? Anything like that would have been under strict GRU control.

      The only sources I can find that refer to Primakov as general are blatantly left wing commentaries, complaining that he was hired as a consultant for DHS, ‘obviously’ to help Bush implement a dictatorship. Here is one sample. Googling ‘general primakov’ will turn up others.

      One may suspect that these Bush opponents liked the idea of a ‘KGB monster’ being aligned with Bush and used the erroneous General title to invoke images of an evil Soviet style military dictatorship. But of course none of that consultant nonsense really happened. In actual fact Primakov was head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce from 2001 until 2011.

      Anyway it would have made no sense for Primakov to offer advice on issuing federal IDs and controlling civilian travel etc. That was the business of the Second Directorate. Primakov never had anything to do with that and would have no expertise in that area.

      I have finally found a source that refers to Primakov as MAKSIM. It was the name the KGB used for him for covert intelligence work when he was a Pravda journalist up until 1970, over thirty years before his visit to Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately this source is Wikipedia (oh horrors!) and the references are books that are not known to me.

      Perhaps you have a different credible primary source?

      Insisting on calling Primakov a General and MAKSIM sounds like you want to make him out to be some kind of KGB monster to justify his involvement in something for which there does not seem to be any evidence that was even believed by the Bush administration (who would have loved to have something even halfway solid) and does not make sense for Primakov to be involved with in the first place. Sounds a lot like those lefties mentioned above.

      Oh yes…while you are at it, try addressing the arguments I have made. In particular, why did the Bush administration not use any of this information that supposedly existed either at the time to put the kibosh on Saddam’s WMDs or after the fact to justify the invasion in the court of public opinion?

      BTW I have posted quite a few non-Wiki primary sources. Sounds like maybe you do not want to admit they exist.

      And speaking of sources, show us proof for your contention about Clinton and Primakov.

      Rather than any lack of intellectual on my part, I submit that you are guilty of Us versus Them thinking, believing anything that makes Us look good and Them look bad. I fail to see any serious research on your part but much on mine.

      Oh one more thing…I have never once watched Chris Matthews…ever. Like I said, Us versus Them.

  10. If you choose to be so incredibly naive as to think Primakov was an editor of Pravda, and little else, except the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, go right ahead. You think 2003 was his first visit to Iraq? I knew of him as MAKSIM long before he made news again during the Clinton Administration. That you didn’t seem to know that is startling for someone who claims to have done so much research. I asked you once about Rutbah, another obvious reference for someone who is a serious student of the issue, and never got a response.

    You have much, much more homework to do. What you find if you choose to dig past the surface should be educational.

    1. Primakov was used by the KGB while he was a reporter for Pravda and could easily travel around, just like I said backed up by my cited source. Primakov was head of the Foreign Intelligence unit for five years, just like I said backed up by my cited source. As I believe I linked to someplace upstream, Primakov went to Iraq in 1990 to try to avoid a war, because destabilizing the region would not be to Russian advantage.

      You are being dishonest in misrepresenting what I say. You are being disingenuous in ignoring both my arguments and my sources. And you have yet to produce a single source of your own to back up anything you have said despite hypocritically demanding that I do so. Which I have done copiously.

      Thank you so much for proving my point that it is all about Us versus Them regardless of any consideration of fact, logic or just plain common sense.

      I see I am wasting my time here. There are other sites with hopefully more worthy debating partners that are not as dishonest, disingenuous and hypocritical. I am moving on. But before you start patting yourself on the back about having ‘won’, which you undoubtedly will, meditate seriously about what other posters now think of you.

    2. Dishonest and disingenuous are two perfectly good words to describe the “Bush Lied! People Died!” charlatans, and those who insist that Saddam Hussein had no CW or was not attempting to restart a nuclear weapons program. Or that AQ did not have a presence in Iraq prior to 2003.

      As for ME being dishonest, nosiree. What I told you is indeed the case, much of it at absolute loggerheads with the “official story”. If you doubt my and Craig’s claims about conditions and incidents on the ground in Iraq regarding Saddam’s CW inventory, then get yourself over there and see for yourself.

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